The Center for Advanced Undergraduate Studies and Experience (CAUSE) is a unique center that supports the educational mission of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, providing special services, courses, and facilities that are not available at the departmental level. A goal of the center is to promote undergraduate research and study abroad/study away.  CAUSE-sponsored courses provide “real world experiences” for students – a chance to leave the classroom behind and spend time tackling a topic of contemporary importance in the field.


CAUSE was created in the early 1990s to promote interdisciplinary, problem-based learning opportunities for undergraduates. The centerpiece of CAUSE is a multi-semester seminar course that allows students to do theme-based research both in the classroom and out in the field. CAUSE courses focus on the political, economic, and physical environment of a selected country or area.  The two-semester CAUSE courses, open to rising juniors and seniors in the social sciences, natural sciences and engineering, also include a Maymester or summer travel component.

Applications for CAUSE 2019 are closed

CAUSE 2019: Applied Sustainability in Contemporary Culture (EMSC 470 Sp/Su/Fall 2019) is an exploration of a variety of novel sustainability applications in Colorado. Topics include urban and rural food production, "zero waste" policies, permaculture, solar photovoltaics, micro-hydroelectricity, anaerobic digestion, hospitality, oil and gas, sustainable brewing practices and more!

The three semester program includes one credit of online coursework in the spring semester, which will include mandatory online meetings. EM SC 240N (or EM SC 297a, EM SC 240) is a pre-requisite for the CAUSE program, and can be taken in tandem with the one credit EMSC 470 in the spring semester.

The summer semester is comprised of one credit of travel during June 22-30th, 2019 where students will visit multiple sites in Denver, Boulder and Paonia Colorado to learn more about sustainability and energy practices and policies here in the United States.  Students will identify their fall project topic during travel and will complete journaling exercises related to their travel experiences.

Fall semester is an online two credit course in which students will complete research projects identified during their travel. Approved projects may be team based or completed individually.

Learn more about CAUSE 2019