Skip to Content

College of Arts and Sciences


Environmental Research

Environment and Sustainability

With research projects ranging from the study of wildlife populations at Chernobyl to the hidden signals of climate change, and classes as diverse as microbiology and green politics, faculty in the Environment and Sustainability program are leading global research and educating tomorrow’s environmental leaders.

The natural environment provides us with many of our essential resources and services, but new knowledge about our environment is increasingly needed as we face serious challenges— dwindling resources, polluted habitats, stresses on health and quality of life, and climate change. New technology and behavioral approaches are vital for sustaining resources for future generations.  

The Environment and Sustainability program, housed in the School of Earth, Ocean and the Environment, is at the forefront of research to determine the wise use and management of complex natural systems.

Environmental research and academics in the Environment and Sustainability Program can be described within six main focus areas: 1) Eco- and Earth Systems, 2) Sustainability, 3) Climate Change and Weather, 4) Environmental Risks and Hazards, 5) Water Resources, and 6) Society and the Environment. The program is interdisciplinary, encompassing the full range of natural scientific and social-cultural disciplines, in order to understand the complex interactions among organisms, their environments and humans.

Students gain real-world experience through activities such as conservation biology assessments at state and national parks, environmental economic studies, climate change studies for coastal resources, “green” initiatives, and ecological and sustainable projects with the military.

For fifteen years, the program has led in the creation and implementation of sustainability initiatives on campus, leading to formation of an Office of Sustainability and CarolinaGreen, among other successes.

The program offers a BS in environmental science and a minor in environmental studies to undergraduates. Through the Master of Earth and Environmental Resource Management (MEERM) degree program, graduate students are trained for management positions in earth and environmental resources, sustainable development within ecosystems, or safe and effective use of man-made materials in the environment. The joint MEERM/JD degree provides a streamlined program for students wanting both master’s and law degrees.

Visit USC's Environment and Sustainability Program Website