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Claremont Lincoln University
Online Masters Degree
in Sustainability Leadership
Contact Us Today
Claremont Lincoln University Degrees A longer, more complete description.
Online Masters Degree
in Sustainability Leadership
Contact us Today

Online Master's Degree:Sustainability Leadership

The Master of Arts in Sustainability Leadership is an interdisciplinary degree program that examines how organizational decision-making and activities impact society, the environment, and the organizations' own prosperity – or the triple-bottom line of the new economy: people, planet, and profit. The program is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed in the areas of development, the natural world, and organizational leadership, to assess and effectively lead socially responsible initiatives. Students will learn how to critically analyze issues in order to develop and ethically communicate high impact solutions that are sustainable.

CLU graduates will be positioned to contribute leadership value to 21st century companies, who increasingly seek strategies for acting as responsible corporate citizens, ensuring their operations are financially sustainable and minimizing their environmental footprint. Sustainable career opportunities may include leadership roles in natural resource reduction, supply chain management, worker safety and health initiatives, stakeholder engagement and external reporting.

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The M.A. in Sustainability Leadership aligns with the mission of Claremont Lincoln University to produce leaders capable of respecting differences and collaborating with those of different viewpoints to resolve problems.


The M.A. in Sustainability Leadership aligns with the mission of Claremont Lincoln University to produce leaders capable of respecting differences and collaborating with those of diverse viewpoints to resolve problems:

  • Global Change: Function as a socially responsible change agent in global sustainable contexts.
  • Systems: Apply systems thinking to interconnected fields of study addressing the challenges related to sustainability.
  • Leadership: Incorporate sustainable practices to lead ethically and responsibly.
  • Communication: Demonstrate the engagement skills necessary to achieve clear and accurate communication for sustainability.
  • Impact Analysis: Critically analyze data to develop strategic sustainable solutions.


As a graduate of Sustainability Leadership, you will be prepared to approach your career from a new perspective. The skills and competencies this degree offers you can apply to roles in a variety of capacities such as:

  • Chief Sustainability Executives
  • Environmental Engineers
  • Environmental Development Manager
  • Conservation Consultant
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Managers


A completed Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution is required to apply to Claremont Lincoln University. Neither a GRE or GMAT score is required for enrollment.


The Admissions process has been streamlined for applicants to complete the online application in 15 minutes or less. Unofficial Transcripts and a current Resume or CV are required to be uploaded with the online application. The Enrollment Committee will then review the application and determine an acceptance status within 24 business hours. A determination letter will then be sent, and in return, an acknowledgment of its receipt will be needed. The Admissions, Financial and Student Services Team will finalize any other necessary items to complete Enrollment.

Claremont Lincoln University reserves the right to request additional items as deemed necessary by the enrollment committee to determine student readiness for the graduate level workload. Claremont Lincoln University reserves the right to accept, provisionally accept, or deny students upon the evaluation of all admission documents.

Required Degree Courses

The course sequence for this program is based on sequential concepts that build upon the previous coursework. In addition, courses taken alternate between relational and analytical to balance the learning progress and to encourage application of new knowledge.

Sustainability Leadership Courses

MSL 5301
Systems Thinking and Sustainability

Sustainability relies on the interdependence of systems. As an introductory course to sustainability principles and practices, this course introduces systems theory and how it is a foundation for sustainability for students to understand the elements of systems, learning organizations, and how leadership traits can influence diverse environments and decisions. Students will learn about sustainable development goals (SDG), sustainable issues facing organizational leaders, strategies to address and overcome challenges and critique policies related to sustainability through ethical leadership. Students will learn to foster action, awareness, and adaptability regarding the ways systems impact global change, sustainability, and social issues. Students will also gain an understanding of the ways systems can be used to create ethical and positive change through an awareness about the relevance of environment, business, and relational systems to sustainability.

  • Leadership supporting sustainability and sustainable business practices
  • Conflict and challenges (technical, adaptive, or both)
  • Dynamics of conflict and high impact solutions
  • Power and influence
  • Implicit bias and assumptions
  • Fostering organizational change
  • Learning organizations

Course Objectives

  1. Analyze systems thinking and its application to the connections between people, business, and the natural world.
  2. Examine adaptive leadership and its application to sustainability and sustainable business practices.
  3. Appraise approaches to conflict, bias, power, and influence.
  4. Plan an initiative to foster and help build sustainability in an organization.
MSL 5302
Environmental Science

In this course students will gain a basic understanding of the interdisciplinary study of environmental science. Environmental science encompasses many aspects of sustainability including the "triple bottom line" of economic, environmental, and social policies. The scientific method, ecosystems, how human activities impact natural systems, biogeochemical cycles, how organisms interact within a community, and operating principles of sustainable development will be discussed. The content will then build upon this foundation by examining how human populations impact natural systems and how this relates to sustainable development including hazard identification and risk assessment.

