Academics & Research

There are many ways to learn more about sustainability while at Notre Dame, whether through a class, a research project, or a summer internship.  


Sustainable Development

This concentration within the Master of Global Affairs (MGA) is for students who seek careers as international development practitioners or policymakers. You’ll receive rigorous training in quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis; explore systems thinking and human-centered design; engage in hands-on project-based work through the Integration Lab (i-Lab); and develop the skills to design, manage, and evaluate development programs and policies.


Environmental Earth Sciences

The Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences curriculum merges environmental earth systems, hydrology and water flow and transport, and chemistry into a unique interdisciplinary curriculum focused on the environment at a range of scales. One option in the curriculum allows students to obtain an environmental engineering degree while the other option in the curriculum allows students to obtain a science degree that has more depth in earth sciences. Both degree options allow the students to take most of the courses that are in the parallel option.   

Environmental Engineering

Environmental engineers address critical challenges at the interface between humans and the environment. Environmental engineers provide access to clean water by designing water treatment systems and remediating contaminated source waters; manage solid and hazardous wastes; develop ways to mitigate air pollution; create sustainable waste-to-value solutions, and develop and oversee environmental regulations. They also explore ways to prevent problems from happening in the first place.

Environmental Science

Environmental Science students work towards a broad understanding of the interactions that define the natural world while integrating the physical and biological sciences into their studies. The major is multidisciplinary, providing a firm foundation in the basic ecological principles, while allowing students the freedom to focus on specific areas such as aquatic ecology, geological sciences, entomology, and vertebrate zoology.


Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences

The College of Engineering offers a minor in Resiliency and Sustainability of Engineering and a minor in Environmental Earth Sciences.  The minor in Resiliency and Sustainability of Engineering Systems prepares engineering students from all disciplines to recognize the impact of their design decisions and be adept at working closely with planners, decision makers, and the general public towards a sustainable and resilient global development.  The minor in Environmental Earth Sciences provides students with an introduction to the disciplines of Earth and environmental sciences.

Energy Studies

The College of Engineering offers a minor in Energy Studies to all undergraduates in all majors and colleges. This minor will prepare students to become successful leaders from all disciplines who understand the complexity of the energy challenge. They will be better prepared to provide goods and services that allow an acceptable quality of life in a more energy efficient manner. Additionally, students will be able to draw from technical and non-technical resources to move our country and the world toward a sustainable energy future.


The College of Science offers a minor in sustainability to all undergraduates in all majors and colleges. Through a multidisciplinary approach, the minor prepares students to serve as leaders in their communities—local, national, and international—by making constructive and substantive contributions to the development of more sustainable practices for the benefit of their own personal and professional lives, the lives of others, and the lives of future generations.

Research Centers

Center for Civic Innovation

The Center for Civic Innovation supports research that contributes to our understanding of planning and developing sustainable, resilient urban areas.

Center for Environmental Science and Technology

A cooperative effort between Notre Dame’s Colleges of Science and Engineering, fostering interdisciplinary environmental research and education by providing cutting-edge analytical technologies needed to address complex environmental problems.

Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame

Conducts research and education programs in energy efficiency; safe nuclear waste storage; clean coal utilization; CO2 separation, storage, sequestration and use; solar and other renewable energy; and the social, political, and ethical aspects of energy policy and use.

Environmental Change Initiative

The Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative’s research tackles the interrelated problems of invasive species, land use, and climate change—focusing on their synergistic impacts on water resources. ND-ECI provides new intellectual capital and infrastructure for interdisciplinary teams of faculty to help solve complex environmental problems identified as “Grand Challenges” by the National Academy of Sciences.

Environmental Humanities Initiative

The Notre Dame Environmental Humanities Initiative (EHUM) is an interdisciplinary initiative that seeks to foster scholarly research, creative endeavor, spiritual communion, undergraduate education, and international leadership on critical environmental issues such as climate change, biodiversity collapse, environmental justice, and the human impact on the non-human world, through a humanities perspective that foregrounds questions of ethics, value, and meaning, with an emphasis on relational, environmental, and ecological thought. 


GLOBES brings together biologists, environmental and social scientists, public policy experts, lawyers, and religious and community leaders to seek innovative and interdisciplinary solutions to a wide range of interrelated problems in environmental and human health.

UNDERC Environmental Research Center

Furthers research and education in environmental studies by focusing activities on high environmental quality locations that serve as “natural” laboratories for the study of environmental systems. These sites have experienced little or no degradation from humans and function as a baseline for comparison with human-disturbed systems.

Online Resources

Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education

AASHE is an association of colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada working to create a sustainable future. AASHE aims to advance the efforts of the entire campus sustainability community by uniting diverse initiatives and connecting practitioners to resources and professional development opportunities. AASHE defines sustainability in an inclusive way, encompassing human and ecological health, social justice, secure livelihoods, and a better world for all generations.

C2ES: Center for Climate and Energy Solutions

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions brings together business leaders, policymakers, scientists, and other experts to bring a new approach to a complex and often controversial issue.

Environmental News Network

The Environmental News Network (ENN) is one of the oldest sources of online environmental news on the web.  After 15 years in the environmental space, ENN has assembled a remarkable database of experience, content, contacts, and understanding of the environment.  Its mission is to provide a global perspective on environmental issues, and to promote thought, discussion, and awareness among our readers, our Press Members, our Editorial Affiliates and the other customers we service. 

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The IPCC was established to provide an objective source of information about climate change. Its role is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the latest scientific, technical and socio-economic literature produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change, its observed and projected impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. 

Real Climate: Climate Science from Climate Scientists

RealClimate is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists. It aims to provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary. The discussion here is restricted to scientific topics and will not get involved in any political or economic implications of the science.