Prescott College Sustainability Education (Ph.D.)

Sustainability Education (Ph.D.)

Signature Courses
Sustainability Education and Transformational Change I
Sustainability Theory and Practice in Education II and III
Engaging in Place: An Active Introduction to Civic Ecology
Modes of Scholarly Inquiry, Systems Thinking, and Action Research I and II
Critical Pedagogy for Culturally Responsive Education

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. 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 of human existence depends on adopting an education paradigm that manifests and supports change toward a sustainable, secure society. The Ph.D. Program strives to contribute to synergistic learning and change in consciousness, education, culture, and, ultimately, society.

Program highlights: 

  • New Student Orientation and Residency Requirement 
  • Signature coursework in: Sustainability Theory and Practice for Education, Critical Pedagogy for Culturally Responsive Education, and Sustainability Education

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 (24 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)


  • Ability to see research and practice as socially situated
  • Substantive knowledge of theory and modes of practice in the field
  • Theoretical maturity and critical thinking skills
  • Ability to frame fruitful and relevant research questions and problems
  • Skills to design research by approaching researchable problems with appropriate methods of inquiry
  • Skill in program design and delivery
  • Ability to collect, analyze, and interpret data
  • Skill in oral and written communication for various audiences


  • K-12 Faculty and Administration
  • College Faculty
  • Ecological Designer
  • Environmental Educator
  • Non-Profit Manager
  • Sustainability Project Manager


Two Letters of Recommendation: Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation - at least one of these letters should be from an academic source, addressing your capability to complete graduate-level work. Letters must contain the writer’s contact information and must explain the relationship to you. Letters should be emailed directly to by the recommender, from the recommender’s email address.
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.


  • Requires on-campus orientation
  • Requires on-campus colloquium attendance once/semester
Our Faculty

Ed Boyer

Instruction|Faculty / Director, BA/BS in Environmental Studies


Paul Burkhardt

Presidents Office|Faculty / Executive Vice President and Provost


Gretchen Gano

Instruction|Faculty / Director, Core Curriculum

Sebastienne Grant

Instruction|Faculty / Director, MA in Critical Psychology

Zoe Hammer

Instruction|Faculty / Director, BA in Cultural and Regional Studies and MA i


Denise Mitten

Instruction|Faculty / Director, PhD in Sustainability Education


Calvin Centáe Richards

Instruction|Faculty / Director, Education and Professional Preparation

Forrest Schwartz

Instruction|Faculty / Director, MA in Graduate Adventure Education

Peter Sherman

Instruction|Faculty / Director, MA Environmental Studies