Requirements for the Environment & Sustainability Minor

The Environment & Sustainability Minor is comprised of five to six subjects (minimum of 57 units). Students must fulfill three requirements to complete the minor:

  1. The required foundational subject, “People and the Planet: Environmental Governance and Science” (9 units)
  2. One subject in each of two core areas of study, Context and Perspective and Sustainable Solutions (24 units)
  3. Elective subjects, totaling a minimum of 24 units

1. The Required Foundational Subject

Every student in the minor must complete 12.387, 15.874, IDS.063 People and the Planet: Environmental Governance and Science, taught every fall semester. The class introduces students to a series of in-depth case studies of environmental challenges, to demonstrate how natural and human systems intertwine to create environmental problems, and how solutions to those problems must in turn grapple with both the science of the natural world and the policy, governance and behavioral complexities of human societies.

2. The Core Areas of Study

Students must complete one subject from the Context and Perspective list, and one subject from the Sustainable Solutions list (below).

Context and Perspective subjects place the concept and practice of sustainability in a big-picture, human context, with an emphasis on how real societies have addressed environmental problems past and present. These classes will help students understand the significance of political, historical, economic and cultural factors in decision-making by individuals and institutions, in order to translate, localize and implement environmental solutions to a particular social context.

Sustainable Solutions subjects challenge students to envision viable solutions to current and emerging environmental and sustainability challenges. In these classes, students will engage in project-based, experiential learning and apply problem-solving strategies informed by an understanding of sustainable design and practice.

View the list of subjects in the two core areas of study:


3. Elective Subjects

Over 110 electives in 17 different departments (including many with CI-H options) count toward the Environment & Sustainability Minor. Students may choose any combination of electives to finish the required 57 units for the minor. Students can narrowly focus their electives in a single department or disciplinary area, or sample a variety of different classes.

In addition to the subjects listed below, students may be able to count additional environment and sustainability-related classes toward the minor, including IAP classes. Please contact Chris Rabe to discuss the eligibility of any relevant courses that are not listed.

Search all classes by department or semester here, or view the list of electives organized by theme:


Please note that not all electives in the minor are offered every academic year. Visit the MIT Subject Listing for a comprehensive and up-to-the-minute list of offered classes.


A minimum of four subjects (or 48 units) taken for the Environment and Sustainability Minor cannot also count toward a student’s major or other minor. In other words, only one subject that counts toward a student’s major or other minor degree may also count toward the E&S Minor elective requirement. In addition, only two Terrascope subjects can be counted toward the E&S Minor.

Getting started

Learn how to apply for the E&S Minor

See examples of academic plans, or “roadmaps,” to complete the E&S Minor


Email the Environmental Solutions Initiative at

Return to the E&S Minor homepage