  • Populations, resources, and pollution models
  • Principles of population growth and carrying capacity
  • Stabilizing population growth
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Challenges and value of biodiversity
  • Impacts of water supplies and conservation
  • Renewable sources of energy
  • Basic principles of toxicology
  • Air pollution, pollution control legislation, and the Clean Air Act
  • Ozone depletion, acid deposition, and global climate change
  • Waste management
  • Pest management

Course Objectives

  1. Discuss foundational scientific disciplines involved in the interdisciplinary field of environmental science.
  2. Demonstrate a working knowledge of the scientific method and environmental problem-solving.
  3. Apply scientific thinking to societal environmental issues.
  4. Analyze environmental issues and develop possible solutions.
  5. Investigate the interconnections between humans and the environment.
MSL 5303
Data Analysis and Decision Making

Data is used to make predictions in a variety of fields including sustainability and there is inherent uncertainty present in making probabilistic forecasts. Students will discover the challenges that arise with data collection, analysis, and distribution, including errors in predictive methods, assumptions of beliefs, biases, and how to address these issues. Characteristics and traits shared by good predictors, various types of data, which measure should be used, communicating uncertainty, and efficient market hypothesis are also discussed to enable students to understand data, how to analyze to make successful decisions, and how to communicate findings effectively.

  • Skewed data and resistance
  • P-value, interpreting p-values, and high p-values
  • Standard error, variation, and confidence intervals
  • Means, medians, standard deviation, and interquartile range
  • Different types of data use
  • Normal distribution and why data may not be normal
  • Bayes's Theorem and Bayesian Reasoning
  • The importance of sample size
  • Errors in regression
  • Using statistics to make effective decisions

Course Objectives

  1. Distinguish between various types of data and which measures should be used to describe them.
  2. Analyze the appropriateness of conclusions reached by the application of data.
  3. Describe errors in tests and predictive methods.
  4. Discuss limitations in the ability to forecast future events.
  5. Apply strategies to communicate findings effectively.
MSL 5304
Earth Resources

In this course students will develop an understanding of critical Earth resource systems including biological, mineral, water, and atmospheric, and the interdependence of the various resource systems (water, energy, minerals, and land). The impacts of resource use, critical factors for those resources, evolution of resource use by humans, the competition between agricultural needs and natural ecosystems, and waste streams on the environment are discussed. Students will evaluate the inputs required from each system to support other systems through interdependence, evaluate environmental resource values and impacts across systems, and the instabilities that can result from interdependencies of multiple, constrained resource systems. The course concludes by discussing future trends and limits for various Earth resource systems to enable students to develop basic proposals to address these challenges.

  • Principles of climate change theory
  • Resource consumption, quality of life, and human development
  • Environmental resource values
  • Characterizing limits (renewable vs nonrenewable and stock-limited vs flow-limited)
  • Human impact on Earth resource systems
  • Balance of human needs and the environment

Course Objectives

  1. Evaluate the inputs required from each system to support other systems through interdependence.
  2. Contrast the appropriate use and misuse of Earth resources.
  3. Analyze environmental resources values, risks, and impacts.
  4. Dissect the different means to characterize the limits of Earth's resources.
MSL 5305
Economics and Sustainability

Sustainable business applies the foundational microeconomic principles of efficiency and equity to a variety of issues including in business, human management, and environmental. Students will learn to use equilibrium and intertemporal analysis, as well as non-market valuation in the pursuit of an understanding of market successes/failures, optimal resource extraction paths, renewable resources adoption, and environmental/sustainability policy. How to conceptualize and effectively communicate market failures as they relate to business, the environment, and social welfare will also be discussed. Additional topics are how to develop foundational economic modeling skills used to evaluate causes and potential solutions to challenges such as supply and demand, externalities, economic surplus, marginal analysis, and the Coase Theorem.

