Admission to the Master of Arts in Urban Sustainability (USMA) Program

This USMA program integrates social, economic, and scientific perspectives in an interdisciplinary curriculum, taking advantage of its unique location in Los Angeles, a context that provides a diverse constellation of urban ecosystem types. In this way, the U.S. program offers advanced education and training of scholars, practitioners, activists, and advocates who will themselves become leaders in the emerging field of urban sustainability. By integrating a low-residency model with a substantial fieldwork component, the program places strong emphasis on putting theory into practice, offering students training for a variety of professional roles for urban centers both nationally and internationally. The low-residency model allows students to pursue fieldwork in their home community—making connections with prospective employers and gaining hands-on learning opportunities related to current issues in the field. 

Students are accepted into the Urban Sustainability Program twice each year – to begin the program in either a Fall/Winter or Spring/Summer semester. For application deadlines, refer to the Academic Calendar or to the AULA website.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to qualify for admission, applicants must supply the following:

  • Evidence of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education. (Note: Evidence of a bachelor’s degree from a non-regionally accredited institution of higher education may be considered, but is at the discretion of the academic program.)
  • Evidence of graduate-level writing and communication ability as demonstrated in the Admissions Dialogue and Essay.
  • Evidence of a strong academic and/or professional record that indicates potential to succeed in the program.
  • Evidence of appropriate experience, goals, and interests that indicate a good fit with the program and potential to be successful in the professional field as provided in the Admissions Dialogue and Essay, previous academic record, resume or curriculum vitae, and an interview.

Fast Track Admission for the USMA Program

Interested BA students who already attend AULA may consider applying for the Fast Track option for the USMA Program. See the Fast Track  section of this catalog for further details.


Admission to the USMA + Integrated Geographic Information Systems  (GIS) Certificate

The admissions requirements for the USMA/GIS Certificate program are the same as those for the standalone USMA program.  An applicant may indicate on the application an intention to complete the integrated programs. Students who apply only to the USMA program may, with the advice of their USMA Mentor, elect to add the GIS option in Semester 2.  Their program requirements would change as follows and as described above.

Overall units: 36 semester units

  • Four semesters

  • Seven residencies

  • Six units of GIS coursework

  • Maximum time to completion becomes 6 semesters

  • Successful completion of all required coursework as a prerequisite to registering for capstone