Program Overview

Sustainability Science is a one or two-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. It features rigorous interdisciplinary academic training, practical career-based experience, and extensive professional development. As such, the program is tailored to prepare our students to be highly competitive in the green careers market place. The Sustainability Science program accepted its first cohort in the fall of 2011, and with the graduating class of 2023, the program has more than 160 graduates. We welcome applications from anyone who has completed a bachelor's degree, in any 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.


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