Oregon State University now offers sustainability education via a unique double-degree format. A sustainability minor is also available. Given the interdisciplinary nature of sustainability, the double-degree is tailored for students in all academic disciplines. Students are required to complete 180 credits in an OSU major (or other from another baccalaureate degree institution) and can receive a second Bachelor’s degree in sustainability by completing an additional 32 credits. Final approval from the Oregon State Board of Higher Education was granted March 1, 2012.
Students may obtain a Bachelor of Science, Sustainability after completing 32 credits of required and elective courses and a practicum, such as an internship or research project. Students may earn a Sustainability Minor after completing 27 credits of required and elective courses.
More than 41 different departments on OSU's Corvallis campus offer courses that emphasize sustainability. From environmental science to business, students in almost any major can find sustainability focused courses without departing from their degree paths. Sustainability courses are not limited to OSU's main campus, courses can also be taken through OSU's Cascades and Hatfield campuses as well as online.
OSU offers offer several sustainability-focused undergraduate degree programs, majors, and minors. Some of them are listed below.
- Biological and Ecological Engineering is the application of engineering and life-science principles and problem-solving techniques to the optimum use and sustainability of biological resources. The curriculum is engineering-based with strong emphasis on the life sciences. With undergraduate and graduate options, it brings the insights from biology and the methods of engineering together to provide the products and tools of the future.
- Environmental sciences are central to the mission of Oregon State University - a university with extensive programs related to the environment and wide use of natural resources. OSU is only one of two U.S. universities recognized as a land-, sea-, space- and sun-grant institution. OSU has exceptional strength in many of the disciplines that are required to provide a high-quality interdisciplinary education for future environmental scientists and to provide continuing post-graduate education to scientists who are already active in the field.
- The Natural Resources (NR) Bachelor of Science degree program provides students with a detailed working knowledge of natural resources, their diversity and interdependence, and the critical relationships between humans and their environment. The program of study is interdisciplinary in nature, encompassing a broad spectrum of coursework, while mixing natural resources disciplines from colleges across campus, to include the Colleges of Agricultural Science, Forestry, Liberal Arts, and Science. Because of its flexibility, this program provides students the opportunity to combine areas of particular personal and/or professional interest, maximizing exposure to key natural resources issues and challenges.
Sustainable Agroforestry Minor (within Natural Resources major)
- The student pursuing this option will develop skills and knowledge necessary to design and manage integrated sustainable land management systems involving co-production of woody plants and agricultural plants and animals.
Renewable Materials Minor
- The renewable materials minor exposes students to the world of renewable materials science and technology, and enables them to enhance their education by gaining a specialization that makes them more competitive for careers associated with green materials and allied industries.
- The new research-based interdisciplinary Bioenergy Minor provides an introduction to bioenergy concepts and issues, and a significant research experience.
OSU offers offer several sustainability-focused graduate degree programs, majors, and minors. Some of them are listed below.
- The purpose of the Environmental Sciences Graduate Program is to provide a degree granting curriculum that will develop scientists who are able to analyze and understand environmental systems, predict environmental change, and participate in the management of the environment. Each student in the ES Graduate Program conducts research and completes a thesis, dissertation, or project; develops depth in a specific academic area through the completion of focused course work; and develops breadth through a set of core courses that include concepts in physical sciences, life sciences, social sciences.
Biological and Ecological Engineering
- The BEE department offers programs leading to the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. The objective of the department's degree programs are to serve as the interface between life sciences and engineering. Biological and Ecological Engineering is the application of engineering and life-science principles and problem-solving techniques to the optimum use and sustainability of biological resources. The curriculum is engineering-based with strong emphasis on the life sciences. Courses focus on biological systems modeling, theoretical and applied aspects of bioconversion and bioseparation processes, regional hydrologic analysis, groundwater systems, irrigation, water resource optimization, remote sensing, image analysis, and instrumentation.
Master of Natural Resources
- Students who earn a Master of Natural Resources degree will develop analytical and problem solving skills associated with complex natural resources issues. Moreover, students will learn from and network with world renowned OSU faculty in natural resources – including scientists from fisheries, wildlife, forestry, rangeland and water departments.
Sustainable Forest Management Minor
- The Sustainable Forest Management graduate program emphasizes the conservation of forest-dominated landscapes to meet a defined set of ecological, economic and social criteria over long time frames. The program follows the sustainable principles outlined by the Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators. These principles have been adopted by the state of Oregon.
- This program provides a strong grounding in the principles and techniques of active management of forests to improve forest health and condition while producing a full range of products and ecosystems services. It consists of a common core in the principles and criteria of sustainable forest management; statistics for design and interpretation of experiments; and specialization in one of six areas of concentration.
Sustainable Natural Resources Graduate Certificate
- The Sustainable Natural Resources graduate certificate is an 18-credit interdisciplinary program offered online through OSU Extended Campus. Students have a choice among 12 courses designed to build personal and organizational capacity to examine the many aspects of natural resource problems—environmental, economic, and social—in the search for innovative solutions.
- Fisheries Management is facing unprecedented challenges. Scientists, decision makers, and stakeholders must work together to rebuild over-fished stocks, implement ecosystem-based approaches, design global fisheries agreements, sustain coastal fishing communities, reduce over-capacity and increase the cost-effectiveness of research and management.
Learning Goals for Graduates
In 2010, OSU adopted Learning Goals for Graduates that included Social Responsibility and Sustainability. Although not embedded specifically into the language of every major, the Goals apply to all OSU graduates.
The goals include:
1. Competency and Knowledge in Multiple Fields
2. Critical Thinking
3. Pluralism and Cultural Legacies
5. Social Responsibility and Sustainability
7. Self-Awareness and Life-Long Learning
Goal 5, Social Responsibility and Sustainability, states: "As an OSU graduate, you will develop the capacity to construct an engaged, contributing life, and to engage in actions that reflect an understanding of the values of service, citizenship and social responsibility, and demonstrate global competence by understanding the interdependent nature of local and global communities."