Learn to build thriving communities through innovative and regenerative sustainable practices.

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In recent decades, economic disparity, social tension, and environmental destruction have become ever more pronounced. Learn how current economic systems, policy structures, and beliefs have led to today’s growing inequality, poverty, and unsustainable use of natural resources. Discover and be inspired by innovative and regenerative solutions being developed all over the world. Through this unique program, you will acquire the skills to create real change that can help societies, communities, and ecologies thrive.

What you’ll learn

Lasting change requires participation from all interested parties. Acquire the skills of inquiry, project design, leadership, and monitoring and evaluation to develop collaborative solutions that benefit local communities and ecologies.

Get conceptual and practical tools to understand and directly engage with the complexity of today’s systemic problems.

Identify gaps in current sustainable development policy and how innovative eco-social design can be applied in these areas.

Get a global, comparative perspective on sustainable development and regeneration across different geographical, ecological, socioeconomic, cultural, and political contexts.

Develop practical skills in project design and implementation, project management and evaluation, and leadership and innovation.

Apply and integrate systems-thinking and design in the areas of sustainable development and eco-social regeneration, wherever you are based.

How it works

This flexible degree combines face-to-face and online learning to allow you to stay in your job while completing a master’s degree. During short residencies in Brattleboro, Vermont, and Oaxaca, Mexico, you'll learn from a diverse and inspiring array of sustainable development projects that highlight innovation, creativity, and regeneration. Throughout the online portions of the program, you’ll apply your learning directly within your own job or community.


With SIT’s experiential curriculum, you’ll learn how to put theory into practice. In addition to core courses, a broad range of elective choices let you focus on courses that will help you meet your career goals.

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On this part-time program, you’ll earn 36 credits over two years.


Year 1, term 1 – Two-week residency in Vermont and online (7 credits)

Theory and Practice of Social Change (3 credits)

Human Flourishing in the Anthropocene: From Development to Regeneration (3 credits)

Foundations in Regenerative Leadership (1 credit)


Year 1, term 2 – Online (6 credits)

Regenerative Design (2 credits)

Learning in Place: Land and Ecology (2 credits)

Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning  (2 credits)


Year 1, term 3 – Two-week residency in Oaxaca, Mexico, and online (6 credits)

Development and Resistance in Latin America (2 credits)

Communication, Media, and Art for Social Transformation (2 credits)

Food Sovereignty and Agro-ecology (1 credit)

Migration, Borders, and Transnational Communities (1 credit)


Year 2, term 1 – One-week residency in Vermont and online (5 credits)

Understanding and Designing Social-Ecological Change (3 credits)

Science and Appropriate Technology (2 credit)


Year 2, term 2 – Online (5 credits)

Learning in Place: Society and Culture (2 credits)

Economics for Sustainable Development and Regeneration (3 credits)


Year 2, term 3 – Online and seminar in Vermont (5 credits)

Reflective Practice (3 credits)

Capstone Paper (1 credit)

Capstone Presentation and Seminar (1 credit)


Elective Courses (2 credits)

Master of Arts in Sustainable Development students are required to complete two credits of electives.

Electives may be chosen from the following:

  • Special Topics in Sustainable Development, including field courses
  • Optional elective from MA in Peace and Justice Leadership
  • Independent Study (maximum of two credits per Independent Study, as determined by student and advisor)
  • Transfer credit, if approved, for online or face-to-face courses taken elsewhere (variable number of credits; must be approved by degree chair and registrar)

Get hands-on training in different learning contexts.

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Vermont is at the forefront of sustainability and regeneration. New England is a hotbed of innovation, including transition towns, permaculture (in various forms), community-owned forests (indigenous and beyond), co-housing, cooperatives, local food industries, local artisanal companies, eco-architecture, green energy, and environmental and social justice organizations. SIT’s southern Vermont campus is in a strategic position for you to see this innovation firsthand.

Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca is a thriving hub of ecological and social innovation. You’ll engage with social movements and indigenous communities and learn directly from individuals who are creatively responding to challenges.

