Program Description

This program offers an education in understanding and evaluating current practices, including environmental, social and economic considerations, and in choosing and implementing best practices through application of this knowledge. The five required courses ground students in the foundations of sustainability, best practices and the regulatory framework in which pro-environmental decisions must be made, as well as the economic and financial considerations of those decisions. Following completion of the five core courses, four elective courses (to be chosen from a list of courses in specialized tracks), and a culminating experience, students will be able to apply these principles and solutions to their chosen profession in the sciences, including social sciences, business and management, environmental and resource management, environmental and occupational health, design and construction, planning and policy, engineering and others.

Program Requirements

A. Admission to the Program

All successful applicants must meet the following requirements before they can enroll. Please note that in some cases the Program requirements for admission are more stringent than the University requirements. The program will determine whether a student meets any additional requirements needed for admittance into the Master of Arts in Sustainability program.

  1. A bachelor’s degree, from an accredited college or university, with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 in the last 60 semester units (or 90 quarter units). Students may also qualify for admission if their GPA in the last 30 semester credit hours (or 45 quarter units) of the bachelor’s degree exceed 3.25. Applicants who do not meet the GPA specified may be considered for admission if they can demonstrate other personal or professional experience that provides strong evidence of a commitment to sustainability (e.g., sustainability employment, service on a sustainability board or commission, etc.).
  2. Submission of an application through CalState Apply by the stated deadline.
  3. Submission of official transcripts sent directly from each educational institution to CSUN.
  4. Submission to the program director of:
    1. A current resume.
    2. Two letters of recommendation from academic and/or professional referees.
    3. Statement of Purpose, no more than 1,000 words, explaining the reasons why the candidate is seeking admission into the Master of Arts in Sustainability program, the proposed specialization track for their electives and how the program will contribute to the individual’s personal and/or professional growth and success.
  5. The English Language requirement for International Students may be met by one of the following tests:
    1. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score of 79 (Internet-based), 550 (Paper-based), or higher.
    2. International English Language Test System (IELTS) score of 6.5 or higher.
    3. Pearson’s Test of English (PTE) score of 58 or higher.
  6. Prior experience in applied sustainability work desirable.

B. Degree Requirements

Minimum of 33 units of approved coursework consisting of at least 27 units at the 500- and 600-level. Specific required coursework consists of:

1. Required Core Courses (15 units)

SUS 500 Foundations of Sustainable Systems (3)
SUS 510 Resource Use and Management (3)
SUS 520 Regulatory Framework for Sustainability (3)
SUS 530 Mixed Methods in Sustainability Research (3)
SUS 540 Sustainable Business Practices (3)

2. Electives or Specializations (12 units)

In consultation with the program director, students must choose, based on interest and career objective, a minimum of 12 academic elective units at the 400-, 500- or 600-level, in one of the specializations (or tracks) listed below. Courses at the 400-level must be preapproved for graduate credit prior to enrollment, and no more than 6 units of 400-level courses are permitted:

A. Environmental Science, Water Resources and Technology (12 units)
Any 12 units from the following:

CHEM 541/CHEM 541L Environmental Chemistry (2/2)
EOH 580 Environmental and Occupational Health Sustainability (3)
GEOG 404E Field Studies in Geography–Environmental (3)
GEOG 414 Hydroclimatology (3)
GEOG 416 Earth’s Changing Climate (3)
GEOG 444 Conservation (3)
GEOG 470 The Geography of Aquatic Ecosystems (3)
GEOG 473 Water Quality in the Managed Environment (3)
GEOG 476 Principles of River Restoration (3)
GEOG 408H/L GIS in Water Resource Management and Lab (2/1)
GEOG 620A-G Climatology (3)
GEOG 630A-E Environmental Studies (3)
GEOG 690J Foundations in Geographic Information Science (3)
GEOL 552 Geochemistry (3)
GEOL 575/L Hydrogeology and Lab (3/1)
GEOL 580/L Engineering Geology and Lab (2/1)
GEOL 595EH Current Issues in Environmental Hydrogeology (3)
GEOL 595U Hydrogeochemistry (3)

B. Community Well-Being and Social Justice (12 units)
Any 12 units from the following:

ANTH 425 Culture, Health and Healing (3)
ANTH 432 Environmental Justice and Health (3)
EOH 468 Air Pollution and Health (3)
EOH 580 Environmental and Occupational Health Sustainability (3)
EPC 636 Systems and Policies in Infant-Toddler-Family Mental Health (3)
EPC 683 Collaboration with Families in Educational Settings (3)
FCS 601 Food and Nutrition Policies and Regulations (3)
FCS 605 Ethics and Social Justice in Human Nutrition (3)
GEOG 486 Medical Geography (3)
HSCI 442 Health, Culture, and Diversity (3)
HSCI 488 Epidemiology (3)
HSCI 526 Global Women’s Health (3)
HSCI 536 Cultural Issues in Healthcare (3)

C. Corporate Sustainability (12 units)
Any 12 units from the following:

ACCT 620A Financial Accounting Reporting I (3)
ACCT 620B Financial Accounting Reporting II (3)
FCS 427 Consumer Advocacy and Education (3)
FCS 428 Corporate Consumer Affairs (3)
MSE 406 Engineering Cost Analysis (3)
MSE 507 Lean Manufacturing Systems (3)
MSE 540 Sustainability for Engineers (3)
MSE 602 Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Engineering Professionals (3)
MSE 604 Engineering Economy and Financial Analysis (3)
MSE 614 Intelligent Manufacturing (3)
MSE 618 Six Sigma Quality Engineering (3)
RTM 610 Sustainability in Hospitality and Tourism (3)

D. Sustainability Policy and Government (12 units)
Any 12 units from the following:

EOH 454 Environmental Health Law (3)
POLS 407 Policy Implementation and Program Evaluation (3)
POLS 421 The Politics of Development (3)
POLS 461 Environmental Policy (3)
POLS 480 The Politics of Globalization (3)
URBS 400 Planning for the Natural and Built Environment (3)
URBS 425 Social Policy, Environmental Justice and the City (3)
URBS 630 Sustainable Development and Environmental Impact Analysis (3)
URBS 650 Policy Analysis and Implementation (3)

3. Culminating Experience (6 units)

SUS 698 Thesis or Graduate Project (3-3)
Students are required to complete a master’s-level thesis or project as part of their degree requirements. (Must be taken twice, for a total of 6 units, in Fall and Spring of Year 2.)

Total Units Required for the M.A. Degree: 33

Program Learning Outcomes

Students receiving a Master of Arts in Sustainability will be able to:

  1. Master the key concepts associated with sustainability theories and the key elements of human-environment systems that motivate them.
  2. Understand the local, regional and global practices used to address sustainability challenges in the economic, social, cultural, environmental, political and community dimensions.
  3. Master research methodologies, using evidence-based techniques to acquire, evaluate, analyze and synthesize data.
  4. Apply problem-solving skills in a community setting.
  5. Identify, articulate and address ethical and moral values that will guide them in using their skills to pursue the common good and the long-term preservation of all life forms, culture and social systems, while contributing to economic prosperity and social stability.