George Mason University

Sustainability

Academics

At Mason, green isn’t just a school color. It’s a passion and a career choice for many. From recycling to organic gardening to conserving wildlife to building LEED­-certified structures, opportunities for the Mason community to go green abound.

Building a Bridge to the Future

Inspecting bridges is hazardous and expensive, but engineering professor David Lattanzi has developed a method that uses unmanned aerial vehicle inspections at about 10 percent of the traditional cost.

The U.S. Forest Service, which manages 7,500 bridges — more than any other organization in the United States — has taken Lattanzi’s idea on a large-scale test drive in Alaska. A drone zipped around and took photographs of the 280-foot Placer River Bridge, the longest timber bridge in North America, on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula.

Results from the photographic flyby went to Lattanzi’s Advanced Infrastructure Monitoring Lab at the Volgenau School of Engineering. There, they were compiled into a sophisticated 3-D model, which takes about 500 hours of computational time.

All the equipment can fit into a backpack, while traditional methods rely on heavy equipment. That’s of particular importance to the U.S. Forest Service because, like many of the spans it supervises, the Placer River Bridge is in an area where large trucks can’t pass. The bridge is the only way hikers can reach the Spencer Glacier.

With the help of a National Science Foundation grant, Lattanzi is also exploring the use of 3-D modeling techniques in post-disaster situations, such as inspecting buildings after earthquakes. “This technology will enable post-disaster inspectors to rapidly and accurately estimate structural damage using only a digital camera and portable computer,” says Lattanzi.

Assistant Professor David Lattanzi poses for a photo.

David Lattanzi, an assistant professor at Volgenau School of Engineering is pioneering a technique for bridge inspections using drones and 3-D modeling.

  • Applied Conservation Science, Graduate Certificate

    The graduate certificate in applied conservation science provides students with hands-on education in conservation science. The courses in this program are all residential, full-day, one- or two-week intensive courses held at the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation in Front Royal, Virginia. This certificate is designed for early to mid-career conservation professionals working in government, non-governmental organizations, and research institutions worldwide.

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  • Applied Global Conservation, Concentration in the Integrative Studies BS

    Students learn how to effectively address global conservation challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and ecosystem collapse. These challenges are complex and necessitate an interdisciplinary approach, drawing upon fields such as biology, policy, law, anthropology, sociology, conflict resolution, environmental justice, economics and communication. Students learn to apply their knowledge and effect real-world change. With access the Smithsonian-Mason Semester and international conservation organizations in the Washington, DC area, our graduates are well positioned to compete in a diverse conservation job market or enter graduate school.

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  • Atmospheric Sciences, BS, Minor

    The undergraduate program in atmospheric sciences gives students a strong quantitative undergraduate education in atmospheric, climate, and related sciences to understand the basic principles behind current and emerging issues in weather, climate variability, and climate change. Students completing the atmospheric sciences degree will be prepared for a full range of career paths including forecast and analysis, operations and research support in meteorology, atmospheric sciences, and climate. The curriculum meets the American Meteorological Society’s recommendations for a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric sciences. Topics include weather forecasting, climate change, and the predictability of coupled ocean-atmosphere-land-variations. Students in physics, math, engineering, and computational sciences may be attracted to this program as a minor, because it provides a compelling application of the fundamental methods of analysis learned in their major. Such students are ideal candidates for research in atmospheric science and climate dynamics; the minor will facilitate entry into graduate studies in these fields.

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  • Business and Sustainability, Concentration in the Environmental and Sustainability Studies BA

    Students earning this degree take classes in areas such as Managing Financial Resources, as well as Managing People and Organizations. They prepare for their future careers through internships, career-focused minors and other college-to-career activities.

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  • Civil and Infrastructure Engineering, BS, Accelerated MS

    Highly qualified students working on a bachelor's degree in Civil and Infrastructure Engineering have the option of obtaining an accelerated master's degree. Students in an accelerated degree program must fulfill all university requirements for the master’s degree.

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  • Civil and Infrastructure Engineering, BS

    The bachelor’s degree program provides essential underpinnings in the theory and design methods of civil and infrastructure engineering for engineering practice. Students benefit from exposure to practical civil, environmental, and infrastructure engineering problems and their solutions in the classroom, lab, and field. The educational objectives of the Civil and Infrastructure Engineering program describe expectations for graduates approximately three to five years after obtaining their BS CIE degree.

