Interdisciplinary Minor in Sustainability:
Choose from over 73 courses from faculties across campus to gain a truly interdisciplinary perspective of sustainability. Learn more by reviewing the Course List (right) and Requirements (below) for more information.
The following courses have been newly added to the Minor Course List: ART 3DP3 (dean’s permission, 2019/2020), CHEM 3I03, CHEM 2SC3 (dean’s permission, 2019/2020), CHEMENG 4A03, SCIENCE/SCICOMM 2M03, SUSTAIN 3SS3.
Starting in the 2019/2020 academic year, the following courses will be removed from the Minor Course List and will no longer be able to be used towards an Interdisciplinary Minor in Sustainability. Students who have taken the course in 2018/2019 or before, can still count them towards their Minor in Sustainability: ANTHROP 2EO3, BIOLOGY 2F03, PHILOS 2B03
Addressing sustainability in our society poses interdisciplinary challenges that require interdisciplinary solutions. McMaster created the Interdisciplinary Minor in Sustainability with the goal to develop student’s interdisciplinary knowledge and understanding of sustainability. In selecting our course list we have adopted AASHE’s definitions below:
Sustainability-focused courses concentrate on the concept of sustainability, including its social, economic, and environmental dimensions, or examine an issue or topic using sustainability as a lens.
Sustainability-related courses incorporate sustainability as a distinct course component or module or concentrate on a single sustainability principle or issue.¹
To achieve this goal (see above), the Minor provides a path for students to study diverse aspects of sustainability by taking courses from different faculties and integrating them into a cohesive whole. The specific objectives of the Minor are as follows:
- Promote engagement among students, faculty, and staff across the University, facilitating interdisciplinary learning.
- Offer a wide selection of courses to enable students to choose the sustainability emphasis that is right for them and to pursue courses that will further their individual learning objectives.
- Provide opportunities to meaningfully engage with communities both within and outside of McMaster.
- Encourage opportunities for student experiential learning about sustainability.
Through the development and implementation of McMaster’s Interdisciplinary Minor in Sustainability, students are now able to choose from over 73 courses from faculties across campus to gain a truly interdisciplinary perspective of sustainability as well as tailor a minor that compliments their major. In five years of operation, 115 students have declared an Interdisciplinary Minor in Sustainability.
The Minor would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of the past and current members of the Interdisciplinary Minor in Sustainability Committee; the Arts & Science Program for providing an administrative home for the Minor; the faculty members who have opened up their courses for inclusion and helped communicate the Minor; the staff members, including academic advisors, who have provided advice and guidance throughout; and the dozens of students who have shown their support by taking the Minor and working with us through its development.
24 units total
3 units from SUSTAIN courses
SUSTAIN 1S03 – Introduction to Sustainability;
SUSTAIN 2S03 – Evaluating Problems & Sustainable Solutions;
SUSTAIN 2SS3 – Advocating for Sustainability;
SUSTAIN 3S03 – Implementing Sustainable Change;
SUSTAIN 3SS3 – Fostering Sustainable Communities through 100in1Day Hamilton;
SUSTAIN 4S06 – Leadership in Sustainability
21 units from Course List
Any cross-listed course between two or more Faculties and those of interdisciplinary programs will be counted as a course outside of the student’s home Faculty. ENVIRSC and EARTHSC courses are administered by the Faculty of Science. GEOG courses will be considered as Faculty of Social Science courses.
Sustain courses do not count towards units outside a student’s home Faculty.
Student requests for course substitution can be completed using the request template and sent to Minor Committee Co-Chair Kate Whalen at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Request for Course Substitution template can be found at the appropriate tab above.
- Students should note that not all courses listed are available each year. As well, it is the student’s responsibility to check carefully for prerequisites, co-requisites and enrolment restrictions.
- Students are strongly encouraged to seek guidance from their academic advisor to ensure they are meeting all enrolment requirements, including Faculty-specific requirements for double counting courses required for a student’s major.
- All courses have enrolment capacities. The Faculty cannot guarantee enrolment in courses for minors, even when prerequisites have been met.
