Sustainability (MSUS)

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Sustainability (MSUS) Overview

Housed on Chatham’s groundbreaking Eden Hall Campus, Chatham’s Master of Sustainability (MSUS) program is experiential and practical. Our highly interdisciplinary faculty members work closely with students on projects that make real differences even as they teach important principles. Students gain not only a professional skill set that prepares them to be the sustainability leaders of tomorrow, but a diverse portfolio of work that shows that they already are.
Degrees Offered
  • MSUS
Program School
Application Deadline

Priority and Regular

Priority deadline for fall is February 1 (all application materials must be received by this date for first consideration of fellowships and assistantships). Regular deadline for fall term is July 1. Regular deadline for spring term is November 1.

Credits Required

42

The MSUS may be completed in two years of full-time study. A part-time enrollment option is also available.

Cost Per Credit

$1,016

Cost consists of program tuition (cost per credit times number of credits) as well as any applicable University and degree-specific fees.

Education Options

Dual Degree

Students may also choose to pursue a dual degree MSUS + MBA.

Explore the Master of Sustainability Degree:

The MSUS curriculum includes foundation courses (12 credits) that allow students to explore the nature of system analysis and sustainability as it relates to the ecological, economic, social and business world; skills for work and research courses (18 credits); and electives (12 credits) that allow students to explore in depth a particular area of sustainability study.

  • A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university
  • Overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.3 or better on a 4.0 scale. Applicants with less than a 3.3 who show extreme promise through other achievements may be granted conditional admission.
  • Completed Application Form, which includes submission of the following documents:
    • Curriculum vitae or resume
    • Admissions Essay
    • 2 letters of recommendation, preferably from an academic source
    • Official undergraduate and graduate transcripts, sent directly by the institutions
    • Additional writing sample (optional, but encouraged)

SUS607Green and Social Innovation

The class helps students develop skills for managing innovation focusing on Food, Agriculture, Environmental and Social Product and Service innovations. Students will work with actual ideas and or start-ups from local incubators and entrepreneurs. The class focuses on helping students to develop skills to use innovations for solving major social and environmental problems.

SUS640: Sustainable Community Development

Explore how people can engage in creating more environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable communities at multiple scales, from the local to the regional. Readings and assignments emphasize sustainable planning theory and practice, as well as sustainable food systems perspectives. Students will engage in practice-based research and community projects.

SUS508: Environmental Statistics

Students in this course will become proficient in executing quantitative methods pertinent to sustainability science, including multiple linear regression, descriptive multivariate statistics, and time series analyses. All assignments aim to generate experience with applied problem-solving and will require scriptwriting in program to maximize analytical and data management efficiency. This course requires a foundation in statistical methods.

View Full Curriculum

The MSUS is the degree for students who want to build their own futures and transform society to be healthier and more equitable.

—LOU LEONARD, JD, dean of the Falk School of Sustainability & Environment

Our Faculty

Faculty members are accomplished teachers, scholars, practitioners, and active leaders in the field.

Full Faculty
Photo of Mary Whitney
Assistant Professor of Practice of Sustainability
Photo of Ryan Utz
Assistant Professor of Water Resources

Four Tracks

We offer four custom-fit tracks built for specific interests and growing demand: urban and energy systems; ecology and resource management; business and innovation; and a self-designed track.  

Research

Explore the current faculty- and student-driven research projects and opportunities at the Falk School to see the types of experience students can gain in the program.

Read More

Funding Opportunities

The Falk School provides numerous financial resources to our currently enrolled students, including funds available for research, unpaid internships, conference presentations, and study abroad opportunities.

Learn More about Checkerboard 3 - Funding Opportunities

Eden Hall Campus

Located 20 minutes north of Pittsburgh, Chatham's Eden Hall Campus is the world's first academic community built from the ground up for sustainability. The grounds and infrastructure support research and learning around energy and climate; water and aquaculture; food and agriculture; community and health; and design and planning. As an MSUS student, you will balance your time between the Shadyside Campus and Eden Hall.

Watch More Videos

Solution-Based Learning, Year 1

As part of a team, first-year MSUS students work on a project or problem identified by the Falk School. Projects may be internal or external. Students play a supporting role, learning good teamwork and drawing upon previous knowledge and courses to successfully complete or advance a project. Project outcomes are presented to the Falk School community and project sponsor.

Solution-Based Learning, Year 2

In a leadership role, second-year MSUS students lead a project. Projects may be internal or external. Students play a supporting role, learning leadership and drawing upon previous knowledge and courses to successfully complete or advance a project. Project outcomes are presented to the Falk School community and project sponsor.

Method Classes 

One elective and three required method classes help students develop research and solution-finding skills. These skills support students in any discipline or profession.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 

The MSUS curriculum incorporates the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a roadmap for sustainability adopted by all nations. In addition to links within courses, each student’s thesis addresses at least one SDG. Focused on concrete issues like water, food, and energy, learning through the SDGs helps sustainability come alive. 

MSUS+MBA Option

Not sure the MSUS program is right for you? Chatham also offers a dual-degree MSUS+MBA, which allows students to secure a strong understanding of business administration as a complement to the sustainability focus of the MSUS, while obtaining the credential of an MBA. All of this can be achieved in roughly the same time it would normally take to obtain just one of these degrees. 

Learn More about Checkerboard 10 - MSUS+MBA Option

Masters of Sustainability

Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities, One Neighborhood at a Time

Thanks to grant funding by Bank of America, Assistant Professor Iris Grossmann, Ph.D. has recruited a team of students and faculty to work on a multi-year community-based sustainability project in Homewood. The project dovetails with a course Grossman teaches, “Building Sustainable & Resilient Cities”. One of the participants is Camilla Cook, MSUS ’19, who is researching the tree canopy in Homewood.

Alumna Profile: Hannah Blinn, MSUS ’19

During her internship with the Environmental Health Project (EHP), Hannah Blinn, MSUS ’19 researched topics including relationships between home proximity and reported health symptoms to well sites. That work informed her thesis and resulted in a one-year fellowship with EHP upon graduation.

Alumni Profile: Arthur Link, MSUS ’17

Arthur Link, MSUS ’17 was lead author on papers published in Invasive Plant Science and Management and Plant Ecology. Link’s work focused on the effect of invasive Japanese Barberry on native trees in deciduous forests.