Program Overview

Sustainability Science is a one-year professional master’s degree program that trains students for sustainability-focused careers in industry, academia, government, and the nonprofit sector. The program is grounded in the philosophy that solving societal challenges requires a new generation of leaders who have an understanding of integrated sustainable thinking, rigorous interdisciplinary academic training and practical career-based experience. As such, the program is tailored to meet these challenges and prepare our students to be highly competitive in the market place. The Sustainability Science program accepted its first cohort in the fall of 2011, and with the graduating class of 2019, the program has almost 100 graduates, with 86% employed in the sustainability field.

Entering students first build a common disciplinary foundation through core knowledge courses. They acquire breadth in environmental systems, urban and social systems, economics, and political science through electives. Next, students develop specialization in one of five concentration areas: Urban Sustainability, Renewable Energy and Efficient Design, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, Water Sustainability and Climate Change, and Environmental Quality. The program culminates with a 4-credit practicum where students apply their educational training in a real-world professional setting.

By combining core knowledge, electives, specialization, and a practicum, students build a strong intellectual foundation for analyzing interconnections between social, economic and ecological systems, and hone a professional level of expertise in their chosen concentration.

Students graduate with:
1. A systems thinking approach to understanding the interrelated scientific, social, economic, and political underpinnings of sustainability challenges.
2. Critical thinking and communications skills.
3. Real-world pragmatic training and field experiences.
4. A network of peers and colleagues who are committed to each others’ success.

Housed within the Department of Environmental Conservation at Massachusetts’s flagship public University, students are part of a thriving intellectual community dedicated to sustainability.


86% of MS Sustainability Science graduates are employed in the Sustainability field

  * Data is from MS3 alumni survey respondents, Sept 2018.


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Meet some of the faculty, staff, students, and partners who make UMass Amherst the destination of choice for sustainability professionals. Learn more >