Program Overview

This degree will allow students to holistically investigate the complex sustainability challenges of our era, where the economy is seen as a component of the ecosystem, not vice versa. Students will be encouraged to imagine and assist in creating new ways of thinking about sustainability in our economies and societies. Values-based and ethical issues will be regularly examined, including social justice questions related to distribution of economic products and resources, both within and across generations. The program seeks to utilize Xavier's strengths in values/ethics-based education to intellectually, spiritually, and morally motivate environmental stewardship.

The program is focused on sustainable economies, and includes the study of natural resources, ecological and environmental problems, processes, and policies at local, national and global levels. Students will integrate economic analysis (encompassing attention to questions of efficient allocation, just distribution, and sustainable scale) with cultural studies, global economic development, policy studies, and management through a series of required and elective courses related to economic sustainability in society, organizations and the economy.

Through multi and inter-disciplinary attention to issues of economy and ecology, students will arrive at deeper understandings of issues such as the finite nature of nonrenewable resources, implications of environmental damage, and the planet's finite capacity to absorb wastes. Further, students will be prepared to make creative contributions to the many opportunities for improving society's economic sustainability and environmental quality.

During the course of the program, students will take two to four courses incorporating on-site, experiential learning via field trips related to economic sustainability. Field trips will often be interdisciplinary in nature, sometimes combined/coordinated with students from other sustainability-related courses and programs, creating opportunities for cross-dialog and learning. The program capstone will be an Experiential Integrative Project, whereby students will work within an organization and help to design a new sustainability policy initiative; they will develop a project plan, assess the impact of current practices and policies compared to the new initiative, and create an implementation plan.

Graduates of the Economics, Sustainability and Society BA are knowledgeable about the dependence of human societies on the rest of the natural world, the demographic, economic, social and environmental challenges we face and the opportunities they create. Graduates of the Economics, Sustainability and Society BA are thoughtfully proactive and have the practical skills to help meet the unprecedented challenges of our era, including the ability to quantify environmental and resource problems and opportunities where possible and appropriate. Graduates of the Economics, Sustainability and Society BA have the skills necessary to inform and mobilize public opinion, as well as government and organizational policies, to facilitate sustainable economies.

Download the complete program guide.