At this moment in time, it's not enough to do more of what we’ve been doing. We need to do things differently.

The Masters of Professional Studies in Leadership for Sustainability is a practice-based program designed for diverse leaders across a wide array of fields and sectors. The program is rooted in leadership practices that are inspired by the wisdom of nature and challenge forces of domination and oppression.  This two-year program offers an innovative blend of remote learning intensives, interactive online courses, coaching, and is anchored by an incredible network of faculty and professional affiliates.  At the heart of this program is our dedication to cultivate a non-extractive, reciprocal and solidarity-based learning ecosystem rooted in love and relationship.  

Is this program for me?

The Leadership for Sustainability program is for practitioners from a wide array of fields and sectors who are open to practicing leadership differently and are committed to participating in a learning community centered around well-being and relationship.  We invite students into a dynamic and diverse learning ecosystem that develops meaningful relationships, supports each person’s unique potential, and explores new possibilities through ongoing learning, change, and creativity. The program workload and schedule is designed for professionals who work full-time (although that is not a requirement).

What’s Distinct?

Our core curriculum and innovative pedagogy are grounded in the belief that the changes we create in the world are reflective of the changes and conditions we cultivate in ourselves. 

The program has three central learning goals:

  • Leadership inspired by the wisdom of Nature:  Deepening our relationships with and understanding of ecological systems, patterns, processes, and organizing principles that can inspire our leadership, design, and change-making processes;
  • Challenging structures of domination and oppression: Enhancing our ability to critically examine and transform mindsets rooted in domination and shift inequitable systems, patterns and structures of power and privilege;
  • Practice: Deepening leadership practices that enhance our capacities draw on multiple ways of knowing, stay centered, catalyze change, advance the work of our communities and professional organizations, and create conditions for life to thrive over the long haul.

The University of Vermont has gained a national reputation for leadership in sustainability

Our learning ecosystem is rooted in:

Instruction, Coaching and Facilitation from Distinguished Professional Affiliates:  Experienced practitioners and creative thought leaders are the heartbeat of this program.  They facilitate and instruct intensives, design and deliver learning modules, and provide direct coaching and guidance to students as they embark on their year-long Capstone Project. Affiliates ground theoretical approaches in practice and share insights from cutting edge organizations and initiatives.

Practice-based:  Program coursework provides meaningful and individualized application of learning throughout the program. The culminating Master's Capstone Project is an opportunity for students to design a project that rigorously integrates key learnings and leadership practices while strengthening relationships, building systems of accountability, and engaging complexity in ways that are deeply aligned with the student’s core values and principles.  

Multiple Ways of Knowing: This program maintains a foundational commitment to multiple ways of knowing, being, and leading in the world. We believe that the wisdom needed for these complex times can be rooted in rigorous inquiry, creativity, spiritual practice and wisdom traditions, solidarity and survivance, and relationships with our more than human kin. 

Networked Distance Learning:  With our online approach, students stay rooted in their home community, while benefiting from a supportive learning community and cohort built on a strong network of student-colleagues, faculty, and seasoned professionals. Week-long remote learning intensives are complemented by ongoing online courses that emphasize relational learning and include regular synchronous meetings.

Areas of Specialization:  In addition to our core curriculum, The Master’s in Leadership for Sustainability is designed so students are able to create their own area of specialization with the selection of 3 elective courses that are specific to their goals and learning edges. 


Interested in exploring similar topics in a Leadership for Sustainability Fellowship Program? The Fellowship program can be tailored to 1 or 2 years (see details here).

Interested in exploring the possiblity of a PhD track?

To learn more about both the Fellowship and PhD, please contact Lauren Akin at or inquire below for more information.