This fall, Stevens will welcome the first class of students into its newest graduate program: the Master of Science (M.S.) in Sustainability Management. Offered through Schaefer School of Engineering & Science (SES), the master's in sustainability management gives green advocates from a wide range of backgrounds the opportunity to innovate for environmental progress.
The program is unique among other sustainability management degrees in the tristate region for convening students from both technical and non-technical backgrounds who have a common passion for sustainability. The aim of the program is to give students with degrees in the humanities, social sciences, business, policy and law an advanced knowledge of sustainability technology, while students from engineering, design and science backgrounds will acquire the soft skills required to succeed in management.
Program founder and director Dr. Dibyendu “Dibs” Sarkar believes this approach will serve to bridge the gap between scientific progress on sustainability and social implementation. “One thing that makes us different is that we adhere to students’ basic academic preparation,” Dr. Sarkar commented. “They don’t have to be engineers and we’re not trying to turn everyone into engineers. The whole idea is that we want to put students on the same platform so they can communicate across disciplines. Engineers can communicate their designs to gifted communicators who can translate them for public consumption and impact.”
The M.S. in sustainability management responds to demand in the marketplace for qualified sustainability professionals, which is growing at a rapid rate. In 2014, 49 percent of CEOs polled in a McKinsey Global Survey said sustainability was a top priority, compared with 34 percent in 2010. Correspondingly, 5.4 million jobs in renewable energy were created globally between 2009 and 2014, according to the International Monetary Fund.
The program’s strong emphasis on professional development helps students seize what Dr. Sarkar calls “the sustainability moment.” Core curriculum courses focus on skills in business management as well as environmental assessment, research and policy, while elective tracks cater to hard and soft technical disciplines, allowing students to tailor the program to their interests. Students without workplace experience in sustainability will receive assistance with securing internships—and all students in the program will benefit from a seminar series with sustainability experts and built-in networking opportunities with industry leaders.
Other distinctive features of the program include part-time or full-time flexible enrollment, including an option to complete the program in three semesters, as well as hybrid courses that combine in-class and online coursework for busy professionals. Dr. Sarkar also sees the program’s small class sizes as a differentiator from other programs in the region: “The M.S. in sustainability management offers a rare combination of personal attention, flexibility, academic rigor and career-focused professional development. Very few sustainability graduate programs in the area give students this type of mentorship to truly propel careers.”
The new master’s program aligns with the strategic commitment to sustainability at Stevens, which was recently recognized with a STARS Silver ranking from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). Complementing Stevens’ already robust academic offerings in environment and sustainability, the program also holds potential as a force multiplier for the university’s leadership in its core research areas of coastal and urban resilience, as well as energy and the environment.