2023-2024 Course Catalog

Sustainability & Business Administration (MSUS/MBA)

The program gives students an understanding and skills from both sustainability and business. Through this program, students earn both the Master of Sustainability and the Master of Business Administration. It includes core courses in both business and sustainability, and courses that provide breadth and depth in sustainability, business, and sustainable business. The degree requires 57 credits, and is designed to be completed by full time students in two school years and one summer. An optional first summer is offered for students who require prerequisites or simply want more time to take classes.

Each student also engages in, a Business Consulting Capstone or (individual or group) Sustainability Final Project, and a summer-long professional placement. During the summer semester, students will engage in projects centering on real world challenges such as consultation with sustainable businesses, making business plans for sustainability businesses, or individual or group sustainability projects for businesses. Graduates will be uniquely prepared to champion sustainability in the business world.

Students meet all of the requirements for both the Master of Sustainability and the Master of Business Administration. Please refer to those programs for details.

Admission Requirements

Priority Deadline for Fall - February 1 (all application materials must be received by this date for first consideration of fellowships/assistantships)
Regular Application Deadline for Fall: July 1
Regular Application Deadline for Spring: November 1

Admission to the Dual Degree MSUS-MBA program will be based on:

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university
  • Overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale
  • Proficiency in written and oral communications, college level math, and computer usage including word processing, spreadsheets, databases, and the Internet are required
  • Completed application form, including:
    • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
    • Resume and/or additional information concerning professional or volunteer activities
    • Nonrefundable application fee of $45 (unless application is completed online)
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation from faculty or direct work supervisors that describe the applicant's:
    • Capacity for independent thinking
    • Written and verbal communication skills
    • Ability to thrive in a collaborative, interdisciplinary academic setting
    • Commitment to a career advancing sustainability
  • In approximately 500 words, please explain why you are interested in pursuing this degree.  How will the degree impact your future personal and career goals? 
  • Students must complete pre-requisite courses in Financial Accounting, Business Statistics and Introduction to Microsoft Excel prior to beginning the program

Learning Outcomes


The goal of the Master of Sustainability is to provide professionally oriented students the skills, knowledge, experiences, and networks necessary to meet their career goals. To that end, we produce graduates recognized for their:

  • intellectual and experiential core of knowledge about sustainability;
  • preparedness to champion and implement sustainability in a variety of settings;
  • entrepreneurial spirit and capacity for transformative leadership; and
  • commitment to ethical and informed citizenship
  • To that end, our curriculum is designed to achieve a number of learning outcomes that include:

    Students will become effective communicators by evaluating and implementing appropriate communication strategies. They will develop written, oral, and visual tools and practices for communicating about sustainability to diverse audiences.


    Students will be prepared to take an active role in advancing sustainability, with the understanding that to do so will require behavioral, cultural, institutional, and other changes at multiple spatial and temporal scales.


    Students will understand that facilitating sustainable attitudes and practices requires creativity in conceptualizing existing conditions and generating and implementing sustainable solutions to complex problems.


    Students will understand ethical implications of decisions and actions across diverse cultural, political, and temporal perspectives and be prepared to choose and act with integrity in their careers.


    Students will be able to explain the origins, meanings, and applications of sustainability, and by extension, explain the interrelationships among environmental, societal, and economic well-being. They will do this in a framework that recognizes the cultural dimensions of sustainability.


    Students will develop tools to model complex systems, describe the impact of changes within systems, consider the impacts of decision-making on systems, and analyze a system's strengths and weaknesses.


    Students will work across knowledge bases to better understand how different individuals and groups make decisions and work collaboratively with partners in the private sector, public sector, and academia. In these contexts, students will also learn how to apply the appropriate resources and methods to sustainability projects.


    Students will develop the necessary analytical skills for applying and assessing sustainability in a range of settings.

    Business Administration

    In master’s level programs, knowledge of the key content areas of business is assumed. Students without previous business courses take the Foundation Courses. Graduates of master’s level programs acquire a depth of knowledge in these areas that exceeds that of the typical bachelor’s degree graduate. Graduates of the MBA program are able to demonstrate that they possess business–specific content outcomes and business–related professional skills outcomes.

