Students in the minor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies take a capstone course that allows them to develop a research paper that also qualifies for immersion credit.  The course also provides a detailed overview of the major concepts in environmental and sustainability studies.  The capstone paper can be used in subsequent applications to graduate school.  The following is a list of some of the titles of previous capstone papers.

Conservation and Natural Resources

  • Natural Hybridization as a Tool to Protect Biodiversity in the Wild
  • Pursuing the Perpetual in a Temporal World: An Analysis of Conservation Easement Law and Implementation in the United States
  • Does the Pacific Ocean Hold the Answer to California’s Water Woes? An Analysis of Drought Strategies in Northern and Southern California cities
  • A Breath of Fresh Air: Case Studies of Hypoxia and Regional Environmental Governance
  • A Fishy Epidemic: Sea Lice and Disease Mitigation in Salmon Aquaculture
  • Public Land Protection and Economic Development Across the Americas
  • Working Together: Co-Management of Natural and Cultural Resources with Native American Tribes in the United States
  • The Influence of Policy on Conservation Outcomes
  • Policy Failures and Policy Future: Evaluating National Wetland Conservation Strategies

Business and Organizations

  • Greening in Wisdom: Denominational Differences and Sustainability in 36 Christian Colleges
  • Regulation of Endocrine Disrupters in Cosmetics: The Price of Beauty
  • Grool(s)!: Why Green Schools are Great and Cool
  • Knights in Green Armor: Technology Giants and Environmental Initiatives that Protect Them
  • Why Do Hospitals Go Green? An Analysis of the Impact of Hospital Type on the Motivations Behind Green Initiatives
  • What do you Mean by “Business as Usual”? A Comparative Analysis of Corporate Sustainability Models
  • Water Conservation in Beverage Production: Examining Corporate Water Stewardship Programs
  • Say it Ain’t So: How Taboos Inhibit Innovation in Personal-Care Products

Development and Justice

  • From Victimhood to Empowerment: The Material and Social Benefits of Female Participation in Climate Adaptation
  • Ecotourism in Developing Countries: A Sustainable Alternative or a False Hope?
  • Inequalities rising with the waves: global perspectives on climate justice
  • The City that Care Forgot: Environmental Injustice and Corruption in New Orleans Landfills
  • Opposition and Opportunity: Structure and Agency in Grassroots Advocacy for a Just Transition
  • Trouble Down South: Environmental Disasters and Consequences of Environmental Racism in the Gulf Coast Region
  • The Ugly Face of Beauty: The Impact of Personal-care products on Health Disparities
  • Equity in Evolving Energy:
  • A Comparative Analysis of Energy Transitions in Latin America and South Asia


  • Renewable Portfolio Standards: How they survive rollback attempts in red states
  • The Power of Rules: Regulation of Electrical Grids (and the Renewable Energy Transition)
  • Sunny Horizons from Dreary Politics: How looking past net metering resolves utility vs. solar policy conflict
  • Analyzing Variance in Solar Policy Outcomes in the Southeast U.S.
  • Microgrid Futures: Facilitating macro-scale transitions toward renewable energy

Food and Agriculture

  • Blue States, Red States, Green Food: Sustainable Dining on University and College Campuses
  • Expanding the Constitutionality Arguments against Ag-Gag Law
  • Strengthen the Beat without the Meat: A Comparison of Plant-Based Diets on Heart Health
  • Assessing the Green Revolution: An Evaluation of Consequences and Alternatives
  • Products and Food: Industry Differences in Triple Bottom Line Practices
  • Growing Grassroots Gardens: The Impact of Organizational Structure on Implementation and Integration of Community Gardens
  • Footprinting Food: Toward a Regionally Based LCA
  • Addressing Agricultural Pesticide Use in Developing Asian Nations
  • NAFTA and Mexico: The Harms of Industrial Agricultural Development in Pork and Corn Sectors
  • Aquaponics in Action: Comparing Organizational Missions and Strategies
  • The Multiple Benefits of Urban Agriculture: Contexts and Contributions of a Modern Food Movement
  • Not Just a Matter of Willpower: Environmental Influence in Healthy Lifestyle Interventions
  • Unpacking local food: An analysis of the sustainability of a diversity of forms of local food production in Portland, Oregon
  • Adaptive Ag: A comparative analysis of the effects of climate change within the agriculture sector in the North Atlantic

Media and the Arts

  • Gender, Technology, Culture, and Environmental Messaging in Studio Ghibli and Disney Animated Film
  • Sustainability in the Film-Making Industry
  • Why So Serious?: Using Humor as a Tool in Environmental Films
  • Cautionary Tales: Comparing Themes in Eco-Apocalyptic Film
  • Framing Public Perceptions: Political Biases and Exclusion in
  • Environmental Media Coverage
  • Greening of Live Music – Conservation, Content and Concerts

Recycling, Reuse, and Waste

  • Clean Plates, Clear Shelves: Diverting Food Waste at the Retail Level
  • Good as Used: Comparing Organizational Forms in the Second-hand Clothing Industry
  • Closing the Loop: Evaluating Business Strategies for a Circular Economy


  • Wheels to a Green World: An Analysis of Successful Biking Programs in the US
  • Are We There Yet? The Relationship between Public Transit, Sustainable Development and Social Equity
  • Work smarter, not harder: relating level of economic development to smart transportation technology
  • Electrifying Asian Transportation: A Comparative Analysis of Economic Development and Vehicle Policies

Urban Sustainability Policy (including Water)

  • Bridging Cities: Comparing Infrastructure Development in Industrializing Asian Megacities
  • Urban Sustainability and Resilience Planning: Adapting Cities for Contemporary and Future Environmental Shocks
  • Gold Standards for Greenspaces: Assessing Social Goals, Ecosystem Services, and Challenges
  • Tapping into Potential: Implementation Barriers and Resilience Benefits of Direct Potable Reuse
  • Going Local: How American Cities Lead the Way in Renewable Energy
  • Placing the Local: The Impact of Geography and Demographics on Local Economies