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Academics

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Academics

As an institution, we acknowledge our unique responsibility to train and educate the people who develop social, economic and technological solutions to environmental problems.  The University of Oklahoma offers a number of sustainability-related degree opportunities that are open for all students to pursue. 

The department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability  within the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences introduced Environmental Sustainability degree opportunities during the 2010-2011 academic year.  Within the department, students can now pursue the following degree opportunities:

  • Minor in Environmental Sustainability
  • Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sustainability
  • Master of Science in Environmental Sustainability

Environmental Sustainability studies how human societies can meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Achieving this goal requires balancing short- and long-term needs related to jobs and economic growth, societal well-being, and environmental health. 

Climate change, habitat destruction, pollution and the overuse of natural resources have contributed to a human environment that may no longer be sustainable Only by using modern scientific methods and by integrating scientific research with an understanding of the global economy and governmental institutions can we expect to understand and manage a natural environment that will be sustainable, supporting and enhancing the quality of life for generations to come. Skilled professionals educated in the principles of environmental sustainability are essential to the effective management of the natural environment.  These professionals will be qualified for numerous sustainability-related positions in government, the private sector, the non-profit sector, and education. Persons with degrees in environmental sustainability are positioned very well to achieve important leadership positions, setting agendas for long-run sustainability at the local, regional, national, and global levels. 

The Department of Geography and Sustainability is housed on the fourth, fifth and sixth floor of the Sarkeys Energy Center. The front office can be found in room 510.   

In the Civil Engineering and Environmental Science department of the Gallogly College of Engineering, students can pursue degree opportunities in the following:

  • Minor in Environmental Science
  • Minor in WaTER
  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science
  • Master of Science in Environmental Science
  • Doctorate in Environmental Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering
  • Master of Science in Environmental Engineering
  • Doctorate in Environmental Engineering

Environmental engineers use the principles of physics, biology and chemistry to develop methods to meet environmental challenges such as water and wastewater treatment, air pollution control, solid and hazardous waste management, waste recycling, and water resources management. Environmental engineers understand and protect us from environmental hazards, and learn to build solid structures without polluting the environment. OU Students have the opportunity specialize in water and wastewater engineering, solid and hazardous wastes engineering or hydrology/water resources with their environmental engineering degree.

Environmental scientists take on the vital role of preservation, conservation and restoration of the environment. OU's environmental science program is designed to produce well-prepared professionals familiar with the intricacies of collecting and analyzing air, water and soil samples; monitoring compliance with environmental laws and regulations; assisting industries in environmental compliance and development of sustainable cost effective technologies; and addressing public audiences on local, regional and global environmental challenges.

The School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science office is located in Carson Engineering (Room 334).

In the College of Arts and Sciences, the Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Environment Program recently transitioned to the Environmental Studies program. The Environmental Studies program is a collaborative teaching and research program with a student-guided curriculum designed to create a workforce with the skills needed to help meet global challenges relating to water security and other pressing environmental issues, such as pollution, climate change, and deforestation.

In the program, students can pursue degree opportunities in the following:

  • Minor in Water Sciences
  • Minor in Biological Conservation
  • Minor in Environmental Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies

The Environmental Studies Program office is located in Sutton Hall (Room 303).

Outside of these degree opportunities, a number of departments across campus are offering courses which highlight climate and sustainability concerns.  Such departments include: Architecture, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Construction Science, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Economics, International and Areas Studies, Meteorology, Microbiology and Plant Biology, Sociology, and more.