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Pathways to Sustainability Minor

Imagine of a windmill in a field with flowers

Set in a student-centered learning community, the Pathways to Sustainability minor begins with an introductory two-course series focused on systems thinking across natural, social, and economic contexts. This is followed by elective courses in the domains of humanities, environmental science, and art and design, in addition to an integrative capstone course.

Why do it?

Students need an expansive, multi-college conceptualization of sustainability and complementary set of tools and strategies to empower them to lead in a diverse, interconnected and dynamic world. This minor integrates perspectives and tools from natural and social sciences with those from art, design, and humanities. 

Through these diverse fields, students gain strategies to think about connections, change, context, objectivity, and subjectivity, as well as practice integrating them - skills that will support personal growth and career development. Plus, it's just a cool minor.


The 18-credit hour minor in Pathways to Sustainability includes 9 hours of required courses and 9 hours of elective Pathways courses selected from a list.

Pathways diagram of minor

GEOG/NR 1115: Seeking Sustainability I
GEOG/NR 1116: Seeking Sustainability II
GEOG/NR 4444: Practicing Sustainability*
*prerequisite: GEOG/NR 1116

Students select 9 credit hours of elective Pathways courses in three categories (humanities, environment, and art & design).  For a complete list of elective courses, consult the Registrar checksheet (follow this link, click on 'checksheets', scroll down to Minors, and find the minor checksheet you're interested in).

Who is it for?

The primary audience for this minor includes STEM and professional majors. However, majors outside STEM fields will also benefit from the broad interdisciplinarity of this minor.

Video Gallery

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Watch short videos profiling the minor's introductory, core courses and check out the website for the capstone course, Practicing Sustainability.

This minor is hosted by the Department of Geography in collaboration with numerous departments across Virginia Tech.

Pathways Concepts

Core Concepts*
1a - Advanced/Applied Discourse
2 - Critical Thinking in the Humanities
3 - Reasoning in the Social Sciences
4 - Reasoning in the Natural Sciences
5a - Advanced/Applied Quantitative and Computational Thinking
6ad - Critique and Practice in Design and the Arts
7 - Critical Analysis of Identity and Equity in the United States
*Students are guaranteed to meet at least three of the core concepts listed

Integrative Concepts
Ethical Reasoning
Intercultural and Global Awareness


Julie Burger