The Master of Science degree in Resilient and Sustainable Communities (MRSC) is the first program of its kind in the nation. Offered by Green Mountain College, the most highly awarded college in the nation for sustainability, this program adopts Green Mountain College’s groundbreaking bioregional approach to distance learning, in which students apply what they learn in each course to their local communities. MRSC students will learn about land-use planning, economic development, energy production, food systems, and resource management, while developing skills in leadership, group organization and conflict resolution.
From urban areas to small towns, citizens are rethinking traditional approaches to providing food, energy, transportation and governance in response to rapid environmental and economic changes. As we adapt to conditions brought about by a changing climate, depletion of fossil fuel supplies, and growing inequalities in wealth and access to vital resources, the MRSC program gives students the skills to develop, advocate, and implement fundamental changes in how communities function.
At the heart of this program is the understanding that sustainability depends on creating resilient communities, which can adapt to changing conditions in ways that allow them to evolve without losing their fundamental identities. In this program students will synthesize knowledge about land-use planning, economic development, energy production, food systems, and resource management, while developing skills in leadership, group organization, and conflict resolution.
As in the College’s other online graduate programs, students complete their coursework at times that best fit their personal and professional lives. Because class sizes are small (no more than 20 students), students experience meaningful interactions with their classmates and individual attention from instructors. The program will prepare students for a rapidly expanding range of careers in community development, energy production, municipal agencies, businesses, and nonprofit organizations.
The MRSC program, unique in its design and approach, strives to help students apply what they learn in each class to their own communities, wherever they may live, and to hear from classmates how the same concepts may take different forms in various settings. The applied emphasis of our online graduate programs is a natural expression of our college, which features a culture and curriculum deeply rooted in social, environmental and economic sustainability. Typically, students progress through the program one class at a time, sequencing the core requirements prior to the elective options. This serves to lay important foundational perspectives of environmental studies, as well as build relationships within the cohort. Students complete projects and assignments by connecting the program’s teaching with their own real-life experiences, while engaging with colleagues and instructors in asynchronous discussions.
Our online MRSC program consists of 39 credits. Each 3-credit course is just six weeks in length, followed by a one-week break before the start of the next course. We cap each course at 20 students, but our typical class size is 10-18 students: perfect for individualized attention and quality group discussion.