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.
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.
- SUS 7100C: Cities and Sustainability (3 cr.)
- SUS 7200C: Sustainable Aquatic, Terrestrial, and Atmospheric Systems (3 cr.)
- SUS 7300C: Industrial Ecology and Life Cycle Analysis (3 cr.)
- SUS 7400C: Economics of Sustainability (3 cr.)
- SUS 7501C & 7502C: Capstone Interdisciplinary Team Project (sequence of two 3-cr. courses)
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
- SUS 7100A: Environmental Planning (3 cr.)
- SUS 7300A: Low-Energy Buildings (3 cr.)*
- SUS 7400A: Case Studies in Sustainability (3 cr.)
- SUS 7600A: Perspectives on Sustainable Materials (3 cr.)
- SUS 7700A: Sustainable Soil and Water (3 cr.)
- SUS 7900A: Building Modeling and Simulation (3cr.)*
- SUS 8300A: Applied Resilience by Design (3 cr.)
- SUS 8700A: Urban Food Systems Seminar (3cr.)
- SUS 8800A: Urban Plants: The Social Life of Plants (3cr.)
- SUS 9000A: Geospatial Analysis
Elective Courses in Engineering
- SUS 7600B: Design of Mechanical Systems for Sustainable Buildings (3 cr.)*
- SUS 7700B: Solid Waste Reuse & Recycling (3 cr.)
- SUS 7800B: Sustainability in Infrastructure (3 cr.)*
- SUS 7900B: Sustainable Energy Conversion Systems (3 cr.)*
- SUS 8400B: Urban Freight and City Logistics (3 cr.)
- SUS 8500B: Urban Transportation Planning (3 cr.)
- SUS 8600B: Solar Energy (3 cr.)*
- SUS 8700B: Renewable Energy (3 cr.)
- SUS 8800B: Solid Waste Management (3 cr.)
Elective Courses in Science
- SUS 7300B: Climate and Climate Change (3 cr.)*
- SUS 8100B: Macro-Scale Hydrology (3 cr.)*
- SUS 8300B: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) (3 cr.)
- SUS 9000B: Climate Change, Biodiversity and the Political Process - An Interdisciplinary Approach
Elective Courses in Social Sciences
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. For current students and faculty, please see more detailed information on our capstone website.
Sample Capstone Projects
- Investigating the Greenness of Ionic Liquids
- Improving Indoor Air Quality with Plants that Capture Formaldehyde
- Sea Level Rise and New York-area Airports: Opportunities and Challenges
- Life Cycle Assessment in a Civil Engineering Context
- Effective Urban Transportation Planning in Smart Environments
- Reducing Transport Sector GHG Emissions in a Medium-size US City
- Reconfiguration of Manhattan Bus Stopping Frequency
- Shared Mobility: Ridesharing, Carpooling, Group Riding, and Vehicle Sharing/Rentals
- Environmental and Equity Impacts of Transportation Network Company (TNC) Growth
- Analysis of NYC's Bike Lane and Bike Share Programs
- Energy Code? A Study of Large-Scale Multifamily Residential Buildings in NYC Before and After the Adoption of the Current Energy Code
- Collection of Roof Runoff: Resource Conservation and Environmental Benefits
- Analysis of Thermal Comfort in Buildings and Other Spaces
- Windows in Passive House Construction
- Dual-Function Louvers for Energy-Efficient Daylighting in Existing Buildings
- Hacking the System: Creative Engineering for High Performance Buildings
- Quantitative Analysis of Plastic Recycling in New York City
- Microplastic Contaminations in NYC Waterways: New Detection Methods
- Renewable Energy "Solutions:" Minimizing Disruptions to Local Ecosystems
- Building Performance Lab topics - overview
- Building Automation Systems for Energy Efficiency
- Monitoring HVAC System Energy Use to Trigger Re-Commissioning/Re-Tuning
- Automating the Diagnosis of Building System Performance
- Driving Urban Sustainability with Building Carbon Caps
- Sustainable Rapid Office Space Conversion to Solve the City's Housing Crisis Post-Pandemic
- Self-Designed 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.