M.S. in Sustainable Development

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Beginning Fall 2022, the University of Iowa will offer an Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Sustainable Development. The program prepares graduate students for technical and/or policy leadership roles in the public or private sector to advance the sustainable development of communities in Iowa, accross the United States, and around the world. The M.S. in Sustainable Development provides training centered on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for career placement opportunities at state and federal agencies, national laboratories, policy think-tanks, non-governmental organizations, and in the private sector.


This program is built on course work, community-engaged projects, and professional development experiences. The Master of Science in Sustainable Development requires a minimum of 30 s.h. of graduate credit. All students must sucessfully complete the core courses for the Sustainable Development program, two analytical and methods focused courses, and elecetive course work that is focused around one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. A thesis option is available, which requires the completion of a project with a program partner (e.g., a community, NGO, public agency or private sector partner) and culminates in a required project portfolio. 

Core Courses:

  • The UN Sustainable Development Goals: A Blueprint for a Sustainable Future
  • Skills for Future Leaders in Sustainable Development
  • Communicating Data through Stories
  • Sustainable Communities Lab

Bringing together faculty from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Engineering and the School of Planning and Public Affairs, this program leverages existing strengths at the University of Iowa in the areas of resource sustainability and egagement for sustainable communites.

To support student development and career placement, students will be jointly mentored by UI faculty David Cwiertny and Michelle Scherer from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, David Bennett from the Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences, and Lucie Laurian from the School of Planning and Public Affairs. The program takes a team-based learning approach based on problem solving to address sustainability challenges. Find more information regarding the M.S. in Sustainable development through the Graduate College.