Sustainability is about choices made within specific environmental, economic, social, and cultural contexts.  Sustainability scholarship involves creating, integrating and harnessing new knowledge to protect and improve social and natural systems and their interactions.  The Department of Community Sustainability (CSUS) is an interdisciplinary department that addresses contemporary issues of sustainability in agriculture, recreation, natural resources, and the environment. The Department of Community Sustainability (CSUS) was formerly called the Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation, and Resource Studies (CARRS).

Consistent with its mission to assist in the development of sustainable communities, the department offers three undergraduate majors linked by a common core in community sustainability. These three majors - Environmental Studies and Sustainability (ESS); Sustainable Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SPRT); and Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Education (AFNRE) – share a set of courses centered on community sustainability. The CSUS graduate program offers two graduate majors: Community Sustainability (MS and PhD) and Sustainable Tourism and Protected Areas Management (MS and PhD). In both undergraduate and graduate programs, CSUS embraces international as well as domestic applications, engagement, and opportunities.



CSUS undergraduate programs are designed to educate scholars and practitioners who are able to create, integrate and harness new knowledge to protect and improve both social and natural systems. We offer a core curriculum in community sustainability that supports three majors: Environmental Studies and Sustainability (ESS), Sustainable Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SPRT), and Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Education (AFNRE).

More information about Undergraduate Programs



CSUS offers two graduate degree programs: one in Community Sustainability (CSUS) and the other in Sustainable Tourism and Protected Areas Management (STPAM). Both programs offer Master of Science (MS) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees. CSUS is for students who want an advanced degree related to community sustainability and are interested in interdisciplinary research. STPAM is for students who want an advanced degree related to parks, recreation and tourism with an emphasis on sustainability.

More information about Graduate Programs


  • NSF grant advances research on how predators help crops in fruit-growing areas

    MSU integrative biology graduate student Megan Shave with a nestling American kestrel banded in Leelanau County

    MSU Associate Professor Catherine Lindell is one of 16 recipients of grants totaling more than $20 million made in 2015 by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH) program for research on how humans and the environment interact.

    Lindell and two MSU colleagues, in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources —Philip H. Howard, associate professor of community sustainability, and Brian Maurer, associate professor of fisheries and wildlife and of geography—received a three-year, $498,650 grant to investigate whether predatory bird populations, in this case American kestrels, increase when researchers provide nest boxes in fruit-growing regions and whether these predators reduce crop damage.


  • Spartans Feed the World

    By 2050, the world’s population is expected to reach nine billion. To feed a population that size, food production will need to increase by 70 percent to 100 percent, according to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

    To meet this most basic of needs on a massive scale, Michigan State University researchers are increasing their presence throughout Africa, Asia, and Central America—key food-producing regions—and are working directly with farmers, policy makers, and government entities to increase agricultural productivity, improve diets, and build greater resilience to challenges like climate change.

  • AFRE Gets $1.8M USAID Grant to Boost African Great Lakes Coffee Industry

    Farm-level Coffee Processing in Rural Rwanda

    The U.S. Agency for International Development has announced that AFRE’s Food Security Group will receive an additional $1.8 million associate award as part of ongoing work through the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy.

  • MSU associate professor receives Michigan Department of Natural Resources recognition

    Charles Nelson receives Partner in Conservation Award from the DNR

    Michigan State University faculty member Charles Nelson received the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Partners in Conservation Award July 9. Nelson is an associate professor in the Department of Community Sustainability in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR).


  • Undergraduate research opportunity takes CANR student to Malawi

    Claire Jordan

    Claire Jordan wants to change the world. And this summer, she begins her journey to “leave the world a better place” starting in Malawi.


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