Lead the world in new ways of thinking about our global systems and policies with a sustainability degree.
Be a part of creating sustainable and resilient solutions to complex socio-ecological problems.
Study systems thinking, strategic and futures thinking, and collaboration from professionals and thought leaders in the sustainability world.
Develop the knowledge, skills, and experiences that are best practices.
Learn change initiatives designed to increase environmental sustainability across human systems.
Want to make a difference in the world? HPU’s Master of Arts in Sustainability (MASUST) program will open your world to unimagined opportunities. This program is a great fit for working professionals who want to expand their knowledge in the world of sustainability. You will learn to simultaneously search for the underlying causes of global environmental, economic, and social problems while also learning to design and lead initiatives that produce sustainable outcomes for the current and future generations. Now is the time to become a key player in making the world around one for future generations!
Did you know?
MASUST students participate in local internships that broaden their connections in the community and real-world experience in the field of sustainability.
The MASUST program takes on the challenging intersections of such global and local challenges by equipping students to evaluate and (re-)produce resilient and sustainable responses. Students are prepared with the competencies needed to analyze and evaluate human-natural systems in order to develop and distribute both strategic and future-oriented solutions for the public and private sectors. Collaborate with local stakeholders to search for the underlying causes of environmental, economic, and social problems. Design and lead responses that produce sustainable outcomes for the current and future generations.
Length of program: 21 months, 36 credit hoursThe 36 credit hours are divided into 24 credit hours of core courses, 6 credit hours of research, and 6 credit hours of a supporting field.
Entry terms: Fall/Spring
Program delivery: on-campus
Cost of program: $44,665 or $1,125/credit
The global community is increasingly recognizing the need for sustainable and resilient solutions to complex socio-ecological problems. At the macro level, the United Nations’ list of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) highlights a wide range of worldwide sustainability issues. The SDGs require a strategic approach to applying global solutions at the local level. At the micro-level, our state’s Sustainable Hawai‘i Initiative reflects local commitments to concrete measurable targets (e.g. food production, biosecurity, ocean management energy) for the public and private sectors. The Master of Arts in Sustainability (MASUST) program takes on the challenging intersections of such global and local challenges by equipping students to evaluate and (re-)produce resilient and sustainable responses. It does so by preparing students with the competencies needed to analyze and evaluate human-natural systems in order to develop and distribute both strategic and future-oriented solutions. Student cohorts collaborate with local stakeholders to search for the underlying causes of environmental, economic, and social problems. In the process, students design and lead responses that produce sustainable outcomes for the current and future generations.
The altruist generation: Students and sustainability in Hawaiʻi Nei
Randy Gonce, a graduate student earning his Global Leadership degree in Sustainable Development at Hawaiʻi Pacific University, says he’s happiest when he’s giving back.
What types of industries do students go into after completing the program?
Energy & Utilities
Environmental Services & Equipment
Government (Federal, State, Local)
Planning and Analysis
Energy and Sustainability
Policy Analysis and Planning
Environmental and Climate Science
Why Sustainability at HPU?
Sustainability is key to Hawaii’s ecocultural histories and HPU’s three core values: aloha, pono and kuleana.
Aloha is commonly used as a greeting. The meaning actually refers to the sharing of breath giving life (hā). Aloha is thus a communal experience and reflects an individual’s connection to the land (‘āina). MASUST students learn about the importance of how an ecocultural rootedness is important to sustainable futures and solutions. Students complete a Professional Paper (thesis), which involves conducting primary research in local communities.
Pono means righteousness. Sustainability studies at HPU equip students to contemplate the challenging sets of interdependencies between natural and human systems. Hawaii’s unique marine and terrestrial ecosystems are our living laboratory. MASUST students are tasked with developing pono solutions to the various environmental, economic, and social problems in Hawaii – and beyond our reefs.
Kuleana refers to responsibility, stewardship, and a deep caring for something. HPU’s MASUST students utilize the graduate studies experience to discover and/or refine how their personal kuleana intersects with the world’s greatest needs. The Professional Paper positions students to explore their sustainability passions across geographic landscapes (e.g. coastal, urban, and rural) and from a transdisciplinary perspective.
The MASUST experience also enables students to take on an internship with a local organization, to study abroad, and to select from a variety of elective courses (2) from other M.A. programs (e.g. Marine Science, MBA, Organizational Development & Change, Public Health, Strategic Communication).
Program Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the Master of Arts in Sustainability program will develop knowledge, skills, and experiences in the following areas:
Systems Thinking - students will identify relationships and interdependencies within complex human-natural systems and analyze those connections through the use of systems thinking diagramming and other holistic tools.
Strategic & Futures Thinking - students will identify, formulate, and evaluate scenarios, interventions, and strategies that address sustainability across social, economic, environmental, and cultural realms, intra- and intertemporal contexts, and local and global scales, despite uncertainty and access to limited information through project-based learning, case study analysis, and research projects.
Collaboration - students will effectively use interpersonal as well as oral, and written communication skills to elevate sustainability issues among a diverse set of social actors through systems analysis and project-based learning; engage and collaborate with actors from academia, government, business, community, and other institutions via research, internships, or practical. Model and advocate for sustainable behaviors at the personal, program, university, and community levels through participation in sustainability practices, policymaking, citizen science, advocacy, volunteerism, or community outreach.
Individuals wishing to apply to the MASUST degree program at HPU are required to submit the following:
Two Letters of Recommendation
Statement of Purpose
$55 Application Fee
Students from a variety of backgrounds are attracted to this graduate program. Therefore, to ensure each student is adequately prepared for the academic rigors of a graduate-level program, the following courses (or an undergraduate equivalent) must be satisfactorily completed as a foundation for graduate studies:
CSCI 3201 Info Mgmt Using Spreadsheets and Databases or MIS 2000 Info Tools for Business
SOC 3100 Methods of Inquiry
SOC 3200 Social Statistics
Contact the program director to discuss pre-requisite questions and to verify if your prerequisites may be waived. Reach out to our Graduate Admissions team (Danny Lam, email@example.com) to inquire about attending a webinar, which will offset the $55 application fee.