Share This


Sustainability in the Urban Environment


NYC Skyline


The Masters program consists of 30 credits of coursework. As a rule, earning the degree requires at least three semesters of full-time study (typically Fall-Spring-Fall), and more for those who study part-time. Classes are mostly in evenings, making the program suitable for working professionals. Please contact us for some typical examples of class schedules.

At the moment, we are transitioning away from PDF. For information about a capstone project, or for additional questions, please contact Administrative Assistant Abby Grosslein at ( Thank you for your interest.


A required five-course core curriculum lays a foundation in sustainability values, strategies, and metrics through coursework in urban and natural systems, environmental economics, and industrial ecology. These core courses aim to give students with diverse educational backgrounds and perspectives a common language and shared direction. Emphasis is placed on approaches such as 'whole systems thinking' and life cycle analysis, for a more complex understanding of urban systems. A key feature of the core curriculum is a six-credit capstone interdisciplinary project designed for teams of students with different backgrounds, and carried out in two consecutive semesters.

KF - Curriculum
"I know of no other program in the country which has put together such a comprehen- sive and integrated pedagogy. It will certainly establish City College at the forefront of sustainable urban design education."

Harrison Fraker, FAIA
Professor and Former Dean, College of Environmental Design, University of California at Berkeley


In addition to the eighteen credits for core courses (including the capstone), students are required to complete twelve credits of elective coursework. Electives include advanced courses within architecture, engineering, science, and social sciences. Our students are each identified as having expertise in one of these four areas, depending on their prior academic training. When students select elective courses, they are required to select at least one (and in some cases, two) electives that are outside their area of expertise.

Elective Courses in Architecture

Elective Courses in Engineering or Science

Elective Courses in Social Sciences

 *  Additional prerequisite(s) are required for these elective courses.

Sample Capstone Projects

These key features of the core curriculum are long-term interdisciplinary projects designed for teams of students with differing backgrounds. We are grateful to the US Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) for generous support of the development of some initial capstone projects.

  • A Systems Approach to Urban Community-Scale Composting
  • The Solar Roofpod: Implications for New York City's Long-Term Sustainability Plan
  • High-Performance Glazing for Energy-Efficient and Bird-Safe Buildings
  • Food Grinders and Sustainable Food Waste Disposal
  • Low-Tech Global Reuse and Recycling in a Local School
  • Factors Affecting the Decision to Demolish or Deconstruct an Existing Building
  • Carbon Trading Markets
  • Analysis of Household Energy Consumption Choices
  • Separating Risks to Cash Flows for Heating/Cooling
  • The City College Waste Stream, Part I: Food Rescue and Recycling
  • The City College Waste Stream, Part II: Removing Barriers to Paper Recycling
  • Green Wall Technologies
  • Using Pyrolysis to Convert Unused Urban Biotic Material into Bioenergy and Biochar
  • Plant and Soil-Based Carbon Sequestration in Urban Areas
  • Reconfiguration of Manhattan Bus Stopping Frequency
  • Designing an Urban Food-Vending Stand
  • Designing Urban Green Roofs for Modularity and Recyclability
  • Design of a Modularized "Smart" Façade System
  • Water Use Reduction in Buildings
  • Optimizing Building Energy Use
  • Sustainable Construction Material
  • Using Natural Zeolite Based Sorbents to Remove Contaminants during Groundwater Recharge with Reclaimed Municipal Wastewater

Sample Capstone Project Final Reports

For more information about a report, please email our Administrative Assistant at Thank you for your interest.

  • Sustainability Indicators in the Master Plan for Newark, NJ.
  • The Solar RoofPod in Context: Inhabited Rooftops and their Implication for PlaNYC 2030.
  • Developing a Recycling Plan in a New York City Elementary School.
  • An Integrated Waste-to-Energy Plan for New York City.