  • Cost/benefit analysis
  • Discounting
  • Market and non-market valuation
  • Intertemporal efficiency
  • Evaluating for the efficient extraction path of depletable resources
  • Optimal extraction path, technological advancement, and efficiency
  • Water scarcity, allocation methods, and efficient use
  • Land use patterns related to population increases (urban sprawl)
  • Market based remedies to achieve efficient land use
  • Waste and industrial facilities
  • Climate change and pollution

Course Objectives

  1. Construct foundational economic modeling skills.
  2. Analyze causes and potential solutions to environmental challenges.
  3. Conceptualize market successes/ failures as they relate to business, the environment, and social welfare.
  4. Generalize the existence of environmental challenges using foundational economic analyses.
  5. Communicate market failures as they relate to business, the environment, or social welfare.
MSL 5306
Environmental Policy and Law

This course explores the policies, laws, and politics of environmental protection and use of natural resources. Students will review the history of the U.S. natural resource policies and the shift from local and state governments to federal leadership on matters of environmental health and quality protection. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) along with key federal statutes are addressed such as the Administrative Procedure Act, Clean Air Act, The Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Safe Drinking Water Act including the effects of the policies for sustainability. The roles of the three branches of the federal government are explored from a historical context in regard to natural resources acquisition, disposal, conservation, and preservation.

  • Environmental risk vs costs/ benefits
  • Hybrid water law systems
  • Topic or registry environmental laws
  • Mining and the development of energy resources
  • Mining, energy, and radioactive waste regulation
  • Legal/regulatory/ management framework for water resources
  • Biological heritage and resources

Course Objectives

  1. Research the legal and political history of U.S. Natural Resource offices, laws, policies, and regulations.
  2. Investigate the state and local government's leadership role in environmental policy and law.
  3. Analyze the costs and benefits of selected actions relating to the environment.
  4. Discuss the U.S. Federal Government's leadership role in managing land, natural resources, biological heritage, and coastal zones.
  5. Analyze the implications of policy responses to environmental issues as a leader.
MSL 5307
Sustainable Resource Management

In this course, students will explore the balance between meeting needs (and desires) of current generations without depleting resources for future generations. Students will explore the limits of depletion for stock-limited resources and of availability for flow-limited resources. This content will be coupled with efforts to assign plausible net values to the use of various resources based on the levels of needs addressed and how to address and communicate these values as a leader. Additionally, students will develop value metrics to optimize the use of a selected resource system.

  • Factors limiting sustainable resource use
  • Predictive assessments of resource use
  • Resource consumption and quality of life
  • Limits to growth and carrying capacity
  • Disparity between affluent and poorer societies in resource usage
  • Saturation phenomenon and consumption
  • Sustainable development goals
  • Net value, internal, and external costs, and benefits
  • Valuing methods
  • Free market and regulatory policy approaches
  • Communicating values as a leader

Course Objectives

  1. Characterize and communicate the value added by consumption of resources.
  2. Explain the factors limiting sustainable resource use.
  3. Evaluate predictive assessment of resource use.
  4. Contrast the disparities in resource consumption between affluent and poorer societies.
  5. Evaluate limits to growth and carrying capacity.
  6. Investigate the concepts of internal and external costs and benefits of alternative energies.
MSL 5308
Impact Assessment

The basic concepts of Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) can be used as a tool/ set of tools to predict potential impacts and aid in decision making for such areas of water, soil, noise, air, climate, atmospheric quality, biological resources, cultural resources, and others. In this course, students will learn the historical background leading up to the passage and implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), setting of national priorities for the environment, the creation of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Topics include key components of environmental assessment process, methods and techniques for conducting analyses relating to environmental risk, social and economic impact, technology needs, impacts from the proposed federal actions, suggested alternatives, and the no-action alternative.

  • Surface water and ground water quality impacts
  • Techniques for characterizing sites
  • Endangered Species Act
  • Species based and habitat-based approaches
  • Architectural, historical, and archaeological resources
  • Habitat preservation and restoration
  • Preservation of species and ecosystem
  • Antiquities Act and American Indigenous Peoples cultural resources
  • Social and Socioeconomic Impact Assessment

Course Objectives

  1. Research the tools and techniques associated with impact assessment to aid in decision making.
  2. Inspect U.S. offices, policies, laws, and regulations that relate to environmental impact assessment.
  3. Analyze the contexts which require an environmental impact assessment.
  4. Apply the essential processes and frameworks for organizing and implementing an environmental impact assessment.
MSL 5309
Sustainable Leadership and Ethics

In this course students will gain an understanding of the methods and orientation of Critical Leadership Studies (CLS) and implications for the natural environment including the origins and key concepts of environmental ethics and corporate responsibility. Topics include the controller and therapist leadership, Messiah and eco-leadership discourses, shared biosphere under stress leading to a universal, normative conception of leadership, ethics of sustainability, sustainable development, biodiversity, the precautionary principle, preservationist, ecological restoration and effective communication for ethical leaders. Students will develop own philosophy of sustainable leadership addressing the ethical dimensions of concern for nature, future generations of humans, and other living beings.

