Georgetown University Launches STEM Master In Sustainable Business

Georgetown University's new STEM master's degree in sustainable business combines management training with environmental science

As the world pushes for a more sustainable future, Georgetown University is looking to promote sustainability in business with a new Master in Environment and Sustainability Management (MS-ESM). 

The specialized master's degree will be offered through a collaboration between the McDonough School of Business, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the Georgetown Environment Initiative (GEI)—a university-wide pledge to improve environmentalism and sustainability. 


Why a master in sustainable business? 

Georgetown is launching the new MS-ESM as it believes it’s important that future business leaders approach their careers with sustainability at the forefront of their minds. 

“This degree encapsulates the idea that both environmental science and business principles are vitally important to achieving sustainability goals,” says Maria Petrova (pictured), assistant director of graduate education at the GEI.

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In recent years, we’ve seen sustainability in business promoted through ESG investing—where companies are valued according to their environmental and social impact—and concepts like the circular economy and green finance. 

As several countries plan to achieve net zero emissions amid a global push for sustainability, it's widely recognized that business has a central role to play in curbing the climate crisis.

As drivers of creativity and innovation, companies can also have a positive impact by developing sustainable solutions, like Tesla’s zero emissions ‘Model S’ car for example, or Airbus’ planned hydrogen-powered plane.  

The effect businesses can have in reducing their climate impact and driving sustainable innovation is the inspiration behind Georgetown’s new program. 

“The business world has a tremendous opportunity to address the world’s most complex issues,” says Visha Agrawal, co-academic director and Provost's distinguished Lapeyere family associate professor at McDonough. 


The sustainable business curriculum 

The Georgetown MS-ESM is scheduled to begin in August 2022. The curriculum features 16 courses and will be taught over 11-months in Georgetown’s Washington DC campus. 

The curriculum is split between skill-building and science-oriented courses. The large scientific focus means the program is STEM-designated, allowing international students the opportunity to extend their optional practice training (OPT) by 24 months, giving them the chance to stay and work in the US for up to three years after graduation without needing an H1B visa. 

Students will develop their skills during six-week modules, alongside the science programs which are set to run across entire semesters. 

The program will cover core components typical of a business masters, including accounting fundamentals, leadership, and business; alongside more specialist subjects. Students will learn about environmental science, climate change impact measurement, and environmental data visualizations, as well as cutting-edge topics such as impact investing and ESG finance. 

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Modules will be taught through a mixture of theoretical classes and practical business simulators. The curriculum ends with a capstone consulting project, where students will liaise with a company on a real world issue combining business and environmentalism. 

“Our graduates will be the experts who bridge the gap between business and the environmental sciences, prepared for a sustainable future,” says Vishal. 

Through extracurricular activities including networking events and guest lectures, students will also have access to a wide array of leaders in sustainability. Georgetown’s location in Washington DC means students can interact with policy makers and government organizations, as well as nonprofits and corporations. 

Come graduation, Georgetown plans for students to have a clear idea of how they can improve sustainability using business principles, and in what sectors they can have success. 

“Our new program will provide graduates [with] the unique ability to lead their organizations at the intersection of environmental science and business,” says Alexander Sens, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. 


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