Undergraduate Studies in Sustainable Practice

The Lipscomb University Institute for Sustainable Practice's (ISP) undergraduate major, Environmental and Sustainability Science, is founded on 40 years of academic success in training professionals in the fundamentals of science and technology to radically improve the quality of our nation's air, land and water. We integrated this legacy with the proactive skills of creation inspired design that avoids pollution and waste before it is created, social behavior change to help people make convenient and effective choices for a healthy planet and lifestyle, applications in renewable energy for our homes, transportation and business, integration of holistic nutritional, spiritual, physical and mental health, and the metrics of quadruple bottom line performance and quality accounting to chart our needs and to achieve results that positively impact the world.

Our Undergraduate Major has a built-in Biology Minor and after developing an excellent liberal arts foundation and broad introduction to the foundational concepts of sustainability, students can focus their studies in their junior and senior years in Conservation Ecology and Natural Resource Management (which includes wildlife and natural resources management), Agro-Ecology (with subtopics such as Sustainable Food Systems and Organic Farming), and Environmental Law and Policy (addressing public affairs and environmental health and safety management). Students can also choose the Sustainable Practice concentration to develop a specialty area specific to their interests.

Our undergrads gain a lot of hands-on experience in Sustainability!

Students entering our program have interests ranging from traditional ecology (stream, wildlife, conservation ecology and environmental science) to media analysis and compliance (air, water, soil, etc), natural resource management, environmental law, policy and compliance, organic farming and food systems, to a wide variety of sustainable applications in various fields (sustainable healthcare, sustainable or environmental consulting, sustainable energies (solar, biofuels, etc)) and sustainable entrepreneurship.  Our curriculum has been deliberately designed to give each student a strong core knowledge base as well as accommodate a significant number of courses to be taken in the student’s specific area of interest in order to build a rigorous but personalized concentration area.  

One of the defining characteristics of our program is the requirement that all our students perform and present the results of an applied independent study, which may take the form of traditional ecologically based scientific research, development of a solution to a specific problem in the fields of business, engineering, computer science, marketing, journalism, medicine, etc, a business plan or feasibility study, or a specific project associated with an internship or other practical application.

The Environmental and Sustainability Science (ESS) Major has a 45 hour Core of required courses (plus a 1 – 3 variable hour research requirement) that all our undergraduate students must take and master (mainly math and science skills necessary to our field) and each of our concentrations has a unique set of additional requirements (between 10 – 16 hours depending on concentration) and a list of recommended electives to fulfill graduation requirements. The remainder of courses include those associated with the student’s desired area of concentration and electives that will be decided upon in collaboration with the Institute’s Academic Advisor. See tabs at left for course requirements for each track

In addition to the ESS Major, we offer a Minor in Sustainable Practice, which is awarded by taking 18 hours of courses from our course offerings.  

We advise prospective and current undergraduate students to contact us to set up an advising appointment. During this time, we can discuss the program more in depth to help guide the decision on which concentration to choose. Please set up an appointment by contacting sustainability@lipscomb.edu.

What can I do with this degree?

Graduates of Lipscomb University’s sustainable practice programs have distinguished themselves in many ways and are presently utilizing their training in many of the following areas.

  • Environmental consulting
  • Renewable Energy
  • Green business and corporate management
  • Green entrepreneurship
  • Energy production and regulation
  • Waste management
  • Water and wastewater treatment
  • Environmental or sustainability analysis
  • LEED and other certification of green construction
  • Wildlife biology
  • Environmental naturalist positions
  • Organic Farming / Food Systems
  • Ecology and Conservation Biology
  • Environmental Law, Policy and Compliance
  • Environmental Non-Profit work
  • Preparation for Graduate school and advanced degrees in environmental science and related field