Master of Science in Engineering, Sustainability and Health

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At a Glance

Earn your master’s degree online or on campus in just 20 months.

Summer, Fall and Spring Start Dates

20 Months
30 Units
September 3
August 2


Focus intensively on one course at a time – a total of seven weeks for each course.


Your Online Master of Engineering, Sustainability and Health Degree at USD

The world’s problems do not stop at disciplinary boundaries. Disease, poverty, inequity, social injustice, humanitarian crises and climate change are just a few of the interlinked global crises that are challenging us to take a more holistic view of the health of our planet and our future. 

To meet these challenges, the University of San Diego has created the transdisciplinary Master of Science in Engineering, Sustainability and Health (MESH) degree program. Specific technical training or complicated math calculations are not part of our program, and there are no engineering requirements. Instead, MESH students focus on defining the problems and specific social, health and environmental effects that come from established innovations, technologies and systems.

MESH invites skilled and passionate problem solvers from across all disciplines to collaborate in creating and renovating sustainable solutions for both the human-built and natural worlds. You’ll learn to think through the lens of other disciplines, cultures and practices to address our greatest global challenges: from preserving and restoring the environment and engineering better sustainability practices to promoting social justice and improving our health care systems.

Who Enrolls in the Engineering, Sustainability and Health Master’s Degree Program?

We’re looking for change-makers, innovators, and disruptors from across all disciplines and backgrounds.

Whilst many of the problems we face may be related to our engineered world, the solutions cannot come from engineers alone – we will need to work together across disciplinary boundaries and create substantial alternatives to our current systems. Your experience does not need to be within an engineering discipline. The MESH program is designed for students and working professionals who are passionate about addressing the challenges that face our natural and built environments. For example you might have a background and/or relevant professional experience in areas including, but not limited to:

  • STEM
  • One-health
  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Planning and Sustainability Studies
  • Urban planning
  • Sociology
  • Peace and Justice Studies
  • Political Science
  • Engineering
  • Public, International, and Global Health
  • Nursing
  • Community and Global Development Studies
  • Environmental Science
  • Anthropology
  • Architecture and Urban Design and Planning

In order to co-create solutions for the right problems it is necessary to foster the development of changemakers who:

Whether experienced professionals or recent graduates, from a STEM or non-STEM field, all are invited to participate in this program that prioritizes critical thinking, sustainable design, teamwork, creativity and innovation across multiple disciplines to achieve innovative praxis and novel technological solutions for global health.

For example, you might be:

Together, we’re committed to thinking and working across disciplines and asking the right questions.

How to Apply

Get a closer look at the application process with detailed instructions about on how to apply for your career-building engineering, sustainability and health master’s degree program.

Engineering, Sustainability and Health Careers

The global need to achieve more sustainable human and economic development has brought significant opportunities to environmental engineering and related fields in sustainability. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that two of the top three fastest growing occupations from 2019 to 2020 were green jobs. In fact, seven out of the ten fastest-growing occupations concerned areas related to sustainability or health.

The Master of Science in Engineering, Sustainability and Health degree provides graduates with the foundational skills needed to excel in the transformation of corporate, non-profit (NPO) and non-governmental organizations (NGO) committed to a balance between technology and the built environment, sustainability and health. The program provides mid-career professionals with the capabilities to move within their own organization or to facilitate career changes into areas concerning energy, water, humanitarian aid, corporate social responsibility, and international/global development. This program is also ideal for parents returning to work after a career break, as they can stay at home with young children whilst studying.

With a focus on critical approaches to problem solving through innovation, MESH graduates are well positioned for leadership and managerial positions. Those who wish to begin their own venture will develop the capabilities and skills needed to create and manage their own equitable organizations. Other graduates will be able to leverage their skills and experience for greater upward mobility in their professions to become value-driven, critical change-making managers, executive officers, consultants, and instructors at colleges and universities.

Three Terms

We accept applications on a rolling basis


Academic Calendar

Students are accepted throughout the year for admission into one of three semesters (Spring, Summer and Fall). Students typically take two courses in each 14-week semester, focusing intensively on one 7-week course at a time.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. A decision will be recommended by the Review Committee within one week of your application being submitted. For details on specific requirements needed for admission, please visit our Admissions page.

If you are interested in this program but do not meet all of the published admissions requirements, please contact an enrollment advisor via the form above.


The Master of Science in Engineering, Sustainability and Health is a 30-unit project-based program that is designed to be completed in 20 months over five semesters.

The program is offered 100% online using the Canvas learning management system and requires students to take two seven-week-long courses each semester, including a culminating capstone course that involves the development and completion of a major project related to the interconnection between sustainability, health, engineering and justice.

The MESH program is organized around the following themes and courses:

Engineering for Planetary Health

Two foundational courses that introduce students to new ways of thinking about human and ecological health, and how they can be applied to a variety of different disciplines.

Engineering for Sustainability

Four courses that examine past and contemporary practice and explore new and emerging technologies, to provide students with the skillset to design and develop holistic, economically viable solutions in support of sustaining the planet and human health.

Just Transitions

Two courses that explore global challenges and ask students to consider new approaches in transitioning to alternatives in a manner that is just and equitable, yet economically viable.

Capstone Project

This six-unit capstone project requires students to either develop a model and feasibility study or a significant change to their own practice, or to the practice of others, and explore the impact of this change. This project will run throughout the entire program, and incorporates the skills and knowledge derived from all courses in the program.

