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Sustainable Business at Aquinas College

Sustainable Business Major (BSSB)

>Major Checklist

>Two-Year Rotation of Courses
*Two year course rotations are not binding and are subject to change

Sustainable Business is interdisciplinary in nature, integrating science, business, and environmental studies. Sustainable business practices improve long-term profitability, the health of natural systems, and the human component of our world community. A student completing the B.S. in Sustainable Business will be prepared for a career in private industry, non-profit organizations, government, or for graduate-level studies in sustainable business or a related discipline. Students must obtain a grade of C or higher in each required course to count toward a major or minor concentration in Sustainable Business.

Major Requirements:

Sixty-nine (69) credit hours. Required courses: 

  • AG210 Principles of Accounting—Financial (4)
  • AG211 Principles of Accounting—Managerial (4)
  • BS201 Principles of Management (3)
  • BS202 Principles of Marketing (3)
  • BS305 Financial Management (3)
  • BS460 Ethical Application in Business (3)
  • BY123 Environmental Biology (3)
  • CN101 Introduction to Communication (3)
  • CS152 Spreadsheets (1)
  • CY101 Environmental Chemistry (3)
  • EL100 Introduction to Environmental Studies (3)
  • EL301 Advanced Environmental Studies (3)
  • ES211 Microeconomic Principles (3)
  • MS151 Elementary Statistics (3)
  • PC291 Physical Science (3)
  • SB100 Industrial Ecology (3)
  • SB201 Sustainable Business Management (3)
  • SB315 Building Social Capital (3)
  • SB320 Sustainable Business Innovations Lab (3)
  • SB395 Cases in Sustainable Business (3)
  • SB397 Internship (3–6)

Students must select two of the following courses:

  • SB200 Sustainable Energy Systems (3)
  • SB202 Environmental Regulatory Compliance (3)
  • SB203 Sustainable Business in Corporations (3)
  • SB204 Sustainable Business Metrics and Reporting (3)
  • SB205 Sustainable Food Systems (3)
  • BS235 Social Entrepreneurship (3)
  • SB300 Environmental Economics and Policy (3)
  • SB310 Special Topics in Sustainable Business (3)
  • SB330 International Perspectives in Sust. Bus. (3)
  • SB346 Environmental Politics and Policy (3)


  • AG210 Principles of Accounting I (4) SS1

    Introduction to financial accounting and its application to the reporting needs of organizations. Topics include basic accounting processes and procedures, financial statement preparation and analysis, internal control, and the recognition and measurement of accounts included in financial reports. Recommended: MS 114

  • AG211 Principles of Accounting II (4) SS1

    An introduction to managerial accounting concepts and the use of accounting information for planning, control and decision-making. Topics include costing of products and services, cost-volume-profit analysis, budgeting, performance evaluation, and costs relevant to decision-making. Prerequisite: AG210.

  • BS201 Principles of Management (3) SS1

    The focus is on the study of the origin and development of management theory, processes of management, decision-making, leadership, communication, social responsibility, and international management. Emphasis on application of management principles to managing organizations.

  • BS202 Principles of Marketing (3) SS1

    An introduction to basic marketing concepts, including marketing strategy, pricing, promotional activities, product development, and physical distribution. Sophomore status required for traditional age students. Recommended: ES 211.

  • BS305 Financial Management (3) SS1

    Covers the concepts and techniques underlying effective decision making related to investment and financing decisions. Some of the topics include planning profitability, analysis of risk, valuation of financial assets, time value of money, cost of capital, capital budgeting, planning capital structure, and dividend decisions. Prerequisites: AG211, ES211, MS151, CS152. Also business/ financial calculator proficiency. This course is not accepted for the Social Science Distribution requirement.

  • BS460 Ethical Application in Business (3) BE

    Principles and perspectives of ethical business and organizational decision-making are studied and applied to a variety of decisions. Emphasis is placed on the identification of ethical choices in the context of the conflicting pressures on management, both in the public and private sector. Prerequisite: Junior or Senior status.

