Curriculum

36 points for degree completion On-campus instruction only
Part-time or full-time program Spring and Fall intake
3-9 terms to complete

The M.S. in Sustainability Management program may be taken on a part-time or full-time basis, and includes five required areas of study:

  • Integrative Courses in Sustainability Management
  • Economics and Quantitative Analysis
  • The Physical Dimensions of Sustainability Management
  • The Public Policy Environment of Sustainability Management
  • General and Financial Management

Integrative Courses in Sustainability Management

Students take one required introductory course, one capstone course and one elective course. The introductory course provides an overview of sustainability concepts and practices and how they are applied in real-world contexts. The capstone course is a client-based workshop that integrates each element of the curriculum into an applied project, giving students hands-on sustainability management experience. Students wishing to specialize in a particular area have the opportunity to do so with an elective chosen from the University’s rich offerings in sustainability management and science.

These three courses give students an understanding of the elements of sustainability by teaching them about the complex interactions between natural and social systems which sustainability practitioners must always consider. Students also learn about the different ways in which “sustainability” is understood, both as productivity and as a part of corporate social responsibility or global citizenship.

Economics and Quantitative Analysis

The economics and quantitative analysis area includes two courses in general and sustainability economics and one course in statistics. The economics requirement reflects the fact that sustainability managers must understand the financial costs and benefits of sustainability practice. After completing this requirement, students have a good understanding of what sustainability means from an economic perspective, both in the traditional and broader socioeconomic sense. The quantitative analysis requirement gives students the necessary tools to utilize data samples when analyzing a larger issue, allowing them to more efficiently determine the best way to proceed on a particular project.

Physical Dimensions of Sustainability Management

The physical dimensions requirement teaches students about the connections between environmental inputs (i.e. natural resources) and outputs (i.e. energy), and their effects on the natural environment. Students are required to take three courses from the following categories although all three courses may not come from only one category: earth and environmental engineering, environmental planning, design or architecture and ecology or earth and environmental sciences.

The emphasis in this requirement is on understanding the environmental impacts from organizational activities. The planning, design or architecture courses give students a foundation in planning, design and spatial issues. This is particularly important, as many sustainability initiatives concern land use, buildings and other physical entities.

The Public Policy Environment of Sustainability Management

Policy shapes how urban environments are managed and sustainability practitioners must be able to analyze public policy and its effects on what they are able to do. This one course requirement (in environmental or sustainability policy or law) provides students with an understanding of current policy and strengthens their ability to react to future policy developments as they emerge.

General and Financial Management

Students must take two courses in public, private or nonprofit general or financial management. The general management requirement teaches the skills that are essential to shaping the behavior of an organization and thus to carrying out effective sustainability initiatives. Students graduate equipped with the tools to shape organizational culture and employee behavior even as new environmental challenges arise. The financial management requirement gives students a foundation in finance and financial models, and an understanding of how environmental commodities markets regulate polluting industries and provide incentives for encouraging desired behaviors. Students also investigate the credibility of “non-financial metrics” that often accompany sustainability efforts.

The M.S. in Sustainability Management is offered as both a full and part-time program, and is designed to enable part-time students to maintain full time employment while enrolled in the program. But either option demands a serious commitment of time and energy. Students are expected to devote significant time to completing reading and class assignments, and papers outside of class.

Core courses are held on weekday evenings, and elective courses are offered throughout the week. Students should expect to spend at least 10-20 hours per week on the program. This varies depending upon the number of courses taken and individual course requirements.

In order to receive the degree, students must complete all requirements within three years with an overall grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better.