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Master of Science in Sustainability Studies

Become a Change Agent. Transform Your Future and Community.

Sustainability Studies students on brewery tour

You’re passionate about environmental and social justice. We’re passionate about helping you prepare for a career in sustainability.

A changing world demands new knowledge and skill sets to address the sustainability challenges and opportunities of our time. 

Take your career to the next level with Lenoir-Rhyne's 33-credit hour Master of Science in Sustainability Studies, which will prepare you with the tools, insights and strategies needed to help steer organizations and communities toward a more sustainable future.

With our interdisciplinary approach, you finish the program highly qualified for a range of sustainability related jobs in the private, public and nonprofit sectors.

Designed for Working Professionals

Balance work and life with your studies on the path to completing your degree. As a flexible, non-cohort program, you can begin your coursework in any semester and complete the program at your own pace. Convenient class schedules are provided for working professionals with distance, online, hybrid and evening classes available at our Asheville campus.

Program Highlights

  • Hands-on experience
  • Professional opportunities across many fields
  • Caring community committed to the work
  • Connect with community stakeholders
  • Enhance your professional network in Asheville and Western NC
  • Scholarships and fellowships available

Students engage in meaningful research, rich dialogue and valuable community projects to build more resilient and regenerative communities now and into the future.

Learn more about the Masters of Science in Sustainability Studies program's admission requirementscourses and curricular requirements.

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Take the next step toward completing your Masters in Sustainability Studies at Lenoir-Rhyne University.

Take the next step toward completing your MS in Sustainability Studies degree at Lenoir-Rhyne University.

Why Choose Lenoir-Rhyne University

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Community Partnerships

The Asheville area and the Western North Carolina region are partners in Lenoir-Rhyne's graduate education programs. As a result, we extend the classroom into the community through collaborative networks and community commitments. Examples include regular class visitors from the community (sustainability officers, elected officials, business owners and managers, nonprofit program managers, scientists, etc.), class projects in the community and a capstone course that involves working with a community partner on an issue, idea or challenge related to sustainability.

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Interdisciplinary Approach

The Sustainability Studies program incorporates a systems approach to problem solving. Your intellectual, ethical and practical concerns serve as the framework for the structure of the program. You will develop critical core knowledge of sustainability through science, business, economics, public policy, communication and social justice. Hands-on experience in community planning, research, conflict management, communication, education and project implementation integrates with learning in the classroom to furnish a rich and relevant preparation for professional opportunities across many fields.

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Dynamic & Evolving Curriculum

The program is delivered in a way that honors and supports the principles of education, learning, community development and environmental stewardship. Learning in the program necessarily integrates theory and practice. Because sustainability is a developing topic and requires a dynamic and evolving approach in both content and practice, the program is constantly evolving and adapting to new understandings. This includes regular updates to the curriculum and merging methods that can move us toward sustainability.


Program Outcomes

You will enhance your ability to explore the causes and impacts of environmental-related economic and social challenges, while demonstrating the capacity to design, implement and advance initiatives that produce more sustainable outcomes for current and future generations.

Sustainability Studies program graduates demonstrate:

  • Advanced ability to think systemically, identifying and analyzing the structural causes that underlie sustainability issues and problems
  • Facility in seeking solutions to sustainability problems collaboratively, while striving to meet the expectations and needs of multiple stakeholders
  • Capacity to examine and assess sustainability decisions and issues in terms of both their short and long-term consequences to stakeholders and the natural world
  • Commitment to transparency and democratic processes for optimum sustainability solutions
  • Skills in using systems theory concepts and tools
  • An informed self-knowledge of your leadership potential and the capacity to author a personalized plan to further develop your leadership abilities

University Sustainability Commitment

The Sustainbility Studies program is designed to build on Lenoir-Rhyne University’s commitment to sustainability, as articulated by the university:

Lenoir-Rhyne University recognizes that it is but one component of larger interconnected communities, each of which is impacted by personal and institutional choices. In order to foster understanding of and responsibility for these human and natural communities, the university encourages education and community outreach that provide students with knowledge and skills to conserve natural resources and to be environmentally responsible citizens. Lenoir-Rhyne endeavors to be a model of environmental stewardship by promoting care and concern for the environment in the daily lives of individuals and by striving for sustainability in our institutional operations.

Take the Next Step

Achieve your personal and career goals. Enroll in the Masters of Science in Sustainability Studies program at LR where your ambition and dedication will prepare you for what's next. Our enrollment counselors are here to help you explore your options and advance your career.

Larissa Lopez

The Sustainability Studies program allowed me to align two passions: regenerative care for the environment and bolstering the tenacious power of local communities of color to influence and lead the movement toward sustainability in every facet of life. The program allowed me to explore a wide-range of interconnected concepts related to human well-being and environmental health, fostering my creativity and critical thinking toward transformative change and deepening my empathy for all life.”—Larissa Lopez MS’21

Enrollment - Asheville

Jan Wolff
Enrollment Specialist

Program Contact

Keith McDade, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Sustainability Studies,
Director of the Reese Institute
Asheville Campus


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