Students who pursue the dual-degree program benefit from a richer and broader educational experience and have access to additional co-curricular opportunities and sources of funding. Participating in the Erb dual-degree program connects students with a rich alumni network of over 400 members, two advisory boards comprised of high-level sustainability practitioners and countless business partners.
The MS (Master of Science) from SEAS allows students to obtain an in-depth understanding of science, technology and policy issues related to sustainability. You will develop the critical skills of systems thinking and learn to apply them to the challenges of environmental and social change.
The MBA (Master of Business Administration) from Ross gives students a high-level understanding of core management principles, such as finance, economics, strategy and marketing. You will develop the fundamental leadership skills necessary to enact change and become a more effective leader in any organizational setting.
How is the Erb dual degree different from the Business and Sustainability (BaS) concentration offered by Ross?
The Ross BaS concentration complements the MBA curriculum with sustainability electives to help students consider the sustainability “triple bottom line”: environmental protection, social well-being and economic performance. It is 12 credits within the 57 credits required for the MBA program.
The dual-degree differs in that it is a much deeper dive into sustainability, and it looks at sustainability from many different facets. Students in the dual-degree program with the Erb Institute have additional resources that BaS students do not have access to, including additional tuition funding, sustainability and business workshops, both Erb Institute boards, Erb staff support, the Erb alumni network and project funding.
As one of the longest-running business and sustainability dual-degree programs in the country, the Erb Institute has significant resources, business networks and staff power dedicated to the student experience. Since 1996, the institute has developed tremendous amounts of intellectual capital, including consulting projects, case studies, sustainability internships, opportunities for academic research and well-funded student projects. Both Ross and SEAS are highly ranked programs.
The Erb community is a robust, supportive and engaged group of students, staff, faculty and alumni who are energized by the possibilities for sustainable solutions.
The Erb Institute MBA/MS program is traditionally three years (six semesters), although it can be completed in two and a half years (five semesters). When students complete the program in three years, they pay three semesters of Ross tuition and three semesters of SEAS tuition. When students complete the program in five semesters, they pay three semesters of Ross tuition and two semesters of SEAS tuition. Click here for SEAS tuition rates and here for Ross tuition rates.
Students enrolled in the dual-degree program must take the core required courses at both SEAS and Ross. SEAS students also need to determine a track of study (see the full list of SEAS tracks here). Once students in both schools fulfill their core requirements, they may choose to enroll in elective courses. In addition to the core courses of the MBA and MS degrees, Erb Institute students are required to enroll in Erb Seminar, a course designed exclusively for first-year Erb students. The course introduces a carefully selected set of sustainability issues and management tools that sustainability professionals should understand before entering the marketplace. The course also provides a framework for career visioning in sustainability.
Because the Erb Institute dual degree is a 2.5- or 3-year program, students have time for two summer internships. Erb students can use both Ross Career Services and SEAS Career Services during their efforts. The Erb Institute also assists with any additional searches off campus or within our business network. The Erb Institute Student Advisory Board regularly holds career workshops throughout the year, which help to connect current students with alumni and board members to help navigate the process.
There is no typical “Erb job,” as alumni work in a very broad range of industries and functions. Most Erb alumni work in the private sector, with a minority working in nonprofits, NGOs, government and education. The following chart is a breakdown of current alumni careers, based on data collected in 2015. *The “Other” field is comprised of jobs in, but not limited to, food and agriculture, operations, supply chain, nonprofits, NGOs, government and education.
The Rackham Graduate School (often referred to as simply “Rackham”) administers 181 graduate programs at the University of Michigan, including the School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS). Students applying to SEAS do so through the Rackham system and then work with Rackham to manage SEAS coursework, funding and degree requirements during their studies. Note that Ross is administered separately.
For more information, please visit the Rackham website.
Ann Arbor is located in the southeastern corner of Michigan. It is within driving distance of several major cities: Detroit (1 hour), Chicago (4 hours), Toronto, Canada (5 hours). It is a 30-minute drive from the Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW).
For more information on Ann Arbor, please visit:
The Erb institute is named after Frederick A. and Barbara M. Erb, who founded the Institute in 1996 and have provided vital support and contributions in the ensuing years. For more information regarding the founders, please visit the founders page.
Applying to Erb
There is not a specific application to the Erb Institute. Interested candidates must apply separately to both the Ross School of Business and the School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS).
Applicants should indicate on both applications their interest in and intention of joining the Erb Institute.
Application requirements include: GMAT or GRE scores, official transcripts from other academic institutions, application essays, letters of recommendation and a resume. You may be invited for an interview at Ross after your application is filed. It’s important to remember that you’re applying to both Ross and SEAS for admissions into their programs independently. You should tailor your applications to each appropriately.More information about the dual application process
Should I apply to both schools at the same time? Can I apply to one school first, and then the other once I’m in Ann Arbor as a student?
