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 designed for emerging and experienced leaders who wish to deepen their capacity to catalyze change and transcend boundaries. This two-year program offers an innovative blend of week-long residential intensives (taking place in Vermont, Washington D.C., and the Bay area in California), interactive online courses, professional coaching, and an incredible network of faculty and professional affiliates. The program aspires to create conditions for all life to thrive and explores leadership practices that are inspired by the wisdom of nature and challenge forces of domination and oppression.
At the heart of this program is our dedication to cultivate a diverse and equitable learning ecosystem. Learn more about our programmatic statement on power and privilege and the MLS Multicultural Scholarship here.
Who Should Apply?
The Leadership for Sustainability program attracts participants 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).
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 the more-than-human world and the ecological systems, patterns, processes, and organizing principles that can inspire our leadership, design, and change-making processes;
- Challenging Forces of Domination and Oppression: Enhancing our ability to critically examine dominant worldviews and shift inequitable systems, patterns and structures of power and privilege;
- Expressing Our Unique Potential to Create Conditions for All Life to Thrive: Integrating core leadership practices that enhance our capacities to express our unique potential, embody and catalyze change to create conditions for all life to thrive over the long haul.
The University of Vermont has earned a national reputation for the strength of its faculty and interdisciplinary offerings in sustainability. This program offers a suite of learning experiences, tuned to the needs of a diverse group of students and organizations. Four attributes are especially distinctive:
Instruction, Coaching and Facilitation from Professional Affiliates: Experienced practitioners and thought leaders from the professional world provide significant contributions to the content, skill development, mentorship, and pedagogical approach of the curriculum. These affiliates offer opportunities to ground theoretical approaches in practice and share insights from cutting edge organizations and initiatives.
Professional Orientation: The culminating Master’s Capstone Project is conducted in partnership with an organization or community group from each student’s home place. Program coursework and ongoing coaching from faculty and affiliates provide meaningful and individualized application of learning throughout the program.
Networked Distance Learning: In this low-residency approach, students are rooted in their home community/organization, while benefiting from a learning community built on a strong network of student-colleagues, faculty, and seasoned professionals. Residential short courses are complemented by online courses and learning opportunities that are directly applicable to each students’ home community/organization.
Applied Areas of Specialization: In addition to learning leadership skills, frameworks, and practices needed to initiate and facilitate change and systemic transformation, students can choose from specialized tracks that include: Ecological Leadership, Education for Sustainability, and Ecological Economics.
What is a Master's of Professional Studies?
Our Master of Professional Studies is a leadership degree that combines the theoretical background of a traditional research degree (Master of Arts or Master of Science) with applied, professionally-oriented curriculum. The Master’s in Leadership for Sustainability Program is an interdisciplinary experience that operates at the intersection of leadership theory and practice, led by professional affiliates engaged in change-making work across the world. Students, working full-time in a wide variety of professional fields and communities, explore and engage essential questions about their leadership practice during year 1. In year two they conduct a capstone project where they apply their learnings in their home community.