A Christian Liberal Arts University, Est. 1846

Sustainable Development Major

Developing Your Love of Nature

Sustainable Development majors build a foundational understanding of how the spheres of sustainability—environment, economics, and society—impact each other. Studying the breadth of these subjects allows students to develop a holistic understanding of key issues facing humanity and the environment. This understanding drives efforts to meet current sustainability needs with solutions that don’t sacrifice the future.

Courses in environmental science, sociology, public health, and economics form a foundation for advanced Sustainable Development classes. To build your experience, faculty will encourage you to develop and conduct your own field-based research in Taylor’s 145-acre arboretum.

Choosing a Sustainable Career

After learning core sustainable development principles such as environmental law, global health, geospatial analysis, microeconomics, ecology, geology, and cultural anthropology, each student chooses one of the following concentrations to focus on a specific environmental field:

  • Sustainable Agriculture: Students interested in working toward improving the productivity, environmental quality, and well-being of the agricultural supply chain will thrive with a Sustainable Agriculture concentration. Take courses in agroecology, food systems, soil science, and more. You can even travel to Costa Rica for your field course.
  • Public and Environmental Health: By investigating the environmental aspects that affect human health, you can help promote healthy communities and foster better relationships between people and the environment. Classes focus on community health, epidemiology, health and equity, and more. Studies in Ecuador are also available.
  • Water Resources: Take your desire for water sustainability to the next level by studying global water issues and resource management. You can discover how geomorphology, hydrogeology, and environmental chemistry connect to develop sustainable plans for proper water quality and distribution. A water resource field course is offered in Guatemala.

Sustainable Development Curriculum & Degree Options

Contact the Environmental Science, Public Health & Sustainable Development Department

Dr. Bob Aronson, Chair of the Environmental Science, Public Health & Sustainable Development Department and Director & Associate Professor of Public Health

Charity Bailey, Assistant to the School of Natural & Applied Sciences

Related Majors and Related Minors
Environmental Science, Public Health & Sustainable Development Department
An Environment Like No Other

In 1982, Taylor became one of the first Christian universities to offer a degree in Environmental Science. Today, Taylor’s Environmental Science, Public Health & Sustainable Development department strives to embody the mentality that science leads to stewardship and service. Our dedicated faculty lead our students to explore the ethical reasoning behind a faith-based pursuit of public health, environmental studies, and sustainability.

If you are a person who enjoys God’s creation; has concern for both people and the environment; and likes field study, scientific investigation, analysis, and finding solutions to problems in the environment, the Environmental Science, Public Health & Sustainable Development program may be right for you.

Nature is Your Classroom

Students are given access to the award-winning Randall Environmental Center, where they can pursue research and immersive learning experiences. The building incorporates a state-of-the-art interior environmental design with outdoor views of the surrounding natural areas. Randall houses environmental growth chambers; a Geographic Information System; a greenhouse for horticultural projects; equipment for field research in botany, ecology, geology, soils, and hydrology; and large collections of rocks, minerals, and specimens.

Taylor hosts plenty of local environmental areas for Environmental Science, Public Health & Sustainable Development students to study, research, and gain hands-on experiences. Environmental Science, Public Health & Sustainable Development students have access to locations such as:

  • Arboretum: Just outside the Randall Center resides a 145-acre arboretum that contains a variety of ecosystems used for teaching and research. Mature woodlands, meadows, a small pond, a prairie demonstration plot, and a 5-year succession plot are housed within the land. The arboretum is also home to instrumentation for ongoing monitoring of weather conditions within various ecosystems.
  • Avis Prairie: Just across from the Taylor University campus is Avis Prairie, a 25-acre ecological restoration. Taylor students have conducted numerous field-based research projects there, including prairie succession and soil development, the effects of nutrient enrichment on prairie establishment and structure, strategies for increasing plant diversity, and the effects of flood events.
  • Taylor “Square Mile”: A variety of research projects have been developed on this 600-acre property, including current environmental course projects, a reforestation project with periodic plantings and monitoring, and several graduate research projects. New uses and projects on the property are currently being explored and planned with student participation.
Expanding Your Reach

Environmental Science, Public Health & Sustainable Development majors are not limited to learning about the environment and sustainability in rural Indiana. Every student in the department participates in a summer course in Field Natural History of the Black Hills in South Dakota and studies abroad in either Guatemala, Costa Rica, or Ecuador. Some of our students choose to study geology, botany, zoology, and ecology on a weeklong camping trip to Yellowstone and Teton National Parks.

Faculty & Staff
Department Head

Bob Aronson

Environmental Science, Public Health & Sustainable Development Department Chair and Director & Associate Professor of Public Health



Sylvanna Bielko

Assistant Professor of Public Health


Phil Grabowski

Assistant Professor of Sustainable Development


Michael Guebert

Professor of Earth & Environmental Science


Rob Reber

Assistant Professor of Earth & Environmental Science & Director of Laboratories


Stu Walker

Health Professions Advisor



Charity Bailey

Assistant to the School of Natural & Applied Sciences