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Sustainability Degree Offers Range of Possibility

March 23, 2020 by Karen Grossman |

Glob with arm holding umbrella over it shielding it from plastic bottlesWith a degree in sustainability, you have a world of career options — from ecotourism, urban planning, and energy efficiency to law, communications, and business. UNC Greensboro’s Master of Science in Sustainability and Environment is a new online degree program for students pursuing a career in sustainability.

Distinguished from Other Programs

With four areas of focus, this interdisciplinary program within the Department of Geography, Environment, and Sustainability (GES) offers a range of possibility.

The program requires 36 credits, half in electives and half in core courses. Students take two foundational core courses, one each in Sustainability and Environment, and four rotating topics courses that correspond to these focus areas:

  • Natural Sciences
  • Equity and Society
  • Development and Economics
  • Ethics and Aesthetics

At UNC Greensboro, sustainability is the “enduring interconnectedness of social equity, the environment, the economy, and aesthetics.” This four-leaf approach distinguishes the program’s curriculum from others by including aesthetics and ethics.

Depth in Sustainability

The degree is intended for students who earned an undergraduate degree in sustainability or environmental studies and want to dig deeper, or people looking to make a lateral shift into sustainability but who don’t necessarily have the background in it.

“Our students want the depth that a master’s can provide,” says Dr. Aaron Allen, director of the Environment and Sustainability Program and associate professor of Musicology. “They’re going to find their particular path in sustainability, whether it’s working with a business, nonprofits, the government, in a scientific or cultural field, or even working in a laboratory or for social justice in the community.”

Through case studies, readings, writing, and group discussions in both synchronous and asynchronous classes, students gain transferable skills like research, synthesis, professional communication, and problem solving. Students complete the program with either a capstone project, thesis, or internship to provide them with depth of experience.

Customize Your Career

Students come to the program from a variety of undergraduate backgrounds, so the curricular flexibility allows them to customize the degree. They can use the interdisciplinary electives from GES and other UNCG departments to align courses with their interests and professional needs, based on their educational and work experience. For example, if a student needs accounting or business skills for a career in ecotourism, there are electives in sustainable development from a business perspective.

“Our students want to build and hone their skills for their chosen paths in life,” Allen says. “Ask yourself what is it that appeals to you, what interests you, what other experiences do you have that you can bring to bear on this, and let’s build them up so you can make a positive difference in the world,” he says.

Want to Know More?

For details on the online MS in Sustainability and Environment program, visit the program website or read the article on UNCG News.

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