Program Overview

The two-year Master's in Leadership for Sustainability Program is a professional-oriented graduate program featuring residential intensives and interactive online learning experiences.  Upon completion of the program, students will receive a Masters of Professional Studies in Leadership for Sustainability from the Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources.  MSLS is distinct for:

  • Leadership Inspired by the Wisdom of Nature: By embedding students in a dynamic and diverse learning ecosystem, we create conditions for our community to: 1) develop meaningful relationships (interdependence), 2) express each person’s unique potential (differentiation), and 3) explore new territory and realize new possibilities through ongoing learning, change, and creativity (self-organization).  By aligning our learning community with these ecological principles we seek to challenge systems of domination and learn our way toward leadership practices that create conditions for all life to thrive.
  • Instruction, Coaching and Facilitation from Distinguished 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.  See our distinguished network here.
  • Professional Orientation:  The culminating Masters 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.  Students also choose project coaches that support the development of their projects. 
  • 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 intensives across the country 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 also choose from three different specialized tracks: Ecological Leadership, Education for Sustainability, or Ecological Economics.

Learn more about our courses and residential intensives (in Vermont, Washington D.C. and the Bay Area, CA) here.

Dates for 2018 Vermont Residential Intensive: July 31 - August 6, 2018 (inquire with for more info)

Degree Requirements

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

15 credits in core and track-focused courses (3 courses)
6 credits of master’s project research and implementation
9 credits of elective coursework (3 courses)

Additionally, students must complete a comprehensive exam, form a project committee, and present their project at the Sustainability Leadership Summit.  For tuition fees and cost, see here.

Capstone Project

The Masters Project is an opportunity to apply and wrestle with many of the conceptual frameworks, practices, and learnings from the MSLS program, and to construct new understandings of how each student can be uniquely effective at catalyzing and creating conditions for change.  Students will form a project committee that will support and provide feedback on their year long project.  Learn more here.

Sustainability Leadership Summit

The program culminates in a two-day Sustainability Leadership Summit at Shelburne Farms, Vermont where students share stories from their Master's projects and celebrate their achievement with faculty, professional affiliates, friends, family and community members.  Many networking and professional development opportunities are offered as well as a kick-off for new MSLS alumni.


The Leadership for Sustainability Program offers a variety of residential and online course experience through the core, track, and elective curriculum.  For course descriptions and details, see here.