Master of Arts in
Sustainable Development (Part-Time Hybrid)

Earn your master's degree online and in person. Develop the skills and expertise needed to lead sustainability initiatives that drive real change and help societies, communities, and ecosystems thrive.

At a Glance

For programs beginning in 2021

Credits

36

Format

Part-Time Hybrid

Priority deadline

January 31, rolling thereafter

I-20 Deadline for Student Visas

March 1

Duration

2 Years

Residencies

Mexico, Nepal, United States

Critical Global Issue of Study

Development & Inequality

Development & Inequality Icon

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, like COVID-19, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.

WHY A HYBRID MASTER'S IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT?

Learn to create, build, and support thriving communities, both locally and globally, with SIT’s partially online master’s degree in Sustainable Development. This program combines intensive virtual coursework with brief residencies, allowing part-time and full-time professionals to build skills in community development and social change without stepping off the career track.  New skills and knowledge will be applied during field courses and residencies integrated into the program.

Start with a brief summer residency on SIT’s beautiful Vermont campus, where you will get to know your cohort and faculty advisor and begin your coursework. For the rest of the summer and into fall, your online courses will help you gain a deeper understanding of how current power structures, policy frameworks, and belief systems lead to today’s growing social and environmental disparities.

While continuing with your online coursework, you will have the opportunity to participate in the Nepal field course in the fall. During this course, you will reconnect with your cohort and SIT faculty; interact with community leaders, advocates, and partners in the field; and learn and apply the conceptual and practical tools needed to directly engage with a range of today’s most pressing community development and social change issues. Online coursework will continue through the spring.

During the second summer of the program, your online coursework will be combined with a course in Oaxaca, Mexico. Through field experiences and meetings with leading practitioners and organizations, you will meet groups engaged in alternative development paradigms and prominent agroecology and food sovereignty movements in the region.

During the second fall of the program, you will apply your new skills in a semester-long practicum with the organization of your choosing (online or face-to-face). Key to building professional networks for students, the practicum and field experiences provide a solid foundation for experiential learning and growth in the sustainable development field.

During the final semester, you will complete the remaining coursework in this two-year, 36-credit master’s degree online. The culmination of the program will be presenting your capstone project during the Capstone Seminar.

Elective courses that allow you to pursue field work or other projects are available during two semesters of the program. These courses expand your experiential learning and provide opportunities to discover innovative solutions being developed all over the world.

Career Paths

Students who have graduated with this degree have worked in careers such as:

  • NGO Program Manager

  • Community Development Specialist

  • Communications Director, NGO or Nonprofit

  • Program Manager, Office of Social Policy

  • Project Coordinator, Sustainable Development

  • Monitoring and Evaluation Director

  • Gender and Development Specialist

  • Senior Policy Associate, Community Capacity Building

  • Sustainability Educator

Visit the SIT blog to read more about SIT Graduate Institute alumni careers.

Program Sites

Part-Time Hybrid Format

  • Courses take place partially online
  • Brief summer residency in Vermont with field courses in Nepal and Mexico
  • Optional international field courses with other programs

Brattleboro, Vermont

Vermont is at the forefront of sustainability, education, and regeneration. New England is a haven for start-ups, transition towns, community-owned forests, artisanal food and beverage companies, sustainable farming, eco-architecture, green energy, and many environmental and social-justice organizations. SIT’s idyllic southern Vermont campus offers woodland trails, hiking, running, and cycling, as well as a private library, café, study rooms with mountain views, and an entertainment space where students often gather at the end of the day to socialize. You will also be a few miles from Brattleboro’s downtownwhere you will be able to enjoy an array of shops, restaurants, and eateries. 

Nepal

During your second semester, you will have the opportunity to take part in a field course in Nepal.

Oaxaca, Mexico

During your fourth semester, you will have the opportunity to take part in a summer field course in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

Academics

Coursework

With SIT’s experiential learning 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. Our partially online master’s degree format allows you to complete most of your coursework online so you can stay in your job and community.

