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Interdisciplinary MA/MS in Sustainability Studies

Interdisciplinary MA/MS in Sustainability Studies (36-39 hours)

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  • The MA/MS in Sustainability Studies offers a unique interdisciplinary educational opportunity to develop knowledge about sustainability applicable to a changing and complex world. With occupations changing to include environmentally conscious knowledge, “green” vocations are in higher demand. The graduate degrees in sustainability studies prepares committed leaders to address emerging sustainability issues. This program builds the interdisciplinary knowledge to support a sustainable world and enables students to successfully respond to the sustainability challenges facing society in the 21st century. Students completing the program will have the technical skills to formulate and solve problems at the appropriate scale, as well as the breadth of vision to recognize the interconnectedness and complexity of human-environment systems.  The program is tailored to accommodate both full-time and part-time graduate students. Faculty involved in the program are housed in the colleges of Applied Arts, Liberal Arts, and Science and Engineering and represent a diversity of disciplines including agriculture, biology, family and consumer sciences, geography, philosophy, political science, and sociology. The faculty members include researchers engaged in projects spanning many sustainability-related fields, award-winning teachers, and leaders in professional societies within their disciplines.

    The M.A. in sustainability studies is designed for students inclined toward the humanities, arts, communication, urban or regional planning, or related fields.  The M.S. in Sustainability Studies is designed for students inclined toward social sciences, natural sciences, economics, policy, ethics or related fields.  

  • The need for environmental protection services is creating excellent job opportunities for those with advanced degrees. The graduates of the Sustainability Studies program will graduate with methodological, statistical, and critical thinking skills that will make them competitive in the emerging sustainability market. Graduates will be prepared for admission into doctoral programs in addition to important positions in the growing field of sustainability-related careers in local, state or federal government, regulatory agencies, nongovernmental organizations, consulting firms and other relevant industries.

    Refer to the following sites for potential career information:

    Clean Energy Jobs

    The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education

    Green Career Central

    Grist: How do we define the green-job economy?

    Sustainability Degrees: The 8 Most In-Demand Sustainability Jobs


  • One requirement of the Sustainability Studies application is for students to find a faculty mentor at Texas State University. The faculty mentor must be willing to write an intent to mentor letter in support of students’ applications.  The student’s mentor ensures that students are taking the best classes to enhance the degree’s link to the student’s career plans. Hence, the applicant must find a mentor who is doing research and/or teaching in an area of sustainability that is closely tied to the student’s career goals.

    Tips on finding a mentor:

    1. Consider your career goals and try to match your goals with the faculty member and potential mentor’s areas of research and teaching. You can examine their individual webpages, and also refer to their curriculum vitae, here: As examples: if you are interested in pursuing a career in public policy, then a sustainability faculty member in Political Science would be a fruitful option. If you are interested in starting or contributing to a composting or recycling program for an organization or agency, then a faculty member in Agriculture or Biology would be a good option for you.  If you are interested in conducting research about sustainability for an organization or agency, then a faculty member in Sociology might be a good option for a mentor.
    2. Contact one or more of the following Sustainability Faculty Advisory Council members with a request to serve as a mentor or a request for names of potential mentors:

    Dr. Alberto Giordano (, Department of Geography,

    Dr. Craig Hanks (, Department of Philosophy,

    Dr. Asha Hegde (, School of Family and Consumer Sciences,

    Dr. Dittmar Hahn (, Department of Biology,

    Dr. Dianne Rahm (, Department of Political Science,

    Dr. Chad L. Smith (, Department of Sociology

    1. Contact the potential mentor via email with your career statement. Tell her or him why you think that he or she is a good match for you.
    2. Note that mentors occasionally say no because they are mentoring too many students at the moment or perhaps see a better fit with another faculty member.
    3. One you find a willing and available mentor, you will indicate his or her name and email address on GADU. Then, the mentor will upload his or her statement to mentor via GADU.

    Finally, you may also contact the graduate advisor of the MA/MS program ( if you need more advice. Send your career statement to her or him with your inquiry.

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There are no prerequisites for this program

The Sustainability Studies program at Texas State University is truly unique. Since the program is interdisciplinary, I’ve had the privilege to be exposed to various areas of sustainability. My fellow peers have different educational backgrounds, which allows for strong classroom discussions about complex and intricate global issues. The program offers several courses that I never considered to be related to the field, which has enhanced my understanding of how sustainability can be applied in many different subjects. Throughout this experience, I’ve strengthened my ability to think critically, listen to other ideas, and develop strategies to help mitigate global environmental issues. This program has challenged me to make better individual choices, and increased my awareness on how academia can be a channel in creating change in order to make the world more sustainable.

- Audra Bacon

In the Sustainability Studies program, I worked with colleagues and professors who challenged and ultimately strengthened my abilities. The skills I have developed will aid in my professional career goals, along with my personal growth. The program’s structure reinforced interpersonal relationships between students and faculty, and turned colleagues into friends through our similar goals and passions.

- Ashley Pritchard