Minoring in Environment & Sustainability (E&S) at MIT

The Environment & Sustainability Minor is an undergraduate minor offering interdisciplinary coursework and investigations into the real-world challenges facing people and the planet.

Why should I consider the Environment & Sustainability Minor? Because…

  • You will learn from stellar faculty members across all five schools of MIT with deep expertise advancing environmental solutions.
  • You will be part of a multidisciplinary cohort of students brought together by a common interest in the environment and sustainability.
  • You will apply your STEM and your major-course knowledge to some of the most critical and challenging problems facing humanity.
  • You will tailor your MIT education to your professional goals.
  • You are passionate about making a difference in the world.

Who can enroll in the Environment & Sustainability Minor?

Any MIT undergraduate, in any major.

E&S Minor Requirements

The E&S Minor combines two core required classes with three to four electives from a diverse menu of more than 100 other subjects. The required classes, titled “People and the Planet,” give all students in the Minor a common language and toolkit for understanding sustainability, across the fields of history, engineering, governance and science. Electives in the Minor let students approach their environmental studies through those areas of greatest relevance to their majors and future careers, exploring topics in depth or gaining a broad understanding of an environmental theme or approach to sustainability.

See suggested roadmaps for completing the E&S Minor.

Core Classes

Students must take 21 units from two core subjects:

  1. People and the Planet: Environmental Governance and Science (12.387, 15.874J, IDS.063J) – Offered fall semester (9 units)
  2. People and the Planet: Environmental Histories and Engineering (11.004, STS.033J) – Offered spring semester (12 units, HASS-E)

If a core subject is not offered in a particular semester, or if a student is unable to enroll, other classes may occasionally be substituted for these requirements. If you are struggling to fit these classes into your schedule, please contact Sarah Meyers to discuss possible substitutes.

* NOTE: The spring semester core subject “People and the Planet: Environmental Histories and Engineering” will not be offered in 2020-2021 or 2021-2022. Students minoring in Environment & Sustainability may substitute any of the following classes for this requirement:

Elective Classes

Students must take a minimum of 36 units from elective subjects (generally 3 or 4 subjects).

Pick from 110+ electives across 17 different departments (including D-Lab and Terrascope, with many CI-H options). Search the full list of electives in the Environment and Sustainability Minor here. Please note that not all electives in the minor are offered every academic year. Please visit the MIT Subject Listing for a comprehensive and up-to-the-minute list of offered classes.

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

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.

Applying for the E&S Minor

To apply for the Environment & Sustainability Minor, complete the following steps:

  1. Print/download and fill out the Application Form, leaving sections blank that you’d like to discuss;
  2. Email the form to esi@mit.edu and request a meeting with Sarah Meyers, Education Program Manager;
  3. Bring your transcript and questions to your meeting with Ms. Meyers.  You’ll go over plans for fulfilling requirements, advising group options, and steps for completing the application with an advisor’s signature.

While students can apply for the Minor at any time before their final semester, we recommend that you do so early in your career at MIT to make the most of the E&S Minor program.

Completing the Minor

In addition to fulfilling the subject and application requirements above, students must complete the following steps before the 3rd week of their final semester (the semester after which they’ll receive an S.B. degree) – in February for students who graduate in June.

  1. Print/download and fill out the Completion Form.
  2. Email the Completion Form to Sarah Meyers (smeyers@mit.edu) with a request for certification that you’ve met all the criteria for the E&S Minor. In addition, send an unofficial transcript that lists all subjects completed and current registration.
  3. Schedule a 45-minute exit interview with Sarah.
  4. ESI will certify your Completion Form and return it to you with signatures.


Email the Environmental Solutions Initiative at esi@mit.edu