CID Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Fellow Working Paper No. 32

The Ruffolo Curriculum on Sustainability Science
2008 Edition

Krister Andersson, Michael Burns, Marcel Bursztyn, Adam Douglas Henry, Ann Laudati, Kira Matus, Elizabeth McNie

December, 2008

A publication of CID's Sustainability Science Program


The growing attention to sustainability science in recent years underscores the need for more clarification on several key questions that inhibit development within the field. Central among these questions are: What is sustainability science, and how is it distinct from sustainable development or other established disciplines that contribute to sustainability science? What are the key research questions, and how does one engage in sustainability science? How do we teach sustainability science? This working paper, presented as a graduate-level curriculum in sustainability science, represents our attempt to answer these questions. We expect this curriculum to grow and evolve as it is applied in different institutional settings, and we invite users to participate in future revisions or use this curriculum as a template for their own needs. The general format of the curriculum includes a theoretical core of sustainability science, defined collectively by narratives and key readings within 11 individual modules. Modules also emphasize applications of the theoretical concepts to practical problems of sustainability; we suggest various applications that may be substituted with preferred applications as needed.

Keywords: sustainability science, environment, development, curriculum, social-ecological systems, coupled human-natural systems

JEL codes: A23, Q01, O13, Q56, Q58

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