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Sustainability - M.S. & Certificate

Program Overview

Program Overview

Respond to a changing planet by leading initiatives to implement sustainable practices. Learn the science and environmental and social governance (ESG) of sustainability to help both businesses and people transform casual behaviors into mindful habits. Explore the broader field of sustainability, choose a concentration or customize your own emphasis. Professionals from almost any field can earn leadership roles in this rapidly growing market.

Lipscomb’s Master of Science in Sustainability combines environmental studies, business management and social sciences to prepare students from almost any discipline for a range of career paths. Study under academically credentialed and real-world sustainability practitioners. Gain field experience to see how theories become tangible and problems become solutions. Bond with your cohort and network with numerous guest experts and join a growing discipline that impacts every sector.

Program participants can customize their studies for almost any discipline or specialize in green buildings and sites, renewable energy, business metrics such as ESG and more. Convenient night classes, hybrid learning options, and a flexible rate of courses allow you to work full-time and study at a manageable pace in your busy life. Our sustainability degrees and certificates can equip you to improve your and our future.

Sustainability Program Outcomes

With a sustainability degree from Lipscomb, you will be prepared to implement sustainable practices and lead others in environmentally-conscious initiatives. Our program provides you with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to make positive change in whatever career path you take. 

Upon completion of this program, you will have the ability to:

  • Develop foundational knowledge to pivot as sustainability changes
  • Recognize technical applications and practices
  • Justify the best technical applications and practices for your discipline
  • Effectively communicate knowledge and applications
  • Apply an application/practice to solve a problem within your discipline

Why Earn Your Sustainability Degree at Lipscomb University?

As the first sustainability program in the southeast, Lipscomb is able to give you the skills and connections you need to make a difference. Our program is designed to be easily accessible and flexible for working students while still providing comprehensive education and experience in sustainability. Personalize your educational path to combine your career with your passion for sustainability. Collaborate with peers, distinguished professors, and leaders in Nashville to envision a brighter future.

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 (includes text books): 

  • $1,091 per credit hour for On-Campus courses
  • 18% discount for fully Online courses (online students may also visit live classes when desired)

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

  • 100% On-Campus courses
  • 100% Online courses
  • 100% Asynchronous courses
  • A HyFlex mix of the above as a "hybrid student"

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

Note: Graduate tuition rates may increase annually, effective at the start of the summer term 2023.

Types of Aid


Alumni placement

Diverse Careers

Adding sustainability to your tool belt will amplify your opportunities in almost every discipline. Sustainability is an unavoidable element of most jobs. Lipscomb Sustainability graduates are prepared to lead and grow the field - regardless of their industry.

Flexible Program

Lipscomb offers students the option to attend courses in-person, online or choose a hybrid model. Lectures take place in the evening for full flexibility. Students can expect lecture content to be published online for additional convenience and receive fast feedback using virtual learning dashboards.

Job Placement

Our students have reach high levels of success when putting their Sustainability Master's degree in action. Lipscomb graduates are featured at top corporations, navigate entrepreneurship, and serve as elected and appointed leaders. Our students are prepared to excel in the job market.

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

Kelsey Davis Headshot

Kelsey Davis '15

Alumna Kelsey Davis is pictured with Tennessee’s State Park superintendents who jointly implemented a new parks sustainability program called “Go Green with Us.” Kelsey created and co-leads the program with regional area manager Robin Peeler that recently won a national award from the National Association of State Park Directors.

Kelsey Davis Feature
Michelle Guy Nicholson Headshot

Michelle Guy Nicholson '21

Michelle Guy Nicholson, completed graduate school and quickly joined the renewable energy sector in the recently recognized #1 solar energy producing state in the United States. Solas Energy Consulting has recently named her as an energy project scientist in San Antonio, TX.

Solas Energy Consulting
Diana Andrews

Diana Andrews '12

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.

Diana Andrews CNM Award
Zeke Cutts standing on a mountain

Zeke Cutts '18

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.

Zeke Cutts Feature
Alan Edington

Alan Edington '14

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.

Alan Edington Report
Samantha S. Hart

Samantha S. Hart '11

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.

Milepost Consulting

Faculty to student ratio

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
  • 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

    Lead Faculty, Undergraduate Psychology

    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

Instructors are subject practitioners

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.