The Sustainability Science and Practice coterminal master’s program welcomes and integrates students with diverse experiences and viewpoints, as we believe this is essential to solving the complex, interdisciplinary sustainability challenges of our time. Stanford students from a broad range of undergraduate disciplines– from computer science to sociology, and Earth systems to public policy – are encouraged to apply.
Students should have:
The Sustainability Science and Practice program is structured as a coterminal master’s program, meaning that only current Stanford undergraduates are eligible to apply.
Students have the option to pursue either an M.S or an M.A. in Sustainability Science and Practice. The type of degree earned will depend on whether the student takes a majority of natural science and engineering units or social sciences and humanities units. The M.S. and M.A. are designed to be accessible to students from any undergraduate major, once certain pre-requisites are satisfied.
Students who wish to earn an M.S. in Sustainability Science and Practice must fulfill the following mathematics and statistics requirements prior to or during the master’s program.
If the math and statistics requirements are fulfilled during the master’s program, the units for the course work may not be counted toward the 45 units required for master's degree completion.
Courses required for all SUST coterms:
SUST 210: Pursuing Sustainability: Managing Complex Social Environmental Systems
SUST 220: Case Studies in Leading Change for Sustainability
SUST 297: Introduction to Systems Transformation
SUST 240: Sustainability Leadership Practicum
EARTHSYS 111: Biology and Global Change
EARTHSYS 212: Human Society and Environmental Change
One of the following, or an approved alternative:
PSYCH 215: Mind, Culture, and Society
PSYCH 216: Public Policy and Social Psychology: Implications and Applications
PSYCH 265: Social Psychology and Social Change
One of the following, or an approved alternative:
LAW 7508: Problem Solving and Decision Making for Public Policy and Social Change
SUST 261: Art and Science of Decision Making
ENVRES 240: Environmental Decision-Making and Risk Perception
GSBGEN 367: Problem Solving for Social Change
Two of the following, or an approved alternative:
SUST 230: Innovating Large Scale Sustainable Transformations / Collaborating for the Future
SUST 231 / EARTHSYS 289A FEED Lab: Food System Design & Innovation
ME 206A & ME 206B: Design for Extreme Affordability
ME 377: Design Thinking Studio
MS&E 177: Creativity Rules: Inventing the Future
One of the following ethics courses, or an approved alternative, must be taken if the student has not completed an ethics course in their undergraduate career:
ETHICSOC 234R / PUBPOL 234R: Ethics on the Edge: Business, Non-Profit Organizations, Government, and Individuals
ETHICSOC 136R: Introduction to Global Justice
ETHICSOC 278M: Introduction to Environmental Ethics
EARTHSYS 136/236: The Ethics of Stewardship
If the ethics requirement is fulfilled during the master’s program, the course can be treated as a master’s program elective and the units counted toward the 45 units required for degree completion.
Students can choose from a wide range of elective courses to complement the required coursework described above. The program’s Master Course List includes more than 100 pre-approved electives spanning a variety of disciplines. If a student wishes to earn credit toward the master’s degree for an elective course that is not on the program list, the student can submit a SUST COURSE PETITION FORM to seek approval.
The following are required of all Sustainability Science and Practice master’s students:
For students pursuing the M.A. degree, the majority of the student’s 45 units must be designated as “arts” units. For those pursuing the M.S. degree, the majority of the student’s 45 units must be designated as “science” units. Arts and science designations for courses can be viewed on the program’s Master Course List.
1) Review eligibility - see above
2) Prepare the required materials:
Please note that we do not require GRE scores.
3) Submit the online application by the deadline. Applications close at 11.59pm on the 7th Tuesday of each quarter. For the 2019/2020 academic year, applications are due as follows:
4) Decisions and acceptances:
Applications will be reviewed each quarter after the application deadline, and applicants can expect to be notified of admissions decisions via email within approximately 5 business days. If an offer of admission is extended, students will have one week to accept or decline that offer. Instructions for this will be in the offer email.
Please also see our Explore Degrees listing in the Bulletin.
University requirements for the coterminal master’s degree are described in the Coterminal Master’s Program section. After accepting admission to this coterminal master’s degree program, students may request transfer of courses from the undergraduate to the graduate career to satisfy requirements for the master’s degree. Transfer of courses to the graduate career requires review and approval of both the undergraduate and graduate programs on a case by case basis.
In this master’s program, courses taken during or after the first quarter of the sophomore year are eligible for consideration for transfer to the graduate career; the timing of the first graduate quarter is not a factor. No courses taken prior to the first quarter of the sophomore year may be used to meet master’s degree requirements.
Course transfers are not possible after the bachelor’s degree has been conferred.
The University requires that the graduate adviser be assigned in the student’s first graduate quarter even though the undergraduate career may still be open. The University also requires that the Master’s Degree Program Proposal be completed by the student and approved by the department by the end of the student’s first graduate quarter.