Graduate Program Leadership for Sustainability Education

leadership for sustainability education students standing in a circle holding seedlings in their hands

Leadership for Sustainability Education Master's Degree Overview

The Leadership for Sustainability Education (LSE) program leads to a master's degree in Educational Leadership and Policy. This program fosters skills in sustainability education and collaborative emergent leadership. Learn to design and implement sustainable solutions in a variety of settings including schools, nonprofit organizations, local governments, and businesses.

Degree Details

Leadership for Sustainability Education Master's Degree: Why PSU?

Most of the courses are in the program are taught by full-time faculty with years of practical experience in the field as well as doctoral-level preparation. Our students appreciate the opportunity to apply what they are learning immediately into their current jobs or their imagined positions in the future with our theory to practice focus.

What can I do with a master's degree in Leadership for Sustainability Education?

Work in a wide variety of careers in sustainability leadership or sustainability education at nonprofit organizations, governmental agencies, schools, colleges, businesses, and museums, botanical gardens, and nature centers.

Check out what our alumni and faculty are up to!

What’s unique about the Leadership for Sustainability Education program? In LSE you will:

  • Be part of the movement to address climate change and systemic injustice
  • Engage in community-based learning in every course
  • Discover hands-on learning opportunities in leadership, garden-based education, and sustainable food systems at our 4-acre Learning Gardens Lab
  • Learn together in a cohort learning community
  • Connect to an ever growing community of committed alumni
  • Explore interconnectedness, social and ecological justice, relationship-building, and skills for sustainable change
  • Tailor this flexible academic program to meet your personal and professional goals

What kind of leader do you want to be?

As a student in the program, your learning will focus on the following 4 LSE Key Learning Areas, designed for you to:

  • Gain a stronger awareness of yourself, including your own ecological identity and inherent inter-relatedness with the earth; articulate who you are and what is important to you as an educator and leader.
  • Cultivate an understanding of sustainability issues as interconnected, holistic, and relational; develop stronger systems thinking; and elevate marginalized and under-heard perspectives
  • Create strategies for working with diverse groups to create change; understand how power, privilege and justice impact relationships; develop networks and partnerships
  • Develop a toolkit for enacting sustainable change, including skills for whole system design and analysis, participatory facilitation, and collaborative leadership.

Program description

We see sustainability education as: leading and teaching in ways that are inclusive, collaborative, holistic, and critical of injustice and oppression. In LSE we learn how to work effectively and emergently with others to challenge dominant systems and create just and regenerative communities and ecosystems. We believe this requires a shift in our way of being and knowing, a deep acknowledgement of our inherent interconnectedness. This also requires a deep ethical understanding of living within the limits of the earth’s natural systems, as well as personal and communal shifts to ways of being and acting that create healthy and balanced solutions to interconnected problems that face our bioregions. Sustainability education and leadership involves shifting to holistic, systemic, ecological, relational and spiritual ways of teaching and leading.

We believe that sustainability education should be embodied in all of our classes and activities. In LSE, students and instructors take on the roles of both teachers and learners, and we strive to model education that is inclusive, participatory, experiential, thematic, critically questioning, place-based and transformative.

The LSE program provides opportunities to address real sustainability issues through a theory to practice curriculum that includes ongoing community-based learning. You’ll create a network of relationships with your program colleagues and mentors, faculty, and community leaders, and will have the opportunity to apply your learning through numerous individual and group projects.

Working closely with a faculty advisor, LSE students will develop a program of study that is tailored to personal and professional goals. Some examples of ways to focus your study include: garden-based education, non-profit leadership, service-learning, entrepreneurial pursuits, sustainability education in higher education, community or governmental organizations, or in schools.

About LSE Graduate Program

LSE mission and guiding principles

LSE prepares graduates for careers as leaders in sustainability education through the study of sustainability leadership and pedagogy that emphasizes interconnectedness, social and ecological justice, relationship-building, and skills for sustainable change.

The following values guide the LSE program:

  • A commitment to inclusion, equity, and social, ecological, and economic justice
  • The fostering of interbeing and earth-connection
  • The development of wise and compassionate leaders
  • The empowerment of collaborative leaders and educators
  • The fostering of holistic, participatory, inclusive, and transformative learning
  • Integration of embodied and spiritual learning
  • The integration of indigenous knowledge and whole systems design
  • The promotion of applied, experiential, and community-based learning
  • The integration of theory, research, and practice
  • The development of reflective practitioners and critical thinkers with strong communication skills
  • A commitment to multiple and non-dominant perspectives including multicultural, interdisciplinary, intergenerational, indigenous, and local perspectives
  • The fostering of critical hope and resiliency through networks and relationships

View information on available scholarships, financial aid, and estimated program costs.

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Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).