Sustainability Degree

Gain insight into critical environmental
 factors affecting air, water, climate, and ecosystems. In this master’s degree program, you learn to evaluate and design practices, technologies, and systems that bring sustainable solutions to communities and organizations.

Key learning outcomes

Through the master’s degree program in sustainability you develop:

  • The tools to evaluate and design technologies and human environments that reduce energy, water consumption, pollutants, and emissions.
  • An understanding of the latest sustainability policies, technologies, and financial models.
  • The ability to evaluate the environmental and social impact of products and processes.
  • Knowledge of sustainability criteria and benchmarking for buildings, transportation, and water systems.
  • A grasp of reporting methods and standards, using a variety of quantitative and analytic instruments.

Program Overview

The degree includes either nine courses and a thesis or 11 courses and a capstone, with at least one course taken on campus.

  • Get started. You begin the admission process by completing three admission courses from the program curriculum. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your commitment and ability to perform well as a Harvard student.
  • Apply to the program. While you are completing your third admission course, you submit your application. We have application periods in the fall, spring, and summer.
  • Continue your studies, online and on campus. As you progress through the program, you choose from courses offered on campus or online, in the fall, spring, or summer. To fully experience Harvard, you take at least one course on campus as part of your degree. Short, intensive on-campus options are available. 
  • Complete your thesis or capstone. If you choose the thesis track, you'll work independently with a thesis director to conduct in-depth research on a topic relevant to your professional plans. You'll emerge with a solid understanding of how scientific research is executed and communicated, producing publishable quality results. In the capstone track, you work in a classroom setting to apply knowledge and skills obtained in the program to design a significant, hands-on, applied research project, or you'll design and execute a real-world consulting project for an industry client in need of an innovative sustainable solution to a pressing business need.

Explore Courses & Requirements

Learn about admission, courses & on-campus study

Degree Course Listings

Once you've explored the degree requirements, you can search for course offerings that count toward the degree. See the degree courses


Affordability is core to our mission. Our 2015–16 graduate tuition is $2,400 per course, and the total tuition cost of earning the master’s degree is approximately $24,000 to $28,800.

There are a number of financial aid options available once you’re admitted to the program.