  • BY123 Environmental Biology (3) NL

    Introduction to aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, with emphasis on human influences. Field experience based labs. Two (2) hours lecture, three (3) hours lab. Not applicable toward the major. Not applicable toward the minor for students having successfully completed BY275 or BY352. Offered every semester.

  • CN101 Introduction to Communication (3) PGC

    Theory and methods of intrapersonal, interpersonal, small group, organizational, public, intercultural, and mass communication.

  • CS152 Spreadsheets (1) T

    This hands-on lab course covers basic spreadsheet functions such as simple formulas, formatting, and print layout using Microsoft Excel. Course projects introduce skills using a variety of formulas and basic functions, charts, and absolute addressing. This course would be beneficial to any students with a desire to analyze numerical data, manage finances, perform simple statistics, or generate charts and graphs.

  • CY101 Environmental Chemistry (3) NL

    Application of chemical concepts to eco-systems; implications of chemical technology to the social and physical environment. Prerequisites: High school chemistry recommended.

  • EL100 Introduction to Environmental Studies (3) NN

    Introduction to principles of environmental relations and processes; survey of environmental literature.

  • EL301 Advanced Environmental Studies (3)

    In depth examination of toxins and waste, natural systems and services, biodiversity, energy issues, climate change, and environmental policy Prerequisite: EL100 or BY123. This course is not accepted for Social Science or Natural World General Education credit.

  • ES211 Microeconomic Principles (3) BE

    Introduction to the economic problem and the study of economics; basics of supply and demand; introduction to concepts and models used to understand the economic behavior of households and firms, economic outcomes under various market structures, market failures, and international trade.

  • MS151 Elementary Statistics (3) QR

    Designed primarily for students who have had no more than two years of high-school mathematics or its equivalent. Includes the fundamental concepts of descriptive and inferential statistics. Prerequisite: MS107. This course is not accepted for the General Education Mathematics requirement.

  • PC291 Physical Science I (3) NN

    An introduction to physics and astronomy for non-science majors. Laboratory and lecture experiences are integrated within regular class meetings. Recommended for elementary education majors and any student who wishes to acquire a broad perspective on these two areas of physical science.

  • SB100 Industrial Ecology (3)

    This course examines the advantages of nature-based industrial systems for humankind and the natural community. Intelligent approaches to sustainable energy and material systems are outlined and discussed. A wide variety of organizations that have begun a transition toward sustainable business practices are examined. Prerequisites: EL301 and BS201.

  • SB201 Sustainable Business Management (3)

    The course examines intelligent approaches for provisioning goods and services that result in long-term business profitability, restored natural world integrity, and the emergence of vibrant and stable communities. We will discuss the variety of strategies and components necessary for effective sustainable business management and successful real-world organization transitions inside the movement. Prerequisite: SB100.

  • SB315 Building Social Capital (3)

    This course examines the role of social capital in building sustainable organizations and communities. The key elements and various forms of social capital will be explored by looking at the different ways that communities develop and how the human relationship with ecological systems can be sustained and enhanced. Ways to measure social capital will also be addressed in order to strengthen the understanding of this component of sustainable business and foster its application in the workplace. Prerequisite: SB100 or consent of instructor. 

  • SB320 Sustainable Business Innovations Lab (3)

    We will investigate and deploy triple top-line entrepreneurial innovation, effective organizational design, workplace innovation application skills, and research/analysis methods through in-class discussions as well as practice-based projects. Prerequisites: SB100, SB201, and SB315.

  • SB395 Cases in Sustainable Business (3)

    This course offers an experiential approach to applying key sustainable business principles to current business challenges and opportunities. Topics examined each week will focus on a different issue related to recreating a sustainable management system for a fictional business. Writing, research and presentations will assess students' reading readiness as sustainable business professionals and agents of change. Prerequisites: SB201 and SB315. 

  • SB397 Internship (3–6)

    The student works with a business or organization during a selected semester to improve its sustainable business practices. Prerequisites: SB201, SB315, and approval of department chairperson.

