Sustainability in academics

Whether you dream of uncovering the next renewable energy innovation, educating future generations or becoming a top news anchor, sustainability is woven into the fabric of our diverse academic experiences. Studies in environmental sustainability are among the fastest growing programs at MSU, and are continually improved to integrate curriculum that is applicable to careers in the field.



As issues such as climate change, water security, food supply and energy demand continue to shape the global landscape, MSU is cultivating students who champion sustainability in all industries, regardless of their career field. Through the university’s required Integrative Studies program, students have the opportunity to take courses that address common sustainability themes and provide knowledge about our integrated social, economic and environmental systems.


For students who have a deep passion or career aspirations for sustainability, there are numerous colleges, programs and majors that cultivate knowledge and practical skills in fields of environmental stewardship, social justice, sustainable business and more.

  • Department of Community Sustainability
    An interdisciplinary department within the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Community Sustainability programs address contemporary issues of sustainability in agriculture, recreation, natural resources and the environment. Learn more.
  • Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment (RISE)
    The RISE program is an interdisciplinary living-learning program focused on sustainability and environmental stewardship. Supported by seven colleges, RISE allows first-year students at MSU to engage in environmental-related undergraduate research, hands-on projects and co-curricular initiatives that explore sustainable practices. Learn more. 
  • Environmental Engineering
    The Environmental Engineering program provides graduates with the engineering and scientific principles to analyze, design and manage environmental systems, including water supplies, wastewater treatment facilities, air pollution control systems, surface and groundwater resources, and landfills. Learn more.
  • College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
    MSU's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources offers a diverse number of programs that focus on using the principles of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, business and creative design to tackle the world's leading problems related to food, energy and the environment. Learn more.
  • College of Natural Science
    Home to 5,000 undergraduate students, MSU's College of Natural Science provides education and career opportunities through 28 departments and programs in the biological, physical and mathematical sciences. Learn more.
  • Knight Center for Environmental Journalism
    The Knight Center for Environmental Journalism teaches student and professional journalists how to better report and explain complex environmental issues, while maintaining traditional values of fairness and accuracy. Learn more.
  • Department of Forestry

    The Department of Forestry at MSU allows students to explore their role in sustaining forests and the ecosystem services they provide. The department offers a number of specific areas of study such as the Global Observatory for Ecosystem Services and the Forest Carbon and Climate program. Learn more.

  • Environmental Science and Policy Program
    The Environmental Science and Policy Program is the umbrella organization for interdisciplinary studies relating to the environment at Michigan State University. Fostering connections between social and natural sciences, ESPP offers a doctoral program, numerous research supports, events and networking activities to create an interdisciplinary community of scholars. Learn more.


For students who want to integrate sustainability into their chosen program of study, whether environmentally-related or not, MSU offers a minor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies, including myriad courses across colleges. The minor can be tailored to a range of disciplines and is easily malleable to suit your career interests. Learn more.