MS in Sustainable Design


College of Architecture & the Built Environment


Master of Science


East Falls


Online, On Campus, Hybrid (Online and On Campus)




1.5 - 2 Years

Program Core Values

Transdisciplinary Learning

The curriculum reflects the range of skill sets needed to attack the complexity and interconnectedness of sustainability projects. Our diverse faculty also reflects this interdisciplinary environment and have backgrounds ranging from architecture to engineering to design to construction management.

Equity & Diversity

The program seeks to build an equitable learning environment, one that acknowledges that there is no "norm," no "cultural fabric" to "fit into" but rather a diverse learning environment that encourages students to find comfort in being different. Students are free to pursue their full potential as individuals ready to transcend traditional ethnic/cultural borders.

Integrated Design Education

The Program challenges the status quo of standard design and engineering education, by immediately introducing students to experts, design options and creativity through the integrated design process. Open source learning is encouraged and “ownership” of ideas is downplayed so collective solutions to complex sustainability problems can be the focus.


The program features hands-on, active learning by challenging students to design, quantify and build their ideas.

Activism & Leadership

Today, the world is searching for people who can demonstrate leadership, people who can initiate and maintain projects that will positively impact the world. Sustainability requires action, but not without a context of purpose. Activism can be a powerful tool when applied to grassroots movements. Students in the MSSD Program can use their thesis project as a springboard for future career based initiatives.

Enterprise & Entrepreneurship

The program focuses itself on teaching the importance of relevant creativity, applied engineering and economic feasibility. Students are prompted to think as sustainability professionals must, and are required to consider the realities of prevalent economic structures as a basis to for building a new green economy focused on the environment, equity and enterprise.

Authentic Sustainability Curriculum

Unlike many programs, which cobble together a series of existing non-green courses to resemble a sustainability program, the MSSD curriculum was developed from scratch by a team of experienced sustainability professionals and educators.

A Center of Green Activity

The program is taught in a dynamic environment that is deeply connected to the green community. Students routinely find opportunities for internship, volunteer activities and job placement.

A Great Place for International Students

Many of our lectures are recorded and posted to the Internet so that students may revisit a lecture and listen to segments that may not have been fully understood during the live lecture. We also recognize that coming to Philadelphia may be a bit stressful, but we are working towards making the transition as painless as possible and to open new cultural possibilities through networking events and social interactions. The MSSD program was recently designated as a S.T.E.M. program (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). This means that international students are eligible to receive a 17 month extension to the standard 12 month Optional Practical Training.