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Consensus Study Report


Over the past decade there has been a growing interest in sustainability education in colleges and universities across the United States, with a marked increase in the number of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, research institutes, and centers focused on sustainability. Evidence-based core competencies for interdisciplinary sustainability programs can provide suitable guidance for curricular and program development, research, policy, communication, and pedagogical approaches at academic institutions. They can also serve as a guide for students to select academic programs and potential career options, a reference for employers to understand qualifications of graduates, and the foundation for a potential specialized accreditation for interdisciplinary sustainability programs. The growing demand for well-qualified sustainability professionals within the public, private, and nonprofit sectors also points to the value of developing core competencies.

Strengthening Sustainability Programs and Curricula at the Undergraduate and Graduate Levels provides expert insights for strengthening the emerging discipline of sustainability in higher education in the United States. This report describes the local, national, and global landscape related to sustainability education; examines the history and current status of sustainability education programs in the United States and globally; discusses employment prospects for sustainability graduates in terms of the opportunities and the skills that employers seek; and addresses diversity, equity, and inclusion in sustainability-related education and employment.


Suggested Citation

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Strengthening Sustainability Programs and Curricula at the Undergraduate and Graduate Levels. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

156 pages |  6 x 9 | 

  • Paperback:  978-0-309-67839-1
  • Ebook:  978-0-309-67842-1

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