The MLS Sustainability Degree Track

What is sustainability?

Sustainability is ultimately about improving and maintaining the health of the planet.  The goal is to reduce our contribution to the systematic accumulation of materials.  Sustainability efforts contribute to the long-term health of the economy by the wise use of natural resources and the development of business practices that ensure that human rights are respected.  Sustainable practices can help governments, communities, and business to support people in meeting their basic needs.

What is the Master of Liberal Studies Sustainability Track?

The sustainability track incorporates the curriculum of the Graduate Certificate in Strategic Sustainability Leadership into the core requirements of the IU South Bend Master of Liberal Studies degree.

What is the value of the MLS degree track in Sustainability?

An MLS degree with strong emphasis in sustainability leadership gives graduates the tools to contribute creatively to a growing international movement among businesses and communities.  The sustainability MLS graduate student is able to add specific expertise to the general communications skills and academic interdisciplinary skills developed in the MLS core courses.  A student is able to shape the degree to fit specific professional and personal goals, but at the core of the educational experience are the values of interdisciplinary scholarship and practice, as well as the understanding of how to lead effective sustainability efforts in several contexts.

Why study sustainability now?

Many major corporations are aggressively integrating sustainability action plans into their operations.  In order to do this, they are also looking upstream and asking the many local and regional small business suppliers in their value and supply chains to do the same.  As a result, small and medium sized businesses, which provide the lion's share of jobs in our region as well as nationally, find themselves scrambling to catch up in this changing environment.  The problem is that in most cases small and medium business, manufacturers, and service providers do not have the expertise, personnel, or resources to set up the kind of robust sustainability education and training programs that their corporate clients are demanding of them.

MLS Sustainability Track Curriculum (total 34 credit hours)

MLS Required Core Courses (13 credit hours)

  • LBST-D 510 Intro to Grad Liberal Studies (3 cr)
  • COAS-Q 510 Topics in Information Literacy (1 cr)
  • LBST-D 501 Humanities Seminar (3 cr)
  • LBST-D 502 Social Sciences Seminar (3 cr)
  • LBST-D 503 Science Seminar (3 cr)

MLS Elective (3 credit hours)

  • Any graduate elective course(s), including independent study credit, with approval of the academic advisor

Sustainability Required (9 credit hours)

  • SUST-S 501 Sustainability Strategies and Applications (3 cr)
  • SUST-S 520 Sustainability and Innovation (3 cr)
  • SUST-S 620 Sustainable Technologies and Alternative Energy (3 cr)

Sustainability Electives (choose one) (3 credit hours)

  • SUST-S 630 Sustainable Food Systems (3 cr)
  • SUST-S 660 Sustainability and the Built Environment (3 cr)

Sustainability Capstone (3 credit hours)

  • SUST-S 690 Sustainability and Leadership Planning (3 cr)

MLS Capstone (3 credit hours)

  • LBST-D 600 Public Intellectual Practicum (3 cr)

Learning Goals

Indiana University South Bend graduates with a Certificate in Strategic Sustainability Leadership will be able to:

  1. Identify and employ the literacies and concepts of sustainability, i.e., associated  with understanding the triple bottom line of environment, economy, and society.
  2. Employ a systems approach, which demonstrates holistic thinking, integration, and complexity.
  3. Formulate and apply sustainable solutions in real-life settings, using practical application.
  4. Recognize and be able to judge the applicability of existing sustainability tools and frameworks, such as LEED, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Biomimicry, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), The Natural Step, Energy Star, Cradle to Cradle.
  5. Apply collaborative and leadership skills.
  6. Practice transformative thinking to become an effective change agent.
  7. Demonstrate persuasive skills in a variety or ways (rhetoric and argument, media, public relations, political/community organizing).
  8. Demonstrate an ethical sensibility and capacity for empathy.
  9. Utilize interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary avenues for learning and application of knowledge of sustainability.


Online Application Form

Applicants interested in the Sustainability Track should indicate in their application letter their reasons for pursuing the Certificate in Strategic Sustainability Leadership as part of their MLS degree.