Undergraduate Courses

The Department of Community Sustainability infuses sustainability into all aspects of our majors. Our three core courses (CSUS 200, CSUS 300, and CSUS 301) focus on a set of core competencies, called the sustainability core, and other courses in the majors address subsets of these competencies.

All previous and current semester course syllabi can be found at the link below. For those without MSU credentials wishing to access syllabi, please contact the current Undergraduate Program Director.


Undergraduate Course Listing

Course/Subject Code

Course Title

CSUS 200 Introduction to Sustainability
CSUS 215 International Development and Sustainability
CSUS 221 Seminar in Environmental and Sustainability Careers
CSUS 222ABC Seminar in Instructional Theory I – Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources Education
CSUS 223ABC Seminar in AFNRE Leadership Theory
CSUS 259 Sustainable Energy & Society
CSUS 265 Exploring Environmental and Sustainability Issues and Policy Using Film
CSUS 273 Introduction to Travel and Tourism
CSUS 276 Sustaining Our National Parks and Recreation Lands
CSUS 278 Introduction to Conservation, Recreation and Environmental Enforcement
CSUS 300 Theoretical Foundations of Sustainability
CSUS 301 Community Engagement for Sustainability
CSUS 310 History of Environmental Thought and Sustainability
CSUS 320 Environmental Planning and Management
CSUS 322 Leadership for Community Sustainability
CSUS 343 Community Food and Agricultural Systems
CSUS 354 Water Resources Management
CSUS 400 Special Topics in Community Sustainability
CSUS 418 Community Sustainability Study Abroad
CSUS 419 International Studies in Community Sustainability
CSUS 426 Conservation Planning and Adaptive Management
CSUS 429 Program Planning and Evaluation
CSUS 430 Non-Profit Organizational Management for Community Sustainability
CSUS 431 Interpretation and Visitor Information Systems
CSUS 433 Grant Writing and Fund Development
CSUS 445 Community-Based Environmental and Sustainability Education
CSUS 453 Watershed Planning and Management
CSUS 459 Clean Energy System Policy
CSUS 463 Food Fight: Politics of Food
CSUS 464 Environmental and Natural Resource Policy in Michigan
CSUS 465 Environmental and Natural Resource Law
CSUS 473 Social Entrepreneurship and Community Sustainability
CSUS 476 Natural Resource Recreation Management
CSUS 490 Independent Study in Community Sustainability
CSUS 493 Professional Internship in Community Sustainability

Core Courses

Students in the core courses also participate in projects outside the classroom. Participation in these projects provides students with opportunities to link what they are learning in the classroom to real-world experiences related to community sustainability. The three core courses are:

CSUS 200: Introduction to Sustainability

CSUS 200 introduces sustainability principles with a progression from a focus on self to a focus on community. The course begins with a focus on applications in the context of individual action, with students exploring the implications of those actions for key sustainability challenges. The second half of CSUS 200 focuses on applications in the context of community action and building leadership skills for community engagement. Different ways of thinking about communities and the ways in which individuals in communities of different types interact will prepare students for the greater immersion in community engagement that will come at the 300 level.

CSUS 300: Theoretical Foundations of Sustainability

CSUS 300 builds a deeper understanding of sustainability theory with an emphasis on systems and synthesis and applications to a real-world project outside of the classroom. The body of theory covered draws from disciplinary as well as evolving transdisciplinary contributions. After completing this course students will be able to frame complex problems from a systems perspective, applying knowledge from a range of fields of study.

CSUS 301: Community Engagement for Sustainability

CSUS 301 advances students' understanding of the theory and practice of citizenship and civic engagement. In the course, students apply the principles of sustainability and civic engagement to personal and collective actions taken to address a societal need. Application is made through a formal community engagement project that emphasizes practical skills for applying the concepts of engagement to action and allows students to interpret engagement and citizenship concepts through their experiences.

Sustainability Core

The Department of Community Sustainability infuses sustainability into all aspects of our majors. All courses in the department support a set of core competencies, including:

Critical Thinking: Students will interpret, analyze and evaluate information generated by observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, and communication as a guide to formulate and defend responses to complex sustainability problems.

Systems Thinking: Students will demonstrate their knowledge of the interconnectedness of human and natural systems with the ability to anticipate and explain changes in complex systems over time.

Economic literacy: Students will demonstrate knowledge of and ability to use economic theories and methods to recognize and evaluate tradeoffs inherent in decision-making for sustainability.

Ecological literacy: Students will demonstrate knowledge, skills and ability to apply the tools and concepts of ecological science to explain the interdependence between humans and ecosystems and the consequences of actions at various spatial and temporal scales.

Boundary-crossing: Students will identify their own assumptions and biases, recognize new perspectives, and demonstrate the ability to collaborate with individuals and groups whose norms, assumptions and biases are different from their own.

Community: Students will demonstrate knowledge of the various interpretations of community as it relates to the study and practice of sustainability.

Equity: Students will demonstrate an ability to amplify human voices as they build equity and help others recognize that without equity, we cannot have true sustainability.

Civic engagement: Students will develop the knowledge, skills, values, and motivation to participate in civic life.

Leadership: Students will develop, demonstrate and evaluate leadership practices that contribute to sustainability.

Initiative and practical skills: Students will demonstrate initiative, including the ability to self-direct and solve problems individually and as participants in larger group efforts.

Ethics: Students can evaluate and analyze diverse ethical positions on practical sustainability challenges.