MSc in Sustainability


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

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Serving students across a broad range of interests, including both the natural and social sciences, the M.S. in Sustainability trains future leaders to work in the area of sustainability within a variety of fields and industries, with a focus on just and equitable solutions.

As communities and organizations of all sizes and types recognize the importance of prioritizing sustainability planning and initiatives, the demand for a workforce with graduate-level training in this field continues to increase. As a student in the M.S. in Sustainability program, you’ll develop knowledge and skills essential to create and support socio-ecological systems that address the needs of the present while ensuring that future generations can flourish. The program emphasizes equitable sustainability solutions and problem-solving, allowing you to enhance and apply your knowledge of natural and built systems to support just and sustainable communities.

Offered through the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, the M.S. in Sustainability is designed to be completed on a full-time basis in 12 months, although students may also complete the program part-time. With its flexible, interdisciplinary structure, the program gives students the opportunity to connect sustainability studies to their interests in other fields.


Six required core courses

Core Curriculum consists of the following five courses:

  1. Socio-Ecological Systems Thinking for Sustainability – Introduces students to policy and planning systems and their complex interactions, and encourages reflection on consequences for overall system performance, ethics, and social justice. The course introduces techniques such as life cycle assessment and their application in decision-making contexts. The course uses exercises and case studies to help students develop skills in identifying and understanding basic system features.
  2. Economics for Policy and Planning (UEP 251 or equivalent) – Introduces economic concepts and tools of analysis relevant to sustainable public policy and planning. Microeconomic and macroeconomic approaches to understanding economic behavior and to generating solutions to economic problems are explored. Applications include policies related to the environment, transportation, cost-benefit analysis, income inequality, and community development.
  3. Quantitative Reasoning (UEP 254 or equivalent) – This course presents basic concepts of statistical analysis and research, and develops related skills that are indispensable to agency directors, policymakers, and advocates alike. Students learn to select among available data sources, measures and indicators, and statistical techniques to best answer questions of interest.
  4. Introduction to GIS (UEP 232) – Broad foundation of GIS theory capabilities, technology, and applications. Topics include GIS data structure and management, geodesy and map projections, and various techniques for raster and vector spatial data analysis. Laboratory exercises concentrate on applying concepts presented in the lectures using ArcGIS.
  5. Field Projects (UEP 255) – Practical planning and research experience in a community or governmental setting. Students are exposed to the realities of sustainable planning practice by working in teams for actual clients. Focuses on the interplay of expertise, social and political values, and professional relationships.
    In addition, students select a sixth core course from the following options:
  6. Program Evaluation (UEP 256)
  7. Sustainability Analytics (Partial-credit) AND Sustainability Metrics and Decision Tools (Partial-credit)
    • Five additional elective credits are selected in consultation with an advisor, focused on theoretical foundations, policy, and planning for sustainability.
    • An internship or capstone experience.

Quantitative Prerequisite

Students admitted to UEP degree programs are required to show evidence of basic algebra and graphing skills prior to registering for the department's quantitative courses (UEP 251 and UEP 254). This prerequisite must be fulfilled in one of the following three ways: (1) Score 153 or above on the quantitative section of the GRE within the five years prior to entry into the UEP program; (2) Pass a college algebra or equivalent course (with a B- or higher) within the five years prior to entry into the UEP program; or (3) Pass a UEP math screening exam with a score of 80% or above (this exam must be taken in person at UEP). Students must fulfill the prerequisite before matriculation or have an approved plan submitted to the academic advisor and department chair to complete the prerequisite by the end of the first semester. Please contact the UEP office if you have any questions.


In addition to our course offerings, M.S. students may select courses from other Tufts departments and schools and Boston-area consortium universities. To receive credit for a course toward their M.S., graduate students must attain a grade of B- or better.

Application Requirements

  • Application fee
  • Resume/CV
  • Personal statement
  • Official GRE required
  • Official TOEFL or IELTS, if applicable
  • Transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
Last updated May 2020

About the School

Graduate programs at Tufts University's Graduate School of Arts combine the atmosphere of a liberal arts college with the state-of-the-art technological resources of a research institution. World-clas ... Read More

Graduate programs at Tufts University's Graduate School of Arts combine the atmosphere of a liberal arts college with the state-of-the-art technological resources of a research institution. World-class researchers, personal mentoring, collaborative laboratory facilities, and industry partnerships equip Tufts students with the skills to excel in their chosen specialties and pursue their careers with passion and commitment. Read less