Sustainability Majors on the Rise at Colleges

As green issues take center stage, colleges find green majors gaining popularity.

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It only makes sense that colleges are seeing a rise in the popularity of sustainability and green majors. Climate change, energy, and the environment are hot-button issues, and students are interested in studying them.

USA Today reports that colleges created more than 100 majors, minors, and certificates in energy and sustainability-related programs this year. Just three programs were added in 2005, the report says.

"There's a great perception that there's a sweet spot with energy to do good and do well, and it appears to be the place of job growth," Rob Melnick, executive dean of the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University, tells USA Today.

Arizona State's program has more than 600 students who have declared sustainability a major. Illinois State University has 65 majors in renewable energy, the report says. MIT and the University of California–Berkeley, among many others, have also seen more students drawn to sustainability programs. And with issues like "Climategate" making waves nationally, the interest in environmental topics is likely to continue.

[See "green" careers that are among America's Best Careers 2010.]

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