Charlotte Funk (CAS’12) (from left), Angela Park (CAS’13), Poorva Bhade (CAS’13), and Crystal Choe (CAS’12) take core samples from trees along Bay State Road to measure tree ring width. The students in the Biology of Global Change course are hoping to learn how climate has affected the trees’ growth. Photo by Cydney Scott

Students at Boston University have diverse educational opportunities related to sustainability in undergraduate, graduate, doctoral, and special degree programs offered through 11 of Boston University’s 17 schools and colleges. These opportunities include a broad range of courses on topics such as sustainable energy, climate change, and environmental history, and degree programs that prepare students for careers and graduate schools in fields related to sustainability.


There are 153 sustainability-focused and 315 sustainability-related courses offered at Boston University organized here by subject area. These courses are catalogued using the definitions developed by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability for Higher Education and are distinguishable by the leaf to the left of each course listed:

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 courseSustainability-related courses incorporate sustainability as a distinct course component or module or concentrate on a single sustainability principle or issue.

For detailed descriptions, refer to the University Class Schedule on StudentLink.

Certificate Programs

College of Engineering

Metropolitan College


Degree Programs

College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Earth and Environment

Department of International Relations

Department of Biology

Boston University Marine Program (BUMP)

School of Public Health

Department of Environmental Health

College of Engineering

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Division of Materials Science and Engineering


Study Abroad Programs

Venice Environmental Studies Program

BU’s Venice Environmental Studies Summer Program offers students a chance to spend six weeks in Venice, Italy, exploring a variety of critical issues related to climate change. Located in a city frequently cited in heated debates about the impacts of climate change, the program includes two complementary courses introducing the main processes driving change in the Venice lagoon and examining the scientific, economic and social challenges faced by the international community in developing and implementing policies to address the impacts of climate change. The dual focus of the program examines both the scientific underpinnings of climate change and sea level rise, and their effects on the economy and society. What types of policies are likely to be effective in addressing the impact of climate change, both on humans and on the environment? The curriculum uses the history of the Venice lagoon, as well as its more recent modifications, to illustrate the issues connected with human-driven changes in coastal bays and estuaries, sea level rise, and natural environmental dynamics.

Washington, DC Internship Program

Students live and work as an intern in the policy-making atmosphere of the nation’s capital for a semester through the Washington, D.C., Internship Program. Students take courses in policy-making that give them an insider’s look at how policies are formulated in the federal government. Possible internships with congressional committees, the executive branch, or non-profit groups provide practical experience.

Lima: Contemporary Politics Program

Students who take part in BU’s Contemporary Politics Program in Lima, Peru spend three and-a-half weeks living with local Peruvian families as students at a local university, investigating the political implications of natural resource extraction in Peru and the Andes. Why has natural resource extraction often brought economic stagnation, political turmoil, significant social unrest, and environmental degradation? Students engage directly with Peruvian students, scholars and various agencies and organizations with a stake in the resource extraction debate to examine the political factors surrounding the “resource curse”—the fact that abundant natural resources often lead to negative developmental outcomes.

BU students also have the option of benefiting from BU’s affiliation with The School of Field Studies, which offers multiple sustainability focused and related study abroad programs.