The Sustainable Development (BS) - Community, Regional and Global Development degree examines theories and strategies for creating vibrant and sustainable communities in the U.S. and globally. You will learn to analyze how diverse social and economic systems work, the principles on which they are based, and how they affect human well-being, environments and equity. You will gain a critical understanding of social change and the skills to become a thoughtful practitioner and grounded scholar of grassroots development and social movements.
This is one of four degree options in the Department of Sustainable Development at Appalachian State University. The others are Sustainable Development (BA), Sustainable Development (BS) - Environmental Studies, and Sustainable Development (BS) - Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture.
Employment: Graduates find employment in a wide variety of professions related to community development, environmental conservation and sustainable agriculture, both nationally and internationally. See a list of employers in the right column.
Core courses include:
- Principles of Sustainable Development
- Science for Sustainability
- Development Theory and Practice
- Environmental Justice & Sustainability/ Environmental Ethics
- Principles of Agroecology
- Applied Farm Operations
- Classics in Sustainable Development
- Sustainable Economics and Community Development
- Applications in Sustainable Development
- Senior Seminar
This degree also requires 6 hours of Geographic Area Studies, 9 hours of Career-Oriented Focus Area, and 12 hours of a Skills Area.
A minor is optional.
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.
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
- International Development Worker
- Public Health Worker
- Rural Development Worker
- Community Organizer
- Grassroots Organizer
- Advocacy Work
- NGO and Nonprofit Director
- International Humanitarian Relief Worker
- Sustainability and Development Researcher
- Human Rights Worker
- Sustainability Consultant (Government, Corporate, or NGO)
- Climate Change Adaptation/Resilience Facilitator
- Environmental Policy Analyst
- Fund Raiser and Grant Writer
- Natural Resources Specialist
- Park Ranger
- Community Planner
- Environmental Researcher
- Environmental Journalist
- Sustainability Director
Recent graduates have been hired by:
- Cedar International School
- Belk Inc. Sustainability Department
- County governments
- Peace Corps
- Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation
- Climate Nexus
- Appalachian State University, Office of Sustainability
- Southern Energy
- O2 Energy Company
- Heifer International
- Hunger and Health Coalition
- Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy
Dr. Richard Rheingans