- ENVIRSC and EARTHSC courses are administered by the Faculty of Science.
- GEOG courses will be considered as Social Sciences courses
Roles and Responsibilities
The roles and responsibilities of the Committee are as follows:
- Establish goals for the development and enhancement of the Minor and report annually on progress made
- Promote the Minor, including Sustain 1S03 and other courses on the Minor Course List
- Advise on the administrative processes involved, such as course exception process, course list, requirements, etc.
- Consult with Faculty colleagues on the course list and other administrative aspects
- Approve the course list, specifically for courses under each member’s home Faculty. Offer insight on courses outside home Faculty.
- Provide pan-campus perspective as it relates to development and management of the Minor
McMaster’s Minor in Sustainability is guided by the following principles:
- Provide students with foundational sustainability knowledge
- Create a consciousness and respect for the diversity of sustainability perspectives held in different Faculties
- Ensure an interdisciplinary educational experience
- Encourage and support student-directed learning
- Complement existing McMaster educational offerings while avoiding redundancy
- Ensure inter-Faculty equity, including student accessibility
Twice annually in July and November
Membership – 2018/2019
|Kate Whalen, Co-Chair||Academic Sustainability Programs Officeemail@example.com|
|Brent McKnight, Co-Chair||Business||Strategic Managementfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Rebecca Bishop, Program Administrator||Arts & Science||Arts & Scienceemail@example.com|
|John Maclachlan||Arts & Science||Arts & Sciencefirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Dean Mountain||Business||Finance and Business Economicsemail@example.com|
|Cam Churchill||Engineering||Civil Engineeringfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Carlos Filipe||Engineering||Chemical Engineeringemail@example.com|
|Stacey Ritz||Health Sciences||Health Sciencesfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Judy Major-Girardin||Humanities||School of the Artsemail@example.com|
|Susie O’Brien||Humanities||English and Cultural Studiesfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Luc Bernier||Science||Geography and Earth Sciencesemail@example.com|
|Chad Harvey||Science||Integrated Science (iSci) Programfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Maureen Padden||Science||Geography and Earth Sciencesemail@example.com|
|Shanti Morell-Hart||Social Science||Anthropologyfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Sandra Preston||Social Science||Social Workemail@example.com|
Roles and Responsibilities
The roles and responsibilities of the Student Committee are as follows:
- Promote the Minor and increase student awareness about the Minor
- Provide opportunities to meaningfully engage with the McMaster community
- Encourage opportunities for student experiential learning about sustainability
- Increase enrollment in SUSTAIN classes
- Increase engagement on social media
Weekly meetings from September to April.
Membership – 2019/2020
Student Committee Liaison
Academic Sustainability Programs Office
|Student Committee Coordinator||
Academic Sustainability Programs Office
|Baraneza Pirabagaran||Student Member||Humanities||N/A|
|Grace Kuang||Student Member||Health Sciences||N/A|
|Titi Huynh||Student Member||Social Sciences||N/A|
|Maria Huicochea Munoz||Student Member||Health Sciences||N/A|
Arts & Science
Request for Course Substitution
Students wishing to have a sustainability-related course, which is not currently on the Sustainability Minor Course List, and have it count towards their minor are encouraged to email Kate Whalen, Senior Manager of Academic Sustainability Programs and Co-Chair of the Interdisciplinary Minor in Sustainability (firstname.lastname@example.org), with the following information:
- Your Name:
- Your Home Faculty:
- Your Program of Study and Level:
- Faculty (of the course you are submitting the request for):
- Program (of the course you are submitting the request for):
- Course Code and Title:
- Course Outline (link or attach a copy):
- Name and Email of Course Instructor (who taught when you took the course):
- Have you had any other courses approved for substitutions?
- If yes, please list using Course Code and Title:
- A key objective of the minor is to enable students to select from a diverse list of courses in order to tailor a minor to suit their unique passions and interest in sustainability. Please describe how this course, and/or what you have done in this course, contributes to your learning about sustainability and your sustainability minor. Your request will be reviewed by the minor committee and students can expect a response within approximately 1-2 weeks. The requirements for the Minor in Sustainability can be found here.