    Graduates of the MBA program will be able to:

    • Recognize problems in business settings and propose solutions
    • Use strategic analysis and integration
    • Apply creativity and innovation in business practice
    • Apply quantitative methods to real–world business situations
    • Evaluate the impact on business of the global environment
    • Identify and understand the ethical obligations and responsibilities of business
    • Communicate effectively in written materials to relevant publics
    • Communicate professionally in spoken words in one–on–one or business presentation situations
    • Work with a team of colleagues on projects
    • Demonstrate project management skills
    • Demonstrate leadership skills through the ability to set direction and work with others
    • Understand a specific area of business practice in depth
      • Information on Concentrations in the MSUS + MBA program can be found here


    +Major Requirements

    Students must meet all of the admission requirements for both the MSUS and MBA programs, and complete any prerequisite associated with either program. A total of 57 credits are required to earn the dual degree:

    BUS570 Global Business

    This course introduces students to international business and management by studying cultural influences, government, and business structures in our global economy. Students also learn about trade relations, international finance and legal and labor agreements. Also covered, are topics on information needs, production systems, marketing and promotion, and career planning.

    BUS576 Sustainable Human Capital

    Cultivate theoretical understanding and ethical and practical skills for managing human capital. Explore individual, group, and organizational levels of analysis focusing on topics of motivation, communication, group dynamics, decision making, culture, power, and politics. Analyze the effectiveness of tools for talent acquisition and development, such as compensation, feedback, and assessment.

    BUS639 Sustainability and Assessment Reporting

    An in-depth study of how to measure, track, and report on sustainability issues in a business. Includes a study of how to create effective Social Responsibility reports and the standards currently used to measure sustainability. Teaches students how to monitor and measure sustainability issues from within a business.

    BUS641 Sustainable Supply Chain Management

    This course provides students with an understanding of how supply chain works, how and where along the supply chain sustainability questions should be addressed/considered, and the impacts of those decisions on stakeholders further down the chain. Topics include: packaging, transportation, energy use, and waste.

    BUS671 Marketing Management

    This course takes the Chief Marketing Officer’s (CMO) perspective to explore marketing as a core business practice. Discussions focus on theories and principles for interfacing with customers, competitors, partners, and the external environment. Concepts are applied to planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of goods and services.

    BUS672 Corporate Finance and Governance

    This course focuses on financial-analytical tools and methods for making effective business and policy decisions. Topics include setting financial health benchmarks, assessing financial performance, interpreting financial data and making informed recommendations that protect the interests of all stakeholders. The principles of good corporate governance provide assurance of long-term business viability.

    BUS698 Strategy and Entrepreneurship

    "Develop strategies to gain and sustain competitive advantage. Examine the goals of an organization, the social, political, technological, economic, and global factors in the business environment, industry structure, market dynamics, and firm strengths and weaknesses. Develop and implement strategy across industries, and as an entrepreneur, through case analyses and simulations. "

    Pre-requisites Complete the following course:
  • BUS671 Marketing Management
  • 3
    SUS504 Foundations of Sustainability

    This course provides students the skills to understand, communicate, and critique the fundamentals of sustainability at multiple scales and across disciplines and cultures. It explores sustainability's origins and foundations, application, and assessment. We evaluate the inter-relationships among environmental, societal, and economic well-being and the implications on individual and social decision-making.

    SUS510 Pursuing Sustainability through Governance

    Overcoming sustainability challenges requires influencing human behavior. In this course, we explore ways in which policy can shape behavior and draw insights from fields like political science, psychology, economics, the philosophy of justice, and science and technology studies to enhance our ability to understand, cultivate, and realize sustainability goals.

    SUS516 Sustainable Decision Analysis

    The class contributes to a foundation for sustainability management by exploring different quantitative approaches to sustainable decision-making including: Life Cycle Analysis, Ecosystem Services Valuation, Carbon and Water Foot printing, and DPSIR (Drivers, Pressures, States, Impacts and Responses) Society-Environment interaction framework. Finally, the class explores how quantitative decision-making is shaped by various stakeholders.

    SUS591 Independent Study

    Students work with a professor/instructor to develop and follow a curriculum which covers a topic of special interest.

