Sustainability at the University of Maryland

Sustainability-Related Academic Courses

The following are University of Maryland undergraduate courses related to environmental sustainability. The purpose of this resource is to give you an idea of the many ways you can study environmental issues through different disciplines.

This list might also help undergraduate students find electives or majors related to sustainability. Although this list is extensive, it does not include special topics courses.


New Courses Currently Offered During This Semester


ANTH468O -- Special Topics in Cultural Anthropology: Researching Environment and Culture; (3 credits) Grade Method: REG/P-F/AUD.

0101(02322) L. Shaffer (Seats=18, Open=11, Waitlist=0)Books

TuTh...... 2:00pm- 3:15pm (WDS 0124C)

How do humans shape their surrounding environment? How does the environment shape human communities and culture? In this applied and project-oriented course, students use mixed methods to research a locally-based, environmental sustainability issue. Classroom time will be split between seminar discussions of theory, anthropological methods, and relevant case studies, and ‘lab’ work focused on project development, data analysis, and report write up. Students are expected to spend additional time outside class on data collection, analysis, writing, and a public exhibit at Maryland Day. In Spring 2013, the course project will focus on carbon footprints and UMD commuter behavior. 

Click here for the syllabus.


ENST436 Emerging Environmental Threats; (3 credits) Grade Method: REG/P-F/AUD.
Prerequisite: ENST233 or permission of AGNR-Environmental Science & Technology department.

 0101(35842) P. Leisnham (Seats=35, Open=14, Waitlist=0)Books

MWF.......12:00pm-12:50pm (ANS 0412)

Examine new and potential environmental concerns in the air, water, soil, space, and the built environment. Emphasis on studying the intrinsic links between ecosystem and human health. Topics will include climate change, resource consumption, biodiversity change, infectious disease, non-traditional pollutants, and other complex and significant environmental concerns.

 Note: ENSP students are encouraged to register for this course.  E-mail the professor ( and copy Ms. Kimberly Monahan ( so that if he grants permission, Ms. Monahan can give you the electronic stamp.

Click here for the syllabus.


GEOG498B Topical Investigations: Social Ecological Systems; (3 credits) Grade Method: REG/P-F/AUD

0101(71732) K. Hubacek and C. Prell (Seats=60, Open=49, Waitlist=0)Books

TuTh......12:30pm- 1:45pm (ASY 1213)

 A social-ecological system consists of a given ecosystem, delimited by either spatial or functional boundaries, and the social actors and institutions associated with this system. As such, a social-ecological system is perceived as being highly complex, where humans can affect the ecosystem and vice versa. In this course, we place emphasis on the human/social aspects of these complex systems, dipping into literature from sociology, geographical sciences, ecological economics, common property research, political ecology, and other related fields to deepen students’ understandings of what is a social-ecological system, what are the vulnerabilities of such systems, and what are the social, political, and economic implications for sustaining such systems? The course will extensively use current environmental issues in the media and your own life and will provide theoretical and practical approaches dealing with them. This is a co-taught course, cross-listed in sociology and geography and open to students from all over campus.

Click here for the syllabus.


LARC461 People and the Environment; (3 credits) Grade Method: REG.
Repeatable to 3 credits if content differs. Credit only granted for: LARC489K or LARC461. Formerly: LARC489K.

 0101(50318) B. Kweon (Seats=20, Open=6, Waitlist=0)Books

M.........10:00am-12:50pm (PLS 1172)

Focuses is placed on human and environmental interactions. Students will look at both natural and built environments and how they influence human health and well-being. Many environmental settings will be examined. These include hospitals, public housing neighborhoods, school settings, retirement communities, transportation corridors and green spaces. We will also explore how racial and socio-economic factors affect living and working environmental conditions. Ultimately, students will be using this knowledge to create environments that support individuals, families and various community groups' health and well-being.


LARC489F Special Topics in Landscape Architecture: Garden for Cornerstone; (3 credits) Grade Method: REG/P-F/AUD.

0101(50329) J. Sullivan (Seats=20, Open=20, Waitlist=0)Books

W......... 4:00pm- 6:30pm (PLS 1111)

A service-learning course that will explore the relationships between students and a community of men who are surviving the effects of the HIV virus through sustained medical treatment and reliable community support. Formerly homeless and once considered lost to the ravages of AIDS, these men share a home and a mutual ambition for an improved quality of life. The planning and making of a new garden (where none presently exists) will offer these residents a chance to explore their new future. Both students and residents will gain a heightened awareness of their environment through the change of seasons and weather conditions, and new connections to the cosmic and terrestrial influences in our lives. Periodic field trips will introduce students to the site along with examples of other healing gardens.


Also, check out other great courses offered here at the University of Maryland.

I-Series courses

Scholarship in Practice courses


Always check the schedule of classes for current course offerings.


Courses Revised to Include Sustainability

Beginning in 2009, select University of Maryland faculty participated in a two-day workshop, called the Chesapeake Project, to find unique ways of connecting their content -- from Architecture to Theatre -- to sustainability. For a list of courses that have been revised to include sustainability, click here.