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Development Of A Masters Degree On Sustainability Management

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Sustainability, Service Learning, and Entreprenuership

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.404.1 - 15.404.11



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Paper Authors

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Shekar Viswanathan National University, San Diego

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Howard Evans National University, San Diego

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Development of a Master’s Degree Program on Sustainability Management


This paper summarizes the development of a unique, master’s degree program in sustainability management based on fundamental concepts relating to energy, environment, products and processes. The interactions among practitioners and academicians at the National University that lead to the development of this program are highlighted. This interdisciplinary program taught by faculty members from three different schools, namely the school of engineering and technology, the school of business and management and the college of letters and sciences is expected to make this degree program relevant and appealing to professionals from many disciplines.


The term "sustainability" began with the 1987 publication of the World Commission on Environment and Development’s report, defined as "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."1,2 A combination of forces, including an unprecedented growth in population, economy, urbanization, and energy use, is imposing new stresses both on the earth's resources and on society's ability to maintain or improve environmental quality. To respond to this problem, a movement began in the last decade, inside businesses to change the way companies operate, specifically in terms of the ways in which they dealt with not only hazardous chemicals but also the entire concept of waste. To meet these new challenges, many corporations, cities, states, and countries began introducing new policies and programs that demonstrated a gradual shift in emphasis from pollution control to pollution prevention to sustainable practices. As a result, many public and private corporations began looking for academically qualified people in sustainability to stimulate technological innovation, advance competitiveness, and improve the over-all quality of life. According to a recent MonsterTRAK study, “80 percent of young professionals are interested in securing a job that impacts the environment in a positive way, and 92 percent give preference to working for a company that is environmentally friendly.”3 To meet this demand, many universities have introduced courses and programs highlighting sustainability concepts4.

This paper highlights the processes adopted in creating a unique, relevant, and accessible master’s program in sustainability management. Input from experienced practitioners from public and private companies and organizations were incorporated, without diluting the academic relevance and quality maintained by academics involved in curriculum development. The paper also summarizes the step-by-step approach used in developing this program including the concepts of sustainability and systems approaches adopted across disciplines. This interdisciplinary program is taught by faculty members from three different schools namely the school of engineering and technology, the school of business and management, and the college of letters and sciences thus making this program both relevant and appealing to professionals from many disciplines. Case study


Viswanathan, S., & Evans, H. (2010, June), Development Of A Masters Degree On Sustainability Management Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16776

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