Sustainable Systems Class Photo

Curriculum

General

General

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. We do not currently offer courses during summers.

Classes are mostly in the evening, making the program suitable for working professionals. Classes usually meet one evening per week for about 3 hours. Most classes are scheduled for the 5:00pm - 7:50pm time slot. A few classes begin later than 5:00pm, and a few electives are scheduled for daytime slots. One elective course (SUS 7600C) is delivered online; the rest are in-person at the City College campus.

Full-time study over three semesters means students will complete at least 3 classes a semester and 4 classes during one semester (the second semester is recommended). Part-time students can take as few as one class per semester. Since much of the work in the Program is collaborative and involves group projects, part-time students who are working full-time should not take more than 2 classes in a single semester for any reason and the capstone in isolation with no other classes are strongly recommended. 

Core Courses

Core

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.

"I know of no other program in the country which has put together such a comprehensive 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

Electives

Electives

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.

Capstones

The key feature of the core curriculum are 2 semester-long, 3-credit interdisciplinary projects designed for teams of students with differing backgrounds--view the capstone syllabus. Projects are either developed by student groups in the semester preceding the start of their capstones or choose from a list of projects proposed by faculty. Listed below are some examples of recently-offered capstone projects by City College faculty. Capstones begin with workshops, but do not meet regularly as a class. Each student team is expected to meet in-person with their faculty mentor at least twice per month. Click on a project title to view a summary of the project as initially offered to student teams.

Sample Capstone Projects

Sample Capstone Project Final Reports

For more information about a report, please request more information. 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.