Urban and Regional Sustainability and Resilience (MA)

Graduate Program (MA)

Nearly four billion people, or more than half the world's population, live in urban environments. Xavier's MA in Urban Sustainability recruits students with varied backgrounds in business, policy and planning, humanities and social-impact sciences and then challenges them to develop a deeper understanding of urban systems and sustainable best practices, in order to pursue careers that will lead the public and private sector to make positive change.


To be considered for admission as a degree-seeking graduate student, students must first submit the following to the Office of Graduate Admission:

  • Completed application. Apply online at Xavier.edu/grad where you can register for an account and start your application by selecting "Graduate Studies."
  • One official transcript of all undergraduate and graduate work from accredited colleges or universities.
  • A résumé.
  • A 500-word minimum statement of purpose for graduate study.
  • Two letters of reference from individuals commenting on the applicant’s academic/professional potential.

Applicants must also complete an interview with the program directors or the Associate Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

Apply Now

International Admission


Apply Now


The program has a trans-disciplinary curriculum that provides a rigorous theoretical framework in sustainability from a business, environmental science and planning/public policy perspective along with the technical skills in using quantitative methods, GIS, economic modeling, cost-benefit analysis and in promoting community engagement. The program is designed to be completed as a full-time program with a cohort of students from different disciplines involved in joint team research, seminars and projects.

Year One - Fall Semester

Course Number Course Name
HIST 536 Urban Ecologies and Economies
SOCI 554 Intro to Urban Systems
POLI 554 The Politics of Urban Sustainability

Year One - Spring Semester

Course Number Course Name
SOCI 555 Urban Development and Space
UNST 554 Urban Geography and GIS
SOCI 552 Quantitative Analysis
Field Placement

Summer Internship

Each student is expected to complete a summer internship between the two academic years. The internship is planned as a full-time position in a related placement for pay. The program coordinator assists students with placements. Through our network of corporate, government and community partners, students have access to several opportunities that can be tailored to complement each student’s career path.

Year Two - Fall Semester

Course Number Course Name
MGMT 621 Corporate Sustainability
ECON 520 Urban and Regional Economies
COMM 560 Strategic Organizational Communication

Year Two - Spring Semester

Course Number Course Name
PHIL 554 Eco-systems Thinking
PHIL 506 social-impact Justice in the City
HIST 556 City as Vocation (four tracks)
Select One:
SOCI 556 Urban Planning and Community Organizing
POLI 555 Politics and Urban Administration
WCB 555 Sustainability Initiatives in the Corporate and Non-profit Sectors
UNST 555 Scientific Research in Sustainability

Sample Courses

Urban Ecologies and Economies (HIST 536): - This course taught by Dr John Fairfield explores the deep history of cities and the relationship of the movement towards environmental protection and naturalism and increased urbanization. This framework provides much of the structure for the rest of the program. See Dr Fairfield’s web site theecologicalcity.com for more background.

Urban Development and Space (SOCI 555): - his course, taught by program director Liz Blume is designed to give students an understanding of the dynamics of land use, transportation and infrastructure planning and design issues and to talk about how aspects of design, architecture and density impact upon the sustainable outcomes of a place. Ms Blume is also the Director of the Community Building Institute at Xavier; see the CBI website for more background Xavier.edu/community building.

Quantitative Methods (SOCI 552): - This course, team taught by Liz Blume and Jim Snodgrass (Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences) is designed to give students a solid grounding in the social-impact, economic and environmental data sets that are available and an understanding of quantitative data so that they can be critical consumers of the volumes of data available in the field of sustainability and resilience.

Corporate Sustainability (MGMT 621): - This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the processes that drive corporate decision-making around sustainability topics and how to successfully propose and manage positive changes a business environment.

social-impact Justice in the City (PHIL 506): - This course, taught by Dr Gabe Gottlieb provides a comprehensive review of issues of race, class and equity as they play out in urban environments. It uses local community engaged examples of both positive and negative outcomes and explores the ethical underpinnings of connecting sustainability and social-impact justice.

Tuition & Fees

Tuition, per credit hour Cost
College of Arts & Sciences - MA $665
Student Fee, per semester
Graduate Student Association Fee, degree seeking full-time $8
Graduate Student Association Fee, degree seeking part-time $4

The amounts listed are for the 2019-20 school year, and include classes from Summer 2019 though Spring 2020. These amounts are updated to the most recent amounts available. For the full listing, please visit xavier.edu/costs.

780% Projected increase in new green jobs by 2038.


Projected increase in new green jobs by 2038.

Urban and Regional Sustainability and Resilience

learn as a team

This program is built to attract students with diverse backgrounds who will work and learn from each other as well as faculty. Students will work independently and in teams on practical, real-world applications that sharpen their skills and prepare them for careers in many different settings.

practical internships

Students are required to have an internship between their first and second years. Internships are intended to give students experience, networks, and connections that will help them further refine their career goals and get exposure to professional employment settings. The program is connected to partners in the City of Cincinnati like the Green Umbrella, the City the County, the Port Authority, corporations like Procter & Gamble, Duke, Melink Corporation, local CDCs and many others.

great green laboratory

Compared to its peer group of cities, Cincinnati can boast an extensive network of active, innovative agencies including an Office of Environment and Sustainability, membership in the National League of Cities Sustainable Cities Institute, and the Green Umbrella Group—a collaboration of more than 250 businesses, nonprofits, governments and universities. It is also a city with where you can connect to decision-makers and change agents directly.

Student Projects

Student projects are designed with a focus on applying their current coursework. Below are examples of our student's Geographic Information Systems projects:

Charles Gonzalez

Farms and Farmers Markets in the Cincinnati Region.

Additional Resources:

View more Student Projects

Related Stories

Urban Sustainability Design

This program is designed to bring students from different backgrounds and experiences together to address the challenges of climate change and what it takes to build a career around making impactful, positive change. Students will gain the theoretical framework and hard skills to be well qualified for the growing field of sustainability and resilience. Whether you want to approach these issues from a corporate, government, community or NGO setting you will be well positioned to take on a leadership role in this growing field.

The Urban Sustainability program has a trans-disciplinary curriculum that provides:

  • A rigorous theoretical framework from a business, environmental science and planning/public policy perspective
  • Technical skills in using quantitative methods.
  • A full-time cohort of students from different disciplines involved in joint team research, seminars and projects.

Xavier by the numbers