Supplementary Major in Sustainable Development

Image of ...

NMSU students working at the OASIS farm, an NMSU Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project directed by Dr. Connie Falk, NMSU College of Agriculture.

The supplementary major in Sustainable Development comprises an interdisciplinary supplementary major through which students develop a deeper understanding of the relations between humans and the natural environment. The program offers students the opportunity to cross disciplines and construct a coherent interdisciplinary program that focuses on human interactions with the natural environment, society’s role in depleting and transforming natural resources, critical issues in sustainable development, and new strategies for conserving natural resources and sustainable agricultural production.

NMSU occupies a unique strategic position as a land grant institution in a multi-cultural regional setting, combined with its geographic location on a binational border. Students in different programs can use the supplementary major in sustainable development to enhance their undergraduate degrees and prepare themselves professionally to seek careers and graduate degrees in sustainable and international development. For a full description of the course offerings in Sustainable Development and information on the specific requirements of the major, please refer to the entry under the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.


Lois Stanford, Anthropology
Chris Brown, Geography
Martha Desmond, Fishery and Wildlife Sciences
Connie Falk, Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business
Neil Harvey, Government
James Rice, Sociology

Course Requirements

This program consists of 24 credits drawn from the lists below of which 18 credits must be numbered 300 or above. The student must take 6 credit hours (2 classes) from the core curriculum, 15 credit hours (5 classes) of electives, and 3 credit hours (1 class) of sustainable development field study.

Core Requirements: (6 credits selected from the courses listed below)

  • AG E/GEOG 315G: World Agriculture and Food Problems
  • ANTH 362: Environmental Anthropology
  • GEOG 295: Introduction to Climate Science
  • SOC 465G: Environmental Sociology
  • GOVT 424: Environmental Policy
  • BIO 301: Principles of Ecology

Elective Courses: 15 credits from the following list. Courses are limited in each department in order to encourage students to take classes in different disciplines and broaden their perspective.

  • AG E 337G: Natural Resource Economics OR AG E 348G: Water Resource Economics
  • AG E 370: Current Issues in Food and Agriculture
  • AGHE 380G: Ecosystem Earth: The Impact of Human Activities
  • AGRO 483: Sustainable Production of Agronomic Crops
  • ANTH 360V: Food and Culture Around the World
  • SOC 361V: Social Issues in the Rural Americas
  • BIOL 461G: Human Ecology
  • BIOL 462: Conservation Biology
  • GEOG 362: Geography of International Development
  • GEOG 464: Land Use and Land Rent
  • GOVT 477: Sociology of Development and the World System
  • WLSC 255: Principles of Natural Resources Management
  • WLSC 445: Systems Ecology

Additional Courses: With the permission of the program advisor, students may substitute 1 class that presents a topical focus on sustainable development. Certain courses, such as GOVT 486: Political Economy, SOC 489: Globalization, or special topics courses may have a sustainable development focus, depending on the instructor or subheading. In these cases, the student can request permission to substitute this specific course for an elective class listed above.

Field Requirements: (3 credits from the following)

In addition, students are expected to take one class that applies the principles and concepts of sustainable development in a local, regional, or international setting. Students may opt to enroll in one the classes listed below, or the may choose to work on an independent study or internship in sustainable development. In these cases, students should seek the approval of the sustainable development committee before embarking on the field experience or internship.

  • AG E 330G: Organic Fall Vegetable Production
  • AG E 331G: Organic Spring Vegetable Production
  • ANTH 485: Special Research Project
  • SOC 496: Internship
  • WLSC 356: Techniques in Natural Resource Management
  • WLSC 450: Tropical Field Ecology