10 Schools Where You Could Earn a Masters in Sustainability (from MBA to Sustainable Engineering Programs, and More!)

Sustainability master's programs [geo-in-name]

What is a masters in sustainable development?

A masters degree in sustainable development is a postgraduate study program that prepares students to face climate change and create a more sustainable world. Students may take courses in management, environmental studies, business operations, ecosystems, waste management, and economics, and politics.

Sustainability Master’s programs may come in a variety of forms – from MBA to Master of Science programs – as well as different concentrations, like sustainable development, climate policy, and environmental management. We’ve gathered some sponsored listings for graduate schools offering sustainability masters programs across diverse academic areas. Check them out below, or keep reading to learn more about different types of Sustainability Master’s programs you might encounter.

10 Graduate Schools with Sustainability Master’s Programs

These ten partner schools are home to a variety of sustainability masters programs that could help you pursue your goals. See a program that looks perfect? Click to request more information and kickstart your (green) education journey!

Chartered by an act of Congress in 1821, the George Washington University has an impressive history…and an eye on a brighter future. GW offers several master’s programs related to sustainability, including a Sustainable Urban Planning program that may cover green technologies, sustainable land use, and the “green collar” sector. GW is also home to more than 80 research centers and institutes, which focus on solving problems in the university’s home city of Washington, D.C. and beyond.

Green Features:

  • GW was the first school in Washington D.C. to sign the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC)
  • As a bike-friendly campus, GW offers 77 bicycle racks and 492 spaces!
  • GW’s green initiatives include faculty research, urban farming, LEED-certified buildings, student-led sustainability projects, and more!

Masters in Sustainability Programs:

Did You Know?
The George Washington University serves over 26,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
Villanova is a private, Catholic research university located just twelve miles from Philadelphia. Its lovely, tree-covered campus may be the ideal place to study sustainability. Master’s programs include the Sustainable Engineering program, which features a multi-disciplinary curriculum that explores environmental, social, and economic factors in the field of engineering. (Students in this program may also have the green option of pursuing many of their courses online!)

Green Features:

  • Member of Tree Campus USA
  • Campus has 35 hydration stations to prevent water bottle waste
  • Villanova is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council.
  • The Villanova Center for the Advancement of Sustainability in Engineering (VCASE) focuses on sustainable engineering research.

Masters in Sustainability Programs:

Fun Fact:
Villanova University offers over 40 master’s programs across a variety of disciplines, including several related to sustainability.
Based in Baltimore but with campuses across the world, Johns Hopkins is a research university with wide reach in the sciences and beyond. They offer programs across nine schools, including master’s programs connected to sustainability. For instance, in the Master of Science in Energy Policy and Climate program, students may prepare to make an impact across their communities by exploring potential interdisciplinary solutions to energy challenges.

Green Features:

  • Since 2008, JHU has decreased their greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 30%.
  • The student organization Real Food Hopkins strives to bring local, sustainable food to campus.
  • Johns Hopkins Eastern is home to a campus garden where students can learn about sustainable food production.

Masters in Sustainability Programs:

Did You Know?
Johns Hopkins is America’s first research university, with over 140 years of history.
Purdue, Indiana’s land-grant university, is a private research institution known for its impact in fields like science, technology, engineering, and math. Purdue University offers several master’s programs that touch on sustainability, including the Ecological Sciences & Engineering Interdisciplinary Graduate Program. This program explores the connection between human activity and ecological systems, with the goal of enhancing natural resource management and solving sustainability challenges. Pursue an M.S. track that features coursework only, or else choose a thesis track that makes room for your original research.

Green Features:

  • The Global Sustainability Institute conducts research in areas like climate change, water, and global food security.
  • Visit Ross Biological Reserve, Purdue’s “living laboratory” of the Department of Biological Sciences!
  • [email protected] are students trained to promote sustainability and environmental stewardship on campus.

