Masters in Sustainable Engineering

 “Sustainability is integrated throughout our engineering curriculum especially at the undergraduate level, and this new master’s program complements and builds upon this foundation.  Industry, government, non-profits, and the military today understand that sustainability impacts the triple bottom line of environmental, societal, and economic problems and is much more than recycling materials or 'going green'.  The MSSE will give our students a distinct advantage in pursuing sustainable solutions in various professional settings.”

          Eric J. Beckman, PhD
          Distinguished Service Professor
          Codirector, Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation

The M.S. Degree in Sustainable Engineering (MS SE) is housed within the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation (MCSI), with the degree granted from the Swanson School of Engineering.  The 30-credit degree was designed to integrate with current M.S. programs in engineering, providing students with the opportunity to complete two M.S. degree programs with a limited time increase.

  • Provide advanced education to graduate students to identify and solve sustainability issues using systems approaches in the context of the triple bottom line of environmental, societal, and economic problems.
  • Create a rigorous program with breadth and depth to propel graduate students to foster sustainable technologies, science, and practices in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Create regional and nationally scalable sustainability solutions through service learning projects with a cohort of students.
  • Provide students with experiences that enable them to communicate sustainability issues and solutions to multiple audiences.

The admission requirements for the MS SE are the same requirements as the Swanson School of Engineering, located here

Applicants for the MS SE will be judged on the student’s prior academic record, the accreditation of the prior degree granting school, and the capability of the program to match the applicant’s interest. A student with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from  an ABET-accredited engineering program will be granted admission on the basis of his/her undergraduate academic record. Typically, an applicant should have earned a B average (cumulative quality point average of 3.0/4.0) or better.

Applicants who do not meet these requirements will be considered on an individual basis with strong emphasis  given to academic promise, career orientation, work experience, and preparation in engineering and related disciplines. In some cases, applicants may be admitted provisionally until certain deficiencies in either coursework or academic achievement are satisfied.

