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Environment, Economy, Development and Sustainability

Degree: BS

Campus: Columbus

School: Environment and Natural Resources

The environment, economy, development and sustainability (EEDS) major is a multi-disciplinary major that focuses on the economic, business and social dimensions of sustainability. This cutting-edge major provides the core knowledge and skills students need to launch a career in sustainability in the private, public or non-profit sectors.

Admitted students can directly enroll as majors in EEDS within the School of Environment and Natural Resources. A student’s first year includes several foundational courses in environment and natural resources and general education requirements such as mathematics, chemistry, biology, the humanities, etc.

All EEDS students take an integrated set of course work in environmental economics, business management, environmental sociology, community and international development, ecological engineering and environmental sciences. Students build on this foundation by choosing to specialize in one of four areas:

  1. Sustainability and business: Study how and why businesses are moving to a sustainability management approach and learn the tools needed to assess, manage and lead sustainability in a business context.
  2. Environmental economics and policy analysis: Study how to measure and enhance the benefits of ecosystem services and learn how to design and evaluate policies that address environmental problems by accounting for the natural science and social dimensions of economic activity.
  3. Community development: Study the theories and processes of community planning, local economies and social change. Learn the skills needed to implement positive social, economic and environmental change while taking a holistic community approach and encouraging citizen engagement.
  4. International development: Study the theory and practice of sustainable development in an international setting and learn how to reduce long-term poverty by developing approaches that promote improved, secure and sustainable livelihood strategies for those whose basic survival depends directly on the natural environment.

All EEDS students take a project-based capstone course in which they develop and pitch their own sustainability project and receive feedback from outside experts in the field. 

EEDS students can also study abroad to explore the connections between humans and the natural environment in different parts of the world. EEDS students may be especially interested in Sustaining Human Societies and the Natural Environment—a study abroad opportunity in Queensland, Australia. 

The college works with businesses, non-profit organizations, institutions and public agencies to establish a variety of internship opportunities. Students can tailor an internship that complements their particular passion for sustainability, provides the work experience they want on their resume and starts to build their professional networks. By working with SENR Career Services, students can find local, national and international internships related to their career goals. 

The Environment and Natural Resources Honors program challenges high-ability students by providing a program in greater breadth and depth and provides special recognition and scholarships for outstanding scholastic achievement. Freshmen with University Honors standing may be accepted directly as a candidate for the Environment and Natural Resources Honors program.

Environment and Natural Resources Scholars share an interest and passion for the environment and being outdoors. Students participate in various environmentally based service learning projects, educational trips, and seminars and workshops with leading environmental researchers. The Scholars live together in Morrill Tower.

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Students interested in pursuing research can engage in the generation of new knowledge and understanding alongside world-class faculty and complete requirements to graduate with research distinction.

Students present their research at the college’s Undergrad Research Forum to prepare for the university-wide Denman Undergraduate Research Forum.

EEDS students have opportunities to go on local field trips and hear from outside speakers who are engaged in sustainability in their own company or organization.

Students have the opportunity to join the SUSTAINS Learning Community, which fosters connections among students who are interested in becoming sustainable leaders. Students will learn how sustainability influences their own and other’s lives and how their actions impact society.

The Ohio State University campus offers many opportunities for students to engage in sustainability outside the classroom, including campus-based sustainability initiatives such as the Zero Waste Stadium initiative and the Fisher College of Business’ Net Impact Sustainability Certificate Program.

Sustainability is a rapidly growing area that requires knowledge and skills that have both depth and breadth. Focusing on the economic, business and social dimensions of sustainability, EEDS gives students that have a passion and a purpose the tools they need to become agents of change.

Below are examples of sustainability-related jobs:

  • Purchasing and materials manager
  • International project manager
  • Cooperative enterprise manager
  • Community organizer
  • Environmental conservation economist
  • Regional planner
  • Peace Corps volunteer
  • Environmental policy analyst 
  • Supply chain analyst
  • Sustainability coordinator
  • Energy economist
  • Energy efficiency program manager
  • Capacity development expert