Master of Arts with a Major in Sustainability and Development


Program Director: Jessie Marshall Zarazaga, RIBA leedAP


As the global population explodes, resources dwindle adding to the strain to the enormous economic, environmental, and technological shifts taking place. Providing future access to clean water, clean air, housing, and transportation, requires action today. 

Approaching global development through a prism of core sustainable development perspectives, ecological, economic and social, SMU‘s Master of Arts program in Sustainability and Development is focused on creative approaches to the design and development of the built environment including aspects of transport, energy, natural resources, water, landscape and building and infrastructure systems.

Fully project-based, the program takes advantage of its location in the DFW region to engage with the expertise of local professionals and government bodies, and to participate in the sustainable re-visioning of complex sites both locally and globally, seeking strategies to counterbalance long-term trends towards environmental inequality and spatial fragmentation.

From policy to design to data, the multidisciplinary approach embeds the study of environmental science and energy within the context of global development, urban planning, transportation, and sustainable construction. With its unique home in the Lyle School of Engineering, and with the support of the Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity, the MASD program is for concerned individuals in both engineering and non-engineering fields who wish to operate on an expert level on global sustainable approaches, bringing together aspects of environmental justice, urbanization and resilience. The 30-hour program emphasizes the interdisciplinary leadership skills needed to undertake truly sustainable environmental infrastructure management, as well as creative design-based approaches to global environmental change.

Coordinating with the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, students can craft the degree in their own specific research direction, combining project-based coursework with specific tools in environmental ecology, social and community engagement, data visualization and analytics, sustainable leadership and resilience, and infrastructure and urban design. With opportunity for both local classroom based work, distance education and international travel based coursework, students undertake a range of approaches, working together to implement sustainable, inclusive solutions for lasting change.

Admission Requirements

Applicants holding a bachelor’s degree from an institution of standard collegiate rank, recognized by the accrediting agencies in whose jurisdiction the college is located, may apply for admission to the Master of Arts with a major in Sustainability and Development.

Graduates of colleges not fully recognized will be treated as special cases and required to produce evidence attesting to the quality of their programs. Any student whose bachelor’s degree is not equivalent to the comparable baccalaureate degree from Southern Methodist University may be required to take sufficient additional work to make up the deficiency.

All applicants must have an overall grade point average of 3.000 (on a 4.000 scale).

Degree Requirements

Candidates are required to satisfy these requirements: 30 credit hours with a minimum graduate GPA of 3.000 on a 4.000 scale. All students must complete 9 credit hours of core requirements to include:

CEE 7306 Sustainable Urban Development & Design
CEE 7330 Design of Sustainable Buildings & Infrastructure
And at least one of
CEE 7307 Infrastructure Design for the Developing World  
CEE 7309 Global Resource Assessment and Management  

Three credit hours of capstone supervised, research and site-based experience are required. 
CEE 7128/CEE 7228 Capstone 1A & 1B  Independent Capstone Research Project

A depth component of an additional 6 credit hours is required in one specialization

Sustainable Global Development & Design
CEE 7324 Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Mapping
CEE 7329 Methods and Technology for Sustainability
CEE 8325 The Sustainable Urban Plan
CEE 7326 Sustainable Transportation
CEE 7356 Civil Infrastructure Systems

DSIN 7303 Human Centered Design

Sustainable Management
CEE 7302 Leadership in the Development Sector
CEE 7303 Leadership Innovation Hub
CEE 7312 Risk Assessment and Health Affects
CEE 7327 Optim. & Reliability for Infrastructure & Env. Sys
CEE 8327 Policy Impacts on Sustainability

CEE 7323 Project Management

CEE 7380 Management of Ind. & Mission Critical Facilities
EMIS 8361 Engineering Economics & Decision Analysis

Students then craft the degree in their own specific research direction, 
with 12 credit hours additional electives in Sustainability & Development (incl. those above). 

CEE 7325 Disaster Management
CEE 7333 Laboratory Methods in Env. Engineering
CEE 7353 Environmental Epidemiology
CEE 8328 Defining the Future of Global Sustainability

CEE 7365 Introduction To Construction Management
CEE 7378 Transportation Planning & Traffic Engineering
CEE 7381 Site Selection of. Ind. & Mission Critical Facilities

CEE 7314  Environmental Regulations and Compliance

CEE 8330 Engineering Sustainability for the Future
CEE 7313 Environmental Chemistry

ANTH 6345 Creating Global & Public Health Impact

DSIN 7301 The Context and Impact of Design 

Degree Plan

Course Descriptions

Graduate Catalog

Graduate Catalog Archives

MA | Sustainability and Development Flyer (.pdf)