Chatham University

Master of Sustainability (MSUS) Curriculum

The MSUS degree is comprised of 41 credits:

Foundation courses (21 credits) allow students to explore the nature of system analysis and sustainability as it relates to the ecological, economic, social and and business world.

Skills for work and research courses (7 credits) provide research, communication and work related skills.

Track Electives (13 credits) allow students to explore in depth a particular area of sustainability study.

Please note:

*All students are required to complete a 200-400-hour placement in a professional or research setting. Ideally, this will be done for 20-40 hours/week over a 10-week period during the summer following the first year of the program. A hybrid experience is also possible.

Program Requirements

+Foundation Courses

21 credits

SUS502 Sustainability and Systems

In this course, students will develop skills necessary to understand, describe, and communicate complex systems. Working from examples, exercise and interactive discussions, students will learn to identify key drivers and leverage points for change. Students will learn to solicit useful information, model, and enact change using a various systems-based tools.

3
SUS504 Foundations of Sustainability

This course provides students the skills to understand, communicate, and critique the fundamentals of sustainability at multiple scales and across disciplines and cultures. It explores sustainability's origins and foundations, application, and assessment. We evaluate the inter-relationships among environmental, societal, and economic well-being and the implications on individual and social decision-making.

3
SUS512 Sustainability in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh and the surrounding region have experienced several waves of change; the current described as a "green renaissance". This course will provide a brief socio-ecological history then will visit various places and people that highlight the diversity in how Pittsburgh is striving to become a model of a sustainable city.

3
SUS601 Applied Ecology

The overall goal of this course is to examine the role that science contributes to sustainability. Students will critically assess process, evidence, uncertainty, application, and communication for traditional and alternative scientific methods through focused issues of sustainability (i.e., climate change, energy consumption, water pollution, urban ecosystems, children's environmental health, agroecosystems).

3
SUS602 The Political Economy of Sustainability

This course will examine the economic dimensions of environmental change through the frameworks of political ecology, political economy, development studies, and sustainability. Through case studies and current theory, we will investigate the costs, benefits, and sustainability of environmental governance.

3
SUS603 Sustainability: Ethics, Equity, Justice

This course focuses on the role of the "social" as one of the three pillars of sustainability. It explores historic and contemporary notions of ethics, social equity and social justice. It examines how these concepts can be applied to sustainability by studying local and global case studies.

3
SUS605 Leadership for Transitions to Sustainability

This class builds a foundation for sustainability management through exploration of Transition Management, a methodology for sustainable innovation. Students study innovation management, learn steps in managing a transition through analyzing systemic socio-technical problems, learn to develop potential solutions, and understand the organizational and societal structures necessary to support long-term change.

3

+Skills for work and research courses

7 credits

SUS621 Applied Methods

This skill-based course conveys specific qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods for conducting the systematic investigation of a business, client project, practical problem, or applied research situation. Each section will address a different method; examples of topics include GPS and mapping, introduction to statistics, surveys, sustainability audits, and water quality monitoring.

2
COM515 Environmental Communications

Course offers an overview of environmental communications providing an analysis of how individuals, institutions and corporations describe and portray our interactions with the environment. Discussion topics include environmental discourse, environmental conflicts, risk communication, environmental disasters, environmental social movements, and the nature-society relationship.

3
SUS691 Internship

1
SUS698 Final Project

Course provides supervision and research guidance for the final project. Students will complete a final project independently or as part of a group to complete the MSUS degree requirements. The form of the final project is flexible and should be linked to the student's self-defined sustainability challenge.

3

+Electives: Urban & Energy Systems

Total of 13 credits of electives

BUS577 Information Systems and Analytics

This course explores the strategic management of technology, information, and people from a Chief Information Officer’s (CIO) perspective. The business value and organizational challenges of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, data warehouses, analytics, and Big Data are critically examined through cases and hands-on projects.