    Pre-requisites Complete the following course:
  • XXX123 Permission of Instructor
  • 1
    SUS601 Applied Ecology

    The overall goal of this course is to examine the role that ecological science contributes to sustainability. Students will critically assess, process evidence, and enhance communication skills for scientific methods. All topics and applications considered will be centered on issues of sustainability in the ecological sciences, such as climate change, water pollution, land use change, and the loss of biodiversity.

    SUS605 Leadership for Transitions to Sustainability

    This class builds a foundation for sustainability management through the exploration of various methodologies for sustainable innovation and transitions. Students study innovation management, learn how to analyze systemic socio-technological problems, learn to develop potential solutions, and understand the organizational and societal structures necessary to support long-term change.

    SUS621 The Craft of Research

    This class introduces students to evidence-based research in sustainability guiding them through the challenges. Topics include the role and limits of research, the skill of connecting with your readership, developing well-defined and appropriately scaled research questions/problems, identifying and assessing source material and methodologies, and constructing well-supported arguments and evidence.

    SUS693 Internship


    SUS694 Research Methods in Context

    This course assists students in the preparation of thesis by reviewing research methods and design. Students review research papers focusing on identifying how specific methods were used to collect and analyze data in order to answer the paper's research question. Guest researchers will present their work and explain their methods.

    ACT580 Accounting Information Systems

    This course examines critical business processes and IT audits through theories of Accounting Information Systems (AIS) and using auditing tools and enterprise systems. Case analyses and project assignments nurture professional competence in communicating objectives and procedures through systems documentation techniques, systems analysis and design methodologies, and information processing.

    BUS577 Business Analytics

    This course explores the strategic transformation of raw data into information and intelligence. Students learn to source and integrate datasets, apply analytical methods, and communicate insights from modeled findings. Enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), data warehouses, and Big Data are critically examined through cases and hands-on projects.

    ACT625 Cost Analysis

    Cost Analysis introduces students to the role cost considerations play in management decision making. Topics include the classification and allocation of costs, job order and process costing, standard costs, budgeting and planning, cost-volume-profit analysis, and using costs as performance measurements.

    BUS652 Managerial Accounting

    This course examines accounting information that is used in managerial decision making within the organization. Focus is on interpretation of financial statements, cost accounting, financial planning and analysis, the development of internal controls, and constructing budgets.

    SUS514 Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities

    Today's cities can thrive by becoming more sustainable, walkable, climate-resilient and restoring urban ecosystems. Cities also face a shrinking middle class and communities that are disproportionally affected by urban decline. Using systems theory and the example of Pittsburgh, we explore comprehensive approaches to equitable, resilient, and sustainable neighborhood revitalization.

    SUS603 Sustainability: Ethics, Equity, Justice

    This course focuses on the role of the "social" as one of the three pillars of sustainability. It explores historic and contemporary notions of ethics, social equity and social justice. It examines how these concepts can be applied to sustainability by studying local and global case studies.

    Pre-requisites Complete any 1 of the following courses:
  • SUS504 Introduction to Sustainability and Systems
  • SUS501 Fundamentals of Sustainability
  • SUS503 Understanding Knowledge Across the Disciplines
  • 3
    SUS580 Sustainable Behavior Change

    This hybrid course combines classroom and online instruction with real-world application. Students learn the latest science concerning sources of environmental degradation. In teams, students apply motivational theory, collect secondary and primary data, and develop an action plan for increasing pro-environmental behaviors (PEB) in a specific context.

    SUS607 Applied Green and Social Innovation

    The class helps students develop skills for managing innovation focusing on Food, Agriculture, Environmental and Social Product and Service innovations. Students will work with actual ideas and or start-ups from local incubators and entrepreneurs. The class focuses on helping students to develop skills to use innovations for solving major social and environmental problems.

    BUS699 Business Consulting Capstone

    This course is the culminating experience in the MBA program. Students apply professional-level business consulting skills learned in the MBA program. Business Consulting Capstone student teams solve business problems for businesses and entrepreneurs.

    Pre-requisites Complete all 2 of the following courses:
  • BUS672 Corporate Finance
  • BUS698 Strategy and Entrepreneurship
  • 3
    SUS698C Final Project

    Course provides supervision and guidance for the final project to complete the MSUS degree requirements. Students will complete a final project as part of a group developed and managed within this class. With permission of the Program Director, students may complete the final project as an independent capstone or thesis.