Sustainability Education (Ph.D.)

Signature Courses
Sustainability Education and Transformational Change
Sustainability Theory and Practice
Modes of Scholarly Inquiry I and II
Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Pedagogy
Climate Change

The Ph.D. in Sustainability Education degree program views education broadly – as social learning that occurs in settings that are both formal and non-formal environments. Education for sustainability, is the act or practice of learning how to achieve global and local sustainable communities at the nexus of environmental and social justice. Education as sustainability, on the other hand, is the study of the educational process with the goal of reforming education itself. Although these two aspects of sustainability education can be defined differently, are often studied independently, and practiced separately – they are interdependent. Achieving sustainability in all dimensions depends on adopting an educational paradigm that manifests and supports change toward a sustainable, equitable, and secure society. The Ph.D. Program strives to contribute to equitable educational change and building a more just future: through a socially and environmentally oriented lens.

Program highlights: 

  • New Student Orientation and Residency 
  • Signature coursework in: Sustainability Theory and Practice for Education, Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Pedagogy, and Climate Change

Graduation Requirements Summary:

  • 72-semester credits completed with satisfactory evaluation by the faculty of all learning/study documents, written materials, and oral presentations within 10 years time
  • Attendance at all required residencies or documentation of prior written approval from the Core Faculty Advisor to miss a specific colloquium and some way to make up for it
  • Foundational courses (18 credits):
  • 4 to 8 mentored study courses: conceptual, integrative, and theoretical in focus area within Sustainability Education (15-23 credits)
  • Advanced Research Methodologies and Methods course (4 credits)
  • Mentored practicum (Optional: maximum of 6 credits)
  • Publishable Qualifying Paper that is reviewed and approved by the Doctoral Committee (1 credit)
  • Approved Dissertation/Project Proposal & Presentation (4 credits)
  • Dissertation/Project & Presentation (minimum 16 credits)


  • Demonstrate sustained growth in their learning of the interdisciplinary field(s) of sustainability education by engaging key scholars, debates, concepts, critiques, and methods from the relevant scholarly fields and movements.
  • Analyze sustainability education as a social and environmental justice phenomenon, expressly employing an equity literacy lens.  
  • Synthesize critical, innovative, and systems thinking skills as reflected in sustainability education theory, inquiry, research, and practice. 
  • Produce and disseminate scholarly knowledge, including: written, visual, and oral products.
  • Build leadership skills that foster environmental and social justice values and pedagogies.
  • Demonstration of competence will occur in the course signature and benchmark assignments, the dissertation


  • College/University Faculty
  • Higher Education Leadership
  • Research Scientist
  • Corporate or Non-Profit Sustainability Director
  • Sustainability Consultant 
  • K-12 Faculty and Administration
  • Educator Professional Development/ Instructional Coach


List of References: Applicants must submit a list of two to four academic or professional references who could be called upon to address your capability to complete graduate-level work. The list must contain the reference's contact information and must briefly explain the relationship to you. You can email your references to Professors, supervisors, and employers are often the best sources. 
Current Resume or Curriculum Vitae: Please email to
Personal Statement*: In one five to seven page paper (using a scholarly citation format such as APA or MLA), please address the following:

  • Why are you applying to this specific program? 

     Please address your: professional and scholarly background as they pertain to the program, distance learning readiness, and alignment with Prescott College’s social and environmental justice-oriented mission and values.

  • What areas of research in Sustainability Education interest you most?

     Please suggest some potential research questions associated with these areas. 

  • What are your goals for obtaining this degree? 

     Goals could address: professional, scholarly, community impact and outreach, dissemination of knowledge, applied research, social and environmental action, and other realms.
*Note: Upon review of your application materials, the committee may request additional application support materials. These may include items such as undergraduate transcripts and/or examples of previous scholarly work. Please email your statement and materials to
Official Transcripts: Official college transcripts showing all graduate-level, post-secondary coursework completed will be required prior to beginning courses with Prescott College. Official transcripts can be submitted electronically by the issuing institution via Parchment or through the mail at:

Office of Admissions
Prescott College
220 Grove Avenue
Prescott, Arizona 86301

All transcripts submitted by mail must arrive in an official sealed envelope from the issuing institution. While unofficial transcripts may be submitted for the admissions committee to begin a preliminary evaluation of an application, official transcripts will be required to provide an official offer of admission.


  • On-campus first-time fall orientation
  • On-campus annual spring colloquium 
Our Faculty

Gretchen Gano

Instruction|Faculty / Director, Core Curriculum