  • Cross cultural and global perspectives on leadership
  • Western eco-leadership paradigm
  • Climate change leadership strategies
  • Using collaboration in the global efforts to mitigate climate change
  • Ethical issues and dimensions of climate change communication
  • Philosophical and spiritual dimensions of environmental leadership
  • Leadership spirit

Course Objectives

  1. Assess the area of Critical Leadership Studies and its implications for global sustainability.
  2. Interpret the fields of Environmental Ethics and Environmental Leadership.
  3. Analyze the leadership challenges posed by human interactions with the natural world.
  4. Compare leadership theories and articulate their differences.
  5. Create an action plan to address one's own response to leadership and the environment.
MSL 5310
Sustainability Leadership Capstone

The educational experience at Claremont Lincoln University culminates in the Capstone Action Project. This project draws on the entire educational experience including research, analysis, and determining appropriate methods and contemporary strategies for designing and implementing initiatives that generate positive social impact.

Course Objectives

  1. Compose an introduction and literature review appropriate for action research in sustainability leadership.
  2. Design action research methods for a 10-week pilot project.
  3. Evaluate outcomes from an action research pilot project.
  4. Construct a final action research project report for sustainability leadership.

Capstone Case Study Examples

The Claremont Core®

The Claremont Core Curriculum helps you develop
engagement skills for creating a sustainable impact.

Master's in Sustainability LeadershipIn an increasingly interconnected world, leaders who want to make positive, sustainable change need to develop the critical perspectives and collaborative skills necessary to reach across traditional barriers of ideology, and culture. At CLU, we put development of these capabilities at the center of our degree programs.

CLU's Online Programs Advantages

Claremont Lincoln's master's degree programs all have the distinct advantage of being 100% online, providing the flexibility to determine how and when coursework is performed. CLU master's degree programs can be completed in 12 months at a low cost of $18,000. In addition, the Admissions process has been streamlined for convenience. Neither a GRE or GMAT score is required to apply or be admitted.

Sustainability Leadership Masters DegreeMaster's
Sustainability Leadership Degree$18k Total
Sustainability Leadership100% Online
Online Graduate SchoolFlexible
Online Grad School12 Month
Online Sustainability Leadership SchoolNo GRE or
GMAT Required

CLU is a Nonprofit University

Claremont Lincoln University is a non-profit, "online-by-design", graduate university providing socially conscious education and multiplying social impact through the work of its students in the world.

As a nonprofit university, Claremont Lincoln University is focused on the student's learning experience as well as their career success. Funds received from donations, endowments and tuition go directly to curriculum and to enriching our students' education.

Since CLU is both online and nonprofit, the university is able to serve students who are not well served by traditional institutions and universities— allowing the university to deliver the innovative education its founder and benefactor David C. Lincoln envisioned.


Online Sustainability Leadership Grad School

Claremont Lincoln University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, (510) 748-9001.

The Commission has confirmed that Claremont Lincoln University has satisfactorily addressed the Core Commitments to Student Learning and Success; Quality and Improvement; and Institutional Integrity, Sustainability, and Accountability and is found to be in substantial compliance with the WSCUC Standards of Accreditation.

To obtain a copy of Claremont Lincoln University's WASC accreditation, please contact:

Lynn Priddy
Accreditation Liaison Officer
Student Achievement & Accreditation

State Licensures

Claremont Lincoln University has entered into a complaint agreement for private non-profit institutions with the California Bureau of Post-Secondary Education (BPPE).

Department of Consumer Affairs
Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education

2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 400
Sacramento, CA. 95833

Chief Complaint Unit
Phone: 916-431-6959
Fax: 916-263-1897

View CLU's Graduation
& Retention Rates

What Students Are Saying About CLU

Here is what some of our current and past students are saying about Claremont Lincoln University. We are committed to being a student-centered community and are proud of how we have continued to establish dialogue and long-lasting relationships with our graduates by showcasing their action-oriented and impactful work across the globe.