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  • Civil and Infrastructure Engineering, MS

    The Master of Science in Civil and Infrastructure Engineering is designed for students who have completed the BS in civil engineering, although students with related undergraduate degrees may be considered for provisional admission. The MS educates students in the theory and practice of civil engineering science and design at an advanced level. The MS also serves as a foundation for doctoral study in in civil engineering, as well as for additional graduate studies in architecture, law, business, economics, finance, and public policy and administration.

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  • Civil and Infrastructure Engineering, PhD

    The Doctor of Philosophy in Civil and Infrastructure Engineering prepares students for advanced leadership positions in research and development in the public or private sector, academics, or government. Students may elect to study in the areas of: environmental and water resources engineering, geotechnical engineering, structural engineering, or transportation engineering. Both part-time and full-time study is available.

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  • Climate Change and Society, Concentration in the Environmental and Sustainability Studies BA

    Students earning this degree take classes in such areas as Energy Policy, as well as the Human Dimensions of Global Climate Change. They prepare for their future careers through internships, career-focused minors and other college-to-career activities.

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  • Climate Dynamics, PhD

    Our students learn about how the atmosphere, ocean, and land surface work together to determine the climate. In collaboration with internationally known scientists, students conduct independent work to further our understanding of climate, how it varies, and how much of it we can predict. Tools in the program include cutting-edge climate models, sophisticated statistical techniques, and comprehensive data sets. Our graduates have gone on to work at top laboratories and universities.

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  • Conservation Studies, Minor

    The Conservation Studies Minor is intended for non-biology majors with an interest in wildlife and habitat conservation issues. The minor may particularly suit environmental science, environmental and sustainability studies, global and environmental change majors and Earth science majors, as well as New Century College students wishing to increase their understanding and qualifications in the field of conservation biology. The minor may also be of interest to non-science majors, for example, students taking leisure studies classes with an interest in ecotourism. The minor is offered by the Department of Environmental Science and Policy in the College of Science.

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  • Data Analysis, Minor

    The minor gives students a background in data analysis and statistical methodology. It is intended to complement undergraduate degree programs such as computer science, economics, environmental engineering, geography, mathematics, nursing, psychology, public administration, sociology, and systems engineering.

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  • Earth Science, BS

    This degree covers Earth Sciences in the broadest sense, including geology, oceanography, atmospheric science, and their effect on the environment. Students specialize within this broad framework by choosing one of several concentrations offered by the program. The Washington, D.C., area is an exciting place to enter the field of Earth Sciences, with collaboration and career opportunities at US Geological Survey, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the Smithsonian Institution, and many other public and private labs. The Earth Sciences degree is a starting point for many career paths, including research via an advanced degree, work in government laboratories, consulting, resource management and extraction, environmental advocacy, and teaching.

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  • Earth Science, Minor

    An Earth Sciences minor provides students with a broad education in geology, oceanography, atmospheric science, and their effect on the environment. This minor helps prepare students for work in environmental science, environmental consulting, and public policy.

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  • Earth Systems Science, MS

    This program addresses the growing demand for trained professionals in the Earth sciences. The program emphasizes a research-oriented, global systems approach to studying the Earth and its systems--atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere, including their interrelationships and interactions with the biosphere. Emphasis is on the observation, measurement, and analysis of Earth’s systems. Most student research projects and theses will relate to geologic and geographic topics, however studies of related topics in earth science are welcome. Students completing the program are qualified to pursue careers that require knowledge of the basics of Earth systems science and the requisite tools, specifically pertaining to the area of Earth science that they choose to investigate.

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  • Earth Systems and GeoInformation Sciences, PhD

    The Earth Systems and Geoinformation Sciences, PhD (ESGS) is based on the integration of the scientific disciplines in geosystems, geography, geosciences, and geoinformatics. Students receive broad-based training in systematic geosciences and geography, as well as technical courses in computation and geoinformation sciences. The ESGS doctoral program represents a gateway to an academic career for some students; for others, it facilitates career advancement in the public sector or private industry.Graduates of the program will be qualified as lead scientists in a wide range of activities involving geoinformatics, geosciences, geography, geographic information systems,geospatial intelligence and remote sensing. The continual expansion of the NASA Earth observation satellite constellation, development of the geospatial data infrastructure at USGS, USGIF and other federal agencies, and the need to analyze Earth-oriented data to achieve environmental and economic objectives will ensure an on-going need for qualified scientists in these fields.

