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A woman stands in a creek taking a scientific measurement.

Vols recognize sustainability as a rapidly growing interdisciplinary field with practical applications across all sectors of the global workforce.

In the Classroom

In addition to the 141 undergraduate courses and 53 graduate courses that relate to sustainability from a variety of departments, in the fall of 2012, the University of Tennessee began offering a Sustainability major. Students studying sustainability aim to develop the skills necessary to create a society that reduces its impact on the natural environment, creates a healthy economy, and meets the social and emotional needs of its citizens.

UT also offers a certificate in Sustainability Science as well as an interdisciplinary PhD program which researches challenges related to research of sustainable data and energy.

View a list of all sustainability related courses

In Action

Experiential learning is heavily emphasized in the sustainability related courses and major. Whether it be hands on projects, field trips, volunteering, or interning for an environmental organization, students are encouraged to actively engage in sustainability initiatives throughout their studies.

Practicum Internships

Students studying sustainability participate in internships as a part of their practicum experience in their junior or senior year. Students connect with environmental organizations both on and off campus to complete this internship experience. Students are encouraged to seek out opportunities that give them hands on experience in areas of sustainability they would eventually like to work in. The Office of Sustainability’s practicum interns are currently conducting large scale data collections and surveys for Grounds and Transportation.


For more information about sustainability research, demonstrations, etc., visit the sustainability resources page maintained by the Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment and the Sustainable Energy Education and Research Center.

In additional, the Student Environmental Initiatives Facilities Fee offers funding up to $100,000 for design and research projects.

This fund is dedicated to projects across all academic departments that will benefit the university, with an emphasis on operational projects to be completed by Facilities Services or an outside firm as needed.

Study Abroad

Studying abroad can be one of the highlights of a students university career. Students will have wonderful and challenging experiences that will allow them to grow both academically and personally and prepare them to address current and future environmental issues in today’s globalizing world.

Sustainability is important all over the world, and UT offers students six different, unique opportunities to see how they can put their knowledge to use in programs around the world.

Learn more about Study Abroad Programs