SEAS Curriculum

Common core. Custom path. Capstone finish. Your time at SEAS will provide you with foundational and advanced sustainability knowledge. Whether you’d like to focus on learning how to influence human behavior, or how and why inequalities arise and are maintained around the world in relation to issues like climate vulnerability and energy transitions, SEAS has a specialization that will set you apart.

Behavior, Education and Communication

As a Behavior, Education and Communication specialist, you will learn how people think, what drives them and the conditions under which they behave most reasonably and creatively.

Conservation Ecology

As a student in this interdisciplinary specialization, you will become a change-driven scientist capable of developing novel approaches to the sustainable management of wildlands, protected areas and aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

Environmental Informatics – Geospatial Data Science

Our interdisciplinary Environmental Informatics specialization prepares industry leaders to develop and use analytical and computer-based methods to assess and protect the Earth’s natural resources.

Environmental Justice

Environmental Justice students and researchers examine how and why inequalities arise and are maintained around the world.

Environmental Policy and Planning

Our Environmental Policy and Planning specialization focuses on building the professional skills to design and implement effective policies and plans while considering the human and institutional behaviors that underlie environmental problems.

Sustainable Systems

Sustainable Systems graduates are equipped to become leaders through an interdisciplinary curriculum that focuses on systems thinking, as well as a sound understanding of ecological principles, the capabilities of technology, and the mechanisms that reshape economic and social progress.

Opus Finish

To round out your MS at SEAS, you’ll complete a capstone: master’s project, thesis or practicum.

Master’s Project

You’ll join an interdisciplinary team, working with faculty mentors to help solve actual environmental challenges for real clients—from all sectors, at various scales and in locations around the world. These projects span 15 months.


 Master’s Thesis

An individual work that is creative, scholarly and based on independent research. Theses usually include a literature review to delineate a problem or gap in knowledge, statement of objectives, formulation of hypotheses, explanation of methods, collection and analysis of data, report of results, and discussion of conclusions. Results of a thesis should be publishable in a peer-reviewed journal.

Sustainability Theme Master’s Project Courses

Within each course, you will complete Master’s Projects that are interdisciplinary and client-driven, just like traditional Master’s Projects. What is different is that instead of a single team with a faculty advisor, you will work with three other project teams and one instructor through a more structured process within the context of a three-semester course series.

Featured Master’s Projects

Responsible Sourcing of Sugar Cane

Client Organization: Kellogg Company

Project Location: Battle Creek, Michigan
Description: The goal of this project was to create and pilot a continuous improvement methodology for responsible sourcing that U.S. food companies can implement in their sugar cane supply chains.

Specialty Coffee Farmers’ Climate Change Concern and Perceived Ability to Adapt

Client Organization: CIMS Sustainable Markets Intelligence Center
Project Location: Alajuela, Costa Rica
Description: The intent of this study was to explore the relationship between critical farm characteristics and speciality coffee farmers’ perceptions of climate change and their ability to adapt.

Michigan Environmental Justice Assessment: Determinants of Racial Disparities for an Equitable Future

Client Organization: Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition
Project Location: Detroit, Michigan
Description: The goal of this project was to create and deliver an environmental assessment of the state of Michigan and develop a policy analysis congruent to the institutionalized implementation of solutions to the problem of cumulative impact.