Sami Hoda
Master's of Organizational Leadership '17

"All in all, I am better equipped to be an agent of positive change. I have found ways to use my education in my current work environment and in the volunteer work I do in education and with non-profits."

Kathy Trujillo
Master's in Ethical Leadership '16

"In speaking to the CLU core, every student can expect an immersion in developing skills that will enhance personal leadership and self awareness. I hope that CLU meets every students' expectations with a bit of surprise and magic mixed in."

"I am a lifelong learner and am convinced that our reward is commensurate with our effort. Some students will just want to be able to place an M.A. after their name while others are seeking ways to change the world. With the mix of world class professors and an exemplary cohort, I believe students will not finish the program in the same mindset that they started. Everything fit together so perfectly and the scaffolding made the entire program manageable."

"I am most proud of heeding the prompt to "reinvent" myself during the 18-month program and to put my energy in an environment where I can make a difference."

Midori Meyer
Master's in Social Impact  '15

"The Master's of Social Impact program taught me to take a grassroots approach to development."

Lolofi Soakai
CLU Alum '17

"CLU has been such a blessing to my life. CLU helps strengthen my leadership skills through mindfulness, meaningful dialogue and collaborations that allow us to suspend assumption, approach non judgmentally and create strong foundations of shared vision in order to not forget the human part of our world, as we seek our purpose and deeply feel and understand our "why" in our journey towards change."

Meet Our Faculty

Many hard working professionals contribute to a Claremont Lincoln University education. Here are just a few of the great faculty and staff that you will meet at CLU:

David Brown, Ph.D., Teaching Faculty

David Brown's Ph.D. is in Environmental Toxicology from Duke University. His MS and BS are from Ohio University and are in the field of Biology. He is currently a Professor of Biology at Marietta College. He was the SME for the Environmental Science course. He understands CLU's desire for an interdisciplinary program and can pitch the science at the appropriate level to students needing to have the knowledge of Environmental Science but not needing to be "scientists" per se. He is very familiar with CLU's mission and vision. He has been invaluable in helping us build the program.

Thomas Lasalvia, Ph.D., Teaching Faculty

Thomas Lasalvia's Ph.D. is in Urban and Environmental Economics from Binghamton University, and his MA is in Economics from Northeastern. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Economics at William and Mary. His background is in Urban and Environmental Economics and his commitment to environmental justice, urban renewal, and community service comport well with the ethos of sustainability.

Rian Satterwhite, Ph.D., Teaching Faculty

Rian Satterwhite's M.A. is in Educational Leadership from the University of Wollongong, Australia. His current research is in the area of leadership and sustainability. In fact, he co-edited one of the textbooks we will be using in the program - Innovations in Environmental Leadership: Critical Perspectives. He is active in the field and is well regarded in this area. His background in service learning makes him a good fit for action research as well.

Bruce Gillies, Ph.D., Teaching Faculty

Dr. Bruce Gillies comes to Claremont Lincoln with extensive experience in leadership coaching, organizational consulting, and leadership experience. After a 22 year active duty career in the US Navy, Bruce retired as a Master Chief Petty Officer. He supervised HR offices, engine rooms on ships, and teams of Career Counselors. He earned his Doctorate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Alliant International University in San Diego, California. A published author, Bruce has also consulted with government agencies, professional sports teams, private industry, and individual leaders. Bruce has an extensive teaching background having taught at Pepperdine, University of North Carolina, Webster University, and California State University, and others.

Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of this list of faculty for the current and upcoming terms. However, teacher departures, changes, and substitutions may be made without notice.

Master's Degrees Offered at Claremont Lincoln University

Earn your master's degree online in 12 months for only $18,000 while developing the skills, behaviors & mindset required to improve the world for the benefit of all.

Master's Degrees
M.A. in Public
M.A. in Sustainability
M.A. in Human Resources
M.A. in
Healthcare Administration
M.A. in
Social Impact
M.A. in Organizational
Organizational Leadership
Ethics Concentration
Healthcare Concentration
Civic Engagement Concentration
Higher Education Concentration
Human Resources Concentration
Management Concentration
Professional Studies Concentration
Tech Management Concentration
Course Name: Online Master's in Sustainability Leadership Course Description: Master of Arts in Sustainability: Online by Design, We create compassionate leaders. Accredited and Affordable. Transform your passion into action. Req Info. Organization Name: Claremont Lincoln University Organization Url: Organization