Degree Requirements

Required Courses

The Master of Liberal Arts, Sustainability degree field consists of 12 courses, two of which are required for admission and one is required on campus. Three-week, on-campus options available.

12 Graduate Courses

  • Introduction to Sustainability and Environmental Management 
  • Proseminar
  • Three skill-set courses
  • Three sustainability courses
    • EXPO 42c is an option (must be taken for graduate credit)

Additional Thesis Track Courses

  • Experimental Design and Research Methods
  • Crafting the Thesis Proposal (on campus)
  • Master's Thesis part one
  • Master's Thesis part two

Additional Capstone Track Courses

  • Three capstone track elective courses
  • One capstone course (on campus)

Search Sustainability Degree Courses

Admissions: Earn Your Way In

To begin the admission process, you simply register—no application needed—for the following two graduate-level degree courses (both are available online):

  • ENVR 101 Introduction to Sustainability and Environmental Management
  • ENVR 210 Proseminar: Critical Analysis of Environmental Systems
    • To register, you'll need to pass our online test of critical reading and writing skills or earn a B or higher in EXPO 42c.
    • You have two registration attempts to earn the minimum grade of B in the proseminar, which cannot be more than two years old at the time of application.

Complete both degree courses with a grade of B or higher, without letting your overall Harvard cumulative GPA dip below 3.0. Before you take any degree-applicable courses, you need to possess an undergraduate degree. 

Applying to the Degree Program

During the semester of your second degree course, submit an official application to the program. We have fall, spring, and summer admission cycles. 

If you submit a complete application—which includes, required Harvard courses, grades, and cumulative GPA—you will be admitted, after which you'll have only 10 more courses to complete to earn the degree.

How to Apply

The Harvard On-Campus Experience

Many courses can be taken online, but you are required to come to Cambridge for at least one course—either the thesis proposal course or capstone course—which gives you access to faculty, campus resources, and the academic community.

Accelerated on-campus path (thesis track): complete the thesis proposal course either in our three-week January term or three-week summer term. 

Accelerated on-campus path (capstone track): complete the capstone course during the three-week summer term or four intensive Saturdays during our fall or spring semesters.

International Students Who Need a Student Visa

To meet the on-campus requirement, you study with us for one, three-week summer session. You can easily request an I-20 for the F-1 student visa through Harvard Summer School. For more details, see the important visa information on the International Student Study Options page.

To Complete Your Degree

Maintain a Cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or Higher

Earn a B or higher in each of the two degree courses required for admission and a B– or higher in each of the subsequent courses, but be sure to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (B) or higher. You are allowed to receive two withdrawal (WD) grades without them affecting your GPA. Any additional WD grades count as zero in your cumulative GPA. See Academic Standing.

Finish Your Coursework in Under Five Years

You have five years to complete your degree requirements. The five-year timeline begins at the end of the term in which you complete any two degree-applicable courses, regardless of whether or not you have been admitted to the degree program. Moreover, courses over five years old at the point of admission will not count toward the degree.

Graduate with Your Harvard Degree

When you have fulfilled all degree requirements, you will earn your degree: Master of Liberal Arts in extension studies, Field: Sustainability. Degrees are awarded in November, March, and May. You participate in the annual Harvard Commencement ceremony in May. 

Degree Guidelines and Policies

For information about special academic opportunities, student privileges, and policies, see Completing Your Degree.