Sustainable Tourism, MST

The master of sustainable tourism degree is a unique and innovative new program that addresses the growing demand for tourism professionals who are trained in applying the three pillars of sustainability to tourism development.

Please note that all courses are offered as online format only.

The master of sustainable tourism (MST) is offered by the School of Community Resources and Development. It is an online degree program intended for professionals who desire to tackle sustainability challenges in the tourism industry. The MST degree is a unique and innovative new program that addresses the growing demand for tourism professionals who are trained in applying the three pillars of sustainability to tourism development. The program provides an opportunity to obtain an advanced degree that considers the unique sustainability issues inherent in communities with a tourism sector.

Students in the master of sustainable tourism program receive a comprehensive education with a focus on the environmental, economic and social aspects of tourism, equipping them with the skills necessary to create pioneering sustainable development solutions to the challenges facing tourism today. This holistic curriculum focuses on integrating sustainability into existing tourism theories and concepts. The program prepares future sustainable tourism professionals to meet the increasing demand for people trained in sustainability practices and the application of those practices in tourism. The proliferation of organizations such as Sustainable Travel International, National Geographic’s Center for Sustainable Destinations, the International Ecotourism Society, and the Sustainable Tourism Stewardship Council among many others, points to the growing importance of this field. Many of the large hotel chains, airlines, attractions companies, and convention and visitor bureaus have instituted sustainability practices. Even the United States Agency for International Development website has an entire section devoted to sustainable tourism development and has supported numerous sustainable tourism projects in a diversity of countries.

Students are admitted as a cohort in the fall semester and follow either a one-year or two-year plan including summer courses. Students take core required courses and select from a small number of elective courses under the advisement of the program director. The program includes an applied project that allows students to integrate knowledge from the entire program.

MST program details

The MST consists of a minimum of 31 credit hours. Students are required to take 28 credits of core coursework, four units of which are an applied project that is completed at the end of the student's program of study. The course is integrative and case-based allowing students to synthesize material from prior coursework. Students also complete three credits of related elective coursework.

One-year accelerated plan (12 months)

Fall Semester:

  • TDM 520  Sustainable Thinking I (3 credits—Fall A)
  • TDM 521  Sustainable Thinking II (3 credits—Fall B)
  • CRD 569  Advanced Tourism Studies (3 credits—Fall A)
  • TDM 570  Sustainable Tourism (3 credits—Fall B)

Spring Semester:

  • TDM 530  Sustainable Destination Planning and Management I (3 credits—Spring A)
  • TDM 531  Sustainable Destination Planning and Management II (3 credits—Spring B)
  • TDM 540  Sustainable Food Management in Tourism (3 credits—Spring A)
  • TDM 550  Managing the Sustainable Tourism Business (3 credits—Spring B)

Summer Session:

  • TDM 593  Applied Project (4 credits)

Choose one from:

  • TDM 448  Cultural and Heritage Tourism (3 credits)
  • TDM 458  International Tourism (3 credits)

Two-year plan (24 months)

Fall Semester 1:

  • TDM 520  Sustainable Thinking I (3 credits—Fall A)
  • TDM 521  Sustainable Thinking II (3 credits—Fall B)

Spring Semester 2:

  • TDM 530  Sustainable Destination Planning and Management I (3 credits—Spring A)
  • TDM 531  Sustainable Destination Planning and Management II (3 credits—Spring B)

Summer Session:

Choose one from:

  • TDM 448  Cultural and Heritage Tourism (3 credits)
  • TDM 458  International Tourism (3 credits)

Fall Semester 2:

  • CRD 569  Advanced Tourism Studies (3 credits—Fall A)
  • TDM 570  Sustainable Tourism (3 credits—Fall B)

Spring Semester 2:

  • TDM 540  Sustainable Food Management in Tourism (3 credits—Spring A)
  • TDM 550  Managing the Sustainable Tourism Business (3 credits—Spring B)

Summer Session:

  • TDM 593  Applied Project (4 credits)

MST Admission Requirements and Application Process

  • This program is offered to online through ASU Online. You can view the ASU Online website for more information about Online programs. You may apply to the program through the program’s link on the ASU Online website or through the Graduate Education website.
  • You will apply for admission to Graduate College at ASU. There is an online application. You will be required to pay a $70 nonrefundable application fee (non-U.S. citizen fee is $90). You will receive an emailed acknowledgement letter from Graduate College that will include an ID number and information on how to access your My ASU page. You may check your application status on My ASU.
  • You must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent), from an accredited College or University of recognized standing, in a related field such as tourism, hospitality, sustainability, environmental studies, business, geography, or planning. The minimum GPA requirement for the bachelor's degree must be equivalent to a 3.0 or "B" average in the last 60 credit hours of the degree.  Official transcripts must be submitted to Graduate Education.  In the online application process, you will be required to submit a written professional statement of no more than three pages describing your purpose in pursuing the Master’s degree. In addition, a current resume will be required outlining your previous professional activities.
  • The online application will require three letters of recommendation from current or former employers, current or former faculty members, or others who are familiar with your scholarly and professional abilities and characteristics. You will need the name, email address, title and organization from whom you will be requesting recommendations. Your three recommenders will be emailed a link to complete an online recommendation form.
  • International students must meet the minimum English proficiency requirement established by Graduate College.
  • Additional information for international students can be found on the Graduate College site.

Admission decisions are made as soon as all of the application materials have been received. Students are admitted for fall, spring, or summer. 

  • July 15 for fall admission
  • November 15 for spring admission
  • May 15 for summer admission

Applications are accepted after these dates up until one week before the semester start date with a late fee.

Please note: Because ASU receives applications from many highly qualified students, some applicants may be denied admission for reasons not related to their academic performance (e.g., program capacity, mentor availability, program match).

Contact information

For general questions about the Master of Sustainable Tourism, contact us at (602) 496-0550 or email at scrd@asu.edu.

You may also wish to contact the Program Director, Dr. Rebekka Goodman, with questions or help with planning your program. Contact Dr. Goodman at (602) 496-0550 or by e-mail at rebekka.goodman@asu.edu.