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We do not exist as separate from the natural world that surrounds us. We are connected to it in a profound way.

In our BA in Sustainable & Regenerative Living, you'll learn the skills you need to realize this connection and become a leader in the sustainability movement through hands-on classes, individualized attention, and the support of a sustainable, spiritual community.

New! Bachelor’s Specialization in Sustainable & Regenerative Living. This option is great for students who want to transfer in credits and graduate on a fast track.

Be more than sustainable

At MIU, you’ll rethink the world from a “Deep Sustainability” point of view. This philosophy, unique to our university, questions every aspect of human endeavor to create new processes and innovations that help us thrive in harmony with nature.

You’ll study sustainable energy, renewable agriculture, sustainable architecture, community development, and more, learning to live life in a way that replenishes the health of our planet, the individual, and society.

Dive deeply into what you learn

students doing field work in sustainable agricultureYou’ll be fully immersed in one course per month, diving deeply into each topic without the stress of taking on multiple subjects at once. Our low student-faculty ratio means you get individualized attention and support.

This means you’ll have time for hands-on projects outside of the typical class curriculum—past students have built wind generators from scratch, launched a regional food system, created sustainability plans for our local community, and more.

Connect to your inner nature

student meditatingYou’ll learn the Transcendental Meditation technique, an evidence-based practice that reduces stress, enhances brain functioning, increases creativity, and connects you to who you are.

After meditating regularly, our students often report feeling happier, healthier, more connected, and better able to see their place in the big picture. By the time you graduate, you’ll be in touch with yourself and the natural world, knowledgeable of how to best help us all towards harmony with the planet through using your own unique talents.

Learning communities

Each of our learning communities is structured to yield a holistic level of depth in the subject area. Students move through the sequence of courses together, providing the advantage of both intellectual and social connections.
installing solar panels

How do we achieve sustainability for human civilization? By aligning our actions, habits, and even urban planning methods with nature’s “house-rules.”

This learning community teaches a system for designing and constructing ecologically and economically sustainable communities called EcoVillages, which are designed to exist in harmony with the environment.

How can we learn to live life in harmony with the laws of nature, use natural resources sustainably, and live in unity with our surrounding environment?

In this learning community, you’ll gain knowledge of the geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere and learn the fundamentals of how ecosystems evolve as integrated biological and physical communities. By the end of this 4-month experience, you will be prepared to live a fully sustainable lifestyle.

The EV Technology learning community emphasizes theory, laboratory skills, and a project-based experience in energy storage, power electronics, and electrical machines. This semester-long module provides students with a coherent suite of courses, that includes the dissection and rebuilding of an electric vehicle, to reveal the scientific and interdisciplinary nature of energy studies.

MIU is the first accredited university to offer a degree program in Regenerative Organic Agriculture. You’ll learn a variety of skills—including how to grow food sustainably, sell produce, and more—in hands-on classes with expert faculty.

You’ll graduate with the knowledge, experience, and connections you need to pursue any career in sustainable agriculture. Learn more ➤

The classroom, evolved

Using a combination of wind, solar, and geothermal energy, our Schwartz-Guich Sustainable Living Center goes beyond net zero and actually creates more energy than it uses. That’s part of the reason why it was called “the ultimate green building” by the Associated Press. Learn more ➤

Graduate success

Troy Van Beek

Troy Van Beek graduated with a degree in Sustainable Living in 2009 and founded Ideal Energy, a Fairfield-based solar company, with his wife, MIU alumna Amy Van Beek. Thanks to their work, Fairfield now has the highest number of solar energy installations per capita in Iowa. Troy and Amy have received national and international recognition and were invited to speak at the 2015 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris.

Josef Biechler

Josef Biechler graduated in 2013 and traveled to Costa Rica to run 18 research farms, using his skills in permaculture design, soil ecology, microbiology, and composting to reverse climate change. His work is sponsored by the Rodale Institute and The Carbon Underground, organizations dedicated to reducing atmospheric carbon levels through sustainable agriculture.

