Online Master of Sustainability Leadership

Do you want to become a more effective sustainability leader? If so, the Master of Sustainability Leadership may be right for you. You’ll receive formal training and graduate education in sustainability practices from leading faculty. You'll learn to lead organizational change with social and environmental responsibility top of mind. Program coursework covers sustainability communication, leadership and strategy from a global perspective. These skills can help you make an immediate difference in your company, community or career.

The master’s in sustainability program features a powerful curriculum. Faculty and instructors have direct experience in sustainability science, business and governance. They’ve also worked with mission-driven organizations to devise sustainable initiatives. So, you'll have access to unique perspectives in sustainability available nowhere else. The program also allows students to include electives related to their specific interests. Elective topics range from green energy and urban planning to law, military and more. You can work with the School of Sustainability to build a focus area best suited to your career or future plans.

What is a master’s in sustainability?


A master’s degree in sustainability trains students to lead and integrate sustainability initiatives into new and existing enterprises. A sustainable future requires leaders who can find ways to benefit companies, societies and the environment. Sustainability leaders need unique skills to drive this kind of transformational change.

Sustainability is a new field of study. Professionals interested in this emerging field may have migrated into their sustainability roles. They may have extensive experience in other fields but lack education and training in sustainability. As these professionals want to move forward in their careers, a formal background in sustainability practices is key.

Am I a candidate to earn a master’s in sustainability?


The program is ideal for people with at least three years of professional experience. They may also have any number of academic credentials. These might include degrees in business, education, engineering, health care and more. Most prospective students don't have a background in sustainability. They're interested in increasing their knowledge of sustainability practices to advance their careers.

Students can complete the program on a part-time or full-time schedule. On average, part-time students take four to five semesters to complete the program (1.5 - 2 years). Full-time students can complete the program in one year.

Have at least five years of work experience? You might consider the Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership program. This is a lockstep, full-time accelerated program for working professionals. The curriculum is almost identical, but the executive program offers an immersive experience in Washington, D.C.

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Sustainability Leadership
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Sustainability Leadership (MSL)
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Students in the master’s in sustainability leadership program discuss sustainable practices at a table.
Program Description Intro

Are you ready to drive high-impact sustainability results for your company or organization? The sustainability leadership program will prepare you to advance social and environmental responsibility. You'll gain organizational leadership skills with a focus on sustainability strategy and communication. These skills are in high demand as workplace sustainability initiatives continue to grow.

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You’ll take a range of sustainability and leadership courses in the program. You’ll gain an understanding of sustainability and leadership, acquire tools and best practices to promote change, and apply your skills to real-world problems.  You may also take electives that pique your interests and complement sustainability.

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Multiple enrollment sessions throughout the year.
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Sustainable Leadership, MSL, Online
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Sustainability graduate courses
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Prestigious faculty

ASU’s School of Sustainability recruits faculty from the finest minds and practitioners in sustainability science, business, governance and mission-driven organizations.

They cover a vast array of disciplines, such as business and policy, renewable energy and environmental science. Through use-inspired research, our faculty strives to make our world more sustainable.

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Study at the nation’s first School of Sustainability
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ASU is a global university recognized for its commitment to innovation, research and high-quality academic programs. Our university has been recognized with peer-reviewed honors from U.S. News & World Report. We’ve also received accolades from other prestigious organizations, showcasing our commitment to excellence across all disciplines.

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in innovation for 7 consecutive years, ahead of Stanford and MIT.

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university in the U.S. in pursuit of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

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“Cool Schools” for sustainability by Sierra Club for campus sustainability.

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Top 10%
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best global universities.

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Apply to earn your master’s in sustainability leadership
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Applicants must fulfill the requirements for the Graduate College and the School of Sustainability.

Applicants are eligible to apply if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree from a regionally accredited institution. They should have at least three years of professional experience or the equivalent.

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Application requirements

Applicants must have at least a 3.00 cumulative GPA (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 semester hours of a student's first bachelor's degree program. Or applicants must have at least a 3.00 cumulative GPA (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

If applicants have a lower GPA, they may address it in their statement of intent. They should describe contributing circumstances through their personal experiences. The admission committee will consider these applicants for admission.

The admission committee will consider lower GPAs for provisional admission. Provisional admission applies to applicants with decent work experience and/or good reasons why their GPA was low. If provisional, the student must maintain a B or better in the first semester of the program.

All applicants must submit:

  • Graduate admission application and application fee.
  • Statement of intent in response to four questions.
  • Official transcripts.
  • Resume or curriculum vitae.

All candidates must provide a statement of intent in response to four questions. Applicants need to answer the following questions in approximately 300-500 words per question.

  • Sustainability improves human well-being globally without threatening the earth’s life-supporting systems. In your own words, explain why sustainability is important to you.
  • The Master of Sustainability Leadership prepares decision-makers for the challenges ahead. Describe a time you demonstrated leadership to enact positive change.
  • How do you plan to apply the lessons you learn from this degree in the short- and long-term?
  • How have you prepared to manage family, work and school life during this program?

Applicants with a low GPA can explain why at the end of the statement.

Work history

Applicants should be active professionals with three years of experience or the equivalent. Qualifying experience is broad and does not have to include management or supervisory positions. Experience does not have to be in sustainability, but it's an advantage. Most students do not come from a sustainability background. 

Some students don't work during the program. This may pose challenges in completing their capstone project. If students aren't working, they must work with the capstone faculty to ensure successful completion. Applicants may provide their current employer name, address, phone, job title, industry category, occupation category and years/months of experience. The applicant may also provide their current salary, but it's not required.

The School of Sustainability admits students with less than three years of work experience. These applicants must show how the master’s degree will benefit them. They should also discuss how they'll incorporate sustainability in current or future roles. If applicants have a bachelor's degree in sustainability or environmental science, they're a good candidate.

English proficiency

International applicants will need to meet ASU’s English proficiency requirements. Additionally, applicants should have a TOEFL Score of 100 or greater to meet course prerequisite requirements for the program. They may also have an 80% or greater in ASU Global Launch’s English for Graduate Admissions course (preferred).

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Does my master's in sustainability leadership say 'online'?
No, Arizona State University’s diplomas don’t specify whether you earn your degree online or in person. All diplomas and transcripts simply say “Arizona State University.” That’s because ASU Online students learn from the same faculty and receive the same course content as in-person students receive.
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