3
SUS591 Independent Study

1
SUS592 Independent Study

2
SUS593 Independent Study

3
SUS619 The Water's Edge: Science and Policy from Summit to Sea

The water's edge is rich with ecological and cultural activity. Through online discussions, field excursions, public service, participation in research, interactions with practitioners, and a curated exhibit, this course bridges theory with application for the science and policy relevant to the aquatic-terrestrial interface (e.g., streams, rivers, lakes, and coastal shorelines).

3
SUS625 Restorative Environmental Justice

This course analyzes the environmental justice movement around the world. It draws lessons from the conditions that have led to environmental injustices, the historical development of the movement, the policy responses of governments and international agencies, the solutions pursued by communities, and the role played by the private sector. The course explores the role of natural asset-building strategies that simultaneously reduce poverty and address environmental issues.

3
SUS640 Sustainable Community Development

This course explores how people can engage in creating more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable communities at multiple scales, from the local to the regional. The reading and assignments emphasize sustainable planning theory and practice as well as sustainable food systems perspectives. Students will engage in practice-based research and community projects.

3
SUS683 Special Topics

This course is designed to allow students to explore in depth a specific topic or area of sustainability.

3
SUS517 Climate Change & Sustainability
SUS617 Sustainable Energy Systems

This course explores the relationship of energy production and consumption with sustainability. We investigate environmental and climate impacts, renewable energy technologies and the integration of renewables into the grid given the ongoing restructuring of US electricity markets and new options such as large-scale solar networks, microgrids and community solar.

3

+Electives: Ecology & Resource Management

Total of 13 credits of electives

FST520 Basic Agroecology

Through working on Chatham's Eden Hall Campus farm as well as neighboring farms, students will integrate best practices for sustainable agriculture with theory encountered in class. Topics will include basic principles of soil fertility, biodiversity, agriculture history, affects of both conventional and organic agriculture, and the politics surrounding the issues.

3
FST520L Growing Sustainably Lab

This course is a co-requisite to FST520, Growing Sustainably, and comprises the experiential lab component of the course. Students will engage in sustained research on sustainable agricultural projects, from biodynamic methods to soil or pest management comparatives. Course may be taken up to four times for credit.

1
FST613 Community Research: Food and Health

Research focused on community needs, health and wellness issues, and the relationship between food access, agriculture, and food production. Participation in a pre-selected research study that aims to address some component of health, food access, agriculture, and cooking. May include: engaging relevant community agencies; recruitment of subjects; screening subjects for risk; adhering to IRB regulations; data collection and data entry, aiding in teaching a risk reduction class, participating in the urban garden, and coordinating cooking demonstrations.

1
FST625 U.S. Agricultural Policy

This graduate multi-disciplinary course examines a range of philosophical, socio-economic, health and political issues related to agricultural policy in the US. It provides a foundation and introduction to U.S. farm policy as a means of exploring how political dynamics and choices impact the nature of food, agriculture, and communities at local, national and global scales.

3
SUS508 Environmental Statistics

Students in this course will become proficient in executing quantitative methods pertinent sustainability science, including multiple linear regression, descriptive multivariate statistics, and time series analyses. All assignments aim to generate experience with applied problem-solving and will require scriptwriting in program R to maximize analytical and data management efficiency. This course requires a foundation in statistical methods.

3
SUS521 Ecotoxicology and Environmental Health

Human health is intimately connected to environmental conditions and ecosystem integrity. Introducing concepts and measures of ecosystem and human health, this course will cover the principles and practice of contributing fields including ecotoxicology, epidemiology, environmental health and risk assessment. Students will be led from inquiry to action for key issues.

3
SUS526 Sustainable Aquaculture

This course examines the historical development and cultural importance of aquaculture, as well as practical considerations for managing modern aquaculture systems. Emphasis will lie on low impact aquaculture systems and approaches, which minimize adverse environmental impacts, and encourage socially responsible development that enhances both the natural resource base and community livelihoods.

