Master of Arts in
Sustainable Development Practice (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 support societies, communities, and ecosystems.

At a Glance

For the program beginning summer 2024




Part-Time Hybrid


Mexico, United States

Application Deadline for U.S. & permanent residents

January 31, rolling thereafter until April 1

International students

November 1, no rolling admission


2 Years

Critical Global Issue of Study

Development & Inequality

Development & Inequality Icon


Learn to create, shape, and lead thriving communities, locally, and globally with SIT’s hybrid master’s degree in Sustainable Development Practice. Combining online coursework and field courses in Nepal and Mexico, the program offers part-time and full-time professionals the opportunity to build skills in community development and social change without stepping off the career track.

Starting with a brief summer residency on SIT’s beautiful Vermont campus, you will get to know your cohort and the program faculty. Through the summer and 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 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 in-person). Key to building professional networks for students, the practicum and field experiences provide a solid foundation for skill building and growth in the sustainable development field.

During the final semester, you will culminate your master’s degree with the development and presentation of your capstone research project. Designed and implemented by each student, the capstone offers you the opportunity to deepen your knowledge and experience with a topic of your choice or to strengthen a professional interest.

The program offers elective courses that allow you to pursue field work or other projects during two semesters of the program. These courses expand your experiential learning and provide opportunities to discover innovative solutions to social and environmental challenges all over the world.

Career Paths

Read about SIT Graduate Institute alumni careers through the SIT blog and our Career Impact page. Students who have graduated with this degree work in careers such as the following, among others.

  • NGO program director

  • Community development specialist

  • NGO or nonprofit communications director

  • Social policy program manager

  • Sustainable development project coordinator

  • Monitoring and evaluation director

  • Gender and development specialist

  • Community capacity-building senior policy associate

  • Sustainability educator

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. 


During your second semester, you will have the opportunity to take part in the Community Development and Social Change field course in Nepal. During the course, students visit communities that take part in diverse sustainability, conservation, and gender projects. For 10 days, students travel in Nepal to learn about and begin to understand the complexities and nuances involved in sustainable development processes. If students are unable to attend this course or prefer to take a different course, they can substitute with an online elective course or a field course in another SIT program.

Oaxaca, Mexico

During your fourth semester, you will have the opportunity to take part in the summer field course, Agroecology and Food Systems, in Oaxaca, Mexico. In this course, you will meet and learn from accomplished community leaders, farmers, and women’s groups who participate in diverse social movements that work toward greater food sovereignty and sustainable food production systems in their communities and region. Students have the opportunity to visit local villages, farms, and markets to facilitate their understanding and to experience the complexities of achieving sustainable and just food systems.

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


Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Develop a critical understanding of the current systems that have led to today’s growing inequality, poverty, environmental destruction, and unsustainable ways of living, and become familiar theoretically and experientially with the field of sustainable development and regenerative practice.
  • Apply and integrate systems thinking and eco-social design, practical skills, and leadership capacity, as well as the sense of innovative and imaginative possibilities within the areas of sustainable development and eco-social regeneration.
  • Solve problems and engage with the urgent challenges of the present in the field of sustainable development, such as poverty and inequality, conflict over natural resources, environmental degradation, and climate change, by applying tools of participatory inquiry and design to bring about transformative action in collaboration with multiple stakeholders.
  • Demonstrate skills in project design and implementation, project management, and evaluation based on the needs of a locality and in collaboration with multiple stakeholders.
  • Show a mastery of global and comparative perspectives on development, sustainable development, and regeneration across different geographical, socioeconomic, cultural, and political contexts.

Read more about Program Learning Outcomes.


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. Courses will be completed in small personalized cohorts. Our hybrid master’s degree format allows you to complete most of your coursework online so you can stay in your job and community.

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 of our work.
  • We are committed to human and environmental well-being through sustainability and contributing to a better world for all living and future generations.


On this part-time program, you’ll earn 36 credits during 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. Whether online or in person, the practicum will allow you to apply learning from the classroom directly to real-world settings while gaining 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 online electives and field courses from programs in Peace and Justice Leadership, Humanitarian Assistance and Crisis Management, 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 in-person courses taken elsewhere (variable number of credits; must be approved by degree chair and registrar)

Faculty & Staff

Sustainable Development Practice (Part-Time Hybrid)

Alyson Dagang, PhD
Chair and Affiliated Faculty
Joseph Lanning, PhD
Affiliated Faculty
K. Alexander Williams, EdD
Affiliated Faculty
Nuria Peña, PhD
Affiliated Faculty
Sonya Ahamed, PhD
Suman Pant, PhD
Affiliated Faculty
Karla Giuliano Sarr, EdD
Affiliated Faculty
Ana Laura Lobo, PhD candidate
Affiliated Faculty
Orli Fridman, PhD
Affiliated Faculty
Tatiana Macías Muentes, PhD

Discover the Possibilities