The Master's in Leadership for Sustainability program requires 30 total credits and includes:

9 credits in core courses (3 courses)
6 credits in track courses (2 courses)
6 credits of master’s project research and implementation
9 credits of elective courses (3 courses)

Core Leadership for Sustainability Courses

Leadership for Sustainability Residential Intensive and Course (3 credits

This core requirement involves a weeklong residential intensive at Shelburne Farms, Vermont in August and ongoing semester-long coursework in the Fall semester. This experience will:

  • Introduce and practice a variety of foundational leadership skills (conscious communication, inquiry, awareness practices, working with difference, and more)
  • Cultivate a dynamic learning community; creating opportunities for relationship building among students, faculty, and staff
  • Introduce practices for connecting with and learning from nature and place
  • Engage in a critical inquiry of sustainability frameworks
  • Introduce frameworks, principles, and practices of ecological/system thinking
  • Reflect on implications and applications of these themes/practices in our own work, leadership style, and home organizations

Power, Privilege & Catalyzing Change Across Difference Residential Intensive and Course (3 credits)

This second core requirement involves a weeklong residential intensive in Washington, D.C. in January and ongoing semester-long coursework in the Fall semester.  This experience will:

  • Introduce and practice frameworks and intercultural skills for actively engaging with issues of diversity, power, and privilege as leaders in organizational and community-based settings
  • Explore processes, frameworks, and practices for catalyzing and facilitating change at individual, community, organization, and larger system levels
  • Explore identity, allyship, systemic oppression, microaggressions, rank and status, and other themes that essential to increasing our awareness and capacity as leaders.
  • Support the development of the students Master's project concept and proposal

Ecological Leadership Practicum Residential Intensive and Course (3 credits)

This third core requirement involves a weeklong residential intensive in the Bay Area, California in July and ongoing semester-long coursework in the Summer semester to support the development of the Master's project proposal.  This experience will:

  • Build on previous coursework and content to integrate these concepts and skills through a variety of learning experiences
  • Focus on practices for embodied leadership through a series of exercises and activities
  • Explore the operationalization of ecological leadership practices by visiting innovative organizations that are practicing unique approaches to ecological leadership
  • Examine the assumptions, mindsets, beliefs, organizational culture, practices, and conditions present in different leadership and change-making initiatives.
  • Explore differences in how some people/organizations approach issues, generate ideas, make decisions, practice solidarity and intersectionality, measure success, and build relationships.
  • Examine unintended impacts of change-making efforts and apply ecological/systems thinking frameworks to leadership.
  • Offer opportunities to refine, revise, and receive feedback on the Master's Project proposal.

Track Courses

Ecological Leadership

Ecological Leadership Seminar Interactive Online Course (6 credits over 2 semesters)

Ecological Leadership is a continually evolving field based on the idea that efforts to create a healthy future for our planet will necessitate mindsets, leadership skills, and strategies that reflect ecological realities, relationships and understandings.  This online course explores emerging topics and themes related to the theory and practice of Ecological Leadership over three semester-long sections via content areas outlined below.  Content includes:  ecologies of place; leading in the Anthropocene; cosmologies, worldviews, and ways of knowing; ecological and regenerative design; practicing solidarity; contemplative practices and leading from within; social movements; relational leadership; and visioning.

Education for Sustainability

Education for Sustainability Seminar Interactive Online Course (6 credits over 2 semesters)

This online course will explore emerging topics and themes related to the theory and practice of education for sustainability; a continually evolving field based on the idea that efforts to create a healthy future for our planet will necessitate mindsets, leadership skills, and strategies that reflect ecological realities, relationships and understandings.  In collaboration with innovative professional affiliates and practitioners, this course will be focused on creating conditions for learning our way toward a more sustainable future and will offer tangible skills pedagogical approaches and applied frameworks that can immediately be applied in schools and other educational organizations and contexts.  Content includes: ecologies of place; education in the Anthropocene, cosmologies, worldviews, and ways of knowing; purposes of education and the grammar of schooling; pedagogies of EFS; and decolonization in education.

Ecological Economics

Ecological Economics Theory Interactive Online Course (3 credits)
Ecological economics is an ongoing effort to reconcile economic theory and policy with accepted knowledge from other disciplines. This foundational course develops (1) a core understanding of the basic tenets of neoclassical economic theory, (2) an interdisciplinary critique of economic behavior and production models, and (3) a transdisciplinary foundation for problem-solving in the context of the scale and complexity of 21st century social and environmental problems. Students research, write, and present a paper that meets an academic conference/journal standard of review.  This course is offered through the Gund Institute of Ecological Economics.

Ecological Economics Practicum Residential Intensive and Course (3 credits)
The full problem-solving process includes both credentialed experts and experiential knowledge in defining, analyzing, synthesizing, and communicating solutions. This hands-on course brings together students, faculty, and stakeholders from diverse backgrounds and disciplines to address a specific local, regional or global environmental problem. The problem for each semester is chosen in collaboration with a sponsor, and involves an intensive, residential workshop. Students learn to apply the principles and methods of ecological economics to messy, complex, real-world problems. Outcomes include collaborative research papers, grant proposals, and policy/management support.  This course is offered through the Gund Institute of Ecological Economics.

Elective Courses

Students can take elective courses offered by the MLS program (listed below), in areas of specialization (listed above), or across UVM (list here).  Additionally, students may transfer up to 9 graduate level credits from outside UVM (these cannot have been used for any prior degrees/certificate programs).

Professional Communications Interactive Online Course (3 credits)

This online course is designed to help emerging leaders enhance their ability to communicate effectively across a variety of mediums.  This applied course will focus on the art and practice of communications while challenging students to consider complex dynamics (such as power, privilege, voice, difference, legitimacy, incommensurability) that are inherent in our efforts to communicate across boundaries/divides.  This course will ask big questions about the nature and purposes of communication while constantly considering the implications of these questions in our practice.  Throughout the course, students will participate in online instructional modules taught/curated by a variety of professional communications practitioners and workshop and some communications projects that can be immediately applied to their unique professional situation.

Sustainability Seminar Hybrid Independent and Interactive Online Course (1-3 variable credits)

This online course showcases learning modules designed by faculty and professional affiliates.  Students can engage modules that fit their professional or research aspirations and receive individualized feedback from the sustainability instructional team.  Students engage in an online interactive space and present at an online Sustainability Symposium at the end of the semester based on learnings and key takeaways.  Sample modules include:  Ecologies of Place; Leadership and Education in the Anthropocene; Cosmologies, Worldviews, and Ways of Knowing; Ecological Design; Awareness in Leadership; Relational Leadership; Solidarity Across Difference; Visioning & Creativity; Purposes of Education; Pedagogies of Education for Sustainability; Theories of Change; Intervening in a System & Leverage Points; Exploring Power & Privilege; Power, Legitimacy, & Representation in Communications; Storytelling for Change; Strategic Planning for Change

Independent Study Student-designed Elective Course (1-3 variable credits)

Students may design an independent study course with the approval of their advisor and graduate program coordinator.  An independent study course is an opportunity to explore themes, topics, questions and ideas that may not fit under a currently offered UVM course and may include content/curriculum from across and outside UVM.