Interdisciplinary Studies: Concentration in Sustainability (MA/MS)

SUST master's

Admission Requirements

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree (any major is acceptable), and provide a completed application form, a transcript of all undergraduate course work, and letters of recommendation.

Admission is competitive. The minimum requirements for unconditional admission are the baccalaureate degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution, an undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

Those applicants whose native language is not English and who do not hold a degree from a university where the language of instruction is English, must complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of at least 79 on the internet-based test, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), with a minimum score of 6.5 or Duolingo score of 105.

Application Deadlines

The program maintains a rolling admissions policy.  Target dates include:

Fall semester: July 15

Spring semester: November 15

Summer semester: April 15

Application Materials

The following materials must be submitted via the Graduate School website:

  1. Graduate Application
  2. Application Fee
  3. Transcript(s): Transcripts of your college records from all of the schools you have attended must be submitted to the Graduate School, Graduate Admissions. Students must have earned an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university.*
  4.  Those for whom English is not their native language must also submit TOEFL scores.*
  5. Three Recommendation Letters: Three letters of recommendation from academic sources are required and must be submitted online to the Graduate School, Graduate Admissions.

The committee for reviewing student applications will consist of faculty currently serving on the Sustainability Council's Education Committee.

For answers to commonly asked questions by applicants, please review the Frequently Asked Questions page of the Graduate School website.

*There are additional requirements for international students. These requirements are listed at louisville.edu/graduate/futurestudents/international-applicants/international-students.

Accelerated Degree Admissions Process

Students should apply to these programs in their junior year.  Advising to ensure the requirements are met without extraneous credit hours is imperative and strongly recommended for timely degree completion and financial considerations for the accelerated degrees.  Please be sure to consult with advisors and the director of the master’s program. 

Special Requirements for Accelerated Master's Degree Program Admission

  1. An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better
  2. Completion of SUST 101, 201, 202, 301, 302 and 303 with a minimum GPA of 3.0 

The accelerated degree program allows a student to complete the Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability and the Master of Arts or Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies:  Concentration in Sustainability over a five year period.  The first four years consist of undergraduate studies, including three core sustainability graduate level courses taken during the senior year, culminating in the award of the Bachelors of Arts in Sustainability degree.  Core courses should include PLAN 675, SUST 602, and research methods. 

The fifth year consists of graduate coursework leading to completion of the Master of Arts or Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies:  Concentration in Sustainability.  The accelerated curriculum allows students to apply 9 credit hours of graduate core course work taken during their undergraduate studies towards the completion of both the BA and Master’s degrees. An additional semester of research may be required to complete a thesis for the Master of Science degree.

Program Requirements for a Master of Arts Degree

Required Course3
Introduction to Sustainability
Core Courses
Students are required to take one course in each Core Area:
Sustainability and the Built Environment3
Sustainable Development and Planning
Environmental Policy
Sustainability and the Natural Environment3
Sustainability and the Natural Environment
Sustainability and the Social Environment3
Ecology, Politics and Culture
Behavioral Dimensions of Urban Sustainability
Behavioral Dimensions of Urban Sustainability
Research Methods
Research Methods or Statistics course in the student's selected Core Area3
Seminar3
Capstone3
Guided Electives within Core Areas (see below)9
Minimum Total Hours30

Program Requirements for a Master of Science Degree

Required Course3
Introduction to Sustainability
Core Courses
Students are required to take one course in each Core Area:
Sustainability and the Built Environment3
Sustainable Development and Planning
Environmental Policy
Sustainability and the Natural Environment3
Sustainability and the Natural Environment
Sustainability and the Social Environment3
Ecology, Politics and Culture
Behavioral Dimensions of Urban Sustainability
Behavioral Dimensions of Urban Sustainability
Research Methods
Research Methods or Statistics course in the student's selected Core Area3
Seminar3
Thesis6
Guided Electives within Core Areas (see below)9
Minimum Total Hours33

Students will work with their academic committees to select the core and elective courses needed. It is strongly recommended that a student's committee distribute elective courses such that at least three (3) or four (4) credit hours are in an area other than that of the student's home department. Other courses may be acceptable with the program director's approval. 


Built Environment

CEE 660Transportation Planning and Urban Development3
CEE 661Environmental Analysis of Transportation Systems3
CEE 681Green Engineering & Sustainable Design3
GEOG 536Sustainable Transportation3
LAW 902Real Estate Transactions2-3
PLAN 670Sustainable Development and Planning3
PLAN 607Land Use Planning3
PLAN 622Urban Design3
PLAN 623Environmental Policy and Natural Hazards3
PLAN 625Historic Preservation and Sustainable Practice3
PLAN 636Site Planning3
PLAN 650Capstone Studio6
UPA 648Housing and Community Development3
UPA 672Public Management3
UPA 679Environmental Policy3
UPA 680Special Topics in Urban and Public Affairs1-6

Natural Environment

ANTH 528Animals and Humans3
ANTH 531Anthropology of Water3
ANTH 535Nutritional Anthropology3
BIOL 567Conservation Biology3
BIOL 644Global Change Ecology4
BIOL 660Advanced Ecology of Urban and Suburban Landscapes4
BIOL 663Advanced Population and Community Ecology4
BIOL 667Advanced Conservation Biology4
ENVS 663Climate and Environmental Change3
LAW 903/SUST 703Land and Ecosystem Conservation2-3

Social Environment

ANTH 530Human Impacts on Past Environments3
ANTH 540Health and Civilization3
ANTH 626Food Justice3
ART 692Art, Thinking & Social Change3
GEOG 500Globalization Seminar3
HIST 610Introduction to Historic Preservation3
HIST 611Studies in American History3
HSS 675Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the Individual Level3
HSS 676Community Health Promotion and Disease Prevention3
HSS 697Special Topics in Health and Sport Sciences1-3
LAW 931Environmental Law2-3
LAW 939First Amendment Law2
PHEH 620Global Issues in Environmental and Occupational Health3
PHEH 651Advanced Environmental Health Services3
PHPB 612Health Communications Campaigns: Theory and Practice3
PHPB 722Health Risk Communication3
PLAN 673Behavioral Dimensions of Urban Sustainability3
PLAN 674Sustainable Urbanism3
PLAN 676Sustainable Social-Ecological Systems3
POLS 639Seminar in International Relations3
SOC 710Statistics II3