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Sustainability Science Masters Program (MS)

Welcome to the interdepartmental masters program in Sustainability Science, offered by the College of Natural Sciences (CNS) at the University of Massachusetts.

Program Overview

The Sustainability Science program prepares students professionally for a broad range of sustainability-focused careers in industry, government, or the non-profit sector.  Students will graduate with: (1) a systems-based foundation for analyzing current environmental challenges; (2) pragmatic training and field experiences; (3) critical thinking and communications skills; and (4) knowledge and understanding of the interrelated scientific, social, economic and political underpinnings of environmental problems, solutions, and practices. Our program is practice/career-based, and students will complete a 4-credit project with an NGO, government agency or company. Students in the program will select one concentration area from among 4 options: Environmental Quality, Sustainable Food Systems and Agriculture, Water Sustainability, and Urban Sustainability. Because the program combines core classes and a chosen area of concentration, students will build a strong intellectual foundation for analyzing interconnections between social, economic and ecological systems, and will also develop expertise depth within a given domain. The program plays host to students from a wide range of backgrounds and caters to the needs of all through a rigorous and exciting cross-disciplinary set of requirements. The Sustainability Science students often interact with fellow-students from other closely-related graduate programs at the University, including Environmental Conservation (Green Building concentration, and Water, Wetlands and Watersheds concentration), Geosciences, Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, and Architecture, so there are unique opportunities to build a professional network across a wide range of disciplines.

Click here to contact us with any questions you have, or to find out more about the Sustainability Science Program.

Environmental QualityThis concentration is designed for students interested in environmental sciences and the role they play in human well-being. Students interested in epidemiology, soil and air pollution, and social justice should pursue this concentration. Graduates walk away with a unique skill set that can be geared towards environmental consulting, remediation of contaminated sites, disease prevention, and several other fields.
Sustainable Agriculture and Food SystemsThis concentration is designed for students who are passionate about how food is grown and the processes it goes through before it is consumed. Whether you wish to grow your own food, regulate food policies, or promote global nutrition this concentration provides you with all of the necessary skills to pursue these and many other career paths.
Water SustainabilityThis concentration is designed for students concerned about global climate change and how it affects water quality and availability.  Students interested in watershed management, water pollution, and climate modeling should choose this concentration.
Urban SustainabilityThis concentration is designed for students interested in the sustainable growth and development of cities. Students interested in green building, energy systems, and corporate sustainability should pursue this concentration. Career paths include sustainable or environmental consulting, renewable energy, and more.


1. How do I apply?
Follow the link under the “How to Apply” heading on the Graduate School webpage:

2. What are the application requirements?
The application process will prompt you to provide the following:
GRE scores, resume, personal statement, official transcript, two letters of recommendation

3. When is the application deadline?
Fall: February 1st
Spring: October 1st

4. Can I complete this degree as a part-time student?
Yes. Although this is an accelerated program that can be completed in as little as a year, you are also able to spread it out over the course of a few years if necessary.

5. Can I complete this degree online?
No. Some classes are offered online, but the majority are in person.

6. Can I customize or create my own concentration?
Yes. Many of the courses offered can count for multiple concentrations, so there is some flexibility there. You can also design your own concentration based on the course offerings with approval from the Program Director.

7. If I have already taken graduate courses in this field, can they be counted towards this degree?

a. Transfer of External Credits- Up to 6 graduate level credits can be transferred and counted towards this degree so long as they were earned at a U.S. accredited institution, not counted towards another degree, taken within 3 years of admission to program, and you received at least a B.

b. Transfer of Credits from UMass Undergraduate- Graduate level credits earned as a UMass undergraduate can be counted towards this degree so long as they were not counted towards your undergraduate degree. For example, students who obtained their undergraduate degree from UMass must have taken graduate coursework in addition to the 120 credit graduation requirement.

c. Transfer of Non-degree credits- Course credits earned as a non-degree graduate student do not accumulate toward a graduate degree at this University. However, if you are later admitted to a graduate degree program, a maximum of six (6) graduate credits earned as a non-degree student may be applied to that program.

8. How much does the program cost to complete?
If you plan to complete this program in 1 year, both semesters will be “12+ credits”.


Click here to contact us with any questions you have, or to find out more about the Sustainability Science Program.




Page updated: December 10, 2014