The Master of Science degree in Resilient and Sustainable Communities (MRSC) uses a bioregional approach to distance learning, in which students apply what they learn in each course to their local communities. MRSC students research regionally specific examples of land-use planning, economic development, energy production, food systems, and social justice while developing skills in leadership, group organization, and conflict resolution.
"If we have one need on this planet, it's for resilient and sustainable communities, so it's good someone is thinking hard about how the heck to build them!"
—Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and founder of 350.org
From urban areas to small towns, citizens are rethinking traditional approaches to providing food, energy, transportation and effective governance in response to rapid environmental and economic changes. As we adapt to conditions brought about by a changing climate, depletion of fossil fuel supplies, and growing inequalities in wealth and access to vital resources, the MRSC program gives students the skills to develop, advocate, and implement fundamental changes in how communities function.
Students in the MRSC program complete their coursework at times that best fit their personal and professional lives. Between readings, discussions, and assignments, an average week requires about 18 hours of work. Because class sizes are small, students experience meaningful interactions with their classmates and individual attention from instructors. The program will prepare students for a rapidly expanding range of careers in community development, energy production, municipal agencies, businesses, and nonprofit organizations.
"The MRSC program provides a systemic context for understanding the modern world's environmental crises, and offers practical skills to prepare students for the challenges we will face in an energy-constrained, climate-disrupted world. ”
—Richard Heinberg, Senior Fellow at the Post Carbon Institute and the author of 13 books on energy and climate change
At the heart of this program is the understanding that sustainability depends on creating resilient communities which can adapt to changing conditions in ways that allow them to evolve without losing their fundamental identities.
Our online MRSC program consists of 36 credits. We cap each course at 22 students, but our typical class size is 15-18 students: perfect for individualized attention and quality group discussion.
"As we move beyond the late-industrial forms of society, many of our new ideas will come from the collaborative, playful minds of younger generations. It’s an honor preparing a space for them to learn and share and lay great plans. But because the challenges ahead will no doubt threaten to overwhelm them at times, we must also help them build connections and surround them with the most inspiring models we can find. It seems the least we can do.”
—Dr. Laird Christensen, Director of the Master of Science in Resilient and Sustainable Communities