UC Berkeley’s sustainability course offerings make up almost 50% of all campus courses

May 3, 2021

UC Berkeley’s sustainability course offerings make up almost 50% of all campus courses. At the undergraduate level, UC Berkeley offers almost 800 sustainability-focused courses and about 1,150 sustainability-related courses, making 50% of all undergraduate classes sustainability-focused or -related. At the graduate level, UC Berkeley offers over 530 graduate sustainability-focused courses and roughly 750 sustainability-related courses, making about 43% of all graduate classes sustainability-focused or -related. Together, the percentage of courses offered that are sustainability-focused or sustainability-related at UC Berkeley totals 47% of all campus courses offered at the graduate and undergraduate level. Moreover, sustainability course offerings come from 115 different departments out of 129, totaling 89%; and these classes don't come only from perhaps more predictable departments such as Environmental Science, Policy, and Management.

Students can dive into the global history of ecologically conscious art, architecture, cinema, sustainable design, and urban planning (HISTART 105) or learn how environmental concerns have shaped the history of American landscape architecture since 1850 (AMERSTD C171). Through the American Cultures course requirement, every Berkeley undergraduate takes a course with material that is sustainability-supportive, preparing students with specific skills that are critical for addressing sustainability challenges (e.g., social and ethical responsibility).

This inventory, covering courses from the 2017-2018, 2018-2019, and 2019-2020 academic years, is a product of UC Berkeley's 2021 submission to the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System v.2.2, or STARS, which judges campuses on academic coursework and dozens of other sustainability metrics. The inventory uses the following definitions to categorize courses:

“Sustainability-focused”: a course that views topics through the lens of sustainability. The course title or description does not have to use the term “sustainability” to count as sustainability-focused if the primary and explicit focus of the course is on the interdependence of ecological and social/economic systems or a major sustainability challenge.

“Sustainability-related”: a course that devotes at least one unit or section to a sustainability topic or has direct applications in sustainability fields.

In this inventory, users can finally appreciate just how deeply sustainability - of all kinds - is addressed in classrooms across UC Berkeley. See the full list of courses.

 

UC Berkeley Sustainability Academic Course Inventory AY 2017-18 to 2019-20
3 Year Data
Summary  
Total number of undergraduate courses offered by the institution   3864
Number of undergraduate courses offered that are sustainability-focused   781
Number of undergraduate courses offered that are sustainability-related   1151
Total number of graduate courses offered by the institution   2990
Number of graduate courses offered that are sustainability-focused   538
Number of graduate courses offered that are sustainability-related   751
Percentage of courses offered that are sustainability-focused or sustainability-related 47%
Total number of academic departments that offer courses   129
Number of academic departments with sustainability course offerings   115
Percentage of academic departments that have sustainability course offerings   89%

 

Sustainability from Extension Education

Additionally, UC Berkeley Extension Education, or "UNEX" has an extensive range of sustainability programs and courses, which make up 10 percent of UC Berkeley Extension course offerings. Sustainability courses include sustainable design, energy for sustainability, and environmental monitoring. Extension Education classes can be taken to supplement regular course offerings, for self enrichment, or to earn a certificate.

  

See the full STARS report.

Read our STARS Platinum news release.

Review our UC Berkeley STARS Analysis Report.