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Graduate degrees

School of Sustainability graduate sustainability degrees and programs are flexible, interdisciplinary and solutions oriented. They not only introduce students to a breadth of complex sustainability challenges and help them develop the knowledge and skills needed to implement solutions, but they also increase students’ understanding of systems dynamics, cascading effects and scale, and allow students to delve deeper into specific areas of sustainability with transdisciplinary teams.

Sustainability graduate programs are available at the Tempe campus and ASU Online.

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Master of Arts in sustainability

This traditional master’s program, offered on ASU’s Tempe campus, is best suited to students interested in knowledge generation and designing new ways to address sustainability challenges, and requires a thesis or academic paper as a culminating experience. The MA is geared toward students interested in social sciences, humanities, planning or related fields.

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Master of Science in sustainability

This traditional master’s program, offered on ASU’s Tempe campus, is for students interested in knowledge generation and designing new ways to address sustainability challenges, and requires a thesis or academic paper as a culminating experience. The MS is designed for those inclined toward the natural sciences, economics, engineering or related fields.

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Master of Sustainability Solutions

The MSUS is an applied master’s degree in sustainability, offered on ASU’s Tempe campus, designed to prepare students to apply sustainability principles and approaches to careers in a variety of fields. MSUS students complete a capstone experience in lieu of a thesis.

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Master of Sustainability Leadership

The MSL is a fully online degree program that teaches organizational leadership skills through the lens of sustainability. MSL students can pursue electives related to their specific area of interest in addition to the core areas of strategy, communication, leadership and global context. A group capstone experience is required in lieu of a thesis.

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Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership

The EMSL is an online degree program with an immersive component that teaches organizational leadership skills through the lens of sustainability. It provides working mid-career professionals with practical, actionable tools to become leaders who can accelerate sustainability throughout their organizations. An individual capstone project is required in lieu of a thesis.

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Master of Science in Sustainable Food Systems

The MS in sustainable food systems is an online degree program with an immersive component focused on food policy and production. Students learn about food trends and agricultural innovations and build relationships with farmers, ranchers, and influential policy leaders. An individual capstone research project and professional paper is required in lieu of a thesis.

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Doctor of Philosophy in sustainability

The PhD in sustainability, offered on ASU’s Tempe campus, engages scientists and leaders in research to investigate the urgent sustainability challenges of this century.

The flexible, interdisciplinary nature of the program allows students to focus on problems of interest to them, drawing upon relevant knowledge from a variety of disciplines.

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Doctor of Philosophy in sustainable energy

Today’s global energy transitions demand leaders who can seamlessly navigate interwoven technical, societal and environmental challenges. The PhD in sustainable energy, offered on ASU’s Tempe campus, transcends the boundaries of traditional methodologies and disciplinary viewpoints to achieve a sustainable energy future.

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Doctor of Philosophy with a CASS concentration

Complex adaptive systems science (CASS) is the study of interactive and dynamic systems that change over time. The School of Sustainability, the School of Human Evolution and Social Change and the School of Life Sciences offer a complex adaptive systems science concentration for six doctoral programs. Each program is tightly integrated with diverse, ongoing research on complex adaptive systems at Arizona State University. This program is offered on ASU’s Tempe campus.

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4+1 Accelerated bachelor’s + master’s

The School of Sustainability offers the following joint accelerated program designed to enable highly qualified undergraduate majors to earn both a bachelor’s degree and a Master of Sustainability Solutions degree in five years.


Common learning outcomes

Graduates will be able to:

  • Think in a holistic way about sustainability problems.
  • Understand the concepts of sustainability, the issues involved and the disciplines needed to address real-world problems.
  • Evaluate the role and effectiveness of a broad range of methods of inquiry and analysis.
  • Understand the concepts and methods of different disciplines and the way in which these can address sustainability challenges.
  • Work collaboratively and in multidisciplinary teams.
  • Understand ethical issues related to sustainability.
  • Develop creative, adaptive solutions to sustainability challenges.