Sustainable Systems Management Major

Advancing society's goals of sustainability in our global economy and for the environment

Sustainable systems management (SSM) is a comprehensive systems approach to advancing solutions for processes and products, commercial and industrial businesses, buildings, and energy systems that promote sustainability. Gain the knowledge and skills to integrate the goals of economic growth and development in global markets with protecting public health and the environment.

Why study sustainable systems management?

Decisions in the private and public sectors are being made with greater consideration of their full range of economic, environmental, and social impacts. Greater global demand for energy, land, water, and other raw materials are forcing us to rethink how we use our resources for the greater good.

There are tremendous opportunities to address these needs by:

  • Closing material loops
  • Recovering resources
  • Increasing energy efficiency
  • Minimizing and mitigating environmental pollution
  • Ensuring best management practices over entire supply chains
  • Embracing renewable resources and renewable energy, sustainable technologies, materials, and products

Download the sustainable systems management major overview brochure (PDF)

Four areas of specialization

You can specialize in one of the following four areas based on your interests in business and the environment or technology.

SSM Gear

Building science and technology specialization
Explore opportunities that can enhance the performance of houses and building systems

SSM Gear

Corporate sustainability systems specialization
Advance the goals of sustainability within a business, industrial, corporate, and non-profit organization context

SSM Gear

Energy systems specialization
Focus on the advancement of sustainable energy systems, solutions, and their applications

SSM Gear

Sustainable products business management specialization
Apply sales, marketing, and business management to advance the goals of products and technologies and bring them closer to consumers


Our graduates work for home builders and remodelers, design and consulting firms, businesses with sustainability goals, and more.

Careers for the sustainable systems management major


  • Spring 2020 SSM student enrollment: 86
  • 2019-2020 SSM graduates: 21

Degree requirements and admission

Sustainable systems management is a bachelor of science program offered by the University of Minnesota College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Science (CFANS).

Contact us

Prospective students are welcome to visit CFANS on campus. Schedule a visit

If you have questions, would like to meet faculty, or tour our labs, please e-mail or contact our SSM major coordinators:

Tim Smith
View Smith's bio

Omar Espinoza
View Espinoza's bio