Become an innovative environmental leader.
The Sustainable Development and Climate Change (SDCC) is a trans-disciplinary program of study that prepares students to take a leadership role in marshaling and coordinating the required resources to address the complex environmental challenges of a changing landscape in the context of a changing climate.
This degree is offered by AU New England.
The SDCC program takes a systems-based approach to understand, intervene and develop solutions to complex the complex challenges. Central to this understanding is that natural and human-based systems are dynamic, vulnerable to disturbance and intimately linked. Students learn how to recognize system stressors that lead to a degradation of the ecological services upon which society depends upon. Concurrently, build the skills to recognize leverage points to shift a system on to a more sustainable path.
Many of the environmental challenges facing our SDCC graduates have been termed “wicked-problems”. Such problems are complex due to multiple spatial and temporal scales of interaction and the need to understand how culture, politics, economics and science intersect. The SDCC program provides the students the skills to strategically navigate such complexity so to establish responses that are environmentally sound economically wise and politically acceptable.
Just and Equitable Solutions
Historic policy and economic decisions have marginalized populations and created inequality in who bears the brunt of the environmental costs. Solutions that are just and equitable and prioritize the most vulnerable is an overarching paradigm of the SDCC program
Building your Professional Network
The SDCC experience is based on a cohort-model. The student cohorts reflect a diversity of cooperatively oriented learners ranging from seasoned resource managers to more recent undergraduates trained with cutting edge management tools. The relationships you build through this program will continue well beyond graduation. Our alumni continue to tap each other, as well as Antioch faculty, in the pursuit of establishing more sustainable paths, not only for organizations, but on the natural landscape as well.
With this 36-credit graduate program, students can complete the curriculum as quickly as five (5) semesters; however, this is dependent on outside employment and family obligations. In which case, an extended program can be designed in conjunction with your advisor.
Students develop the specific skills to address multi-issue, multi-stakeholder environmental problems. This includes managing the necessary resources, such as expertise, networks, money, communication, and time within the regulatory realities of protecting, conserving, and restoring the environment.
The Four Foundational Pillars of the SDCC Curriculum
The domain of science is presented at a systems-level: understanding community ecological dynamics, watershed-scale analyses, and the life-cycle of materials and energy decisions. Field skills address rapid assessment methodologies, which allow analyses at the broader watershed/landscape scale to focus limited financial resources to mitigate and or restore systems at a finer granular scale.
The understanding of policy is framed with the understanding resource managers must operate within a regulated environment of natural resource protection and restoration. Policies developed are necessarily informed and framed by the realities of economic approaches to resource utilization. Different approaches to political economy are introduced including the rapidly developing disciplines of ecological and circular economies.
The management & communication components range from understanding an individual’s motivation to change to more sustainable behavior. Skills are presented to build stakeholder capacity to address community resilience and facilitating processes that empower others to lead. It is also based on the expectation that our students will quickly move into task, project, team, or organization management positions.
The practice domain follows a long tradition in the Environmental Studies Dept. The Internship and the program Capstone take the theory and skills learned from the curriculum and allows students to apply these within or for external organizations.
Upon completion of their Master of Science in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Sustainable Development and Climate Change (SDCC), students are able to:
- Identify and understand the scientific and social complexities within the interdisciplinary field of environmental studies including ethics, sustainability and social justice;
- Critically assess the dynamics of maintaining the functional values of natural systems in a changing landscape;
- Comprehend the dynamics of environmental change at multiple temporal and spatial scales;
- Understand the structural and functional tenets of organizations in order to maximize their resilience and adaptive capacity in changing regulatory and economic environments;
- Facilitate solutions to complex multi-issue, multi-stakeholder landscape scale environmental issues;
- Utilize resources and skills to build needed capacity at the local level to effectively balance economic development with protection of natural resources;
- Demonstrate competence in field identification of indicators of impact from development;
- Master field-data collection methods and equipment;
- Demonstrate the ability to quantitatively and spatially analyze environmental data;
- Demonstrate proficiency in modeling skills to project possible consequences from current land-use and development decisions;
- Be adept at proposing, managing and completing team projects, within proposed timelines and budgets;
- Demonstrate effective communication that effectively translates technical, scientific and economic information for local decision-makers.
Under the Sustainable Development and Climate Change concentration, at least thirty-Six (36) graduate credits are required to be awarded a Master of Science in Resource Management & Administration.
Course Requirements for the RMA degree with a concentration in Sustainable Development and Climate Change.
- ESS-5780: Principles of Sustainable Systems (3-semester credits)
- ESC-5440: Leadership for Change (3-semester credits)
- ESC-6010: Political Economy and Sustainability (3-semester credits)
- ESPE-5700: Watershed Science & Management (3 -semester credits)
- ES-6031: Land Use, Community & Urban Planning (2-semester credits)
- ES-6032: Stewardship and Land Protection Techniques (1-semester credit)
- ES-5310: Principles of Organizational Management (1-semester credit)
- ES-5312: Introduction to Financial Administration & Budgeting (1-semester credit)
- ESC-5725: Earth Systems and Climate Change:1 (1-semester credit)**
- ES-5820: Climate Impacts: Vulnerability & Adaptation Planning (1semester credit)
- ES-5830: Climate Impacts: Communication, Facilitation & Stakeholder Capacity (1-semester credit)
- ESP-5100: Policy Advocacy: Climate Change (1-semester credit)
- ESPE-5605: Facilitating Organizations Towards Sustainable Practices (1semester credit)
- ESPE-5610: Organizational Materials & Waste Minimization (1-semester credit)
- ESPE-5615: Organizational Energy Conservation (1-semester credit)
- ES-5240: Proposal Writing and Project Management (3-semester credits)
** If you have already taken, or plan to take either ESC 5720 Earth Systems and Climate Change (3-credits) or ES 703 Global Environmental Change (3-credits) as an elective, then that course can be substituted for this particular degree requirement.
Science-based course(s) (3-semester credits)
ES-6960: Internship (3-semester credits)
ES-6990: Capstone Project (3-semester credits)
The curriculum is a combination of classroom/field experiences, asynchronous and hybrid (asynchronous with some Zoom class meetings) courses.