3
SUS591 Independent Study

1
SUS592 Independent Study

2
SUS593 Independent Study

3
SUS601 Applied Ecology

The overall goal of this course is to examine the role that science contributes to sustainability. Students will critically assess process, evidence, uncertainty, application, and communication for traditional and alternative scientific methods through focused issues of sustainability (i.e., climate change, energy consumption, water pollution, urban ecosystems, children's environmental health, agroecosystems).

3
SUS625 Restorative Environmental Justice

This course analyzes the environmental justice movement around the world. It draws lessons from the conditions that have led to environmental injustices, the historical development of the movement, the policy responses of governments and international agencies, the solutions pursued by communities, and the role played by the private sector. The course explores the role of natural asset-building strategies that simultaneously reduce poverty and address environmental issues.

3
SUS517 Climate Change & Sustainability
SUS617 Sustainable Energy Systems

This course explores the relationship of energy production and consumption with sustainability. We investigate environmental and climate impacts, renewable energy technologies and the integration of renewables into the grid given the ongoing restructuring of US electricity markets and new options such as large-scale solar networks, microgrids and community solar.

3

+Electives: Business & Innovation

Total of 13 credits of electives

BUS552 Managing Non-Profit Organizations

Through the use of case studies, assignments, and class projects, this course familiarizes students with the distinctiveness of nonprofit organizations and their management. Specific topics include marketing and fund raising, budgeting, personnel management and supervision, strategic planning and implementation, environmental and program evaluation, and managing interorganizational networks.

3
BUS562 Global Procurement

In this course, students examine success factors, ethical challenges, legal issues, and managerial implications of global procurement. Students also develop a deep understanding of the impact of procurement on quality, cost, and efficiency of supply chain management through use of procurement tools, techniques, and methodologies.

3
BUS570 Global Business

This course introduces students to international business and management by studying cultural influences, government, and business structures in our global economy. Students also learn about trade relations, international finance and legal and labor agreements. Also covered, are topics on information needs, production systems, marketing and promotion, and career planning.

3
BUS575 Leading Organizations and Projects

The course cultivates the student’s executive leadership potential for organizational development and transformation, with specific applications to the project management environment. Theoretical perspective and case analyses will explore topics of leading one’s self, motivating project teams, change management, and transforming the organization.

3
BUS577 Information Systems and Analytics

This course explores the strategic management of technology, information, and people from a Chief Information Officer’s (CIO) perspective. The business value and organizational challenges of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, customer relationship management (CRM) systems, data warehouses, analytics, and Big Data are critically examined through cases and hands-on projects.

3
BUS582 Foundations of Project Management

This course explores the knowledge areas and project stages from the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). Students acquire concepts and skills in initiating, planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, and closing projects. The course examines the management of project integration, scope, time, cost, human resources, communications, risk, and procurement.

3
BUS639 Sustainability and Assessment Reporting

An in-depth study of how to measure, track, and report on sustainability issues in a business. Includes a study of how to create effective Social Responsibility reports and the standards currently used to measure sustainability. Teaches students how to monitor and measure sustainability issues from within a business.

3
FST518 Business of Food and Agriculture

In this class the student will learn both history and current practices related to food and agriculture as economic enterprises in the United States and the world. Skills include ability to understand strategic management principles including identifying target markets, niche marketing, SWOT analysis and diffusion of innovation theory. Students will be able to develop a business plan including understanding barriers of entry, compiling demographic data, developing feasibility studies, long and short term business goals, define and calculate a breakeven point, and budget formulation.

3
SUS516 Sustainable Decision Analysis

The class contributes to a foundation for sustainability management by exploring different quantitative approaches to sustainable decision-making including: Life Cycle Analysis, Ecosystem Services Valuation, Carbon and Water Footprinting, and DPSIR (Drivers, Pressures, States, Impacts and Responses) Society-Environment interaction framework. Finally, the class explores how quantitative decision-making is shaped by various stakeholders.