Nelina Loiselle

Nelina Loiselle is co-founder, Executive Vice President and Marketing Director of Above Green, Inc., a consulting firm that works with contractors, architects, and building owners/developers to complete LEED certification paperwork, paving the way for busy companies to decrease their carbon footprint and build in harmony with nature.

Watch the video about Charity Seeds Gardens, 5 minutes and 24 seconds long

Kim Strubell, who graduated with an MIU degree in Sustainable Living, was inspired to start the non-profit Charity Seeds after traveling to the Darien jungle between Panama and Colombia with his son and learning of the threat of deforestation looming there. As their website states, “Charity Seeds believes that children and education are the way forward. By providing the people with education for saving their soil, water and seeds, they’re able to provide food security and food sovereignty for generations to come.”

Internships and certifications

You’ll have the opportunity to pursue local, regional, national and international internships in areas as diverse as sustainable agriculture, the building trades, environmental organizations, green business, and more.

Our students receive academic credit for successful completion of professional certifications in sustainability. Past certification trainings we’ve offered include Building Biology, Permaculture Design, Resnet Energy Rater Training, and AutoCAD.

Organic vegetarian food

We’re the first US college to offer an organic, vegetarian, freshly prepared menu – it’s one of the reasons why our students are often healthier when they graduate than when they enroll.

We offer a wide variety of vegetarian fare, from home-style pizza to Chinese stir fry, from Mexican to Indian and more. We bake our own breads and pastries using organic flour and use locally grown produce whenever possible.

Cost & Aid, 2022-23

Annual Cost and Typical Financial Aid
Tuition and fees$16,530
Housing (single room) and meals$7,400
Health insurance (estimate)$3,506
Personal expenses, books, unexpected needs (estimate)$3,500
Cost Per Year$30,936

Full-time students may apply for up to $6,000 scholarship based on qualifying documented family income. Our undergraduate scholarship application form will be made available to you upon application to the university.

Tuition, other fees, scholarships, and financial policies are subject to change prior to the entry date.

Featured faculty

Ralph Hearn

Ralph Hearn, BSEE, MScEng, is an expert and inventor in sustainable energy systems. He has 20+ years of R & D experience in electrical rotating machinery, magnetics, and other electrical technologies. He teaches subjects related to energy and sustainability and holds two US patents.

According to Ralph Hearn, the most pivotal experiences in his life have been: contribution to Variable Reluctance Motor & Variable Reluctance Generator Patents; developing EV 1 and EMD locomotives for GM as a  Senior Scientist in the middle 1990s; designing an electric car for a southern California Automotive research company in the early 2000s, now manufactured and sold in Bangalore, India

Students of Ralph’s Energy and Sustainability class built an EV charging station for one-tenth of the market price. The station, located alongside the Sustainable Living Center, continues to be used by members of the campus community.

Featured student work and experiences

(R)evolution webinar series

Deep conversations with leaders regenerating the world

In these twice-monthly conversations, we speak with some of the leading figures in creating a healthy, safe, thriving, and socially just world. We learn about their work, and we ask them: What needs to change, at the deepest level, to bring about the transformations we need?

Speakers have included:

  • Dr. Rattan Lal — the first researcher to demonstrate that regenerative agriculture can address the climate crisis and other major global challenges; winner of the 2020 World Food Prize Watch ➡︎
  • Allan Savory — one of the founders of the Savory Institute and developer of the Holistic Management framework to address the cause of global desertification and climate change Watch ➡︎
  • Dr. Roland Bunch — one of the most well-respected leaders in regenerative land management Watch ➡︎
  • Dr. Tim LaSalle — past CEO of the Rodale Institute and a global champion of regenerative agriculture. Watch ➡︎
  • Alex Pryor — co-founded Guayaki Sustainable Rainforest Products in 1996, a major beverage company based on yerba mate tea that is devoted to regenerative agriculture. Watch ➡︎

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Our next entries:
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