  • A total of 30 credits (ten courses) are required to earn the MS SE professional master’s degree. The degree is structured so the participating student is required to take five core courses and five electives.
  •  The five core courses are as follows:
    • ENGR-2905: Current Issues in Sustainability
    • CEE-2610: Engineering and Sustainable Development
    • CEE-2609: Life Cycle Assessment Methodologies and Tools
    • 1 course from Katz Business School or Graduate School of Public and International Affairs approved by MCSI advisor
      • Examples Include:
        • KATZ Graduate School of Business
          • BSPP 2328: Business of Humanity: Strategic Planning in the Era of Globalization, Innovation, and Shared Value
        • Graduate School of Public and International Affairs(GSPIA)
          • PIA 2115: Environmental Economics
          • PIA 2164: Natural Resources Governance and Management
          • PIA 2231: Contemporary US Energy Policy
          • PIA 2502: Global Environment
          • PIA 2523: Global Energy Policy
    • ENGR-2007: Sustainability Capstone
  • The first course, Current Issues in Sustainability, provides a common foundation for sustainability and unites all incoming graduate students with various backgrounds. The following three required courses (1) Engineering and Sustainable Development, (2) Life Cycle Assessment Methodologies and Tools and (3) Elective from Katz Business School or Graduate School of Public and International Affairs are meant to teach critical thinking, emphasize systems thinking and, provides insights into the triple bottom line of sustainability. 
  • The core courses will culminate in a Sustainability Capstone experience.
  • Students are encouraged to explore elective options with the Program Director. Four program tracks have been identified to guide students' elective course selection and curriculum:
    • Energy
      • ECE 2250: Power Electronics Circuts and Applications
      • ECE 2646: Linear System Theory
      • ECE 2774: Power System Analysis II
      • ECE 2780: Renewable and Alternative Energy Systems
      • ECE 2781: Smart Grid Technologies and Applications
      • ECE 2795: Special Topics: Microgrids and Distributed Energy Resources
      • ECE 2795: Special Topics: Sustainable Systems Modeling
      • ECE 2795: Special Topics: Power and Energy Industry Practices
    • Environmental and Water Sustainability
      • CEE 2410: Water Resources Engineering
      • CEE 2416: Sediment Transport
      • CEE 2500: Environmental Engineering Microbiology
      • CEE 2501: Environmental Engineering Chemistry
      • CEE 2502: Physical-Chemical Principles in Environmental Engineering
      • CEE 2511: Environmental Engineering Process Lab
      • CEE 2515: Wasterwater Collection and Treatment Plant Design
    • Green Computing
      • ECE xxx: Sustainable Computing
      • ECE xxx: Emerging Memory Technologies
      • ECE 2140: SoC Design
      • ECE 2160: Embedded Computing Systems
      • ECE 2161: Embedded Computing Projects
      • ECE 2162: Computer Architecture
      • ECE 2192: VLSI Design
      • ECE 2193: VLSI Design Projects
      • ECE 3193: Computer Architecture II
    • Sustainable Built Environment and Infrastructure
      • CEE 2340: Concrete Structures 2
      • CEE 2346: Repair and Analysis of Structures
      • CEE 2370: Intro to NDE and Strucl Health Monitoring
      • CEE 2617: Green Building Design and Construction
      • CEE 2720: Urban Transportation Planning 
    • Sustainable Materials Track
      • MSE 2067 Elements of Materials Science and Engineering 1 (3 credits) Course is primarily designed for graduate students entering the program without a degree in a field of materials engineering. Bonding and structure of materials; thermodynamics and phase diagrams; imperfections in crystals; and rate processes.
      • MSE 2068 Elements of Materials Science and Engineering 2 (3 credits) Course is primarily designed for graduate students entering the program without a degree in a field of materials. Mechanical properties: plastic deformation, mechanical properties and microstructure control; high-temperature deformation; deformation of amorphous materials. Electromagnetic properties; electrons in solids; electronic transport; junctions; magnetic properties; dielectric and optical properties. 
      • MSE 2111 Materials for Energy Generation and Storage (3credits) The objective of this course is to provide an overview of the important renewable energy resources and the modern technologies to harness and store them. After taking MSE 2111, students are expected to develop a solid scientific and technological understanding of new alternative energy technologies. This course will give an overview on harnessing renewable energy resources and storing collected energy. In each topic, issues relevant to basic principle and technological barriers limiting the use of non-fossil energy will be discussed.
      • MSE 2130 Environmental Issues and Solutions for Nuclear Power (3 credits) This course will be developed in conjunction with University of Pittsburgh faculty with an interest in environmental issues impacting the nuclear power industry including school of engineering faculty involved with the Mascaro sustainability initiative, faculty involved from the department of civil and environmental engineering and faculty from the graduate school of public and international affairs. The course will address such topics as sustainable energy resources, engineering and societal ethical concerns, risk analysis and future energy supplies general and as each of these topics relates to such specific issues as the nuclear fuel cycle, nuclear reactor safety, nuclear waste disposal and transportation, and Gen IV and the hydrogen economy. Students will better understand the socio-economic issues surrounding achieving a sustainable nuclear power future as it impacts fuel acquisition plant operation and waste disposal.
      • MSE 2003 Structure of Materials (3 credits) Basic crystallography of materials; symmetry; point groups and space groups; tensor properties of crystals; diffraction methods in materials science; atomic packing and structures; glassy state, polycrystalline aggregates; grain boundaries and interfaces in materials; textures; multiphase materials; quantitative stereology and microstructural characterization; thin films.  
      • MSE 2998 Independent Graduate Study or Equivalent in other departments.
        • These courses are a sampling and not exhaustive of potential courses that would count for the MSSE.   

Related Faculty



Melissa Bilec

Civil and Environmental Engineering 

Leonard Casson

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Alex Jones

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Vikas Khanna

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Paul Leu

Industrial Engineering

Ian Nettleship

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Bryan Norman

Industrial Engineering

Piero Rizzo

Civil and Environmental Engineering

David Sanchez

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Goetz Veser

Chemical Engineering

Jeffrey Vipperman

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science



Dr. David Sanchez
Assistant Professor Civil and Environmental Engineering
Assistant Director for Education and Outreach
Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation


Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation
Swanson School of Engineering
153 Benedum Hall
3700 O’Hara Street
Pittsburgh, PA  15261

Mascaro Center

Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation
University of Pittsburgh
Swanson School of Engineering
153 Benedum Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15261

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