Master of Arts with a Major in Sustainability and Development


Program Director: Andrew Quicksall, Ph.D.


In the past 50 years, the world’s population has doubled. As the human population explodes, global resources dwindle. Awaking to enormous economic, environmental, and technological shifts taking place, catalysts for change feel a tremendous strain. Providing access to clean water, clean air, housing, and transportation to empower the future for generations to come requires action today.

In response to the world’s disappearing or inadequate built and natural resources, SMU‘s Master of Arts program in sustainability and development is solutions based. From policy to design, to the study of environmental science, energy, transportation, architecture, urban planning, and construction (both residential and commercial), this 30-hour program encourages participants to question what innovations must take place to mitigate—or even eliminate—the negative impact of human consumption of natural resources. Rebuilding cities here and abroad—capable of maintaining both economic and environmental health—involves connecting the dots between local action and global ramifications. Creating a better world requires new visions and healing paths, sensible solutions, and lasting change.

The M.A. with a major in sustainability and development, offered by SMU-Lyle with the support of The Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity, is for concerned individuals. Those in engineering and non-engineering fields who wish to raise awareness of the world’s pressing ecological issues or operate on an expert level of sustainability are encouraged to apply. 

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 15 credit hours of core requirements to include:

CEE 7328 Introduction to Sustainability
CEE 7329 Methods and Technology for Sustainability
CEE 7330 Design for Sustainability
CEE 8326 Sustainable Development
CEE 8327 Policy Impacts on Sustainability

A depth component of an additional nine credit hours is required in one concentration.

Environmental Resources

CEE 7313 Environmental Chemistry and Biology
CEE 7331 Air Pollution Management and Engineering
CEE 7334 Fate and Transport of Contaminants
CEE 7353 Environmental Epidemiology
CEE 8328 Defining the Future of Global Sustainability
CEE 8329 Global Resource Use

Urban Development and Design

CEE 7363 Architectural and Structural Engineering
CEE 7370 Facility Planning
CEE 7378 Transportation Planning and Traffic Engineering
CEE 7384 Energy Management for Buildings
CEE 8325 The Sustainable Urban Plan
CEE 8330 Engineering Sustainability for the Future

Three credit hours of breadth is required. This requirement will be satisfied by taking one course from another concentration. Students will receive depth in one track, while building breadth in the overall field by taking one advanced course in another. Three credit hours of capstone experience are required. This requirement may be satisfied by either of the following:

CEE 7391 Special Projects
CEE 7396 Master’s Thesis

Students may enroll in a number of different sections of the special topics course CEE 7391.  Different sections will be managed and prepared differently. It is the intent to provide seminar, research, and site-based internship/service learning opportunities through the different sections. Students will have the option to choose which experience best matches their career path.