- Prospective Students
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“My SIT experience gave me the tools that I needed for a successful career in development. Both through my time on campus and during my practicum I worked on actual proposals and strategic plans, and learned a tremendous amount about intercultural communication and teamwork.”
—Meg Audette, MA in Sustainable Development, Field Programme Support Officer, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
SIT’s Master of Arts in Sustainable Development: Advocacy, Leadership, and Social Change program prepares graduates for positions in organizations working toward a more equitable and sustainable use of the world’s wealth and natural resources.
The program emphasizes the importance of civil society actors and institutions, including NGOs, community programs, social movements, coalitions, and faith-based organizations. Vermont is at the forefront of sustainable development initiatives in the US, and students in the program are able to connect with local communities and relevant organizations, including those led by SIT alumni.
Students in the program can expect to:
Beginning in fall 2014, students in the program will be able to acquire a specialization in one of the following professional areas:
Join a global network of development projects and professionals.
SIT Graduate Institute is the higher education institution of World Learning, a leading international development organization, and as such is uniquely qualified to prepare its graduates to work with communities around the world in meeting their development needs. By drawing on the World Learning/SIT global network of contacts and development projects, SIT students can advance their careers by building connections worldwide.
Two Terms (9 months)
Two–Three Terms (6–12 months)
|Capstone Paper and Presentation|
|Fall Term: September–December
Field Courses (optional): January
Language Intensives (optional): January
Spring Term: January–May
|Two or three terms working with an organization||Final paper and presentation on campus|
Students have five years from the time they enter the program to complete all degree requirements. (For any student who, because of special circumstances, studies part-time during two consecutive on-campus academic years, the program entry date is calculated from the beginning of their second on-campus year.) A student who does not complete all degree requirements (including the language and culture proficiency requirement) within five years of the entry date will be withdrawn from the program. A student with extenuating circumstances must apply to the dean of the program for an extension.
All students must fulfill a Language and Culture Proficiency Requirement before they are eligible to graduate.
International and US-Based Intensive Courses
Students have the option of completing a short-term intensive course at sites in the US or abroad. Typically ranging in duration from one to four weeks, recent intensives have been offered in Washington, DC; Morocco; Mexico; and Turkey.
Intensive field courses offer students pursuing an MA in sustainable development the chance to interact with practitioners in the field, learn on-site, and expand professional networking. Short-term intensives are typically offered in January. Learn more about the intensive field courses.
View our 2015 course offerings
Following the on-campus coursework phase, each student completes a professional practicum with an organization of his/her choosing.* The practicum must be related to the student’s coursework and career goals and be for a minimum of six months. Practicums may be paid professional positions or unpaid internships.
During this period — referred to as Reflective Practice — students remain engaged with faculty and other students and receive course credit for documenting the integration of their knowledge and skills while working in a professional context.
Practicum placements provide in-depth, hands-on learning; enhance résumés; and expand professional contacts.
Recent practicum placements held by students in the sustainable development program include:
* Students find positions on their own with support from SIT's Career and Practicum Services Center.
The program prepares professionals to:
Acquire skills and training to work in a wide range of development-related fields.
Students develop skills to work in community development, economic development, and many other areas of need across the globe, through coursework and field study. Students gain professional experience through an extended practicum with an organization of their choice that is relevant to their professional goals.
Graduates are equipped to work in a wide range of fields, including community capacity building, economic development, human rights, education, food security, health, gender equity, nonprofit and NGO management, international relations, and social entrepreneurship.
Faculty for the MA in Sustainable Development: Advocacy, Leadership, and Social Change program in Vermont are experienced development professionals. They include practitioner-scholars based on SIT’s Vermont campus and adjunct faculty from the Washington, DC Center, southern Vermont, and the surrounding region. The MA in Sustainable Development: Advocacy, Leadership, and Social Change program draws upon other campus-based resources, including the professional development staff in SIT Study Abroad, and leaders of both local organizations and organizations around the world, often through visits and video conferences. Many of these individuals serve as guest lecturers and practicum advisors for SIT students.
Chair, Associate Professor
PhD, Carleton University
MA, York University
Teresa Healy earned her doctorate in political science from Carleton University in Ottawa. Her work focuses on social movements’ struggles for equity and community-based sustainability in times of economic crisis.
PhD, MA, University of Massachusetts
BA, Vassar College
Nikoi Kote-Nikoi, who holds a doctorate in economics, has been a member of SIT Graduate Institute's faculty since 1989. He also has served as a policy analyst and director of research at the Institute of Economic Affairs in his native Ghana, and as a visiting professor at the University of Copenhagen, Marlboro College, and the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration.
PhD, MA, Stanford University
BA, University of California, San Diego
Jeff Unsicker completed graduate studies in international development, education, policy analysis, and administration. His research focused on the political economy of foreign aid for adult education, rural development, and Ujamaa socialism in Tanzania. A member of SIT's faculty since 1990, Jeff has also served as academic dean and interim president of SIT Graduate Institute.
DA Leadership, Franklin Pierce University
MIIM, SIT Graduate Institute
BS Journalism, University of Maryland
Dr. Tamara L. Stenn is an adjunct professor in the sustainable development program at SIT Graduate Institute, a visiting professor of social entrepreneurism at Hampshire College, and a scholar of sustainable development and justice.
To be considered for admission to the MA in Sustainable Development program, an applicant must meet the following criteria:
English Language Ability
Applicants whose first language is not English and who did not graduate from an English-speaking institution in a country whose official language is English submit test scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), or the PTE (Pearson Test of English). (Applicants can access free TOEFL and IELTS practice tests online.)
These scores are considered the minimum proficiency needed to undertake graduate-level work. Scores must be dated within two years of the start date of your academic program at SIT.
SIT Graduate Institute’s Selection Process
Our admissions staff work one-on-one with every applicant to facilitate a highly informed and multidimensional admissions experience: applicants are encouraged to attend an open house, talk with SIT faculty and staff, and hear from current students and alumni. As applicants become familiar with the attributes of an SIT education — grounded in the experiential learning model and focused on social justice and leadership skills in intercultural environments — they determine for themselves in what ways SIT can help them meet their educational and career objectives.
Year 1 Tuition: $31,260
Year 1 Fees: $1,800
Year 2 Tuition: $6,150
MA degree total tuition and fees (all terms combined): $39,210
Year 1 On-Campus Room and Board: $9,120 (Estimated off campus housing is $11,250)
SIT estimates the costs to students for books, personal expenses, transportation, and off-campus housing/food. Individual expenses may vary. Off-campus living expenses and transportation costs are based on student survey data; individual costs vary depending on a variety of factors such as the type of housing and location of practicum.
Year 1 Books: $800
Year 1 Personal Expenses: $2,700
Year 1 Transportation Costs: $1,200-$2,250
Year 2 Books: $1,200
Year 2 Personal Expenses: $3,600
Year 2: Travel, housing, and other costs associated with the reflective practice phase vary depending on location and duration of position.
Costs range from $2,200 to $5,450. See details on the locations, schedule, and costs of individual field courses.
$3,000 (per year)
Health insurance is required for all students, and may be waived if a student can document health insurance coverage.
Year 1: $800
Year 2: $300
Estimated fees are based on the average amount borrowed by SIT Graduate Institute students. See details on student loan options.
Direct costs and on-campus room and board are billed by SIT Graduate Institute. Indirect, off-campus housing costs, transportation expenses, and additional costs are not billed by SIT, but represent educational expenses associated with being an enrolled student.