If you’re fairly certain that you’d like to be a part of the dual-degree program, it’s recommended to apply to both schools during the same application cycle. If you’re a current student in either Ross or SEAS and would like to join the Erb Institute, you are able to apply to the other school during your first year.
By joining the Erb Institute as a dual-degree student instead of applying mid-year, you will have the opportunity to fully engage in all the resources of both schools from day one, participate in institute-sponsored activities and workshops, access institute resources and begin your graduate studies in the Erb community.
Ross requires one letter of recommendation. It’s strongly recommended that candidates submit letters of recommendation from former supervisors who can speak to your professional abilities.
SEAS requires three letters of recommendation. You may use the letter that you submit to Ross with two additional letters, or you may submit three new letters of recommendation to SEAS.
Neither Ross nor SEAS requires that you possess a business or natural science undergraduate degree for admission. Both schools recruit cohorts of diverse backgrounds in terms of fields of study, work experience, geography and other factors.
International students should complete the standard applications for both Ross and SEAS. Be sure to take the TOEFL exam as well as the GMAT or GRE. Several Erb alumni are working and living abroad, or are originally from abroad. If interested, you may contact the Erb Institute or the admissions offices at Ross or SEAS to obtain their contact information. Current international students are excellent resources for tips, insights and details on how to position your application from abroad.
Visit the Erb International Students section
I am thinking about applying to graduate school in a few years. Is there anything I can do to make myself more marketable to the dual-degree program?
There is no minimum work experience required to apply to SEAS, but you must have some work experience post-undergrad to apply to Ross. Experience is evaluated not in terms of quantity but based on the quality of the applicant’s work, impact on his/her organization and natural leadership qualities. If you plan on applying soon after graduating from an undergraduate program, you will need to demonstrate what you can add to the Ross and SEAS communities while highlighting superb academic credentials and the maturity and self-confidence to handle the intensity of the program.
If you are flying into Ann Arbor, you should book your tickets to Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW). The airport is a 30-minute drive from the University of Michigan campus. You can get to Ann Arbor by taxi ($50-$60), airport shuttle or private shuttle service. The Michigan Flyer shuttle provides service to and from Ann Arbor at the Four Points Sheraton and costs $15 one way.
Once in Ann Arbor, you can navigate to campus by foot, bus, taxi or driving yourself. For more information on buses in Ann Arbor, please visit the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority website. If you decide to drive, note that only limited visitor parking is available on campus. You can park in the South Forest Parking Lot, a 5- to 7-minute walk from campus; on the street in one of the neighborhoods to the south of the Ross building; or in the metered spots in front of or near Ross. These spots cost about $1.50 per hour for a maximum of 4 hours. Be sure to bring your own change for the meters—change machines are not available at Ross. The Dana Building, which houses SEAS, is a 5-minute walk north of Ross.
Before you arrive, be sure to send an email to Erb Student/Alumni Affairs Manager Emily Keeler (firstname.lastname@example.org), to arrange a meeting to learn more about the program, and student VP of recruiting, Rosie Sharp ’20 (email@example.com), to connect with current students.
Once You’ve Been Accepted to Ross and SEAS
Erb students can start at either the School for Environment and Sustainability or Ross during their first year. Historically, most students have opted to start at SEAS, but in recent years, an increasing number of students are choosing to start at Ross. Because Erb is an interdisciplinary program, students may take courses in and access all the resources at both schools, even when they’re primarily enrolled in only one. It’s recommended that you talk with the Erb Institute Student/Alumni Affairs Manager, Emily Keeler, as well as your fellow incoming Erbers as you’re making your decision.
The following is a sample timeline for Erb students, but it’s important to remember that there is flexibility in your academic schedule.
As an applicant, you’re automatically considered for scholarships when you apply to Ross. To increase your chances of receiving a scholarship offer from SEAS, you are strongly encouraged to apply before their priority deadline. In addition to scholarships from both schools, the Erb Institute offers the Erb Institute Scholarship. Candidates are eligible to apply for this scholarship once they’ve completed their applications to both Ross and SEAS. Applicants are also strongly encouraged to search for additional independent scholarship opportunities.
Students can apply to be teaching assistants (TA) or graduate student instructors (GSI) once they are enrolled in either school. A TA or GSI position can significantly offset tuition costs. Many students opt to take out federal and/or private educational loans in addition to any scholarship offers. The average Erb Institute dual MBA/MS student graduates with less debt than the average MBA student, due to the ability to procure funding from Ross, SEAS/Rackham and the Erb Institute. Students are also strongly encouraged to file a FAFSA.
As an incoming Erb student, you’ll need to attend the orientation of whichever school you decide to start at. In addition to Ross or SEAS orientation, the Erb Institute hosts its own mandatory orientation for incoming students. Please check with each program office for the specific dates and locations of orientation.
Need more information?
Do you have questions about the Erb Institute? Want to hear more about the Ross School of Business or the School for Environment and Sustainability from an Erb student’s perspective? AmbassadErbs—current student contacts from the Erb Institute—can help you find the answers. Connect with one today!