Your Community

A priority of the program is to allow you to immediately apply what you learn in your workplace, community, and/or organization. This gives you guided, hands-on practice that deepens your learning.


SIT’s faculty are practitioners in their fields. Our diverse, multicultural faculty have worked across the world as leaders, trainers, and developers in the business, nonprofit, education, and public sectors.

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Udi Butler
Udi Butler

Assistant Professor and Chair
Sustainable Development


PhD, Goldsmiths College, University of London
MS, University of Bristol
MFA, University of Edinburgh

Dr. Udi Butler has been active in the field of ethnographic and participatory action research for the last 17 years. Keep reading.

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Jeff Unsicker
Jeff Unsicker

Professor Emeritus
Sustainable Development


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. Keep reading.

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Kelly Teamey
Kelly Teamey

Sustainable Development


PhD, King’s College London
MA, New York University
BA, Brown University

Kelly has been active in the fields of international/sustainable development and education for the past 20 years. Keep reading.

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Gerardo López Amaro
Gerardo López Amaro

Sustainable Development


MA, El Colegio de San Luis, AC

Gerardo is currently walking passionately the path of autonomous education with the task of imagining spaces of encounter for thinking-feeling together about ways to strengthen the defense of life, memory and territory. Keep reading.

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Mokhtar Bouba
Mokhtar Bouba

Assistant Professor
Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management


PhD, Franklin Pierce University
MEd, Keene State College
MA, SIT Graduate Institute
BA, Qadi Ayyad University

Mokhtar received a doctorate in education and leadership studies from Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire. He also holds an MEd in education for social justice from Keene State College in New Hampshire and an MA in service, leadership, and management from SIT Graduate Institute. Keep reading.

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Carlos Y. Flores
Carlos Y. Flores

Sustainable Development


PhD, University of Manchester
MA, Goldsmiths, University of London

Carlos studied at the National School of Anthropology and History in Mexico and has a PhD in social anthropology from the University of Manchester, UK, where he specialized in visual anthropology at the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology. Keep reading.

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John Hardman
John Hardman

Sustainable Development


PhD, Florida Atlantic University
MA, Oxford Brookes University

John is a senior instructor in the Department of Educational Leadership at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches master’s- and doctoral-level courses in the school leadership and adult and community education programs. Keep reading.

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Manish Jain
Manish Jain

Sustainable Development


MA, Harvard University
BA, Brown University

Manish is deeply committed to regenerating our diverse local knowledge systems and cultural imaginations and is one of the strong planetary voices for de-schooling our lives. Keep reading.

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Ku Kahakalau
Ku Kahakalau

Sustainable Development


PhD, The Union Institute and University
BA, MA, University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa

Dr. Kū Kahakalau is a native Hawaiian educator, researcher, cultural practitioner, grassroots activist, songwriter, and expert in Hawaiian language, history, and culture. Keep reading.

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Deborah Robinson
Deborah Robinson

Sustainable Development


PhD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
MBA, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
BA, Williams College, Williamstown, MA

Dr. Robinson is a senior program manager with more than 20 years’ experience working with organizations in numerous countries. She has lived, worked, and traveled in 70 countries to date and has been involved in a variety of issues, including human rights, environmental justice, racism, sustainable development, emergency management, and violence against women. Keep reading.

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Mari Stuart
Mari Stuart

Sustainable Development


PhD, Harvard University

Mari is an ecological designer, educator, and urban homesteader living in Asheville, North Carolina. She holds a doctorate from Harvard University and has taught Asian religions and environmental ethics at Reed College and the University of South Carolina. Keep reading.

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Syed Aqeel Tirmizi
Syed Aqeel Tirmizi

Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management


PhD, State University of New York, Binghamton
MIA, School for International Training
BComm, University of Punjab, Pakistan

Dr. Aqeel Tirmizi’s professional portfolio includes more than 20 years of international experience in teaching, research, management, and capacity building. The major focus of his work deals extensively with managing and leading in global and multicultural environments as well as working with themes of social justice and social innovation. Keep reading.

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Program Partners

The following are partner organizations of the sustainable development program:

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Brattleboro Food Co-op (Vermont)

This community-owned business sells food and serves the local community by providing free services and keeping resources in the community.

