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Master of Sustainability Leadership - MSL

Master of Sustainability Leadership - MSL

Master of Sustainability Leadership - MSL

About the Master of Sustainability
Leadership degree

Professor helping students with Masters degreeThe Master of Sustainability Leadership (MSL) degree at Arizona State University will prepare professionals to advance social and environmental responsibility. The program teaches organizational leadership skills through the lens of sustainability. This fully online program equips graduates to drive high-impact global sustainable results for their companies, organizations, and communities through their own careers. Graduates will be prepared to advance sustainability practices and strategically communicate sustainability as the gold standard for best institutional practices.

Derived from the successful program, this program’s curriculum is built around four themes:

leadership, communication, strategy and global context.

Designed and led by a team of sustainability professors, experts and professionals, the core courses are interwoven and build upon one another through the theme areas, combining applied and academic bodies of knowledge.

The program is administered in collaboration with ASU Online

Fall Start: August
Spring Start: January
Length of Program: Typically two years or less
Delivery: 100% Online

Picture of Laura Ortbahn“Everything about this program has been great. I recommend it to anyone who has determination and drive. Even with a busy lifestyle, it’s manageable, valuable, affordable, and you know you’re getting a quality education”
~ Laura Ortbahn, Inside Sales – Legend Brands

Learning outcomes

Program-level learning outcomes include:

  • understanding of critical knowledge, approaches and tools at the interface of sustainability and leadership
  • proficiency in applying solution-based knowledge and tools for institutional development and change for sustainability
  • ability to successfully lead institutional change and development toward sustainability
  • proficiency in building and communicating cases for sustainability, including opportunities and challenges
  • understanding of the emerging global sustainability context and proficiency in life-long learning in this rapidly evolving arena

80% Master’s degree alumni are employed.

20% Master’s degree alumni are pursuing graduate degrees.


A minimum of 35 credit hours is required for the Master of Sustainability Leadership.

Requirements and electives Hours
Core courses 25
Focus Area electives 6
Culminating experience 4
Total semester hours required 35

Graduate handbooks

Courses and electives

The MSL curriculum includes four thematic areas: leadership for sustainability, sustainability and strategy, communications and change management, and global context of sustainability.

  • SOS 501 – Foundations of Sustainability (1)
  • EMS 502 – Global Context (2)
  • EMS 503 – Strategic Sustainability I (2)
  • EMS 504 – Communications and Sustainability I (2)
  • EMS 505 – Sustainability Leadership I (2)
  • EMS 506 – Global Context II (2)
  • EMS 507 – Strategic Sustainability II (2)
  • EMS 509 – Communications and Sustainability II (2)
  • EMS 510 – Leadership II (2)
  • EMS 511 – Global Context III (2)
  • EMS 512 – Strategic Sustainability III (2)
  • EMS 513 – Communications and Sustainability III (2)
  • EMS 514 – Leadership III (2)

Each student will undertake a capstone project, including a final presentation of project outcomes. The project will be developed over four courses.

  • EMS 586 – Introduction to Capstone (1)
  • EMS 587 – Capstone Preparation (1)
  • EMS 588 – Capstone (2)

Students select six credit hours of electives in line with their overall goals and objectives for their plan of study. Examples of possible focus areas are military, law, supply chain management and urban planning. Sample courses are listed below. Other elective courses may be used with approval of the academic unit.


  • SOS 598/502 – Sustainability Strategies for Military and Defense
  • SOS 598/503 – Sustainable Management of Military Lands
  • SOS 598/504 – Sustainable Management of Military Facilities


  • LAW 523 – Property
  • LAW 831 – Environmental Law
  • LAW 643 – Water Law
  • LAW 691 – Topic: Energy Law & Policy

Nonprofit Organization

  • NLM 510 – Foundations in Nonprofit Management
  • NLM 520 – Financial Management in Nonprofit Organizations
  • NLM 540 – Human Resources in Nonprofit Organizations
  • NLM 550 – Philanthropy: Theory and Practice
  • NLM 560 – Leadership and Ethics in Nonprofit Organizations
  • NLM 562 – Social Entrepreneurship

Policy and Administration

  • PAF 503 – Public Affairs
  • PAF 504 – Public Affairs Economics
  • PAF 505 – Public Policy Analysis
  • PAF 506 – Public Budgeting and Finance
  • PAF 508 – Organization Behavior
  • PAF 546 – Environmental Policy and Management
  • ESS 513 – Institutions


The cost is the same for residents and non-residents and can be found

Have a question about the Master of Sustainability Leadership degree?

Ask us about sustainability at ASU and the diverse environmental, social, and economic focused degrees offered by the School of Sustainability!