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Program Overview

Program Overview

Respond to a changing planet by leading initiatives to implement sustainable practices. Learn the science of sustainability and help both businesses and people transform careless behaviors into mindful habits. Explore the broader field of sustainability, choose a concentration or customize your own emphasis.

Study under academically credentialed and real-world sustainability practitioners. Gain field experience to see how theories become tangible and how problems become solutions. Grow and network with your cohort to eventually participate in a growing discipline that impacts every sector.

Hone in on almost anything—from the move toward green schools to alternative food systems to renewable energy in construction, sustainability is transdisciplinary and diversely relevant. No matter your academic or professional background, sustainability impacts your future. 

By the time you’re finished, you’ll be equipped with a holistic approach that helps focus on the triple bottom line: people, profit and planet. Add regenerative energy to your community and the world. 

Admissions Requirements

Admissions Requirements

A four-year undergraduate degree, background courses in business or environmental sciences, as well as prior relevant work experience, will most enhance the student experience, but are not necessary for successful completion of the program and professional advancement. In addition to meeting all Lipscomb University requirements for admission, each applicant to the graduate program in sustainability must submit the following:

  1. Application Form. Each applicant must complete an application form. The application form is available at Graduate Admissions. Click on “Apply by Program” to complete the online application.
  2. Application Fee. Each application should be accompanied by a $50 nonrefundable application fee.
  3. No Standardized Exam Required. 
  4. Writing Sample. Students must submit a brief statement of interest and a writing sample that demonstrates clarity of thinking, reasoning ability, logic, and strong writing and communication skills. The statement of interest should summarize why the proposed course of study is desired, general learning objectives, and career goals. The writing sample should be an academic or professional document that has been previously written and perhaps evaluated in an academic or professional setting. Previously published work may also be considered.
  5. References. Two letters of reference are required: one academic and one character reference. 
  6. Official Transcript(s). Each applicant must submit an official transcript, showing degree conferral when appropriate, from all schools attended.
  7. Health Form. Upon acceptance, each applicant must submit a completed health form signed by a health care provider. (To print a copy of the health form, visit
  8. FERPA. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act afford students certain rights of access to educational records; even if you are independent of your parents, you must submit this form prior to enrollment.
  9. TOEFL. The Test of English as a Foreign Language is required for international students. (See section titled International Students for more information).

Note: The above referenced materials support a successful “final review” admission score equal to or greater than 30 points. Additional assessments may be provided for lower scores. All application items should be submitted to the office of graduate admissions at Lipscomb University no later than 30 days before the beginning of the month in which the student plans to enroll.  Candidates pursuing the dual degree must meet admission requirements for both the sustainability program and the MBA program.



Tuition & Aid

Tuition & Aid

Tuition for sustainability courses is:

  • $1,091* per credit hour for On-Campus courses
  • $899* per credit hour for Online courses

Students may enroll in courses in any of the following fashions:

  • 100% On-Campus courses
  • 100% Online courses
  • A mix of online and on-campus courses as a "hybrid student"

Payment is due prior to each class or at the start of the term.

*Note: The graduate tuition rates may increase annually, effective each summer semester.

Types of Aid


Both our deeply connected faculty and our experiential learning opportunities offer myriad ways for you to form relationships with leaders in the industry. These connections will serve and support you throughout your career.

Small Class Sizes

You’ll have opportunities to engage in meaningful discussion, receive one-on-one faculty mentorship and ask difficult questions in our small class sizes. Plus, you’ll feel supported in a tight-knit learning community.

Nashville, TN

A big city. An even bigger opportunity. We consider Nashville, Tennessee an extension of our classroom, and as a leading city in many industries, that means you’ll gain experience and insight you won’t find anywhere else.

Notable Alumni

Diana Andrews

Sustainable Classrooms - Diana Andrews

Diana Andrew (MS 2012) works for Urban Green Lab​, which received the Frist Innovation in Action award at the 2019 Center for Nonprofit Management (Nashville)​'s "Salute to Excellence" awards! The organization received the award on behalf of Diana's educational program, "Sustainable Classrooms", a program dedicated to training educators and integrating sustainable living in the classroom.

Watch Video of CNM 2019 Award
Zeke Cutts standing on a mountain

Harvesting Excellence - Zeke Cutts

Zeke Cutts (MS/MBA 2018) provided a briefing on cranberry harvesting to New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas Fisher in a flooded cranberry bog on Cutts Brothers Cranberry Farm in Bass River. According to the Burlington County Times, New Jersey is among the top three producers of cranberries in the United States.