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  • Electrical Engineering, BS

    Electrical engineers design and build the equipment that most of us take for granted—computers, cell phones, televisions, rockets, satellites, communications and computer networks, mobile radios, environmental control systems, robots, weapons, and cars, to name a few. Electrical engineering is the foundation on which computer engineering and computer science rest. Students in this program learn the fundamentals of electrical engineering and then choose a focus in one of the major fields of electronics—communications, networks and signal processing, computer engineering, or controls and robots.

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  • Electrical Engineering, MS

    The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering offers an MS in Electrical Engineering with specializations in: bioengineering, communications and networking, signal processing, control and robotics, microelectronics/nanoelectronics, and system architectures. The program is committed to high standards of teaching and research excellence in communications, digital systems design, computer networks, microprocessor and embedded systems, distributed computing, signal and image processing, control systems, robotics, intelligent systems, systems integration and microelectronics. Graduate students are offered a progressive environment with ample opportunities for the type of advanced research needed to confront the complex realities of the 21st century.

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  • Energy and Sustainability, Concentration in the MAIS

    The study of sustainability incorporates environmental science, engineering, economics, business and public policy. Energy is a crucial component. Students can pursue a structured interdisciplinary concentration or design an individualized concentration to meet the needs of their chosen careers.

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  • Entrepreneurship Studies, Minor

    In addition to business creation for profit, entrepreneurship can also involve social change. Social entrepreneurs can be change agents who improve systems, invent and disseminate new approaches, and advance sustainable solutions with the ultimate goal being the creation of social value and long-term transformation.

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  • Environmental Economics, Concentration in the Environmental and Sustainability Studies BA

    This degree’s requirements include courses in Contemporary Macroeconomic Principles and the Economics of Environmental Policy. Students prepare for their future careers through internships, career-focused minors and other college-to-career activities.

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  • Environmental Engineering, Minor

    This minor prepares students for employment in environmental engineering and subsequent graduate studies in water and environmental engineering at Mason or elsewhere. Classes include the Fundamentals of Renewable Energy and Global Environmental Hazards.

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  • Environmental GIS and Biodiversity Conservation, Graduate Certificate

    This certificate is offered by the College of Science’s Department of Geography and Geoinformation Science in cooperation with the School of Business. Professionals working on large-scale GIS projects often find it only natural to couple management and marketing topics with geography. This certificate accommodates students who are pursuing a degree in the Department of Geography and Geoinformation Science who also wish to acquire more knowledge on how to manage people and organizations dealing with GIS in a global economy. By understanding marketing terms, financial matters, and also having a good understanding of how to manage people, students will be well prepared to face challenges in multidisciplinary GIS-oriented environments.

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  • Environmental Policy and Politics, Concentration in the Environmental and Sustainability Studies BA

    Classes for this degree include the Economics of Environmental Policy and the Introduction to International Politics. Students prepare for their future careers through internships, career-focused minors and other college-to-career activities.

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  • Environmental Policy, Minor

    This minor offered by the Department of Environmental Science and Policy in the College of Science includes classes in introduction to environmental policy and applied ecology. It is a Green Leaf program, which focuses on learning about sustainability.

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  • Environmental Science and Policy, Accelerated MS

    This degree option allows highly qualified George Mason University students to earn an Environmental Science and Policy, MS in less time than if they had first graduated with an environmentally-focused Green Leaf -designated BA or BS degree, then applied to the MS program sequentially. This program of study is offered by the Department of Environmental Science and Policy in the College of Science.

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  • Environmental Science and Policy, MS

    The master's program in Environmental Science and Policy meets the increasing need for trained environmental professionals who can address the problems of land and water management, land use and urbanization, wetland loss, microbial ecology, bioremediation, conservation biology, and ecosystem preservation. These professionals will also contribute to the analysis and resolution of global problems, such as deforestation, insufficient world food supplies, acid deposition, population growth and public health, global climate change/warming, and depletion of the stratospheric ozone. Areas of specific departmental focus include ecosystems, conservation, environmental biocomplexity, molecular ecology, sustainability science, environmental policy and management and human/environmental interactions. The program has been designated a Green Leaf program.

