Undergraduate Coursework in Sustainability

A description of undergraduate courses offered at the Penn State Smeal College of Business that include sustainability-focused content.

The following Penn State Smeal College of Business courses are offered at the undergraduate level and include sustainability-focused content:

ACCTG 440: Advanced Management Accounting

Advanced Management Accounting focuses on "full-cost accounting" to explore why and how accounting techniques can be modified to reflect the full impact of business decisions including their environmental costs and benefits. Students will spend a week discussing the emerging procedures to account for such externalities and hear a number of short cases from the real world (BMW, Interface Inc., GE) for analysis and reflection.

BA 342: Socially Responsible, Sustainable and Ethical Business Practice

Socially Responsible, Sustainable, and Ethical Business Practice starts with the personal, organizational, national, and global dynamics in ethical decision-making and is followed by a "stakeholder" model for both domestic and international social responsibility. The last third of the class focuses on sustainability -- the social, environmental and economic elements that comprise the true bottom line for a corporation (meeting today's needs without sacrificing the ability of those in the future to meet theirs).

BA 441: Strategies for Enterprise Sustainability

Strategies for Enterprise Sustainability explores the importance in ensuring products and services maintain a high level of integrity, quality, and reliability, and also move throughout the supply chain in a manner that doesn’t cause unacceptable environmental or social burdens, but allows for acceptable profits. Students will examine forces that impact business strategies such as environmental groups, policy-makers, and consumers in the context of the “triple bottom line” with an understanding of its challenges and opportunities. 

BLAW/RM 425: Business and Environmental Regulation

This course explores the interplay between environmental laws and property rights and includes topics such as common law regulation of the environment, government power and private rights, zoning, protecting endangered species, regulating the transportation and storage of hazardous materials, and Federal regulation of water quality.

IB 404: Contemporary Issues in International Business

Contemporary Issues in International Business enables students to study the most current topics in international and global business that form the framework for understanding business decisions. The course uses an interdisciplinary approach to explore broad changes in the international environment at the economic, political, cultural, environmental, and social levels by focusing on several themes that represent the complexity of global issues that affect business.

IB 497: Sustainability and International Business

Sustainability and International Business examines how international business is more than simply adopting sustainable practices--it has the potential to help companies gain a competitive advantage. This course focuses on sustainable development in relation to global corporations, the effect of sustainability on global corporate development strategies, and how corporations interact with nations to develop partnerships that support sustainable economic development. Topics covered in this course include corporate social responsibility, sustainable strategies, risk management, government policies, stakeholder expectations, and opportunities for multinationals in the age of climate change.

MGMT 451: Business, Ethics, and Society

Advanced examination of social, ethical, legal, and economic responsibilities of those who must make and execute challenging business decisions and manage others who do. The course focuses on the knowledge, skills, and perspectives that a leader in business must have in order to navigate the intersection of business, ethics and society. This includes prescriptive frameworks for ethical decision making, an understanding of how people actually make ethical and unethical decisions, strategies for creating and sustaining ethical cultures, and practice addressing real and hypothetical challenges to responsible leadership in business.

MKTG 442: Sustainable Behavior of Consumers, Firms, and Societies

Sustainable Behavior of Consumers, Firms, and Societies is designed to provide students with the knowledge to enhance sustainable behaviors in firms, among consumers, and in society at large. The course will include frameworks for understanding how to influence sustainable practices, consumer response to sustainability, and marketing communication issues as well as real-world examples of sustainable practices and issues, offering both a theoretical and applied approach. 

RM 450: Contemporary Issues in Real Estate Markets

This course covers topics such as historical performance, land use issues, market valuation, real estate development, and public policy issues.

SCM 448: Building Sustainable Supply Chains

This course looks at sustainability from a business perspective. In particular, it focuses on how to design businesses and their supply chains that are both economically and environmentally sustainable. Firms are under increasing pressure from governments, stakeholders, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the general public to develop products and processes that have a lower impact on the environment (e.g., lower carbon emissions). The course is designed to be offered via the Case Method teaching approach. This method uses decision-focusing cases to put students in the role of people who were faced with difficult decisions at some point in the past. Students will be challenged to develop ways industries can mitigate consumption problems. The outcome is to provide students with a knowledge base in core areas of sustainability from a business (supply chain) perspective. These core areas include but are not limited to: Fundamentals, Eco-efficiency, Product Stewardship, and Sustainable Strategy.