Read Article
Alan Edington

Leaders in Energy - Alan Edington

Alan Edington (MS 2014), joined Gates Corporation as their first Global Director of Energy Efficiency shortly after graduation. Alan contributed the energy data featured in Gates Corporation's first corporate sustainability report.

Read Report
Samantha S. Hart

Sustainable consultations - Samantha S. Hart

Samantha S. Hart joined the Milepost Consulting team as Project Manager due to her diverse experiences with small businesses, education, the non-profit sector, and in the concrete industry.

Visit Milepost Consulting

Our Faculty

  • Dodd Galbreath headshot

    Dodd Galbreath

    Professor and Director, Institute of Sustainable Practice

    In the Fall of 2007, Professor Galbreath founded the Institute for Sustainable Practice, the Southeast's first, comprehensive, academic sustainability program. As the director of graduate programs, his teaching primarily focuses...

    Meet Dodd Galbreath
  • Ryan Jackwood

    Ryan Jackwood

    Adjunct Faculty

    Dr. Ryan Jackwood specializes in watershed restoration, biogeochemical processes at the land-water interface and contaminant transport, specifically nutrients and bacteria, in rivers and lakes. He is originally from Ohio where...

    Meet Ryan Jackwood
  • Elizabeth Murphy headshot

    Elizabeth Murphy

    Adjunct Faculty

    Dr. Elizabeth Murphy teaches graduate food systems. A long-time resident of Nashville, Dr. Murphy is the Executive Director of Nashville Grown, directing a local food hub, aggregating and delivering farm...

    Meet Elizabeth Murphy
  • Will Paddock

    William Paddock

    Adjunct Faculty

    William Paddock currently teaches the Enterprise II course focusing on business performance metrics and methods of sustainability. He founded WAP Sustainability to work in his passion for creating sustainability programs...

    Meet William Paddock
  • Dr.Bin Shui headshot

    Bin Shui

    Adjunct Faculty

    Dr. Bin Shui currently teaches Urban Resilience and Sustainability, a graduate-level course focusing on theory and practice of urban resilience in response to natural and human-caused disruptions. She also teaches...

    Meet Bin Shui
  • Jaclyn Spivey headshot

    Jackie Spivey

    Associate Professor

    Dr. Jaclyn Spivey is originally from Las Vegas, NV. She has a B.A. in Psychology from Loyola University New Orleans and a Ph.D. in Psychology (Behavioral Neuroscience) from the University...

    Meet Jackie Spivey
  • Richard Willis

    Richard Willis

    Adjunct Faculty

    Richard Willis joined NCAT in January 2009 as a Post-Doctoral Fellow. He received a BS in physical science from Freed-Hardeman University in 2003 and a BCE from Auburn University in...

    Meet Richard Willis

Career Paths

Natural Sciences Managers

Natural Sciences Managers both managers and lead scientists. They oversee the efforts of scientists working on sustainability issues. For example, if there are multiple scientists, such as a chemist, atmospheric scientist, and an environmental scientist working on a large project, the science manager will oversee and coordinate the efforts of the other scientists.


Engineers who work in sustainability devise technical solutions for reducing waste and cutting costs. They also might be responsible for developing methods to increase safety and to reduce the risk of illness and injury for a company's employees.

Business Operations Specialist

Business operations specialists is a broad category that includes recycling coordinators and energy auditors. Firms recycle many of the materials used in production and operations, such as excess packaging, office paper, used chemicals, and scrap metal. Energy auditors, also known as energy raters or energy consultants, help prevent energy waste by inspecting buildings to find areas of air leakage and advising customers on how to fix and prevent leaks.

Accountants and Auditors

Accountants and auditors measure the impacts of sustainability programs. They determine the monetary savings and costs and may measure non-monetary aspects, such as environmental performance and the amount of waste reduction.

General and Business Operations Managers

General and operations managers work to ensure that sustainability strategies are implemented in day-to-day operations and that any sustainability measures are incorporated into the production process.

Construction and Compliance Managers

Construction managers supervise green building and site development processes and costs. Compliance officers manage eligibility and conformity with laws, regulations, and third-party green certifications or recommend how to exceed them.