The Sustainable Development (BA) degree at Appalachian State University introduces students to innovative modes of interdisciplinary scholarship in this field; fosters leadership in sustainability and effective environmental citizenship; promotes ecological literacy; and provides students with the opportunity to self-design a concentration that matches their interests and career goals.
The BA degree has self-designed focus and skills areas. It requires foreign language courses and a minor. This is one of four degree options in the Department of Sustainable Development at Appalachian State University. The others are Sustainable Development (BS) - Environmental Studies, Sustainable Development (BS) - Community, Regional and Global Development, Sustainable Development (BS) - Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture.
Employment: Graduates work across a broad spectrum of sustainability-oriented careers, including environmental public policy, sustainability education, watershed conservation, agritourism, park service, and non-profits. See a list of employers in the right column.
Graduate school: Other students pursue graduate study in a variety of programs, including international development, political science, history, environmental law, food systems, sustainable tourism, wildlife management, urban planning, and the ministry.
Core courses include:
- Principles of Sustainable Development
- Science for Sustainability
- Environmental Justice & Sustainability/Environmental Ethics
- Environmental Humanities
- Principles of Agroecology
- Applied Farm Operations
- Development Theory and Practice
- Classics in Sustainable Development
- Senior Seminar
This degree also requires 12 semester hours of a focus area (such as civic engagement, environmental communication, environmental education, recreation management, etc.) and 6-7 hours in a skills area (courses that provide useful skills for social change.)
9 semester hours of a minor are required. The selection must be approved by the student’s advisor.
Engagement Outside the Classroom
SDSA (Sustainable Development Student Alliance) - Supports a variety of student-led community-building and sustainability-oriented projects on campus and community wide.
Sustainable Development Teaching and Research Farm - 35 acres of pasture, 130 acres woodlot and woodlands, a large greenhouse, late-19th century barn, and a student residence where five or six agroecology students live and work. Read story
Sustainability & Environmental Education Club (SEEC) - Dedicated to increasing the community’s understanding of sustainability through the involvement of Appalachian students in environmental education programs with local youth.
Appalachian State Students for New Urbanism - Engages the community and students in promoting more vibrant and sustainable, urban environments.
Blue Ridge Conservancy Appalachian State University Campus Chapter - Works to permanently protect land and water resources with agricultural, ecological, cultural, recreational and scenic value in the northwest North Carolina. Activities include trail clean-ups, hikes, guest speakers, and much more.
Appalachian is committed to introducing students to different cultures and teaching them how to live and interact in a global society.
The Department of Sustainable Department offers occasional faculty-led study abroad programs to Madagascar and Malawi. Students learn about rural livelihood strategies and conservation issues related to sustainable development. Learn more
There are no admission requirements beyond admission to Appalachian State University.
- Appalachian’s Sustainable Development program is the oldest program in the country, and its interdisciplinary focus sets it apart from other schools.
- All students get to study and work on Appalachian’s Teaching and Research Farm, one of the largest sustainable agriculture teaching-research farms in the country.
- Internships are highly encouraged. Host sites include: Environmental Protection Agency, Blue Ridge Conservancy, organic and sustainable farms, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, Appalachian Voices, and other green organizations across the U.S.
- The Department of Sustainable Development works with a number of community outreach projects, from the Civic Gardening Project to its Sustainable Farming Resource Center and a farm-to-school support network.
Number of Students
Approximately 300 in the Department of Sustainable Development
Method of Delivery
On campus only
- Consumer Researcher
- Environmental Impact Analyst
- Environmental Quality Specialist
- Ethnic Groups Special Concerns Advocate
- Fund raiser
- Grant writer
- Health Services Organization Manager
- Housing Development Specialist
- Natural Resources Specialist
- Park Ranger
- Public Health Worker
- Rural Development Worker
- Urban Planner
- Community Organizer
- Grassroots Organizer Neighborhood Planner
- NGO Director Historic Preservationist
- International Relief Representative Museum Curator/Researcher
- National Natural Landmarks Officer
- Environmental Researcher
Recent graduates have been hired by:
- New River Organic Growers
- Grass to Greens
- Organic Growers School
- Green Opportunities
- Cedar International School
- Belk Inc.
- County governments
- Peace Corps
Dr. Richard Rheingans