Masters in Sustainability Graduate Programs:

Did You Know?
Purdue University offers locations across the state of Indiana, as well as online learning and the Purdue Global campus, which serves adult learners.
Located close to the Golden Gate Bridge, this Catholic, Jesuit university is an important part of San Francisco’s higher education landscape. USF is also committed to making the world a greener place. Learn more about renewable energy solutions in the MS in Energy Systems Management program, which helps students prepare for potential challenges in the energy sector while envisioning a low carbon future. Since California is known for its renewable energy and green innovations, USF may be the perfect place to study for your goals in this field!

Green Features:

  • Over 20% of the food for USF’s cafeterias comes from local farms.
  • USF’s “zero-waste attitude” has sparked comprehensive recycling initiatives.
  • Free transit passes and other transportation programs may help students commute sustainably.

Masters in Sustainability Programs:

Fun Fact:
USF takes the approach of “San Francisco as a Classroom,” encouraging students to get off campus and explore all that the surrounding city offers.
Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Chatham University offers over 60 programs in sustainability, health and wellness, business and communications, and the arts & sciences. They are particularly known for their green initiatives on campus and in the surrounding community. Besides other sustainability programs, Chatham offers a dual Master of Sustainability (MSUS)/MBA program designed to help students prepare for challenges in sustainability management. The 57-credit program explores aspects of agriculture, water, and ecology, while exploring how to create business plans for sustainably minded organizations.

Green Features:

  • The Falk School of Sustainability & Environment at Chatham is one of the first schools of its kind.
  • Renowned conservationist Rachel Carson was a Chatham alum!
  • Chatham’s green initiatives include composting, RecycleMania, solar thermal collectors on campus buildings, and much more!

Masters in Sustainability Programs:

Students May Love Chatham Because:
The university’s Shadyside Campus is a historic, urban campus that happens to include a 39-acre arboretum!
Offering campuses across New York and around the world, New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) is known for its programs in over 50 fields of study, including science, technology, and engineering. The Environmental Technology & Sustainability M.S. program combines multiple disciplines such as environmental science, ecology, sustainable technology, law, and more, to help students take on diverse global challenges.

Green Features:

  • NYIT hosts an annual Energy Conference to share research on climate change, green building, and more!
  • Faculty and student research initiatives include wind power, hurricane preparedness, and carbon footprint study.

Masters in Sustainability Programs:

Concentration Options:

  • Water resources
  • Environmental compliance
  • Climate change
  • Sustainable technology.
Did You Know?
NYIT serves 9,000 students around the world, including on campuses in Abu Dhabi, Vancouver, and China.
Pratt Institute was founded in 1887, and today the institution has a key presence in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Utica, New York. Pratt serves well over 4,000 students in areas like art, design, architecture, and the liberal arts and sciences. Check out the M.S. in Sustainable Environmental Systems program, which takes an interdisciplinary approach to urban systems design, sustainable development, environmental policy, and more. In the 40-credit program, students may pursue core coursework plus electives that cross over into fields like Urban Planning and Historic Preservation.

Green Features:

  • Pratt is home to the Sustainable Environmental System’s Green Infrastructure Design Build Studio.
  • Research initiatives include water management solutions, Open Sewer Atlas NYC, and more!

Masters in Sustainability Programs:

Fun Fact:
North Hall at Pratt will soon feature a “green roof,” covered with native grasses and plants.
Vanderbilt University is a public research university based in Nashville, Tennessee. Financed by Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1873, the institution was designed to strengthen the nation as a whole. Today, the university incorporates sustainability into that vision. For instance, the Environmental Engineering program at Vanderbilt is designed to help students conduct research in areas like energy, water, smart cities, and much more, while preparing to pursue solutions to sustainability challenges.

Green Features:

  • Vanderbilt University Sustainability and Environmental Management Office (SEMO) handles sustainability initiatives by students, faculty, and staff.
  • Be part of ThinkOne, a campus-wide energy conservation campaign for energy saving!
  • A ride match website and other commuter programs help students get to school sustainably.

