Online Program Features

A Track Record of Success

The MSSD on-line Program is an evolution of the already highly successful on-campus program which has garnered awards from the United States Green Building Council, The National Institute for Building Science, The Delaware Valley Green Building Council, the Pennsylvania Resources Council and the Pennsylvania Environmental Center. Students have gone on to gain employment in a wide array of careers including design, construction, energy efficiency, entrepreneurship, the government, and more. visit our graduate employment page for more information.

Core Courses

The MSSD on-line program features a set of “Core Courses” that cover similar topics of other on-line programs but do so a part of an integrated sequence. Rather than choosing from a menu of related courses, the MSSD Program Core Courses are carefully constructed to offer a holistically connected and interdependent set of experiences that balances the conceptual understanding of sustainability with the practical skills and tools needed to achieve higher levels of project performance. Many of the assignments in the Core Courses require collaboration across disciplines

Collaborative Studio Courses

The MSSD program includes a sequence of three studio based courses that encourages students to integrate the core concepts of sustainable design into projects. Collaboration across disciplines is a key aspect of the learning experience in these classes.

The first studio course Adaptive Design looks at the nexus of energy use, human comfort and climatic conditions as the basis for designing interventions at the scale of the human, of the building and of the community.  The understanding and creation of micro-climates is a key aspect of sustainable design.

The second studio focuses on the critical need for collaboration across disciplines as a means to reach higher levels of integration. Students will engage in the following: development of guiding principles (ethical foundation), environmental goal setting, space programming, site inventory and analysis, site response design, integration of active and passive design strategies, schematic design, energy efficiency optimization, and design development.

The third studio looks at the finer scale of sustainable design as selected by the student. Students will use a variety of digital tools to further develop the design project from the previous studio and will work on the following processes: energy modeling, daylight analysis, ventilation strategies, Revit, and rain water calculation/cistern and run-off calculations.

Independent Thesis Projects

Unlike most on-line programs, the MSSD on-line program offers a self directed 9 credit Thesis Project which is unique to each student. Offered over three consecutive courses, the thesis is tailored by the student and faculty to provide the maximum benefit to career development. Students are encouraged to pursue topics with a specific focus that will benefit their job search, promotion at their current job, or as a vehicle to prepare for a new career in sustainability. Projects range from design, to entrepreneurship, to policy research and development. Faculty will provide assistance as part of an on-going process.

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