A+D+Sustainability

Sustainable Design

If you’ve been considering going to graduate school, you might have noticed that most of the Masters programs in sustainable design are Master of Science programs and are housed in engineering and/or architecture schools.  MCAD is an Art+Design school and our masters is a Master of Arts in Sustainable Design.

What’s the difference between an MSSD and an MASD and how might you choose between the two?

If you are an engineer, builder, developer, or architect and want to develop specific technical problem-solving skills that are focused on the built environment, the MSSD might be the direction for you. If you want to know everything there is to know about how to build green buildings, then the MSSD might be your best bet. If you want a degree that exclusively focuses on biomimicry, then an MS might be what you’re looking for. If you really want an MBA but also want to do good in the world, an MSSD or alternative MBA program might be something to consider.

If you’re interested in approaching and integrating sustainability and design in new and holistic ways and asking new and different questions, regardless of the problem, our MASD might be a good fit.

If you want to become a sustainability leader and apply your knowledge across and among a diversity of disciplines, then our MASD might be for you.

If you want to learn biomimicry, but you also want to learn a range of other sustainable design approaches, then our MASD might be what you’re looking for.

If you want to apply your art and creativity and design skills to change the world, then consider our MASD.

If you want to learn how you might leverage art and creativity and design to drive sustainability, then please explore our program.

If you’re excited about engaging with different people in different industries with different perspectives living in different parts of the world, then take a look at our MASD.

Our students, alumni, and faculty include architects and engineers, fashion designers and furniture designers, educators and environmentalists, biologists and business people.

Our classes cover the basics (Fundamentals of Sustainable Design, Systems Thinking) and do deep dives into specialized topics (Biomimetic Design, Packaging for Sustainability).

You get to bring your own ideas and passion projects into each class and you get to leave with a beautiful web-based portfolio and an independent and fully supported thesis project.

You bond with your fellow students and faculty, yet you get the incredible convenience of online learning — you don’t have to move or quit your job.


If you’re interested in sustainability, going to grad school can do wonders for your career and your capacity to make change in the world. But do you go for an MSSD, an MBA, or our MASD program?  I know it’s a big decision.

If you’re wondering if MCAD’s MA in Sustainable Design program is the right place for you, please explore our FAQ videos and our program website. On our blog site you can read about our students, alumni, and faculty, and even access all past Thesis Project Presentations and Papers

Still not sure? I’m always happy to set up a time to chat and explore your goals and opportunities.

Denise DeLuca / Director

Denise DeLuca is director of MCAD’s Sustainable Design program and co-founder of BCI: Biomimicry Creative for Innovation, a network of creative professional change agents driving ecological thinking for radical transformation. Denise is author of the book Re-Aligning with Nature: Ecological Thinking for Radical Transformation, which was illustrated by MASD alum Stephanie Koehler.  She also teaches with the Amani Institute. Denise’s previous roles include Education Director for the International Living Future Institute, a consultant for Swedish Biomimetics 3000, and Outreach Director for The Biomimicry Institute.  Denise is a licensed civil engineer (PE) and holds a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering with a focus on modeling landscape-scale surface and ground water interactions. Denise is based in Montana.

contact:  [email protected]
Twitter: @MCADSustainDsgn