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McCormick School of Engineering masters program adds concentration in sustainability

The link between engineering and sustainability has never been more critical as the world seeks to develop an infrastructure that minimizes its impact on the environment. Many in engineering and related fields like architecture and project management, are looking to understand these opportunities and how they can aid in addressing critical issues like climate change, water scarcity, and biodiversity.

This year, McCormick School of Engineering is offering a new sustainability concentration within their Master of Science in Project Management graduate program. This new concentration has been added alongside A/E/C Business Management, Construction Management, Real Estate Development, and Transportation Management. The program aims to prepare students for managing projects by offering a business perspective and providing practical design skills that are needed in the workplace.

The new sustainability concentration was added to meet the demand for an education in practical green building planning. It was necessary to add, “because it is of critical interest to a large portion of our profession and the subject matter is not adequately addressed anywhere else in the University,” according to Raymond Krizek, Director of the Masters in Project Management program. “The goal of the sustainability specialization is to make the “implementers” in our profession aware of the latest state-of-the-practice methodologies and policies on how to sustainably design, construct, operate, maintain, and decommission various components of our infrastructure,” Krizek stated. It is intended to educate engineers interested in managing environmentally conscious projects with courses in environmental law, environmental systems analysis, and environmental engineering applications for water, air, and land.

The program consists of 12 courses and can be completed in just one year. It can be taken full or part time and many of the classes are offered in the evenings or on weekends, to fit better into a busy student’s schedule. There are a variety of courses to choose from and a combination of concentrations can be achieved. The flexibility of the program is key for preparing graduate students for the multitude of jobs they seek. In fall quarter, there were 20 students in the sustainability concentration.

Current student Temitope Akanbi decided to enroll in the program after working as a construction project manager for a residential development organization in Africa. In the fall, he enjoyed his course on sustainability strategies in organization, taught by NU’s Director of Sustainability, Rob Whittier. Akanbi is currently looking forward to his class on system thinking for sustainable design. “With the global issues in sustainability, I was attracted to the prospects of sustainable building techniques and designs,” Akanbi stated.