3
SUS591 Independent Study

1
SUS592 Independent Study

2
SUS593 Independent Study

3
SUS607 Applied Green and Social Innovation

The class helps students develop skills for managing innovation focusing on Food, Agriculture, Environmental and Social Product and Service innovations. Students will work with actual ideas and or start-ups from local incubators and entrepreneurs. The class focuses on helping students to develop skills to use innovations for solving major social and environmental problems.

3
SUS683 Special Topics

This course is designed to allow students to explore in depth a specific topic or area of sustainability.

3
SUS617 Sustainable Energy Systems

This course explores the relationship of energy production and consumption with sustainability. We investigate environmental and climate impacts, renewable energy technologies and the integration of renewables into the grid given the ongoing restructuring of US electricity markets and new options such as large-scale solar networks, microgrids and community solar.

3

+Electives: Food Systems

Total of 13 credits of electives

BUS582 Foundations of Project Management

This course explores the knowledge areas and project stages from the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). Students acquire concepts and skills in initiating, planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, and closing projects. The course examines the management of project integration, scope, time, cost, human resources, communications, risk, and procurement.

3
FST512 Practical Nutrition

Course provides an overview of nutrition as an evidence-based research field, focusing on groups and communities where research is conducted and then applied. Topics include science and politics of food categories; supplements and functional foods; weight and disordered eating, commercial, local, organic, and conventional foods; cuisine, culture, and diet.

3
FST518 Business of Food and Agriculture

In this class the student will learn both history and current practices related to food and agriculture as economic enterprises in the United States and the world. Skills include ability to understand strategic management principles including identifying target markets, niche marketing, SWOT analysis and diffusion of innovation theory. Students will be able to develop a business plan including understanding barriers of entry, compiling demographic data, developing feasibility studies, long and short term business goals, define and calculate a breakeven point, and budget formulation.

3
FST520 Basic Agroecology

Through working on Chatham's Eden Hall Campus farm as well as neighboring farms, students will integrate best practices for sustainable agriculture with theory encountered in class. Topics will include basic principles of soil fertility, biodiversity, agriculture history, affects of both conventional and organic agriculture, and the politics surrounding the issues.

3
FST520L Growing Sustainably Lab

This course is a co-requisite to FST520, Growing Sustainably, and comprises the experiential lab component of the course. Students will engage in sustained research on sustainable agricultural projects, from biodynamic methods to soil or pest management comparatives. Course may be taken up to four times for credit.

1
FST522 GIS: Food and Agriculture

This course provides students with a solid foundation of the principles and applications of GIS, an introduction to the desktop software ArcGIS, and demonstrates its use in the public sectors related to food, agriculture, and resource use. Students will have the flexibility to focus on their particular area of interest through project work.

3
FST603 Food Journeys

3
FST607 Sustainable Consumption

3
FST613 Community Research: Food and Health

Research focused on community needs, health and wellness issues, and the relationship between food access, agriculture, and food production. Participation in a pre-selected research study that aims to address some component of health, food access, agriculture, and cooking. May include: engaging relevant community agencies; recruitment of subjects; screening subjects for risk; adhering to IRB regulations; data collection and data entry, aiding in teaching a risk reduction class, participating in the urban garden, and coordinating cooking demonstrations.

1
FST625 U.S. Agricultural Policy

This graduate multi-disciplinary course examines a range of philosophical, socio-economic, health and political issues related to agricultural policy in the US. It provides a foundation and introduction to U.S. farm policy as a means of exploring how political dynamics and choices impact the nature of food, agriculture, and communities at local, national and global scales.

3
SUS526 Sustainable Aquaculture

This course examines the historical development and cultural importance of aquaculture, as well as practical considerations for managing modern aquaculture systems. Emphasis will lie on low impact aquaculture systems and approaches, which minimize adverse environmental impacts, and encourage socially responsible development that enhances both the natural resource base and community livelihoods.

3
SUS591 Independent Study

1
SUS592 Independent Study

2
SUS593 Independent Study

3
SUS625 Restorative Environmental Justice

This course analyzes the environmental justice movement around the world. It draws lessons from the conditions that have led to environmental injustices, the historical development of the movement, the policy responses of governments and international agencies, the solutions pursued by communities, and the role played by the private sector. The course explores the role of natural asset-building strategies that simultaneously reduce poverty and address environmental issues.