In this program, you will learn to:

  • Build conceptual and practical skills to understand and directly engage with the complexity of today’s systemic challenges.
  • Put into practice skills in project design and implementation, project management, and evaluation based on local needs and in collaboration with multiple stakeholders.
  • Identify gaps in current sustainable development policy and how innovative eco-social design can be applied in these areas.
  • Gain a global, comparative perspective on sustainable development across different geographical, ecological, socioeconomic, cultural, and political contexts.
  • Develop practical skills in innovation, implementation, project management, and monitoring and evaluation.
  • Apply newly learned skills in field settings to gain expertise in systems-thinking and design in the areas of sustainable development, wherever you are based.
  • Master global and comparative perspectives on development, sustainable development, and regeneration across geographical, socioeconomic, cultural, and political contexts.
  • Understand the linkages between policy, social complexities, human health risks, ecological dynamics, technological innovations, and financial models that can advance integrated sustainable development solutions.

View past capstone projects associated with this degree.


Please expand the sections below to see detailed course information.

This is SIT

  • We value active togetherness, reciprocity, and respect as the essential ingredients for building a sustainable community.
  • With open minds, empathy, and courage, we facilitate intercultural understanding and respect for the commonalities and differences between people.
  • We champion social inclusion & justice in all that we are and all that we do, from ensuring our community and our programs amplify the voices, agency, and dignity of all people to deliberately instilling the principles and practices of inclusion in all ofour work.
  • We are committed to human and environmental well-being through sustainability and contributing to a better world for all living and future generations.

SEMESTER DETAILS

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

Semester One, Summer: Online and Vermont campus (6 Credits)

  • Policy Advocacy and Social Change
  • Human Flourishing in the Anthropocene: From Development to Regeneration

Semester Two, Fall: Online and Nepal field course (7 credits)

  • Program Planning and Management
  • Leadership, Community, and Coalition Building
  • Community Development and Social Change field course – Nepal

Semester Three, Spring: Online (6 credits)

  • Practitioner Inquiry
  • Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning

Semester Four, Summer: Online and Oaxaca, Mexico (5 credits)

  • Grant writing and Fundraising
  • Effective Communication for Change
  • Agroecology and Food Systems field course – Oaxaca, Mexico

Semester Five, Fall: Online (7 credits)

  • Global Virtual Practicum in Sustainable Development
  • Economics for Sustainable Development and Regeneration
  • Capstone proposal

Global Practicum
An integral part of SIT’s experiential learning philosophy is the practicum experience. Online or face-to-face, the practicum will allow you to apply learning from the classroom directly to real-world settings, while getting hands-on, professional experience you can put to immediate use after you graduate. Career Services and your advisor will support you in finding an approved practicum that aligns with your interests and career goals. This practicum experience will give you the opportunity to work in the field of sustainable development, as well as expand your professional network.

Semester Six, Spring: Online (5 credits)

  • Special Topics in Sustainable Development
  • Capstone Paper
  • Capstone Seminar

Elective Courses: Online and Field Courses, chosen from the following options

  • Optional electives online and field courses from programs in Peace and Justice Leadership, Humanitarian Assistance and Crisis Management, Global Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship, and International Education
  • Special Topics in Sustainable Development, including field courses
  • Independent Study (maximum of two credits per Independent Study, as determined by student in conjunction with 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)

Faculty & Staff

Sustainable Development (Part-Time Hybrid)

Alyson Dagang, PhD
Program Chair, Master of Arts in Sustainable Development •
Christiane Magnido, MA
Affiliated Faculty, MA in Sustainable Development
Joseph Lanning, PhD
Program Chair, Global Master of Arts in Development Practice • Affiliated Faculty, Master of Arts in Sustainable Development
Victor Tricot, PhD
Co-chair, MA in Humanitarian Assistance and Crisis Management (Part-Time, Hybrid)
Fetaomi Tapu-Qiliho, PhD
Faculty, Master of Arts in Sustainable Development
Lowery Parker, PhD
Faculty, Master of Arts in Sustainable Development
Aynn Setright, MA
Affiliated Faculty, Master of Arts in Sustainable Development

Discover the Possibilities