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Sustainability, Society, and Business

Elective Course Guide

Description of careers for which concentration prepares students:
Business is increasingly involved in social and environmental issues. On the one hand, governments, consumers, and civil-society organizations are exerting increasing pressure on the business sector to help address the world’s pressing social and environmental sustainability challenges, and on the other, a growing number of for-profit, not-for-profit, and hybrid enterprises are seeking to respond proactively to these challenges. This Concentration prepares students to help shape solutions to social and environmental sustainability challenges, working from sustainability and CSR positions within business, from leadership roles in environmental organizations and social enterprises, and from entrepreneurial ventures in these sectors.

Description of the academic content and requirements for concentration:
This concentration has two tracks – Environmental and Social. They are best seen as complementary, but you can complete either one or both of them combined. The concentration requires at least 12 units.

Required for the Concentration (at least one of the following):
Environmental track:
 MOR-566: Environmental Sustainability and Competitive Advantage
Social track: BAEP-591: Social Entrepreneurship

Required for the Concentration (at least 3 units from the following):
BAEP-564: Investing in Impact Ventures (3)
FBE-557: Business Law and Ethics (3)
GSBA-554: Digital Strategies for Sustainability in Global Markets (3)
DSO-505: Sustainable Supply Chains (1.5)
DSO-506: Sourcing and Supplier Management (1.5)

Electives (remaining units to total 12):
ARCH 519: Sustainability in the Environment: Infrastructures, Urban Landscapes, and Buildings (3)
CMGT-577: Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility (4)
ENE-502: Environmental and Regulatory Compliance (3) 
ENST-530: Environmental Risk Analysis (4) or 
PPD-587: Risk Analysis (4)
ISE-576: Industrial Ecology: Technology-Environment Interaction (3) 
LAW-655: Environmental Law (units vary by semester) 
PPD-568: Environmental Governance and Sustainability (2)
PPD-688: Business and Public Policy (4)
PPD-689: The Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy (4)
PPDE-632: Sustainable Cities (4)
PPDE-660: Environmental Policy Design and Analysis (4)
xxx-592: Field Research (.5-4) subject to approval by one of the Concentration advisors (application required)
xxx-593: Independent Research (.5-4) subject to approval by one of the Concentration advisors (application required)

Concentration Advisors: 
Prof. Paul Adler, USC Marshall School of Business 
Prof. Adlai Wertman, USC Marshall School of Business

Graduate Certificate in Sustainability and Business

For individuals interested in a more structured approach to sustainability, Marshall offers a Graduate Certificate in Sustainability and Business. Units earned in the process of completing the certificate can be applied to the MBA, MMS, MSBA and some other master's degree programs at USC as long as the certificate is completed before or in the same semester as the master's degree. Completion of the program does require a formal application and admission. Applications to the Graduate Certificate are submitted on-line. Successful completion of the Graduate Certificate program is documented on the graduate's USC transcript and acknowledged with a diploma issued by USC. For more information visit here.

Master of Science in Social Entrepreneurship

For individuals especially interested in enterprises that balance social missions with their business missions, Marshall offers the Master of Science in Social Entrepreneurship. For more information visit here.

Note: Many non-business classes require a D clearance to register. Check the Schedule of Classes (www.usc.edu/soc) for the appropriate phone number or email address and request your D clearance early.
Law: MBA students are welcome to register for law classes after the JD and LLM students register. If there is space available in a course, graduate students from other USC departments wishing to enroll need to obtain the permission of the instructor via a signature on one of the law school's academic petition forms. In lieu of a signature we have accepted an e-mail from the instructor approving the student's enrollment.

Nine-unit Limit:

Students earning a Marshall master's degree are expected to complete their graduate electives within the Marshall School of Business by taking courses that begin with prefixes ACCT, BAEP, BUCO, DSO, FBE, GSBA, MKT, and MOR.

MBA students: Unless the student is completing a dual degree program, MBA students may complete up to nine units of graduate-level course work at USC outside the Marshall School of Business for elective credit. A request for an exception to take a non-Marshall course must be submitted via petition (Marshall General Petition Form) to the student's program office prior to registering for the course. Units beyond the maximum 9.0 units are not counted toward the student’s MBA degree.

  • An exception is made for those students completing the Business of Entertainment Certificate through the School of Cinematic Arts, which requires 4 Cinema courses (16.0 non-Marshall units). 
  • For MBA students who participate in Marshall’s International Exchange Program, a maximum of 15.0 units of USC-500O may be applied to the MBA degree.  No other non-Marshall coursework may be applied to the MBA degree.
  • Further exceptions to the maximum 9.0 units of non-Marshall course policy are rarely approved, and only if the student is on the Dean’s List with a minimum GPA of 3.60, coupled with a compelling reason for why the course uniquely aligns with their academic and career goals. 
  • Only courses beginning with the Marshall prefixes may be applied to the Marshall portion of a dual degree program.

MS, MMS, and Graduate Certificate students: Students in MS, the MMS, and Graduate Certificate programs may not apply non-Marshall courses to their degree unless (a) the courses are included in the published curriculum of the program or (b) permission is granted by the Academic Director of the program prior to taking the course. A request for an exception must be submitted via petition (Marshall General Petition Form) to the student's program office prior to registering for the course.