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Sustainability Programs for
Climate Champions

Quote

The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.

-Robert Swan

 

Tress Silo Trimmed

A master’s degree in sustainability can help you prioritize the
planet—and the people on it—in your career.

Introduction

What is a sustainability degree?

Sustainability means shared well-being on a healthy planet. Sustainable actions improve the quality of life for all people while protecting and restoring the natural ecosystems and resources on which human well-being depends. This process is called sustainable development.

Sustainability degrees blend economics, environmental science, sociology, anthropology, history, business, and more, applying much-needed interdisciplinary and systems-thinking lenses to solving social and environmental challenges. Studying sustainability fosters an understanding of our various systems, their interdependent natures, and how they interact and affect one another. And finally, because sustainability thinking is grounded in justice, it requires an inclusive and anti-racist focus.

Equity and sustainability

There is no way to achieve true sustainability without concentrating on social equity. Pursuing profits at all costs has negatively impacted the environment (natural resource depletion, pollution, worsening climate change, etc.), but it has also led to widening income inequality, an increase in health disparities, social unrest, and much more.

Aside from an intersectional environmentalism approach, any sustainability program you consider should acknowledge that systemic inequalities exist and actively work to eliminate them.

Sustainability programs must center social justice in environmental contexts and extend the focus of sustainability to human and social processes, providing a truly anti-racist education.

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ESSENTIAL READING

Bard GPS Publishes JEDI + Anti-Racism Accountability Report

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BLOG

We Need Anti-Racist Environmental Policy

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BLOG

Today's MBA Programs Need Diversity - Here's Why

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anti-racism accountability report preview
BLOG

Bard GPS Publishes JEDI + Anti-Racism Accountability Report

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Skills needed for a degree in sustainability

Finding success in your graduate studies—and your eventual career—will require vision, leadership, and execution: all skills that you’ll gain in a sustainability graduate program:

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VISION

Vision means that you can see positive opportunities and solutions where other people see serious environmental or social costs.

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LEADERSHIP

You’ll need leadership skills to engage others and influence much-needed change.

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EXECUTE

And to execute it all, you will need to master the core capabilities of an educator, policy change agent, or business leader.

 

Take action

Bring the benefits of sustainability to your degree

If you’re reading this, you know that the next four decades—the majority of your working life—will be the most important in human history. By 2050, the world population is expected to increase by more than 25% to nearly 10 billion people. But even today, half of humankind is barely getting by. We’re already fighting over water, oil, topsoil, forests, fish, and biodiversity, while the planet gets hotter every year.

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To lead the way to a prosperous and sustainable future, you will need to work as educators, policy change agents, and business leaders to maintain a relentless focus on rewiring the world with clean energy, redesigning every city on the earth, re-engineering production processes, re-imagining the global food system, and reinventing our systems of finance. We know how to solve these challenges, but we need collective willpower, effective leadership, and hard work to do so.


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To sum it up, an infusion of sustainability can reinvigorate your career on a personal level, but the planet needs us to change our behaviors—and fast. A sustainability degree can give you the tools you need to be the catalyst for change in others.


Browse programs

Explore the sustainability programs at Bard

There are plenty of sustainability master’s programs to choose from and many institutions to consider. For the majority of programs, sustainability is an add-on to their curriculum—just another specialization of sorts. Bard, however, is different.

We believe that sustainability is no longer an option; organizations that fail to integrate ethical practices are falling behind. That’s why sustainability is at the core of our graduate programs. We believe it must be baked in for our graduates to lead, educate, research, advocate, and produce a future where humans cohabitate in peace with one another and the earth.

Our baked-in—not bolted-on—approach is evident across all of our programs, and it gives our students a more profound knowledge of sustainable development—with the practical skills to match.

One of our goals at Bard’s Graduate Programs in Sustainability is to find and cultivate tomorrow’s leaders in sustainability—and you may be one of them! But how do you know which master’s degree in sustainability is right for you?

Start by refining your focus.

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Take our quiz

Find your sustainability focus

While there are overlaps, this trichotomy is a useful way to think about the range of sustainability careers. All three of these categories are critical to building a sustainable future.

Take the Quiz to Find Out
Get more information

Learn more about the Bard Graduate Programs
in Sustainability

Bard is where the next generation of sustainability leaders are formed. Here, you’ll join activists and pragmatists, idealists and scientists, innovators, and future legislators. People with business savvy and people savvy to detecting—and disrupting—business as usual.

Fill out the form below to get more information about the graduate sustainability programs we offer and how you can make your climate activism a full-time gig.

 

Choose a Program

Program

Master’s in Environmental Education


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Program

M.S. in Environmental Policy & M.S. in Climate Science and Policy


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Program

MBA in Sustainability


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Change Minds

Environmental Education Master's program

A career in environmental education means changing minds through the familiar professions of teacher, professor, and researcher, but also artist, filmmaker, journalist, rabbi, preacher, or imam. This field includes anyone whose job it is to communicate about the scientific and moral dimensions of the sustainability challenges we face.

Essential Reading
A Guide to Getting a Master's in Environmental Education

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The Master’s in Environmental Education (M.Ed) program at Bard prepares educators to create an informed and engaged citizenry. Through intensive academic training, real-world professional experience, and career development opportunities, the program enables graduates to pursue successful, high-impact careers in private schools, NGOs, government and land management agencies, private land conservation organizations, museums, environmental education centers, and consulting firms.

