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College of Arts & Sciences Interdisciplinary Programs

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Environmental Sustainability Major

Love people? Passionate about the environment? Environmental Sustainability offers an interdisciplinary approach to engage your passions in solving complex environmental issues. Housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Environmental Sustainability undergraduate major draws heavily on social sciences and the humanities.

UIndy's urban location, relationships abroad, and commitment to service uniquely positions us to provide meaningful civic engagement. UIndy faculty have relationships with Indiana Sierra Club, IndyGo, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Galen University in Belize and many more. Environmental Sustainability culminates in a personalized senior capstone for students to pursue their specific interests.

Program strengths

  • People centric focus and relevant civic engagement opportunities
  • Provides an alternative for students interested in environmental issues but less interested in scientific work
  • Social sciences and humanities influence promote a broader liberal arts experience
  • 35-36 credit hour major provides the opportunity to double major or add minors in related areas


Many of the courses in the Environmental Sustainability major are built around the concept of service-learning. Students are able to apply and gain deeper understanding about course materials by serving with local nonprofits, community groups, and corporations. This professional work in classes helps prepare students for internships and careers.

In English 489: Writing for Nonprofits, each student writes a grant for a local nonprofit and implements the proposed project. Students have completed numerous projects through the grants they write, such as building community gardens, conducting a neighborhood clean-up, and managing a volunteer day for a local urban farmer. In the course, students serve as grant writers for local organizations and learn professional skills in the process.

Sociology 235: Environmental Sociology even includes a service-learning lab. In this lab, students regularly work in local neighborhoods to identify and research environmental issues affecting that neighborhood.

In the Capstone course, students will design their own project so they can engage the community and environment that interests them most. Students could run an urban garden at a local community center and measure its impact, or conduct surveys in a neighborhood to make recommendations about environmental issues and quality of life, or work with a local entrepreneur to study the reach and impact of their sustainable business.

Service learning and internship opportunities

Faculty who teach in the Environmental Sustainability major have numerous connections with nonprofits and corporations in the city of Indianapolis, the state of Indiana, and beyond. Students can pursue internships with Citizens Action Coalition, Office of Sustainability of City of Indianapolis, Friends of the White River, Greenpeace USA, IndyCog, Indy Winter Farmers Market, or The Nature Conservancy.

The major is designed so that you have ample opportunity to complete an internship, especially during your senior year. You can intern up to 40 hours a week with a local business or nonprofit and earn course credit at the same time, gaining real-world experience and building your resume before you even graduate. Many internships these days are semester-long job interviews and greatly increase your job prospects after graduation.

Indy Food Fellows

Indy Food Fellows is a program of the Indy Food Council that places local university students in year-long, paid internships with local nonprofits and businesses who focus on food and sustainability. UIndy’s Environmental Sustainability program is proud to partner with the Indy Food Council in helping to launch the Food Fellows program.

Currently, two UIndy sophomores are serving as Food Fellows. One is interning at Peaceful Grounds Cafe and Farm Market of Global Peace Initiatives. The second fellow is working with Big Car, a local arts organization that specializes in community building through art and in urban agriculture.

You can read more about this year’s Food Fellows in this UIndy News article.

Curriculum Guides

These curriculum guides outline the different classes you will need to take as an environmental science major. The general education guide provides a list of all the classes you need in order to fulfill UIndy’s general education requirements. The environmental science guide lists the classes you'll need to take to fulfill your major’s requirements. Be sure to take a look at both guides in order to get a complete picture of what your classes will look like at UIndy.