  • SB200 Sustainable Energy Systems (3)

    This course examines production and consumption of various forms of sustainable energy appropriate for business. Subtopics include global and regional pollution issues, climate change, carbon sequestering, and energy efficiency. Renewable energy sources examined include solar, wind, fuel cells, hydrogen combustion, tidal, and ocean thermal. Prerequisite: EL301 or consent of instructor.

  • SB202 Environmental Regulatory Compliance (3)

    Regulatory compliance strategies for business on local, state, and federal levels are outlined. Strategies for bringing small, medium, and large businesses in compliance with air, water, and solid-waste pollution regulations are discussed. Prerequisite: EL100

  • SB203 Sustainable Business in Corporations (3)

    Sustainability offers new opportunities (and challenges) for corporations. This course examines how corporations develop and implement sustainability strategies to address these emerging opportunities and challenges. We look at established industries and emergent companies as well as non-profits employing cutting edge technologies, and consider both national and international implications and drivers. The first half of the course examines corporate environmental sustainability, and the second half of the course explores corporate social sustainability. Students will learn to apply the tools of strategic business management to problems of sustainability. Case study analysis comprises a critical component of this course. Prerequisite: SB100 

  • SB204 Sustainable Business Metrics and Reporting (3)

    For many corporations, and organizations the starting point for addressing sustainability challenges is baseline data collection and reporting. Sustainability reporting enables companies and organizations to report environmental, social and economic information in a way that is similar to financial reporting. In recent years, the number of organizations issuing such reports has increased rapidly. This course is an introduction to sustainability reporting and metrics in both corporate and academic settings. You will learn about sustainability reporting guidelines and best practices through lectures and by reading several sustainability reports. After gaining this foundational knowledge, you will be developing a sustainability report for Aquinas College. Prerequisite: SB100

  • SB205 Sustainable Food Systems (3)

    This experiential course will deepen your understanding of local food systems and their intersection with sustainability and sustainable business. Through lectures, guest presentations, team projects and field visits, you will develop a first-hand and science-based understanding of the collaborative networks that create a local food system. You will discover ways to positively contribute to the development of sustainable food systems, incorporating principles of environmental integrity, social justice, and financial prosperity. Prerequisite: EL301 or consent of instructor. Lab fee for field visits.

  • SB235/BS235 Social Entrepreneurship (3)

    This course focuses on how social ventures are created, managed, evaluated and sustained. Emphasis is placed on understanding the opportunities and challenges of using one’s managerial and specific academic skills, as well as entrepreneurial talents, to help improve people’s lives by creating sustainable programs. A field component is involved. Prerequisite: BS201.

  • SB/ES300 Environmental Economics and Policy (3)

    Microeconomic theory and models of environmental economics are examined, such as common property resources, externalities, environmental accounting, contingent valuation, and maximum sustainable yield, along with the complex economic and social impacts of environmental policy. Prerequisite: EL100 and ES211

  • SB310 Special Topics in Sustainable Business (3)

    Variable topics in sustainable business offered on an occasional basis.

  • SB330 International Perspectives in Sustainable Business (3)

    This course examines the deployment of sustainable business practices around the world. Class discussions, lectures and assignments will explore the variety of sustainable business models and practices which may be found in differently developing countries and regions, as well as introduce the complexities of a practicing sustainable business in a globalizing world. Students will be challenged to analyze the significance of cultural, political, and socioeconomic contexts in designing products, processes, and business strategies and models which will further sustainable business criteria. Each semester, a particular region/country receives more intense examination, culminating with a ten-twelve day field visit to that region/country immediately following the Academic Programs 247 end of the semester. A required field component for the course takes place in various locations throughout the regions/country. To participate in this required field component, students must complete the required forms and submit payments according to the dates outlined in the “Study Abroad for International Perspectives in Sustainable Business” contract and other materials posted for this field component on Course Connect. Prerequisites: SB100 and SB315 or consent of instructor.

  • SB346/EL346/PS346 Environmental Policy and Politics: Issues & Approaches

    Course Description: Introduction to environmental policy as a focus of public policy. The forces and frameworks shaping environmental policy as well as the influence of various actors will be examined through analysis of key environmental issues. Prerequisites: PS 101 or EL100; or instructor permission