Go Green with Your Major or Minor

Go Green with Your Major or Minor

Colleges respond to current trends by adding environmental courses.

The green trend has grown tremendously in recent years, with new businesses, products and government initiatives focused on conservation and sustainability.

Are you passionate about the environment? Now you can get a college degree with a major or minor in a variety of green studies with jobs related to the environment, conservation and sustainability at an increasing number of colleges and universities.

USA Today reports that students are flocking to college courses on energy and sustainability, and that 2009 alone saw more than 100 college majors, minors and certificate programs created in the area of energy and sustainability. For perspective on how significant that growth is, the article points out that in 2005, only three programs were added in these areas.

The green trend has grown tremendously in recent years, with new businesses, products and government initiatives focused on conservation and sustainability. According to USA Today, the Obama administration projects that careers in the energy and environmental sector will grow 52% between 2000 and 2016, while other occupations will see only a 14% growth.

For these industries to thrive, especially during our economic recession, more people need to be trained to work in these areas. Because employers are looking for college graduates with an interest and knowledge in these areas, and because students themselves are showing an interest in these studies, colleges recognize the benefits of adding courses in these fields. In some cases, colleges and universities are cutting other majors and minors to add college programs in energy and sustainability.

Interested in green majors, minors and careers? Some colleges and universities are embracing the green trend in more ways than others. If you don’t see your top schools on the list below, it doesn’t mean they don’t offer programs in these areas. Contact the admissions office or check the college's website to find out what academic programs the school offers or plans to offer in the areas of energy and sustainability. The green trend is poised to grow in coming years, so there’s a good change they will offer academic courses or social programs in environmental studies.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University boasts the Global Institute of Sustainability and recently opened a program in sustainability studies for undergraduates. The primary focus of the program is on solar issues, and approximately 600 students have declared that they will major in sustainability. The school also has other programs related to green issues, such as growing food on campus that is then served at the dining halls on campus.

Illinois State University

Illinois State University received a Department of Energy grant in 2008, and used the money to help fund 65 majors in renewable energy. Graduates of the program may have opportunities to find work with local wind energy companies.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

In 2009, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) introduced a minor in energy studies and has a very active energy club. The school also issued a survey about the energy studies program, and found that over 40% of freshmen and sophomores at the school were very excited about it.

University of California Berkeley

The USA Today article reports that the introductory energy class offered by University of California Berkeley had 40 students in it ten years ago, while now there are 270 students.

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