The School of Sustainability (SOS) as part of the College of Global Futures and together with the Global Institute of Sustainability and Innovation, provides innovative, interdisciplinary and solutions-oriented education and research opportunities for students to learn about and help address the grand sustainability challenges of our time, ranging from climate change and inequities, to biodiversity loss and consumption, as well as increasing income gaps and fragmented governance patterns.
The undergraduate programs introduce students to the concept of sustainability in the context of real-world problems and solutions at local, regional, and global levels. The programs stress diverse and holistic approaches in which students learn about integrated ways to frame and contribute to sustainability problem-solving processes. Trained in collaborative work, students will be able to employ systems-thinking to analyze sustainability problems and understand their root causes, consider a range of plausible futures and assess which future states are desirable for whom and why, and develop strategies for change that adapt to changing circumstances.
Our degree programs include a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Sustainability, a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Sustainability, a Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Food Systems, and the “4+1 Accelerated Bachelor’s+Master’s” program, all of which are flexible, interdisciplinary, solutions-oriented programs wherein students explore the sustainability of human societies and the natural environment on which they depend. The BA in Sustainability is best suited to students inclined toward social sciences, humanities, planning, and related fields. The BS in Sustainability is best suited to those inclined toward natural sciences or engineering. The curriculum includes differences in additional coursework, particularly in math (BS) and a second language (BA).
Any Barrett student who is considering majoring in Sustainability should contact the lead FHA Katja Brundiers at Katja.Brundiers@asu.edu.
Faculty Honors Advisors
The School of Sustainability offers Barrett Honors students the option to conduct a thesis project or creative project. These projects can be research-oriented or applied, practical projects that design and/or implement a solution to sustainability problems. In reality, many projects have both research and applied elements. A thesis typically takes the form of a written research paper. The creative project may be a written essay or another product, including a video or a policy brief.
Both options are based on identifying a sustainability problem of the student’s as well as exploring and researching solution-approaches to this issue, employing methods suitable to collect the necessary data. Methods can draw on or combine qualitative, quantitative or humanities methods. The honors thesis/creative project offers the opportunity to draw on the key competencies in sustainability for sustainability problem-solving processes, including systems-thinking, future-thinking, values-thinking and strategic thinking competencies as well as interpersonal competency.
The requirements for who can serve on a committee are the same for both options and build on Barrett’s requirements: The thesis director must be a full-time faculty at ASU with a terminal degree. This includes tenure-track professors (e.g., Assistant, Associate, and Full Professors), Lecturers, as well as Clinical and Research Professors. The second committee member can be anyone with sufficient expertise in the thesis topic. These include Instructors, Faculty Associates, or ASU Staff. On a case by case basis, students can petition that instructors and ASU staff serve as their thesis director. Qualifying requirements include a Ph.D. as terminal degree, sustainability-focused research as part of their task portfolio, and physical presence on an ASU campus. The petitions must be approved by the FHA and the chair of the Undergraduate Committee. To make this request, students complete the normal Standards Committee Petition and submit it to the Undergraduate Advising Office.
Although only two committee members are required, three members may be appropriate in cases where additional expertise or assistance is needed. In such cases, a third reader might come from other universities or the broader community, including government personnel and organizational representatives. Readers from outside the ASU faculty must be approved by the student’s thesis director.
Academic preparation to successfully complete your thesis includes the preparation leading up to developing your thesis/creative project, the actual work on the thesis/creative project, and the defense.
To prepare for creating your thesis/creative project, these requirements must be met: Complete a thesis/creative project information session. The workshop can be completed in person or online via Canvas.
To conduct your thesis/creative project, these requirements must be met:
Students may enroll in 3 credits of SOS 492: Honors Directed Study and 3 credits of SOS 493: Honors Thesis (6 credits total). SOS 493 and qualifying HON 493 projects may be used to satisfy the SOS 498 Capstone Workshop requirement. Students using SOS/HON 493 to satisfy the SOS 498 requirement may still take SOS 498 for elective credit.
To register in SOS 492 Honors Directed Study, students need to provide a short overview describing the research or project, and an email of approval from the faculty director. To register for SOS 493 Honors Thesis: Provide a signed copy of the approved prospectus. Registration materials and questions about registering for classes should be directed to the School’s Undergraduate Advising staff at email@example.com.
SOS students working with a faculty member as thesis advisor outside of the School of Sustainability should register under the departmental prefix of their faculty director.
- The defense of your thesis/creative project presents the culminating experience, offering the opportunity to present the thesis/creative project to the committee and, if desired, to a broader audience.
- Students registered in SOS 493 may reserve a conference room in Wrigley Hall for their thesis presentation.
The defense day and time as well as title of thesis and abstract must be confirmed with all faculty on the committee and with Barrett, The Honors College, prior to reservation.
Room reservations should be made at least two weeks prior to the defense, preferably earlier.. Rooms in Wrigley Hall are not guaranteed to be available on the date/time requested.
Read carefully, complete all three steps, and submit the room reservation request form on the School of Sustainability website.
Focused work on your thesis/creative project starts in your junior year. Use your freshmen and sophomore years to explore areas of interest.
- Start with reviewing the basic information provided by Barrett.
- Research faculty members who teach and research sustainability issues in the areas in which you would like to work.
- Contact faculty members with requests for a brief in-person meeting to share your emerging ideas and receive their inputs and suggestions. Students can search for faculty experts here. As you contact professors, here are four tips for increasing their responsiveness. (1) Personalize your emails to individual faculty, rather than sending a generic email to several professors. Let them know which areas of their expertise or research are applicable to your thesis interests. (2) Briefly note your interests or ideas for your thesis while also letting them know your timeline for graduating. (3) Include your availability to expedite scheduling an in-person meeting. (4) It could be useful to attach your resume so they can get a sense of your professional experiences and skillsets.
To discuss your thesis ideas or to help identify relevant faculty members for your goals and interests, you may also contact the Faculty Honors Advisor.
By the end of your junior year you should have identified both your thesis topic and adviser (first reader).
- Register for SOS 492 Honors Directed Study in the semester before completing your thesis, typically first semester of senior year.
- Register for SOS 493 Honors Thesis in the semester you are completing your thesis, typically second semester of senior year.
- For specific deadline recommendations by semester view the Barrett Honors information.
Please refer to the attached PDF below to review the additional Honors Opportunities offered through the School of Sustainability: honors sections, enrichment contracts in the School of Sustainability, honors opportunities, and information about careers in sustainability.
Please refer to the attached PDF to review the additional Honors Opportunities offered through the School of Sustainability: honors sections, enrichment contracts in the School of Sustainability, honors opportunities, and information about careers in sustainability.