3
SUS640 Sustainable Community Development

This course explores how people can engage in creating more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable communities at multiple scales, from the local to the regional. The reading and assignments emphasize sustainable planning theory and practice as well as sustainable food systems perspectives. Students will engage in practice-based research and community projects.

3
SUS517 Building Sustainable & Resilient Cities
SUS617 Sustainable Energy Systems

This course explores the relationship of energy production and consumption with sustainability. We investigate environmental and climate impacts, renewable energy technologies and the integration of renewables into the grid given the ongoing restructuring of US electricity markets and new options such as large-scale solar networks, microgrids and community solar.

3

+Electives: Policy & Regulation

Total of 13 credits of electives

BUS582 Foundations of Project Management

This course explores the knowledge areas and project stages from the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). Students acquire concepts and skills in initiating, planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, and closing projects. The course examines the management of project integration, scope, time, cost, human resources, communications, risk, and procurement.

3
BUS639 Sustainability and Assessment Reporting

An in-depth study of how to measure, track, and report on sustainability issues in a business. Includes a study of how to create effective Social Responsibility reports and the standards currently used to measure sustainability. Teaches students how to monitor and measure sustainability issues from within a business.

3
FST613 Community Research: Food and Health

Research focused on community needs, health and wellness issues, and the relationship between food access, agriculture, and food production. Participation in a pre-selected research study that aims to address some component of health, food access, agriculture, and cooking. May include: engaging relevant community agencies; recruitment of subjects; screening subjects for risk; adhering to IRB regulations; data collection and data entry, aiding in teaching a risk reduction class, participating in the urban garden, and coordinating cooking demonstrations.

1
SUS562 Economics of the Environment

This course is designed to introduce you to how economists think about the environment. The theory of externalities and market failure provide the basis for applying microeconomic concepts to the study of environmental issues. Analytical tools, particularly cost-benefit analysis, are explained and applied to problems with environmental dimensions.

3
SUS591 Independent Study

1
SUS592 Independent Study

2
SUS593 Independent Study

3
SUS625 Restorative Environmental Justice

This course analyzes the environmental justice movement around the world. It draws lessons from the conditions that have led to environmental injustices, the historical development of the movement, the policy responses of governments and international agencies, the solutions pursued by communities, and the role played by the private sector. The course explores the role of natural asset-building strategies that simultaneously reduce poverty and address environmental issues.

3
SUS640 Sustainable Community Development

This course explores how people can engage in creating more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable communities at multiple scales, from the local to the regional. The reading and assignments emphasize sustainable planning theory and practice as well as sustainable food systems perspectives. Students will engage in practice-based research and community projects.

3
SUS683 Special Topics

This course is designed to allow students to explore in depth a specific topic or area of sustainability.

3
SUS517 Climate Change & Sustainability

Program Schedule

Year 1
Year 1
Fall
SUS 502 Sustainability and Systems 3
SUS 504 Foundations of Sustainability 3
SUS 621 Applied Methods 2
SUS 512 Sustainability in Pittsburgh 3
Total Credits For Semester 11
Year 1
Spring
SUS 602 The Political Economy of Sustainability 3
SUS 603 Sustainability: Ethics, Equity, Justice 3
COM 515 Environmental Communications 3
Total Credits For Semester 9
Year 1
Summer
SUS601 Applied Ecology 3
SUS 691 Internship 1
Total Credits for Semester 4
Year 2
Year 2
Fall
SUS 605 Leadership for Transitions to Sustainability 3
- Elective 3
- Elective 3
Total Credits for Semester 9
Year 2
Spring
SUS 698 Final Project 1
- Elective 3
- Elective 3
- Elective 1
Total Credits for Semester 8

41 TOTAL CREDITS for PROGRAM COMPLETION