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Minor in Earth Systems, Sustainability

The minor in Earth Systems, Sustainability subplan, provides an introduction to the fundamental science, interdisciplinary systems thinking, and environmental justice considerations, as well as a foundation in practical skills and applied problem solving experience needed to understand social-environmental systems and address intergenerational sustainability challenges. Students declaring the minor in Earth Systems must also declare the Sustainability subplan. 

Students pursuing the minor must take the courses listed below and approved electives for a minimum of 35 units. Courses that count towards the fulfillment of major requirements may not be counted towards the minor, and all courses must be taken for a letter grade.

Students declaring a minor in Earth Systems must do so no later than two quarters prior to their intended quarter of degree conferral; for example, a student must declare a minor before the end of Autumn Quarter to graduate the following Spring Quarter. The Sustainability subplan must also be declared in Axess when declaring the minor. In addition, students pursuing the minor must complete the Minor Course Plan Proposal form and submit to Deana Fabbro-Johnston (; Y2E2, 131).

Before graduating with the minor, a student must also complete and submit the Multiple Major/Minor Form and have it reviewed by all applicable departments/programs. This form must be submitted to the Student Services Center by the application to graduate deadline for the term in which the student intends to graduate.

Required Course Work


  • EARTHSYS 10: Introduction to Earth Systems, 4 units
  • EARTHSYS 111: Biology and Global Change, 4 units
  • EARTHSYS 112: Human Society and Environmental Change, 4 units
        (ECON 1 recommended as a pre- or co-requisite to EARTHSYS 112) 
  • SUST 210: Pursuing Sustainability: Managing Complex Social Environmental Systems, 3 units
        (Prerequisites to SUST 210 for the minor: EARTHSYS 111, EARTHSYS 112)
  • EARTHSYS 131: Pathways in Sustainability Careers, 1 unit


Students must take a minimum of 19 units of electives at the 100-level or above that address dimensions of environmental systems and social-environmental systems in theory or practice, with at least one course taken in each category.

Of the electives selected from the categories above:

  • at least one course must address dimensions of environmental justice in theory or practice;
  • at least two courses must provide opportunities to develop skills applicable to sustainability-related questions or challenges; and
  • at least one course must engage students in applied problem solving on a sustainability-related question or challenge.

 A list of approved electives is available here and in the Earth Systems Program office (Y2E2 131). Students may petition to count one relevant freshman or sophomore seminar toward the minor.