Global Sustainability Studies Program

global sustainability studies program

An opportunity to study and help solve sustainability problems in a global context.

Information sessions for 2016 Global Studies Programs will be held on Oct. 6 and Nov. 17.
To learn more or RSVP for a session, please visit our events page.

Summer 2015 Programs: Spain & Morocco | Brazil | Nepal | Hong Kong | Guatemala


Jessica Welch, Spain/Morocco 2014

“What has been made tangible on this trip is that any sustainable solution has to be focused locally, but within a global context. It needs to address the needs of the local people and environment, but it has to be able to fit in a matrix of solutions that work together to achieve global sustainability.”

Jessica Welch, Spain/Morocco, 2014

become a global citizen

Implementing sustainability in Africa or Europe can be a different type of challenge than it is in the U.S. As a sustainability student, you know that on the path to impactful solutions, understanding global context is critical.

Studying abroad with the Global Sustainability Studies Program will provide you the opportunity to witness and learn sustainability principles and solutions in international community, urban and political settings. Through these condensed, rigorous courses set within a different culture, you will gain skills like:

  • Problem-solving
  • Networking
  • Intercultural collaboration
  • Cross-disciplinary application

make the world your classroom

Destinations and course topics change every summer, adapting to current global sustainability developments. Past programs include:

  • Sustainable energy solutions in Spain and Morocco
  • Environmental tourism in Dubai
  • Human rights in Brazil
  • Mobility and transportation in the Netherlands
  • Urban development in Hong Kong
  • Environmental challenges in Trinidad and Tobago
  • Sustainability policy in London and Washington, D.C.
Tyler Gillespie, Ecuador 2013

“Studying abroad allowed me to take sustainability in the classroom into the real world. While there, we were able to actually apply theories that we have learned about – economics, the environment and social equity – to actual situations.”

Tyler Gillespie, Ecuador, 2013

get your passport ready

“If I had to choose the best part of my two weeks in Amsterdam, besides singing, ‘I like to ride my bicycle’ with the professors, it would be my renewed excitement about sustainable solutions.”

Isabelle Lishewski, the Netherlands, 2014
Isabelle Lishewski, Netherlands 2014

Each trip is led by faculty members from the School of Sustainability and local expert partners, and program cohorts are limited to small groups of 15-20 students, creating a close-knit learning community. Learn more about past Global Studies student experiences on the Scholars Abroad for Sustainability Solutions blog.

2015 programs

Pinterest Spain and Morocco

Sustainable Development across the Mediterranean
May 23 to June 16

3 credit hours
Dr. Mary Jane Parmentier
Despite being on two separate continents, the E.U. country of Spain and the North African country of Morocco share a rich and interconnected past and currently have close economic and political relations, though often fraught with disagreement as solutions are not always easy or equitable. While visiting these countries, you will experience the complexity of global sustainable development in a region of the Mediterranean that provides a fascinating location to witness socio-economic disparity, sustainable energy challenges and local realities. During this trip, you will evaluate current solutions and imagine potential new solutions as we visit with government officials, non-governmental organizations and rural and urban citizens extending from the Sahara Desert to Madrid.

Participants in this course will also complete a one credit pre-departure course during Spring Session B at ASU.


Pinterest Brazil

Human Rights and Sustainability
May 31 to June 19

3 credit hours
Dr. LaDawn Haglund
The right to food, housing, resources and a healthy environment are all areas where human rights and sustainability overlap. Conservation efforts can create obstacles for access to housing, land and livelihoods. At the same time, the world’s poor and indigenous populations often bear the costs of environmental degradation, pollution and climate change resulting from patterns of production and consumption from which they do not personally gain. While visiting the Amazon rainforest, São Paulo and Curitiba, you will explore the connections between human rights and sustainability.


Pinterest Nepal

Rural-Urban Sustainability: Transitioning Livelihoods

May 18 to June 4*
3 credit hours
Dr. Nalini Chhetri and Dr. Mark Henderson
For the first time in history, more people live in urban spaces than in rural areas. The transition to urban areas is occurring most rapidly in developing nations. As the world’s population moves from rural to urban areas, sustainability is threatened by changing livelihoods, communication methods and technological advances. During this trip, you will witness firsthand the distinctions between the rapidly growing urban center of Kathmandu and the rural areas surrounding the picturesque town of Pokhara. You will examine the changes in how people live and prosper and what that means in terms of sustainable livelihoods.

Due to recent events in Nepal, this course was cancelled to ensure the safety of ASU students and faculty. The Global Sustainability Studies Program looks to offer this course next summer.


Pinterest Hong Kong

Cities, Sustainability and Public Policy
June 5 to June 20

3 credit hours
Dr. Rob Melnick
In the absence of successful global and federal leadership on sustainability, cities are increasingly taking the initiative for sustainability policymaking for greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy, efficient transportation, water management and community resilience. Using Hong Kong as the setting, you will gain knowledge, insights and experience in understanding how cities formulate and apply public policy to the challenges of local sustainability.


Pinterest Guatemala

Sustainable Neighborhoods for Happiness™
May 18 to May 30

3 credit hours
Dr. Scott Cloutier
Community development is an integral part of a sustainable future. Developing and revitalizing neighborhoods with the intent of promoting greater opportunities for happiness could fast track a move toward sustainability. In this course, you will consider how the development of a new neighborhood impacts the happiness of the residents within, while considering the intricacies of a complex culture. You will partner with your fellow students and expert faculty members to analyze community development within several contexts, including water, waste, energy, food, transportation, buildings, economic development, community governance and neighborhood environment. You will ultimately help establish the baseline knowledge for a sustainable approach to community happiness and the building block for the development of a sustainable community in Zacapa, Guatemala.


* All course dates are subject to change.



To participate in the Global Sustainability Studies Program, you must meet the following requirements:

Undergraduate students:

  • be an Arizona State University student studying sustainability as a major, minor or concentration area
  • have a minimum 2.75 GPA
  • complete at least 56 credit hours at time of program participation
  • complete at least two SOS-prefix courses (SOS 100, SOS 110, SOS 111 and SOS 300)

Graduate students:

  • be in good standing in their program
  • have a minimum 2.75 GPA

Note: Graduate students will be selected based on merit of application. School of Sustainability graduate students will be given priority placement should a program be over-enrolled.

*Students that do not meet the listed qualifications may be considered on an individual basis, if space is available

financial aid

Students will be notified of scholarship eligibility and process upon confirmation of acceptance into a Global Studies program. A limited number of scholarships are available to ASU sustainability students. The scholarship award amount may be up to 40 to 60 percent of the total cost of the program, not to exceed $5,000. Awards will be based on a competitive process including essay application, academic merit and relevance to the student’s field of study. All scholarships will be awarded by the beginning of February.

Scholarship eligibility:

  • Sustainability majors, minors or concentration area students, applying to one of the programs listed
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • 56 credit hours completed by the time of participation
  • Two of the following courses (or equivalent) completed by the time of participation: SOS 100, SOS110, SOS111, SOS 300

for more information, contact:

Sherstin Sutherland

  • Program Manager, Global Sustainability Studies Program, Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives