The Master of Design Studies in Sustainable Design is a 4-semester degree designed to teach students about the practices, processes, and materials with which we can create a truly sustainable built environment. The BAC is a national leader in online sustainable design education, and our coursework is built around whole systems thinking—the philosophy that design of the built environment should be engaged with the larger systems of nature and society.

The curriculum covers subjects ranging from green building design to sustainable community planning to policy and advocacy. Coursework is highly customizable, examining everything from energy, water, air quality, and materials and resources to preservation, construction management, land use, and research methods. A final practical thesis project allows students to explore an independent design or research project related to their specific area of interest.

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the path to your degree

Master of Design Studies Sustainable Design Curriculum

is the program right for me?

If you are someone who is already a part of the building industry and wants to sharpen or develop your skills in sustainable design, or if you are someone who would like to contribute to the creation of a sustainable built environment as a sustainability officer, an author, a researcher, a consultant, an advocate, or in a number of other roles, the BAC's master's degree in sustainable design can help you reach your goals.

Alex Wilson, founder and executive editor of Environmental Building News and a national leader in the field of sustainable design research and education, serves as senior mentor for the program. He provides guidance to students pursuing an in-depth design or research project of personal interest.

Learn more about our curriculum

Classes that fit your schedule

The Master of Design Studies is delivered in an innovative distance format that allows students to work full time while they study. The BAC uses a range of digital tools to support and enhance online learning, including Skype, VoiceThread, and WebEx desktop sharing. Students can study from anywhere in the world, working at their own pace and on their own schedule.

Students contribute to a vital online studio culture, exchanging comments and critiques with colleagues, working together on projects, and supporting each other throughout the program. Students can continue to advance their careers while earning their master's degree, and their professional work informs their studies as their coursework feeds their professional growth.

In-person intensives bring your coursework to life

Each semester in January and August, students come to Boston to study in residence for 8 days of in-person instruction, field trips, and hands-on studios. From the BAC’s central urban location, the buildings and neighborhoods of Boston serve as the student's classroom. These innovative intensive weeks give students and faculty the opportunity to build strong relationships, setting up a positive, connected studio culture that enhances the online learning throughout the rest of the semester.

Study at a leading college of design with 125 years of experience in design education

Located in the heart of Boston's historic Back Bay, the BAC was founded in 1889 and is the largest independent, accredited college of spatial design in New England. Joining the MDS places you in a network of colleagues exploring careers in a common field, a cohort surrounded in turn by a faculty of experienced professionals who have established careers in design.