Sustainability Science track

In collaboration with the Hawaiʻi Natural Energy Institute

Sustainability Science probes interactions between global, social, and human systems, the complex mechanisms that lead to degradation of these systems, and concomitant risks to human well-being. As Sustainability science has emerged in the 21st century as a new academic discipline. It brings together scholarship and practice, global and local perspectives, and disciplines across the natural and social sciences, engineering, and medicine — facilitating the design, implementation, and evaluation of practical interventions that promote sustainability in particular places and contexts. Because the definition of sustainability is elusive, a debate has emerged as to whether it is a stand-alone discipline or a concept to be introduced into traditional disciplines. The Global Environmental Science Sustainability Science track takes the latter view. As such, the courses offered in this track are designed to provide a “tool box” or set of quantitative skills that enable the environmental scientist to execute sustainability analyses and to implement sustainable systems within their field. The Sustainability Science track graduate is prepared for opportunities in all fields that would hire environmental scientists and to be especially competitive for those opportunities that target the design, analysis, implementation, maintenance, and/or monitoring of processes or systems that target increased sustainability.

This track requires four Coupled Systems courses (each course is three credits; all courses must be upper division (300-level or greater).

  • OCN 441 Principles of Sustainability Analysis
  • OCN 442 Principles of Environmental Management Systems
  • Any two approved upper division (300-level or greater) SUST course — course approval required by the GES chair; see list of Coupled Systems courses
    • e.g. OCN 321 Applied Principles of Environmental & Energy Policy (cross-listed SUST 323, PPC 340)
    • e.g. any SUST course on the list of Coupled Systems courses noted with *Sustainability Science Track


Students interested in the Sustainability Science track should seek advising from GES and/or the Track Coordinator, Dr. Michael Cooney (HNEI faculty).