FAQs | Online Master of Sustainability Management

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About the MSM Program

What was the inspiration for creating the Master of Sustainability Management at USC Dornsife?

In a changing world, business leaders are forced to adapt. As compounding crises, including climate change, social inequity, and environmental injustice, affect the business sector, organizations are increasingly adopting sustainability goals.

The USC Wrigley Institute for Environment and Sustainability created the Master of Sustainability Management program to prepare leaders to create a more equitable and sustainable future.

How is this program different from other programs related to Sustainability?

The Master of Sustainability Management program at USC Dornsife brings sustainability to life through a global business lens. The program tackles numerous themes, such as business purpose, strategy and operations, climate change, social equity, environmental justice, clean technology, green investing, and circularity. Students in the program will be prepared to address the factors that impact individual consumers, communities, and stakeholders while learning how to integrate sustainability goals into an organization’s overall business strategy. This program was created with intentionality and designed by leaders from USC who are passionate about contributing to a better world.

How is the program structured?

Our program consists of 12 courses that are two credits each. The courses are taught in 8-week modules. A semester at USC is 16 weeks, so two modules fit into this semester period. Students enrolled in the 1-year track take two courses per module, or four classes per semester. Students enrolled in the 2-year track take one course per module, or two classes per semester.

How will students engage and interact in the online classroom environment?

Our classrooms are interactive, with discussion boards and weekly live classroom sessions. Several assignments will encourage group work. The goal of the program is to give you a sense of community, the same that you would experience in a classroom, and maybe even more so, in that you will be able to engage with everyone, not just those you sit next to.

About the Admissions Process

How many students do you accept into the program each semester?

There is not a set cap on the number of available seats in the online classes. We are mindful of the student experience and committed to maintaining small class sizes. Given that there are three start dates each year, we encourage all who are interested to submit their application.

What should I include in my statement of purpose?

Your Statement of Purpose should be a 1–2-page essay addressing why you are pursuing your MSM degree, how your professional experience will contribute to the program, how a master’s degree will help you progress in your career, and why the program at USC Dornsife is a good fit for you.


Is there an orientation for new students? Is it on-campus?

Our program hosts an orientation for each incoming class. Orientation is 100% online and self-paced. It provides students an opportunity to test-drive the learning management platform that they will utilize for coursework and engage with their peers through discussion forums and live online sessions via Zoom.

Do students in this online program have access to campus resources?

Students enrolled in our online programs have the same access to campus resources as on-ground students. In fact, we encourage you to make the most of your student experience at USC, whether by attending campus events, visiting the USC Bookstore, or cheering for the Trojans across our conference athletics programs. Enrolled students can receive a USCard (your student ID) which will allow you access to these resources, as well as many other benefits.

Since this is an online program, is there a graduation ceremony?

Yes! All graduating students are encouraged to participate in Commencement, which takes place once a year in May. There will be a university-wide ceremony, followed by a ceremony for Dornsife College graduates.

What opportunities for career development does USC Dornsife offer?

All students of USC Dornsife’s programs have the opportunity to work with our Career Pathways office. In addition to meeting with a career advisor, students have the opportunity to network with alumni and find jobs through the USC Dornsife Compass.

Still have questions or want to speak to Admissions directly?

You can reach the Master of Sustainability Management Admissions Office by phone at 833-30-USCSM or by email.

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