NEW THIS FALL: Environment & Sustainability Minor

The Environment & Sustainability Minor is an interdisciplinary minor that offers flexible pathways for students in all majors to harness the knowledge needed to forge a better future.

Upperclassmen:  Register for the fall subject People and the Planet: Environmental Governance and Science (12.38715.874IDS.063 [J], Fridays 10am-1pm), one of two core subjects for the Environment & Sustainability Minor.

An MIT education equips students to become experts in their fields of study and to tackle complex problems facing societies worldwide.  To tackle complex environmental problems, the planet needs the knowledge and experience of graduates from diverse disciplines:

The Civil & Environmental Engineering (Course 1) major whose video about UAVs in Precision Agriculture won first prize in a competition that highlights student fieldwork and research
The Mechanical Engineering (Course 2) major who launched an app for sustainable shopping as the chief technology officer for the startup
The Biology (Course 7) major who uses microbes to synthesize perfume, pesticides, and other chemicals with less energy and waste
The Political Science (Course 17) major who attended the United Nations talks on climate change at COP 21 in Paris

Students who take classes in the E&S Minor will learn from global leaders, a supportive community of classmates, and independent projects driven by student interests.   The curriculum lets students explore sustainability through the lens of their major course of study and is framed by four pillars:

Engineering for Sustainability

...is comprised of a vast panoply of engineering and design disciplines directed toward innovation and including expertise in construction and manufacture processes, operation, use, reuse and disposition of materials, devices, and systems for sustainable and humane development;

Environmental Histories and Cultures

...enlists historical, anthropological, cultural studies and the humanities as well as urban studies and planning for an understanding of the anthropogenic transformation of the environment through our economies, cities and other human settlements, and institutions;

Environmental Governance

...includes political science, environmental law and justice, environmental management and other fields in an understanding of the distribution of power and decision-making in society and, in particular, the strategies and tools directed toward consciously guiding our relation to the environment;

Earth Systems and Climate Science

...encompasses distinct disciplines such as ecology, geology, meteorology and more for an understanding of the physics, chemistry and biology of the Earth and its climate.

 

Minor requirements

To earn the Minor, undergraduates enrolled at MIT will complete the following (in any sequence), with the guidance of an advising group comprised of stellar faculty and peers.

Subjects

     21 units from the completion of both Core subjects:

People and the Planet: Environmental Governance and Science (12.387, 15.874, IDS.063 [J]) – offered fall semester (9 units)

Introduces governance and science aspects of complex environmental problems and approaches to solutions. Introduces quantitative analyses and methodological tools to analyze environmental issues that have human and natural components. Demonstrates concepts through a series of in-depth case studies of environmental governance and science problems. Students develop writing, quantitative modeling, and analytical skills in assessing environmental systems problems and developing solutions. Through experiential activities, such as modeling and policy exercises, students engage with the challenges and possibilities of governance in complex, interacting systems, including biogeophysical processes and societal and stakeholder interactions. Prereq: None. Units: 3-0-6.
N. Selin, S. Solomon, J. Sterman

Past, Present, and Future of the Environment and Integration with Society (11.004, STS.033 [J]) – offered spring semester (12 units)

Explores solutions to present-day challenges by studying social, cultural, political, economic, environmental, and technological events. Examines the inter-relatedness of these events from a philosophical as well as a mathematical modeling perspective. Emulates real-world, large-scale environmental project systems development. Curriculum centers on a case study of Boston Harbor and an open-ended research problem. Students work in teams to study current needs, and then investigate plausible, symbiotic, systems-oriented solutions for going forward. Prereq: None. Units: 3-0-9.
A. Glasmeier, J. Knox-Hayes, A. Slocum, R. Scheffler, J. Trancik

 

     36 units (min.) from the completion of elective subjects (generally 3 subjects) from one pillar (or selected across multiple pillars):

