Across-the-Board Academic Engagement

Whatever your major at UMass Lowell, you'll be exposed to the concept of sustainability through our core curriculum and the myriad of experiential learning opportunities available at the university and with our many industry and community partners.

Through UMass Lowell’s robust Core Curriculum requirements all of UMass Lowell’s undergraduate students graduate from the institution with required sustainability learning outcomes (see UMass Lowell's STARS report for more detail).

Through the Essential Learning Outcomes (ELOs) students practice seven key intellectual skills- the Core ELOs - in ways that are tailored and relevant for their major. These ELOs provide students with the knowledge and skills that address the interdependence of ecological systems and social/economic systems. Undergraduate students explore the interdependence through required courses that debate how the ecological and social/economic systems interact and in individually-tailored, sustainability-focused experiential opportunities.

We have major options at the undergraduate and graduate level that will give you a unique, interdisciplinary, hands-on approach to sustainability.

  • Developing and implementing effective solutions to environmental problems is a fundamentally political process. 

    The Political Science: Sustainability and Environmental Politics Concentration gives students an indispensable perspective on interactions between human societies and the natural environment. Students that major in Political Science and choose this Concentration engage with topics ranging from global environmental policy, comparative environmental politics across nations, obstacles to climate action, political communication, ethics and justice in environmental politics, and efforts to protect and restore biodiversity. Through their coursework and experiential learning, students will develop a nuanced understanding of the successes and constraints of policy, and will have the opportunity to develop their own solutions to the environmental challenges confronting us.

    The Biology: Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Option emphasizes organismal diversity, ecology, and evolution in courses with outdoor field experiences and hands-on lab courses. The EEOB Option is suited for students interested in professional or academic careers in conservation biology, veterinary medicine, environmental biotechnology, or graduate studies in ecology or evolutionary biology.

    The Environmental Science major (Bachelor of Science) has two options: Environmental Science and Geoscience. The Environmental Science option is for students focused on addressing human impacts on the environment and major environmental challenges including climate change, pollution, and sustainability. The Geoscience option is for students interested in the geologic environment including mineral resources, geochemistry, and paleoclimatology. Both Environmental Science and Geoscience options also provide training in hydrogeology, soil science, biogeochemistry, and geographic information systems (GIS).

    The Environmental Science: Sustainability Option (Bachelor of Arts) will help students build a strong foundation in environmental and sustainability science and the policy know-how to translate science into action. Courses cover natural and political sciences, economics, public health, and legal studies, equipping you for careers in environmental policy, governance, social equity, environmental sustainability, and climate change mitigation and resilience.

    The Liberal Arts: Environment and Society Concentration is an interdisciplinary concentration that provides students with the analytical and communication skills, as well as the scientific foundation needed to work in areas such as environmental planning, environmental policy, environmental philosophy, sustainable development, environmental education or social theory and the environment.

    The Meteorology & Atmospheric Science major is for students interested in meteorology, weather forecasting, climatology and air pollution, and fulfills the education requirements for federally employed meteorologists.

  • Environment and Society (E&S) is an interdisciplinary minor under the direction of the UMass Lowell Climate Change Initiative that provides students with analytical and communication skills, as well as the scientific knowledge needed to succeed in environmental policy, sustainable development, environmental education, environmental advocacy, and related fields.
    Climate Change and Sustainability is an interdisciplinary minor, under the direction of the UMass Lowell Climate Change Initiative and housed in the Environmental, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department. A student enrolled in this minor will gain an understanding of the basic science behind climate change as well as the social and economic consequences of climate change.
    Peace and Conflict Studies provides students with an interdisciplinary knowledge of key issues, research, and theories in the important and emerging field of Peace and Conflict Studies. It is offered by the College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
    The knowledge to be gained from an Energy Engineering minor can drastically affect the future world, especially since it will be a future that will need to rely on more sustainable sources of energy. it is offered through the Francis College of Engineering.

    Students can chose to minor in Sociology through the College of Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. A minor in Sociology prepares students to strengthen citizenship and communities through a rigorous, scientific understanding of society. Students will be equipped to contribute to social justice and community building, which is an essential aspect of everyday life.

    The Race and Ethnic Studies minor provides students to with an interdisciplinary knowledge of race and ethnicity as evolving social constructions shaped by many factors, including labor, politics, religion, nationality, sexuality, gender and culture. It is offered through the College of Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

    Additionally, please check out these individual courses if you would like to choose your own learning pathway in sustainability!

  • The Energy Engineering program offers both Master's and Doctoral degrees, as well as a Graduate Certificate, in Energy Engineering. The Energy Engineering Program began over twenty-five years ago with a focus on solar energy, but over time has expanded to encompass several renewable energy technologies, including wind turbines, fuel cells and green combustion.
    The Environmental Studies master’s program at UMass Lowell provides students with a comprehensive education that includes policy, engineering and science. Customize your degree with a concentration in atmospheric science or geoscience. Students interested in weather forecasting, atmospheric pollution, wind energy and related topics should consider the atmospheric science option. Students interested in the geo- and environmental sciences should consider environmental geoscience. Numerous opportunities for experiential learning in the field are available.
    Marine Science and Technology - Students graduating with a MS or Ph.D. degree from the School of Marine Science receive a joint degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth and Lowell. The degree programs are fundamentally grounded in a broad, integrated, interdisciplinary approach to the study of marine science. Students located at the four participating campuses are required to complete core courses in the areas of biological, physical, and chemical oceanography, as well as a course in policy/management to equip them for interdisciplinary studies and research before focusing upon an area of concentration.
    The Chemistry, Environmental Studies Option & Green Chemistry Options provide opportunity for advanced study and research training in chemistry, both general and specialized. Provision is made for the student to elect certain advanced subjects in related fields of mathematics, physics and engineering that address a wide array of topics related and focused on sustainability and environmental topics.
    The Physics, Atmospheric Sciences Option & Energy Engineering Options focus on sustainability, energy and climate change.
    The Sustainable Water Innovations in Materials – Mentoring, Education, & Research (SWIMMER) is a National Science Foundation Research Traineeship program at UMass Lowell that aims to train talented graduate students from multiple disciplines to transform the lifecycle of materials and their interaction with water ecosystems. Water resources are in a state of crisis both in the U.S. and globally, requiring multi-faceted solutions. Trainees will engage in technical and professional development to become skilled to address material and water challenges requiring technological innovation, understanding of socio-economic and political implications, and responsiveness to societal needs for environmental justice and inclusive decision-making.