Donella Meadows Institute (Vermont)

The Donella Meadows Project preserves Donella (Dana) H. Meadows’s legacy by maintaining a comprehensive and easily accessible archive of her work online and by developing new resources and programs that apply her ideas to current issues.

Ecoversities Alliance (International)

The alliance, an informal community of learning practitioners from around the world, seeks to develop innovative pedagogies that critique current education systems and cultivate new practices to address today’s challenges.

Greater Falls Community Justice Center (Vermont)

A citizen-governed nonprofit addressing conflict and crime by promoting shared responsibility for a safe and healthy community, engaging citizens to restore relationships, repair past harms, and build community connections through education and involvement.

Instituto de Naturaleza y Sociedad de Oaxaca (Mexico)

Founded in 1991 to support communities with regenerative social and ecological initiatives in the diverse state of Oaxaca, INSO's flagship "Slow Water" project aims to address the Central Valley's watershed crisis, where the speed that water flows impacts communities and ecosystems.

Retreat Farm (Vermont)

An independent nonprofit organization offering opportunities to learn, play, and grow, strengthening communities ties and fostering an appreciation of the land, farmers, and animals that nourish us.

Slow Living Summit (Vermont)

The June 2020 Slow Living Summit will explore how large beverage, food, and local producers are utilizing new and innovative techniques in their farming and production practices to help reduce climate change.

Strolling of the Heifers (Vermont)

Strolling of the Heifers offers funding, apprenticeships, and other resources to encourage entrepreneurship, innovation, and sustainability in farm and food businesses.

Windham Grows (Vermont)

This socially responsible project provides training, mentorship, capital resources, and opportunities for collaboration to food and agriculture entrepreneurs in New England free of charge.

Alumni Careers

meg audette, SIT Graduate Institute alum

Students in this program go on to work in the field in a variety of areas including study abroad offices, NGOs, nonprofits, and government agencies. Find out some of the career paths that may be open to you.

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Graduates from this degree can expect to find employment in the fields of:

  • Community capacity building
  • Economic development
  • Education
  • Environmental resource management and advocacy
  • Food security
  • Gender equity
  • Health
  • Human rights
  • International relations
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Nonprofit and NGO leadership and management
  • Policy and research
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Socially engaged cultural institutions

In addition, this program will provide you with tools, skills, and networks that are important for starting your own socially and ecologically engaged entrepreneurial enterprise.

Admissions Criteria

We strive to create a diverse and experienced student body to enhance the learning experience both inside and outside the classroom.

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To be considered for admission to the MA in Sustainable Development program, an applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • US bachelor’s degree or an equivalent that demonstrates academic ability
  • Demonstrated English language ability (see details below)
  • Intercultural and professional experience
  • Demonstrated ability to use experience as a source of learning

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.)

  • Applicants taking the TOEFL must receive a minimum score of
    • 600 on the paper-based test (PBT)
    • 250 on the computer-based test (CBT), or
    • 100 on the internet-based iBT.
  • Applicants taking the IELTS must receive a score of Band 7.0 or higher.
  • Applicants taking the PTE must receive a minimum score of 68.

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 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.


See a breakdown of the costs for this program.

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Direct Costs

Tuition and Fees

Year 1 tuition: $21,750
Year 2 tuition: $21,750

MA degree total tuition and fees (all terms combined): $43,500

Year 1 on-campus room and board: $1,050

Indirect Costs

SIT estimates the costs to students for books, personal expenses, transportation. Individual expenses may vary.

Year 1 books: $1,200
Year 1 personal expenses: $1,500
Year 1 transportation costs: $1,250

Year 2 estimated Oaxaca, Mexico room and board: $500
Year 2 books: $1,200
Year 2 personal expenses: $1,500
Year 2 transportation costs: $500 (plus $195 for passport, if student doesn’t already have valid one)

Optional Washington, DC, Credit

Personal expenses: $200
Transportation costs: $250

Additional Costs

Estimated Student Loan Fees:

Year 1: $225

Year 2: $225

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.