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Recorded Book Launch for Urban Ecosystem Justice

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Our approach to environmental education is different, in that we believe it must center on providing access to historically marginalized populations. We take a page from the environmental justice movement, teaching that the environment is more than just “pure nature.” It’s the ecosystem in which you live, whether urban or rural. That understanding allows us to cultivate an intersectional analysis of ecology, equity, and justice, so we can push the boundaries of inclusiveness in the environmental education field.

Essential Reading
A Guide to Getting an Environmental Master's Degree

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Change the Rules

Science and policy-related sustainability programs

If you’re interested in policy work, you’re the type of person who wants to change the rules. Maybe you’re diving deep into research to disprove common-held beliefs with data. Perhaps you’re fighting bad laws, regulations, and policies set by governments and businesses to replace them with better ones.

With an environmental master’s degree like either of the ones below, you can work in government (global, national, state, or local), in large businesses or nonprofits, or even “outside the system” in NGOs, advocating, researching, and lobbying to change the status quo. You’ll feel confident crafting forward-thinking policy solutions because of the depth of the education and the anti-racist nature of all the sustainability programs at Bard.

Students learn in an environment that acknowledges how American economic and educational institutions have been built to uphold white supremacy—and questions it at every turn. Our graduates become leaders who bring social and environmental justice to the policy world.

MS in Environmental Policy

Bard’s Master’s in Environmental Policy degree is unlike any other. Courses delve simultaneously into curricular themes to provide students with a deep understanding of the issues from multiple perspectives, while at the same time highlighting linkages and divisions across disciplines. This holistic approach to learning illuminates integral connections between the social world and the physical sciences and encourages students to incorporate various perspectives and ideologies into their work.

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Essential Reading

From Peace Corps to Career: The Bard M.S. in Environmental Policy

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MS in Climate Science and Policy

Bard is one of the few programs in the world that supports students to gain master’s level understanding of climate science, along with economics, policy, and law. The climate degree—essentially a master’s in climate change—covers the interplay between climate systems, ecosystems, and agricultural systems on one hand and solutions on the other, training future policy leaders to guide efforts in greenhouse gas mitigation and adaptation.

Bard climate scientist on national geographic expedition
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Bard Climate Scientist on Mount Everest National Geographic Expedition

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Change the Game

Redefining "business as usual" with a master's in sustainable business

If policy work is about changing the rules, people who pursue sustainable business are the ones who want to transform the game entirely. Within the confines of the existing rules, the business leaders of the future are building financially viable organizations, both for-profit and nonprofit, that directly solve social and environmental problems. This includes work in both start-ups and big companies.

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What to Look for in a Cutting-Edge Business School

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Bard’s MBA in Sustainability has been ranked the #1 Green MBA for three years in a row and is one of a handful of programs around the world that fully integrates a focus on mission-driven business into every course they offer. Based in New York City, the MBA cohort gathers one weekend a month for an on-campus experience; this weekend visit describes Bard’s “low residency” structure, and it works alongside an online curriculum designed for working professionals and students who want to attend Bard from anywhere in the U.S.

With an MBA in Sustainability, you’ll have the foundation of an actively anti-racist business education to help you break through existing systems and create innovative solutions to critical social, environmental, and economic challenges.

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Essential Listening

Putting Sustainability at the Core of Business

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Our approach to environmental education is different, in that we believe it must center on providing access to historically marginalized populations. We take a page from the environmental justice movement, teaching that the environment is more than just “pure nature.” It’s the ecosystem in which you live, whether urban or rural. That understanding allows us to cultivate an intersectional analysis of ecology, equity, and justice, so we can push the boundaries of inclusiveness in the environmental education field.

Bard is a Leader

Why Bard has the best sustainability
masters programs

All of Bard’s sustainability graduate programs feature a focus on experiential education, through a unique year-long course in sustainability consulting (MBA) and extended, high-level professional internships (MS and M.Ed). As a matter of fact, in any given year, 30-50% of our internships in sustainability lead directly to jobs.

Graduates from Bard GPS have also been highly successful in working at the UN and in landing coveted fellowships, like the EDF Climate Corps Fellowship, which has helped to launch many into careers fighting climate change.

Bard is dedicated to cultivating leaders who break through existing systems and innovate solutions to critical social, environmental, and economic challenges. Our curricular framework teaches our graduates to incorporate social and environmental justice in the realms of business, policy, science, and education. To do this, Bard GPS is committed to being a program that is actively anti-racist—a program that supports racial, social, and gender equality. Learn more about our JEDI framework and anti-racist mission.

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Essential Reading

Lead the Change with Bard Graduate Programs in Sustainability

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If that’s not enough, and you’re still wondering, “Is a sustainability degree worth it?”, flip through our alumni lookbook and see some success stories. We also offer a wide range of sustainability scholarships for our highly-driven students—domestic and international.

Finally, Bard’s world-class faculty are deeply committed to student learning. Bard was recently awarded #1 in Classroom Experience by the Princeton Review.

Download the Guide

Chart your course toward a green career

Not sure if a graduate degree in sustainability is right for you? Explore the various sustainability careers available and the many pathways that lead to them by downloading our resource.