Masters in Sustainability Programs:

Did You Know?
Vanderbilt’s 12,000+ students may enjoy over 500 clubs and organizations spanning diverse interests.
The University of Southern California is a private research university, as well as an anchor in the city of Los Angeles. USC emphasizes interdisciplinary study, research, and collaboration – including in the field of sustainability. Green master’s programs include the MS in Green Technologies program offered through the Viterbi School of Engineering. The 27-unit program focuses on green systems, energy technology and efficiency, and sustainability – including its impact on society, and how engineers can make communities like LA more sustainable.

Green Features:

  • USC’s Sustainability 2020 Plan strives to put the campus on track to a greener future.
  • Many research centers at USC focus on sustainability – including the Center for Sustainable Cities, the Center for Sustainability Solutions, and more.
  • Campus water saving initiatives include smart irrigation, low-flow water fixtures, and drought-resistant plants.

Masters in Sustainability Programs:

Students May Love USC Because:
The university’s faculty of faculty of 4,000 includes five Nobel laureates, as well as other distinguished experts and passionate researchers.

Sponsored Listings

What are the Types of Sustainability Masters Programs?

Masters in Sustainability programs may span a variety of fields, and many take an interdisciplinary approach. That said, there are distinctions among different program types, and your career goals may indicate one program over another. As you explore sustainability master’s programs that may help you work toward a greener world, consider these potential paths:

1. Masters in Sustainable Development Programs

Community development may require decisions that impact the environment, resources, and people. A Masters in Sustainable Development program may explore these challenges from an interdisciplinary perspective, potentially incorporating the study of science, technology, public health, management, economics, and more.

2. Masters in Sustainability Management Programs

Organizations across a variety of sectors experience questions and challenges related to sustainability. In a Masters in Sustainability Management program, you could pursue research and practice related to areas like managing water resources, reducing carbon emissions, navigating environmental policy, and much more, with an eye on management practices that can lead to a greener world.

Other, related degree programs may include:

  • Masters of Environmental Management and Sustainability

3. Sustainable Engineering Masters Degree Program

Sustainable engineering typically requires the integration of social, environmental, and economic concerns into systems design. A Master’s in Sustainable Engineering program may address the sustainability issues often raised during the course of design, like pollution, ozone layer depletion, and deforestation, while applying engineering principles and methods to problem-solving.

4. Masters Degree in Energy and Sustainability Programs

A Master’s in Sustainable Energy program may explore emerging renewable energy solutions, like wind energy, solar energy, and bioenergy, along with an understanding of sustainability policies related to a changing world.

Other, related degree programs may include:

  • Master of Sustainability and Climate Policy

5. MBA Environmental Sustainability Programs

Interested in potentially exploring the business side of sustainability (or running a sustainable business)? From climate change policy to resource scarcity, environmental concerns may impact corporations and vice versa. An MBA program with a focus on sustainability may be designed to help you navigate these challenges while promoting responsible practices and a greener world.

Other, related degree programs may include:

  • MBA Sustainable Development

DID YOU KNOW? 74% of Chief Sustainability Officers (a green career path!) earned a master’s degree as of 2021.

Sustainability Master’s Programs

Sustainability Masters Programs
1. The George Washington UniversitySustainable Urban Planning, Civil & Environmental Engineering, more
2. Villanova UniversityMS in Sustainable Engineering, MS in Water Resources and Environmental Engineering, more
3. Johns Hopkins UniversityMS in Environmental Sciences and Policy. MS in Energy Policy
4. Purdue UniversityAgricultural Economics Master, Foresty and Natural Resources Masters
5. University of San FranciscoMS in Energy Systems Management
6. Chatham UniversityMaster of Ssustainability, MS in Green Chemistry
7. New York Institute of TechnologyEnergy Management, Environmental Technology and Sustainability
8. Pratt InstituteMS in Sustainable Environmental Systems
9. Vanderbilt UniversityEnvironmental Engineering, Environmental Managament Studies
10. University of Southern CaliforniaGreen Technologies, Environmental Engineering

Featured Schools

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