Academic director Juan Carlos Silva shares his thoughts on the sustainability question and explains why the Bachelor in Environmental Sciences for Sustainability is a big step toward finding long-lasting solutions.

Sustainability has long been one of the core pillars of IE University. With the current state of the global landscape, it’s becoming an increasingly fundamental challenge for modern society. And as the world comes together to tackle environmental issues such as the climate change crisis, there is a need to find more sustainable solutions for the benefit of both present and future generations.    

Therefore, the relevance of a program like the Bachelor in Environmental Sciences for Sustainability cannot be understated. Now in its first year, the program’s goal is to shape a new crop of eco-conscious leaders who want to make a difference. It’s yet another example of the university’s dedication to sustainable practices, blending science and innovation in the pursuit of a better world. In a recent interview, Juan Carlos Silva—the incoming academic director—dove into the program’s potential to reshape the future.  

Into the Bachelor in Environmental Sciences for Sustainability 

“The Bachelor in Environmental Sciences for Sustainability has been designed to provide you with all the necessary skills to have a better understanding of the Earth system and how it interacts with society,” explains Juan. Its primary mission is to redefine how we tackle environmental challenges—a goal the program aims to accomplish by blending natural science with cutting-edge digital tools and insights into the current social, political and regulatory landscapes. 

This innovative program is transdisciplinary, cutting across different areas of study to develop holistic environmental solutions. And according to Juan, this is intentional as it helps students explore “the intended and unintended implications of human actions on natural and social systems” in an in-depth, comprehensive manner. In the end, they will emerge with a broad skill set, equipped to take on sustainability challenges from a scientific, socioeconomic and technologically informed perspective.

A systematic approach

Delivered over four years, the Bachelor in Environmental Sciences for Sustainability provides a truly immersive experience. Its classroom is set against the beautiful green landscapes of Segovia—students get to see theoretical concepts play out in the natural world firsthand. But the highlight, of course, is the program’s emphasis on the practical approach. “What makes this program so unique,” Juan says, “is precisely the fact that […] we build a connection between environmental sciences, technology and the social sciences, which is one of IE University’s greatest assets.”

Through project-based learning, students are guided to build a scientific foundation from day one. “In the first year, we cover some fundamental subjects such as physics, chemistry, biology, geology and mathematics,” says Juan. It’s a necessary focus on essential scientific principles that not only empowers students in the fundamentals of basic sciences, research methodology and technology, but also provides them a firm base to build upon for the rest of the program. 

The second year provides a deep dive into applied sciences and systemic thinking, complemented by projects revolving around pollution evaluation and ecosystem restorations. They also begin their explorations into entrepreneurship, continuing the process of building a well-rounded skill set. 

Similarly, year three goes more in-depth into various disciplines in applied science, as well as economics, legal and regulatory frameworks, and sociology. Students also learn about today’s most pressing environmental and sustainability challenges, including climate change, dwindling water resources and other ecosystem dynamics. 

And the fourth and final year spotlights transformation and career specialization, offering electives to personalize the learning journey.

Apart from knowledge and skill development, the Bachelor in Environmental Sciences for Sustainability also offers students highly practical labs, enriching extracurricular activities and international exchange opportunities to expand their global outlook.

After the program: what can you expect? 

This broad range of program offerings is geared toward professionals who want to use their skills for positive impact. As Juan explains, the ideal candidate is “someone with a very clear cosmopolitan nature and a strong sense of global citizenship.” If you want to understand the environmental challenges of our time and are committed to finding ingenious sustainable solutions through collective action, the Bachelor in Environmental Sciences for Sustainability is the program for you.

“This program uses a challenge-based pedagogical approach,” Juan explains. Students are exposed to contemporary methodologies that expand their competencies and provide practical expertise. “You will become one of the next generation of global leaders capable of solving ongoing environmental and sustainability issues and prepared to take any job opportunity in the flourishing green industry.”  

Indeed, graduates of this program will be transdisciplinary experts, equipped to excel in a variety of roles in the private and public sectors as well as civil society. By working in important fields such as climate solutions, environmental policy, food and long-term water security, the energy transition, decarbonization efforts and more, these aspiring professionals will be well-positioned to create a positive impact in global sustainability efforts.