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Binghamton University, State University of New York

Program in Sustainable Communities

Binghamton, NY


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Graduate programs in sustainable communities aim to address today's economic, environmental, and social challenges

Binghamton University, State University of New York (SUNY), is one of four university centers in the State University of New York system. Consistently cited by distinguished national college guides and magazines as one of the nation's premier public universities, Binghamton University attracts outstanding students from 44 states and 117 countries to a 930-acre campus in the Southern Tier of New York State.

Binghamton University offers a first-of-its kind master's degree program in Sustainable Communities that draws on new and transdisciplinary approaches in sustainability to solve economic, social, and environmental challenges, with the ultimate goal of improving quality of life for people and the planet. A joint effort between the Anthropology, Geography, and Public Administration Departments, the 38-credit curriculum allows students to explore areas of sustainability and create pathways to job opportunities in different sectors. The program culminates in a Master of Arts (MA) degree or a Master of Science (MS) degree in Sustainable Communities.

Taking an interdisciplinary approach to sustainability

The Sustainable Communities program integrates the three pillars of sustainability -- environmental protection, economic vitality, and social equity -- to provide students with a balanced, holistic perspective on sustainability. Collaboration is essential to the program, which draws on a broad range of academic disciplines including anthropology, economics, environmental science, geography, geology, philosophy, political science, public administration, and sociology.

Graduates emerge with the knowledge, experience, and insight to become problem solvers and policy makers for institutions, organizations, and governments focused on a variety of sustainability issues, ranging from climate change and conservation to corporate citizenship and green infrastructure. They serve as analysts, consultants, and planners who are prepared to work across disciplines to develop and manage sustainable communities.

Learning inside and outside the classroom

Students launch their studies in the Sustainable Communities program with four core courses that introduce the study of the three pillars of sustainability: environmental protection, economic vitality, and social equity. Students think critically across complex, interconnected systems as they explore the interactions between these principles, ecology, environmental science, and governance. These four core courses are Sustainable Communities I and II; Research Methods; and the Sustainability Colloquium, which students repeat each semester.

Then, students take classes in the specific applications of strategy and theory, delving more deeply into environmental policy, economic development, and social equity. They gain additional skills in advanced methods by taking courses that focus on system thinking, design analysis, multi-objective policy analysis, and geographic information systems (GIS).Students also select a minimum of two sustainability electives from a range of more than 15 courses in key sustainability knowledge areas. Depending on their interests, they might take electives focused on local government or non-profit management and administration; health, environmental, or social policy and planning; or development and impact analysis.

In the final semester of the program, students develop a thesis (MS) or capstone project (MA). Students team with faculty advisors and work to shape project goals, establish contacts in the broader community, and, ultimately, deliver a product that showcases professional growth and advances sustainability efforts.

Serving the community through research alongside outstanding faculty

Binghamton University is widely known for conducting research that has practical impacts on the community. Faculty and students in the Sustainable Communities program frequently collaborate on research projects that build on the university's close ties with community leaders and local businesses to supplement their field studies and gain experience working with diverse groups of residents.

The faculty in the Sustainable Communities program includes professors from the Departments of Anthropology, Geography, Public Administration, and Environmental Studies, supporting diverse research portfolios that aim to meet the needs of the greater Binghamton area, the nation, and the world. For example, Susan Appe, assistant professor of public administration, focuses her research primarily on government/non-profit relations in both developed and developing economies. Tim Frazier, associate professor of geography, studies climate change, vulnerability, and natural and man-made hazards, while Siobhan Hart, assistant professor of anthropology, concentrates on heritage practice, the politics of community recognition, and colonialism.

Financing your education

Graduate students at Binghamton University obtain financial support from a variety of sources, including loans, grants, assistantships, fellowships, scholarships, research and travel funding, federal work-study, and part-time employment. Learn more on Binghamton's website (

Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Master of Arts (MA)
Master of Science (MS)

Earning Your Degree

Part-time study available? Yes


Acceptance Rate



Applications processed
on a rolling basis?

Entrance Requirements

Exam Details
Master's Degree Requirements Undergraduate transcripts, minimum GPA of 3.0, personal statement, resume or curriculum vitae, two letters of recommendation, professional writing sample or essay

Student Body

Total Graduate Students
Not Reported
International Breakout (representing other countries)


Hispanic/Latino Not Reported
Black or African American 9.09%
White or Caucasian 81%
American Indian or Alaska Native Not Reported
Asian 9.09%
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander Not Reported
Two or more races Not Reported
Unknown Not Reported


Male (27%)
Female (72%)


Total faculty
Full-time - 12
Part-time - 0
Male (1)
Female (11)

Location & Contact

Address 4400 Vestal Parkway East
Binghamton, NY  13902-6000
United States
Contact George Homsy
Program Advisor
Phone: 607-777-9184

Binghamton University, State University of New York