Environment, Technology, and Economy

About Environment, Technology and Economy

The Environment, Technology and Economy (ETE) program takes on the complex and urgent issues of global sustainability by exploring the relationships among natural and built environments; advances in technology and efficiency; and the impact of economic sectors, such as energy, transportation, and manufacturing. We guide students to examine their personal, academic and future professional impacts through the lens of sustainability.

ETE welcomes students of all majors who are interested in investigating the multiple dimensions of sustainable development, particularly in relation to their own majors.

Students examine the most current developments in sustainability, including the growth of green business ventures, technological advances in clean energy production, and human impacts on ecosystems and the natural environment. We incorporate the three pillars of sustainability—environmental, economic and social—to bring a holistic and intersectional view to our study. As sustainability is an issue for people of all races, classes and creeds, it is vital to understand how social and economic injustice often go hand-in-hand with environmental impacts.

Active Learning

Field trips and class projects that emphasize design thinking and problem-solving help enhance ETE students’ classroom learning. We take advantage of our location near Washington, DC, to explore species conservation efforts at the National Zoo and lobbying efforts at the U.S. Capitol. We visit sites that apply technology to solve environmental problems (like the award-winning Solar Decathlon house here on campus). We travel to the UMD Terp Farm, canoe with the Anacostia Watershed Society, visit the first LEED Platinum building in the world and go on hikes to experience the value of outdoor activity on mental health first-hand. Each of these ties back to our exploration of the importance of sustainability in our lives.

As the university becomes one of the nation’s greenest campuses, ETE is also working closely with the University of Maryland’s Office of Sustainability and other partners to facilitate sustainable initiatives on campus. Student projects have included revitalizing an interpretive trail on the Wooded Hillock, reducing student water use in showers and installing an algal turf scrubber to clean up campus waterways. Several projects have been awarded grant money to put their ideas into action 

Colloquium and Lecture Topics

  • UMD campus sustainability tour
  • Calculating personal ecological footprint
  • Global climate change and ecosystem services
  • Guest lectures on the applications of environmental regulations, environmental justice and corporate social responsibility
  • Corporate sustainability and ecological economics
  • New and emerging trends in energy and transportation
  • Waste audits of the Stamp food court, dining halls, student dorms and even the National Zoo

Curriculum Overview

The following table represents a typical four-year curriculum, but individual schedules may vary. Details about courses and requirements can be found on the Environment, Technology and Economy Citation Checklist.

View, print or download Environment, Technology and Economy Citation Checklist

Freshman Fall   Freshman Spring  
Course Credits Course Credits
Scholars Colloquium 1 Scholars Colloquium 1
4-5 Courses toward degree and major requirements 12-15 4-5 Courses toward degree and major requirements  12-15
Sophomore Fall   Sophomore Spring  
Course Credits Course Credits
Scholars Colloquium 1 Scholars Practicum  1-3
4-5 Courses toward degree and major requirements  12-15 4-5 Courses toward degree and major requirements  12-15