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Website: Master of Arts in Sustainability Studies

(MASS faculty come from the following schools: ASB, SSHS, and TAS)

Program Director:


  • Current as of June 2017


About the Program

The Master of Arts in Sustainability Studies is an innovative program designed to prepare candidates for a future role as change agents in a world that is rapidly transforming. Ecological, social and economic systems around the world and at local levels are deteriorating and facing potential collapse. These crises present unique challenges, as well as extraordinary opportunities. The long-term future of human civilization rests on our success at meeting these challenges by grasping and actualizing the opportunities available to us, to remake the world closer to the way things properly ought to be.

Students move as a cohort through the two-year program, taking two courses each semester. In addition, there is a summer practicum between the first and second years, during which students have the opportunity to work with a practitioner of sustainability. This practicum serves as a node point in each student’s journey toward the culmination of the program—their final Capstone project. This project is developed over the entire duration of the program, exploring the diverse perspectives each of the courses brings to bear on the practice of sustainability.

Throughout the program, students are exposed to a breadth of views on the subject of sustainability practice from a diverse and interdisciplinary perspective. The program draws on a broad pool of expertise represented by the faculty of Ramapo College, ensuring that each student receives the support and advisement necessary for the successful completion of their studies.

Courses are often team taught, or have a modular structure, with faculty from a variety of schools being called in to lecture. The Program faculty, themselves, represent a diverse pool of expertise, ranging from sustainability planning and policy to community level assessment, earth system processes, global and local ecological analysis, social processes, economic development, business management from within a sustainability frame, and research methods from diverse perspectives.

Candidates are admitted in the Fall semester only. Review of applications begins on December 1 in the year preceding the Fall session for which admission is being sought. All candidates are required to submit a statement of purpose accompanied by a Curriculum Vitae, in addition to meeting all other requirements set by the Graduate School. Admission. The GRE is not required. All candidates are required to submit a substantial statement of purpose (about four pages), accompanied by a Curriculum Vitae.

Outcomes for the Program

Students graduating from MASS will have achieved development as leaders for sustainability by demonstrating their skill in three areas of practice. 

I.  Sustainability Literacy and Communication

Students will master these skills:

  1. Sustainability Literacy. Build the foundational knowledge to foster sustainability at multiple spatial and temporal scales and across levels of organization.
  2. Critical Thinking. Acquire and analyze information about sustainability so as to facilitate informed decisions.
  3. Synthesis. Develop high levels of proficiency in the interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary synthesis and integration of information relevant to sustainability across varied contexts.
  4. Sustainability Discourse. Design collaborative processes and engage in dialogue with diverse audiences to facilitate sustainable outcomes.

II. Methods of Sustainability

The student will gain an understanding of: 

  1. Project Design and Implementation. Becoming adept at defining problems, framing pertinent questions, conducting inquiry, and designing, implementing and evaluating interventions.
  2. Sustainability Assessment. Learning to observe and assess diverse indicators of sustainability using appropriate measures and means of evaluation.
  3. Decision Making. Gaining facility with tools and techniques that guide decision making processes toward sustainable solutions.

III. Practices of Sustainability

Students will develop a facility with:

  1. Organizational Leadership. Develop an understanding of social dynamics so as to be able to play a key role in helping formal or informal organizations achieve their objectives.
  2. Stewardship and Adaptive Management. The identification of sustainable socio-ecological systems and the steps needed to conserve and foster their health through the practice of active stewardship in a changing environment.
  3. Consensus Building. The methods of building common agreement among stakeholders to achieve sustainability outcomes.
  4. Sustainability Best Practices. The ability to identify and foster recognized methods and interventions that work to achieve sustainability in the contexts within which they work.
Requirements of the Program
  1. In the case of full time students, courses are taken in sequence, and each student must register for both courses being offered each semester. In the case of part time students, courses can be taken one at a time, in a sequence approved in advance, by the Program Director.
  2. All courses are taught in a hybrid format: 50% online, 50% evening classes. Students are only required to come to campus one day per week.
  3. To remain in good academic standing, students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0—that is to say, a minimum cumulative grade of B must be maintained at all times.


Master of Arts in Sustainability Studies (MASS)