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  • Environmental Science and Public Policy, PhD

    The doctoral program in Environmental Science and Public Policy is inter-disciplinary. It draws on faculty and expertise from the Environmental Science and Policy departmental core faculty, as well as faculty from across the university. Both the master’s and doctoral programs meet the increasing need for trained environmental professionals who can address the problems of land and water management, land use and urbanization, wetland loss, microbial ecology, bioremediation, conservation biology, and ecosystem preservation. Graduates will have developed knowledge and skills in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of scientific data, as well as in the integration of scientific understanding into the public policy process. Areas of specific departmental focus include ecosystems, conservation, environmental biocomplexity, molecular ecology, sustainability science, environmental policy and management, and human/environmental interactions. The program has been designated a Green Leaf program.

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  • Environmental Science, BS, Minor

    The BS in Environmental Science provides students with rigorous training in the science of the environment, and gives them the ability to use key scientific principles to analyze problems and develop practical solutions. The program covers the fundamental techniques of environmental science and engineering, protection and improvement of environmental quality, environmental policy, risk assessment and risk management, and public and private decision-making processes. Graduates are prepared for careers in a variety of environmental science fields, and are also qualified to pursue advanced scientific/professional studies.

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  • Environmental and Sustainability Studies, BA

    Mason’s interdisciplinary environmental and sustainability studies degree program combines the study of human behavior and environmental science. With an emphasis on social and environmental justice, the program looks at the impact of sustainability programs on the global environment and human communities. To bring these studies home, you will participate in experiential learning through internships, field studies, service learning or study abroad. Students can earn a degree with a concentrations in Business and Sustainability, Climate Change and Society, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy and Politics, or Equity and Environmental Justice.

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  • Equity and Environmental Justice, Concentration in the Environmental and Sustainability Studies BA

    Classes for this degree include Poverty, Wealth and Inequality in the U.S., as well as the Human Dimensions of Global Climate Change. Students prepare for their future careers through internships, career-focused minors and other college-to-career activities.

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  • GeoManagement, Undergraduate Certificate

    This certificate is offered by the College of Science’s Department of Geography and Geoinformation Science in cooperation with the School of Business. Professionals working on large-scale GIS projects often find it natural to couple management and marketing topics with geography. This certificate accommodates students who are pursuing a degree in the Department of Geography and Geoinformation Science who also wish to acquire more knowledge on how to manage people and organizations dealing with GIS in a global economy. By understanding marketing terms, financial matters, and also having a good understanding of how to manage people, students will be well prepared to face challenges in multidisciplinary GIS-oriented environments.

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  • Geographic Information System Science, Graduate Certificate

    The certification is designed to help students pursue careers in the rapidly expanding field of geographic and mapping sciences. Graduates are qualified to fill federal, state, and local government positions, as well as those in business and industry, especially companies that provide government contractors.

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  • Geographic and Cartographic Sciences, MS

    The Master of Science Program in Geographic and Cartographic Sciences is one of the top programs in the nation. The program focuses on techniques of compilation, display, and analysis of spatial data. The objective is to produce geographers with a solid understanding of the techniques of spatial data analysis and the ability to apply those techniques to a variety of issues. Program graduates are qualified to pursue careers in government and industry, or to proceed with doctoral-level studies.

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  • Geoinformatics and Geospatial Intelligence, MS

    This new MS program addresses the emerging demand for scientists trained in the collection, organization, analysis, and dissemination of information about physical features, man-made structures, moving objects, people, and events that are geo-referenced or geo-located. Focusing primarily on the computational approaches that support the synthesis and analysis of diverse types of data, we can identify and monitor complex events and phenomena that manifest themselves over space and time. While geospatial intelligence has a strong Department of Defense connotation, it also addresses the needs of a broader audience, ranging from intelligent navigation in urban spaces to emergency response systems for natural and man-made disasters.

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  • Geology, BA, Minor

    Geology is the scientific study of the solid earth, earth processes, and how earth has changed through time. Geologists do research to develop new principles to help our understanding of the earth. These principles can often be applied to land use planning, the discovery of mineral, energy or water resources and to environmental studies.

