Master of Science in Sustainable Engineering


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As the earth’s population grows and standards of living rise, engineers are being called to play a leadership role in sustainable development and to find solutions for global challenges such as depletion of resources, environmental pollution and damage to ecosystems.  At the forefront of making decisions with long-term implications for the planet, engineers must not only meet today’s global human needs, but also provide sustainable access to the world's resources for generations to come.

With increasing environmental regulations, a trend toward “green” methods and development, and a shift in emphasis toward preventing problems rather than controlling those that already exist, the field of sustainable engineering is expected to have 25 percent employment growth through 2016, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Villanova’s Master of Science in Sustainable Engineering (MSSE) is a multi-disciplinary degree, ideal for those who are interested in gaining further expertise and knowledge with regard to the full environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainable engineering.  This program is available to the non-engineering degree holder. Please see the admission criteria for details.

One of just a few programs in the country and one of only two currently available entirely online, Villanova’s MSSE program employs a whole-systems approach to problem-solving through a life-cycle lens. The program’s practical approach is based on current and future real-life situations, and students work in small teams to evaluate and solve problems that companies are facing worldwide.

The MSSE allows students to specialize in one of the following technical tracks:

  • Alternative and Renewable Energy
  • Watershed Sustainability
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Sustainable Infrastructure and Built Environment

All of our graduate courses are taught at night (2 1/2 hours one night per week) so that working professionals can easily attend and participate in the program. The degree can be pursued on a full-time or part-time basis, with or without a thesis, on campus or via our E-Learning program.  

Degree Requirements

The Master of Science in Sustainability requires 30 credits. Students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 from master’s level courses in order to graduate.  Please refer to the complete MSSE degree requirements for more information. The Sustainable Engineering Overview provides additional details.

Tracks and Courses

MSSE students select from the four technical tracks listed above and are required to take core courses in:

  • Climate Change/Sustainability
  • Life Cycle/Impact Assessment
  • Economic/Social Equity Integrators

These core courses will expose the student to the broad topic of sustainability with elements in engineering design and practice, policy, economics, societal implications and ethics. Although the core courses may be offered within a specific department, they are available to all students pursuing the degree as their content has a wide range of applicability.

Upon acceptance into the program, you will be assigned an academic advisor who will assist you in developing a program of study and, along with the program coordinator, approve the plan of study