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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.
  2. Application Fee. Each application should be accompanied by a $50 nonrefundable application fee.
  3. Standardized examination score or writing sample. Students must either submit the scores of a standardized examination (see below for accepted examinations) or a writing sample.
    • Standardized examination score: Students may submit the scores of a standardized examination. Scores for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT), MCAT, or LSAT will be accepted.
    • Writing sample: In lieu of a standardized test score, applicants may submit a writing sample. The writing sample should demonstrate clarity of thinking, reasoning ability, logic, and strong writing and communication skills. The 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. The sample should not be something prepared for the sole purpose of admission to the program.
  4. References. Two letters of reference are required: one academic and one character reference.
  5. Official Transcript(s). Each applicant must submit an official transcript, showing degree conferral when appropriate, from all schools attended.
  6. Health Form. Upon acceptance, each applicant must submit a completed health form signed by a health care provider.
  7. FERPA. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act affords students certain rights of access to educational records; even if you are independent of your parents, you must submit this form prior to enrollment.
  8. Candidate Interview. Each applicant must visit the campus or meet by video conference call to participate in an interview to identify the applicant's unique goals and objectives and to determine the applicant's suitability for successful completion of the program and leadership potential in the field of sustainability.
  9. TOEFL. The Test of English as a Foreign Language is required for international students.

All application items should be submitted to the Institute for Sustainable Practice 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.


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.


A big city. An even bigger opportunity. We consider Nashville 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.


Our Faculty

  • G. Dodd Galbreath

    Dodd Galbreath

    Founding 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. His courses include Earth systems, water management, renewable energy, and...

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  • Emily Stutzman Jones

    Emily Jones

    Academic Director, Institute of Sustainable Practice

    With a M.S. in rural sociology and Ph.D. in forestry from Auburn University, Emily Stutzman joined the Institute for Sustainable Practice in January 2015 as our full-time Academic Director. She...

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  • Will Paddock

    William Paddock

    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...

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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.