Elective subjects in Engineering for Sustainability
1.007 Big Engineering: Small Solutions with a Large Impact 6 Fall
1.011 Project Evaluation and Management 12 Spring
1.016[J] (same subject as 2.00C) Design for Complex Environmental Issues: Building Solutions and Communicating Ideas 9 Spring
2.00A Fundamentals of Engineering Design: Explore Space, Sea and Earth 9 Spring
2.627 Fundamentals of Photovoltaics 12 Fall
3.094 Materials in Human Experience 9 Spring
3.983 Ancient Mesoamerican Civilization 9 Spring
4.401 Environmental Technologies in Buildings 12 Fall
4.411[J] D-Lab Schools: Building Technology Laboratory 12 Fall
4.42[J] Fundamentals of Energy in Buildings 12 Fall
4.432 Modeling Urban Energy Flows for Sustainable Cities and Neighborhoods 12 Spring
12.000 Solving Complex Problems 9 Fall
12.213 Alternate Energy Sources 6 IAP
22.033 Nuclear Systems Design Project 15 Fall
22.04[J] Social Problems of Nuclear Energy 12 Fall
22.081[J] Introduction to Sustainable Energy 12 Fall
EC.701[J] D-Lab: Development 12 Fall
EC.711[J] D-Lab: Energy 12 Spring
EC.714 D-Lab: Earth 6 Spring
EC.715 D-Lab: Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Environmental Innovations for the Common Good 9 Fall
EC.716 D-Lab: Waste 9 Fall
EC.733[J] D-Lab: Supply Chains 12 Fall
Elective subjects in Environmental Histories and Cultures
1.016[J] (same subject as 2.00C) Design for Complex Environmental Issues: Building Solutions and Communicating Ideas 9 Spring
3.094 Materials in Human Experience 9 Spring
3.982 The Ancient Andean World 9 Fall
3.983 Ancient Mesoamerican Civilization 9 Spring
4.622 Islamic Gardens and Geographies 12 Spring
10.04 A Philosophical History of Energy 12 Spring
10.05 Foundational Analyses of Problems in Energy and the Environment 12 Spring
11.016[J] The Once and Future City 12 Spring
17.051 Ethics of Energy Policy 12 Fall
24.03 Good Food: The Ethics and Politics of Food 12 Spring
21A.155 Food, Culture, and Politics 12 Spring
21A.303[J] The Anthropology of Biology 12 Fall
21G.417 Cultural Geographies of Germany: Nature, Culture, and Politics 12 Spring
21H.185[J] Environment and History 12 Fall
21H.380[J] People and Other Animals 12 Fall
21H.383 Technology and the Global Economy, 1000-2000 12 Spring
21L.449 The Wilds of Literature 12 Spring
21W.012 Writing and Rhetoric: Food for Thought 12 Fall
21W.036 Science Writing and New Media: Writing and the Environment 12 Fall
21W.775 Writing about Nature and Environmental Issues 12 Spring
EC.701[J] D-Lab: Development 12 Fall
EC.715 D-Lab: Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Environmental Innovations for the Common Good 9 Fall
SP.360 Terrascope Radio 12 Spring
STS.009 Evolution and Society 12 Fall
STS.032 Energy, Environment, and Society 12 Spring
Elective subjects in Environmental Governance
1.801[J] Environmental Law, Policy, and Economics: Pollution Prevention and Control 12 Fall
1.802[J] Regulation of Chemicals, Radiation, and Biotechnology 12 Spring
11.123 Big Plans and Mega-Urban Landscapes 9 Spring
11.142 Geography of the Global Economy 12 Spring
11.148 Environmental Justice: Law and Policy 12 Fall
11.162 Politics of Energy and the Environment 12 Spring
12.385 Science, Politics, and Environmental Policy 9 Fall
17.181 Sustainability: Political Economy, Science, and Policy 12 Fall
17.309[J] Science, Technology, and Public Policy 12 Fall
17.411 Globalization, Migration, and International Relations 12 Spring
21A.410 Environmental Struggles 12 Spring
EC.701[J] D-Lab: Development 12 Fall
EC.711[J] D-Lab: Energy 12 Spring
EC.714 D-Lab: Earth 6 Spring
EC.715 D-Lab: Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Environmental Innovations for the Common Good 9 Fall
EC.716 D-Lab: Waste 9 Fall
EC.733[J] D-Lab: Supply Chains 12 Fall
IDS.062[J] Global Environmental Negotiations 6 Fall
Elective subjects in Earth Systems and Climate Science
1.018A[J]
 & 1.018B[J] Fundamentals of Ecology I 
and Fundamentals of Ecology II 12 Fall
1.078 Introduction to Soil Science 12 Fall
1.080A
 & 1.080B Environmental Chemistry I
 and Environmental Chemistry II 12 Spring
1.089 or 1.089A Environmental Microbiology or Environmental Microbiology I 6-12 Spring
2.981 New England Coastal Ecology 3 IAP
3.982 The Ancient Andean World 9 Fall
8.21 Physics of Energy 12 Spring
12.000 Solving Complex Problems 9 Fall
12.001 Introduction to Geology 12 Fall
12.002 Introduction to Geophysics and Planetary Science 12 Spring
12.003 Introduction to Atmosphere, Ocean, and Climate Dynamics 12 Fall
12.007 Geobiology: History of Life on Earth 12 Spring
12.021 Earth Science, Energy, and the Environment 12 Fall
12.102 Environmental Earth Science 12 Fall
12.104 Geochemistry of the Earth and Planets 12 Fall
12.120 Environmental Earth Science Field Course 6 IAP
12.170 Essentials of Geology 12 Fall
12.174 Biogeochemistry of Natural and Perturbed Systems 12 Spring
12.307 Weather and Climate Laboratory 15 Spring
12.335 Experimental Atmospheric Chemistry 12 Fall
12.349 Mechanisms and Models of the Global Carbon Cycle 12 Spring
12.385 Science, Politics, and Environmental Policy 9 Fall
20.106[J] Systems Microbiology 12 Fall
EC.714 D-Lab: Earth 6 Spring

 

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. 

Applying for the Minor

Email Dr. Amanda Graham, Executive Director, Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI): agraham (at) mit.edu