MATH 102

Mathematics of Sustainability

4 Undergraduate credits
Effective August 22, 2009 – Present

Graduation requirements this course fulfills

This course develops and applies mathematical concepts and tools to quantitatively explore environmental sustainability issues. Topics addressed in the course will be explored from environmental, social, and economic perspectives wherever possible, and may include such topics as industrial agriculture, energy sustainability, population growth, ecological footprints and the security of land and water resources. The mathematical concepts developed in this course are motivated through the study of these topics. Particular mathematical concepts include properties of real numbers, rate of change and percentage change, functions (with a focus on linear, exponential, logarithmic, and quadratic functions), inverse functions, mathematical modeling, algebraic simplification of expressions, solving linear equations and inequalities, and practical interpretation of numerical information.

Special information

Prerequisites: Enrollment is restricted to students who have not completed Goal IV. All students must place into MATH 102 on the mathematics assessment test offered by Placement Assessment Office. Students having questions should contact Professor Rikki Wagstrom at 651-793-1454.

Learning outcomes


  • Perform unit conversions, calculate rates of change and percentage change, create and algebraically manipulate linear, exponential, and quadratic functions, extract information from the graph or table of a function, simplify mathematical expressions, solve linear equations and inequalities, and solve elementary exponential equations using logarithms.
  • Interpret mathematical concepts in real-world contexts, and communicate these concepts from a practical perspective using everyday language.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 10: People and the Environment

  • Explain the basic structure and function of various natural ecosystems and of human adaptive strategies within those systems.
  • Discern patterns and interrelationships of bio-physical and socio-cultural systems.
  • Describe the basic institutional arrangements (social, legal, political, economic, religious) that are evolving to deal with environmental and natural resource challenges.
  • Evaluate critically environmental and natural resource issues in light of understandings about interrelationships, ecosystems, and institutions.
  • Propose and assess alternative solutions to environmental problems.
  • Articulate and defend the actions they would take on various environmental issues.