Courses you will take


Program Goals

The larger goal of MESH is to facilitate the integration of different disciplines in order to foster a critical approach to sustainability, design, and development that will have a key impact on global health and development. Beyond offering professional development, MESH positions its graduates to be able to:


Accreditation is an important quality indicator for college and university degree programs, generally regarded as a stamp of approval that ensures you will be able to apply for financial aid and transfer your credits if you decide to switch schools. Most state universities and private non-profit universities will have a regional accreditation. The University of San Diego has earned both regional and national accreditations.

Accreditations include:

The WASC Senior College and University Commission – WASC is a regional accrediting agency that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as certifying institutional eligibility for federal funding in a number of programs, including student access to federal financial aid. Learn more about the importance of selecting a regionally accredited program.


The MESH faculty has a unique combination of academic and practical experience. Their educational backgrounds and working experience span engineering, health, sustainability studies, and environmental justice with a focus on furthering the causes of global social and eco-justice, health politics, and education.

Additionally, the MESH program leverages ongoing input and insight from an advisory board of educators, consultants, directors and founders who work with NPOs, charities and international organizations committed to the promotion of peace, justice, indigenous rights, and sustainability.

Students can look forward to individual mentoring from expert faculty, especially over the course of their capstone project which will run throughout the entire program and enhance their applied knowledge, expertise, and professional portfolios.

Funding Your Graduate Degree

Your graduate degree is an investment in your future that pays for itself. Tuition is competitive with other top institutions and federal financial aid can help you fund your degree program.

Tuition & Financial Aid

Find helpful information on tuition and financial aid.

Scholarships & grants

Discover possible additional sources of funding to help pay for your degree.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many units is my program?

The online MS-ESH program is a total of 30 units.

Students will enroll in two prescribed courses each semester for a total of six (6) semester units. During your final term, students will enroll in a single 6-unit capstone course only.

How much is my tuition?

Tuition for the MS-ESH program is $925 per unit.

With a total of 30 units, the full cost of tuition for the program is $27,750.

Tuition amounts shown on this website, or in other university publications or web pages, represent tuition and fees as currently approved. However, the University of San Diego reserves the right to increase or modify tuition and fees without prior notice and to make such modifications applicable to students enrolled at USD at that time as well as to incoming students. In addition, all tuition amounts and fees are subject to change at any time to correct errors. Please note that the displayed tuition covers only the cost of courses, and additional expenses such as books and other fees are not included.

Does the program have to be completed within 20 months?

The curriculum schedule functions on a rotational system, meaning that if a student skips a course they will have to wait for the rotation to complete before jumping back in. We encourage individuals who are interested in the program to speak with an enrollment advisor or to work with their program coordinator, who is available to help every step of the way.

Do I need to know engineering to take this program?

It is not technical in the sense that we will be learning how to build things, and no you do not need to know any engineering to take MESH. There are no maths involved in the projects or coursework and you will not be designing any engineering product or system. However, we will in part, work with engineering concepts, ideas, and systems, and will consider how engineering and its processes can be applied in different ways that are more sustainable and just. We will learn some engineering creative thinking approaches and consider the impact of engineering in the world   – these are all part of engineering too. We just won’t be doing the math or the complex design pieces.

Is it a project-based degree?

Yes. You will undertake a project for the whole 20 months, culminating in the capstone course.

Are there internships available for students?

We partner with Omprakash to provide the opportunity to connect to voluntary internship positions globally and we work with students to help them locate a suitable project in their own context and part of the country/ world ( There is, however, no necessity to have an internship for your project which could also be solely research-based.

What is the class structure?

  • Asynchronous, no live lecture or amount of hours logged in are required. They will be having discussion board interactions, some videos, some reading and projects to define. Also group work – very engaged activities.
  • Usually, one or two discussion questions per module
  • Usually, one or two  assignments per week
  • Usually, one larger project work towards but no final exam
  • Expected reading time? – 20 hours of work altogether, including all assignments, discussions and reading

Would I be getting an Engineering degree?

Though the degree is housed in the school of engineering, you will not be receiving the title of engineer. There are no technical aspects to the degree. If you have already gained an engineering degree this will give you the much needed contextual framing so you can understand how to use your engineering degree in the best possible way for your career path in sustainability and health. If you are not from an engineering background it will help you connect your own professional background to engineering, health and sustainability in equal measure.

You will be completing a portfolio of projects and getting experience that will give you an advantage in the next step of your career


You interact with students and faculty in different ways. Primarily with discussion boards and also through group work and optional zoom meetings – or what we call community coffee meetings.

There are many opportunities to connect synchronously with both faculty and classmates, but none of them are graded or required for the coursework. Students take advantage of this, as it helps them connect with fellow classmates. Examples are Zoom calls, private chats, some in person activities for those in close proximity. The AD and fellow MESH students will ensure you connect with other students with similar interests, projects and goals.

What are the students getting hired at and what kind of jobs can they expect?

We have no graduates yet –  and students are from widely different backgrounds so these are all very varied. However some examples of student ambitions:

  1. Career change – moving from their own profession to a new role as e.g. Sustainability Director
  2. Lateral move in same professional role- Connecting their own professional work to sustainability and health more directly (e.g. human resources worker at a hospital developing a new waste agenda moving forward).
  3. Promotion  – e.g. school teacher needing a masters to move into admin – and wanting to make their professional role more connected to sustainability at the same time.
  4. First career move – creating employment opportunities which their undergrad degree alone does not offer e.g. linguistics major wanting to do work in an environmental justice office.
  5. Retired passion project – retorted professionals who wish to learn how to enhance social and environmental justice in the world and bring their wealth of skills and capabilities to contribute to new projects.
  6. Starting a new business  – at any stage of their career wanting to create their own not for profit or small business in a MESH related sector such as energy, waste recycling etc