Students can meet the sustainability requirement for graduation by successfully completing either a Sustainability Connections (SCON) course or a Sustainability Investigations (SINV) course. The following information is provided to guide faculty wishing to have a course approved to fulfill the sustainability requirement with either the SCON or SINV attribute. This process has been revised after faculty approved changes to the graduation requirement in May 2018. 

Please review the criteria below, determine which attribute you think is appropriate for your course, and submit the online form to "Request for Sustainability Designation" in the form of the SCON or SINV attribute. Once your course is approved in our online system, you will not need to submit the Request for Sustainability Designation form again unless you make significant changes to your course. You or your department’s ADC may simply select the SCON or SINV attribute when submitting the course in CLIQ for future semesters.

Requests will be reviewed by the Steering Committee of the Center for Sustainability Education, acting as a subcommittee of APSC.  

Here is a CHECKLIST of information needed to complete the request form.

Common Course Criteria:
Sustainability Connections & Investigations

Rapid climatic, environmental, social and economic changes present complex and interdependent challenges and opportunities for equitably and sustainably meeting the needs and improving the wellbeing of present and future generations. The causes and consequences of the changes, and responsibilities and capacities for responding, are widely but not equally shared. SCON and SINV courses engage students in exploring questions about sustainability challenges and opportunities, drawing on the knowledge and approaches of the arts and humanities, social sciences and/or natural sciences. These courses must:

  • Introduce students to one or more definitions of sustainability that are appropriate to the discipline or area of study of the course.
  • Make students aware that sustainability has multiple dimensions, including, as a minimum, environmental, social and economic dimensions.
  • Include student learning outcomes in the course syllabus stating that students will demonstrate abilities to:
    • Think critically about a sustainability question, problem and/or potential solution, and
    • Articulate connections between the field of study of the course and sustainability.
  • Include at least one graded assignment that provides students an opportunity to demonstrate attainment of the sustainability learning outcomes. The assignment can serve multiple purposes and does not need to focus solely on sustainability. Assignments that use active learning pedagogies to engage students in problem solving, communicating and collaborating are strongly encouraged but not required

Criteria for Sustainability Connections
(SCON) Courses

SCON courses build competencies and knowledge in a field that is relevant to understanding sustainability and apply them to a sustainability issue. SCON courses must include all the elements listed under Common Criteria. Sustainability is a visible and explicit part of SCON courses, but sustainability typically is not a major focus. While students will be made aware of multiple dimensions of sustainability, it is not necessary or expected that SCON courses will address more than one dimension in depth.

Criteria for Sustainability Investigations
(SINV) Courses

SINV courses engage students in deep and focused exploration of sustainability and its multiple dimensions as a major theme of the course. SINV courses must include all the elements listed under Common Criteria as well as:

  • Include as a third student learning outcome in the course syllabus that students will demonstrate abilities to:
    • Apply disciplinary or interdisciplinary knowledge and methods to analyze a problem of sustainability.
  • Devote a substantial portion of course instruction and work to sustainability-related content.
  • Give significant weight to sustainability-related content in grading student performance.

Questions may be directed to either Neil Leary ( or Lindsey Lyons ( We would be more than happy to assist you.