Chatham University - Falk School of Sustainability

Why you should consider this program

Located on 388-acre Eden Hall Campus, the world’s first academic community built from the ground up for the study of sustainability, the Falk School of Sustainability & Environment (FSSE) offers unparalleled opportunities for students interested in intersections of community, natural resources, policy, food, sustainable development, and social justice.

Students in the Master of Sustainability program choose from three areas of specialization: Urban and Energy Systems; Ecology and Resource Management; and Business and Innovation.

Students in the holistic Master of Arts in Food Studies program choose from concentrations in Food Politics; Food Markets and Marketing; Communications and Writing; and Sustainable Agriculture. 

Students pursuing the dual-degree MSUS+MBA or MAFS+MBA also obtain a stellar business background while saving time and money compared to pursuing the degrees sequentially. In all FSSE programs, students work closely with partners throughout Pittsburgh, PA—a city undergoing a green transformation.

Alma mater of environmental pioneer Rachel Carson ’29, Chatham is ranked in the top five nationally for sustainability achievements in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) and mentioned by Forbes as one of the places "contributing to Pittsburgh's transformation into a destination for green living."

Benefits for Coverdell Fellows

Tuition/fees for Complete Program Value of Coverdell Fellowship Net cost *
In state $ 47,124 $ 11,781 $ 35,343
Out of state $ 47,124 $ 11,781 $ 35,343
* Net cost is equal to tuition/fees minus fellowship value. For some universities, the fellowship value includes non-tuition/fee benefits such as health insurance or housing—see the first point below for more details.

Where the cost savings value of the Coverdell Fellowship comes from

25% discount off the price of tuition and fees.

Note: The financial information above is for the Master of Sustainability OR Master of Arts in Food Studies.

The dual programs do cost are different , but you will still receive 25% discount off the price of tuition and fees. For more information, please visit our website or contact us directly.

Fellowships awarded per year (average)

Up to five

Other benefits or opportunities

While Fellows are ineligible for additional financial awards funded by the University, they may be considered for awards that are funded by outside sources.  This may include financial assistance for research projects, conference presentations, or unpaid internships.

Annual cost of living (estimated)

$ 15,000

Application fee waived?



Students are required to complete three credits of internship credit, as part of the curriculum.  Examples of past internships include:

  1. A student in the MAFS program worked with the local food bank, assisting in the development of a nutrition assessment tool to measure clients’ understanding about nutrition, diet, barriers to food security, and whether there are available nutrition services at their location; conducting interviews of clients and collecting survey data with end goal of developing recommendations for the food bank’s Nutrition Policy. 
  2. A student in the MAFS program worked with 412 Food Rescue, a local nonprofit dedicated to ending hunger and food waste, coordinating their Hidden Harvest urban gleaning program—expanding it from city tree harvests to backyard garden sites.
  3. A student in the MSUS program worked with a local Salvation Army, creating a workable curriculum dealing with spirituality and sustainability, helping in the establishment of new location, and ultimately fostering a passion for nature, spirituality and sustainable practices in the children she worked with this summer.

Jobs for program alumni

Sustainability professionals enter into a wide range of sectors, industries, and organizations, and graduates of the Falk School of Sustainability are no exception.  With academic programs in Sustainability and Food Studies, and required immersive internship and experiential learning opportunities, our graduates are equipped for jobs in government, education, non-profit, private, corporate, and entrepreneurial organizations.  Over 93% of Falk School graduates are employed in their field within six months of graduation* in numerous fields and industries. Jobs held by our alumni include:  

  • Research Associate with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, analyzing and developing solutions to bridge communication gaps in sustainable supply chains
  • Project Manager at G-Tech, focusing on resilient communities and how community systems impact the overall health of our neighborhoods
  • Project Coordinator for the Allegheny Department of Health, engaging in project research and developing focused, health-related environmental strategies and investments
  • Co-Founder of Bottle Threads, a company that produces dress shirts from recycled plastic bottles.  

As the need for skills, knowledge, and expertise in sustainability continues to increase across sectors, our graduates are well equipped to be pioneers in leading our global community to a shared, sustainable future.

Other details

Program length

2 years for the Master of Sustainability and Master of Arts in Food Studies. 2 ½ years for the dual Master of Sustainability/MBA and Master of Arts in Food Studies/MBA

Application requirements

  • Online application form
  • Resume
  • Essay describing interest in joining our program
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts from all schools attended
  • Additional writing sample is optional, but encouraged

Admissions process

Students must apply to the program by the stated deadline, indicating Peace Corps service in your resume and/or essay.  The first five Coverdell-qualified students to be admitted to the Falk School programs will be offered the Fellowship, to be accepted with a tuition deposit by April 1.

Program begins

Late August (fall term), Early January (spring term)

Non-traditional options

To qualify for the fellowship, students must be enrolled full-time.  About 85-90% of our sustainability and food studies classes are held during the daytime hours at our Eden Hall Campus in Gibsonia (northern suburbs of Pittsburgh).  The remaining 10-15% are held at our Shadyside campus in downtown Pittsburgh.

Dual program students can expect to take a third of their MBA courses at Eden Hall, another third at Shadyside, and the remaining third online.

Year Coverdell Fellows partnership started



Patricia Golla, Associate Director, Graduate Admission

Chatham University/Office of Graduate Admission
1 Woodland Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15232