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  • Geotechnical, Construction, and Structural Engineering, MEng

    The Master of Engineering (MEng) program in combined Geotechnical, Construction, and Structural Engineering (GeoConStruct) was designed in collaboration with leading engineers in practice to develop a course of study that recognizes that geotechnical engineering, construction engineering, and structural engineering are practiced together and should be taught together in an integrated manner. Its purpose is to educate engineers for practice, for excellence in design and execution now, laying the groundwork for practice demands 25 years from now. It is a program that balances theory and practice, building on the foundation of an undergraduate degree in civil engineering.

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  • Interdisciplinary Studies (Concentration in Energy and Sustainability), Accelerated MAIS

    Highly qualified Mason undergraduates in any major may apply to the accelerated master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in energy and sustainability. If accepted, and depending on their undergraduate major, students will be able to earn a bachelor's in their chosen major, in addition to this master's degree. Then they can pursue a career in legislative or regulatory affairs, public relations in energy-related government agencies and nongovernmental organizations, public utilities, regulatory bodies and energy trade organizations, among others.

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  • Ocean and Estuarine Science, Minor

    This minor studies the relationship between oceans and estuaries, the partially enclosed bodies of water along coastlines where fresh and salt water mix. It may supplement degrees related to atmospheric, oceanic and earth sciences.

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  • Real Estate Development, MS

    The MS in Real Estate Development is designed to provide real estate professionals with the knowledge essential to assume increasingly responsible leadership roles within the development industry. Areas of emphasis include real estate finance, investment analysis, project management, sustainability and economic development. The multi-disciplinary curriculum, created in consultation with leading real estate development companies, incorporates coursework from the domains of business, engineering and public policy. It has been designed to strengthen the employment potential and upward mobility of industry professionals working in the areas of development, architecture, engineering, public planning, construction management, real estate finance, mortgage lending, property management, real estate law and related fields.

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  • Remote Sensing and Earth Image Processing, Graduate Certificate

    The Remote Sensing and Earth Image Processing graduate certificate (RSEIP) emphasizes advanced remote sensing and Earth-observing, building in students the skills needed to take advantage of the enormous increase in the availability and use of remotely sensed data related to the Earth. Ideal candidates for this certificate are students with a background in Earth and environmental sciences and are working in or planning to enter into the field of remote sensing, Earth observing, or image processing. Core coursework consists of remote sensing, earth images processing, and hyperspectral imaging systems, while electives include photogrammetry, earth science data analysis, and physical principles of remote sensing. Completion of the certificate will enhance graduates’ remote sensing careers and/or additional graduate work.

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  • Renewable Energy, Minor

    The minor in Renewable Energy focuses on the study of a variety of methods of energy generation such as solar, wind, hydro, tidal, and geothermal, as well as energy storage methods and energy conservation. Coursework includes fundamentals, materials science, analytic geometry, calculus, physics, and chemistry. The minor is a valuable asset for students interested in working in the field of renewable energy, or as preparation for graduate work in a wide range of academic disciplines. While projections suggest that employment opportunities in the renewable energy field will increase dramatically in the near future, current related jobs currently exist in a wide range of areas including engineering, business, marketing, finance, installation, software, legal affairs, and research.

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  • Social Innovation and Enterprise, Concentration in the Integrative Studies BA

    Mason’s BA in Social Innovation and Enterprise addresses the social and environmental problems facing our society with an eye toward feasible and transformative solutions. Students gain the perspectives and skills needed to start, build, transform, and/or fund the organizations that will implement these solutions. All students have opportunities to conduct independent research, engage in globally-related activities through coursework and language study at Mason and abroad, participate in many forms of public service, and prepare for their future careers through internships, career-focused minors and other college-to-career activities. Graduates of this program will be well prepared to work both within existing institutions and in creative development of new initiatives to make crucial and fundamental changes in improving social and environmental conditions.

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  • Sustainability Studies, Minor

    With this minor, students can explore sustainability’s core principle: the desire to meet the basic material needs of the current generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. You will consider the balancing of environmental integrity, social equity and economic stability, while acknowledging contributions from a wide range of disciplines.

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  • Sustainable Enterprise, Minor

    Sustainable enterprises are businesses that are financially prosperous and seek to benefit the environment and society. This minor is offered by the Department of Environmental Science and Policy in the College of Science.

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