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Sustainability now a dual major

Sustainability was recently added to the UNH dual major selection and is available immediately to current undergraduate students.

A dual major involves gaining only slightly more than the required number of credits for one regular major, whereas a double major involves getting the required number of credits for each major, thereby nearly doubling the credits required of the student.

According to Colleen Flaherty, the communications and information coordinator at the Sustainability Institute, “The sustainability dual major consists of 32 credits, including core and elective courses, and a capstone experience. Students are required to take SUST 401, SUST 501 and SUST 750 respectively. They then choose elective courses to complete the remaining 20 credits. Electives do not need to be taken in any order.”

The new major will be run by the Office of the Provost, rather than being a part of any one of the existing colleges at UNH such as Paul College or the College of Liberal Arts (COLA). The assistant director of the sustainability dual major program and main contact for interested students is Dr. Vanessa Levesque, who has a diverse education, work and volunteer background in the sustainability field. The program chair is Dr. Stacy VanDeever, a political science professor.

“It is possible for students to have two majors and add the sustainability dual major, but they will need to be strategic with their class choices to graduate in four years. What’s nice about the sustainability dual major is elective courses can often double or triple count for major requirements,” Flaherty said.

Support for the creation of this dual major came from students, faculty and the UNH Sustainability Institute.

“Faculty from all colleges and departments are currently teaching courses that count towards the sustainability dual major,” Flaherty said.  

There is a long list online of electives to choose from for this dual major, which include classes under the headings of Natural Biological Systems and Social Systems & Humanities.

The website for the dual major lists some of the benefits of pursuing this program option: “Study grand challenges in a flexible format, apply your principles and passions to your academic work, add value to your primary major, work collaboratively across disciplines with students and faculty, develop skills needed to create sustainability solutions in any profession, prepare for a career in the expanding sustainability field, hone your leadership abilities to help create a better world.”

The dual major is not currently available to graduate students, though there are graduate programs that involve some experience with sustainability.

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