Master of Arts in Global Leadership and Sustainable Development

Master of Arts in Global Leadership and Sustainable Development

Across the world, there is a growing need for sustainable and resilient solutions to many of the complex problems we face. As the need becomes more and more apparent, the demand for sustainability professionals increases as well. The Master of Arts in Global Leadership and Sustainable Development (MAGLSD) is designed to prepare students to lead change initiatives in a globalizing world in the growing field of sustainability. Students learn to search for the underlying causes of global environmental, economic and social problems and design and lead responses that produce sustainable outcomes for the current and future generations.

The Altruist Generation: Students and Sustainability in Hawaiʻi Nei

Randy Gonce, a graduate student earning his Global Leadership degree in Sustainable Development at Hawaiʻi Pacific University, says he’s happiest when he’s giving back.

The MAGLSD program at HPU emphasizes leadership development in the increasingly critical field of sustainability. Through an interdisciplinary approach, the GLSD program builds students’ conceptual and practical skills to think and work holistically across human, social, economic and ecological systems.

HPU attracts students from all fifty United States and more than 65 countries, providing a truly international feel. The GLSD program reflects that diversity. By joining our program, you will share your commitment to sustainability with fellow GLSD students from a wide range of geographic areas and cultural and professional experiences. Furthermore, the environmental surroundings and cultural settings of our unique location in Hawaii provide a rich microcosm in which to explore and implement sustainable practices.

Students who successfully complete the Master of Arts in Global Leadership and Sustainable Development program will:

  • Think systemically and thus identify and analyze the structural causes that underlie global issues and problems.

  • Search collaboratively for solutions to global problems and issues that meet the expectations of multiple stakeholders within ecological limits.

  • Critique events decisions, and issues related to globalization in terms of both their short and long-term consequences across multiple stakeholders, including the natural world.

  • Recognize that the dynamic, complex and interdependent nature of globalization forces requires transparency and democratic processes for optimum solutions if social justice is to be achieved.

  • Analyze global issues using systems thinking concepts and tools, e.g. causal-loop diagrams, timeline analysis, structural analysis.

  • Engage in self-reflection of their leadership potential and put in place a personalized plan to develop the leader within.

  • Conceptualize, initiate, and lead change programs that enhance the sustainable development dimension of human systems.

Individuals wishing to apply to the MAGLSD degree program at HPU are required to submit the following:

  • Application

  • Transcripts

  • Two Letters of Recommendation

  • Statement of Purpose

  • Resume

  • $55 Application Fee

Students from a variety of backgrounds are attracted to this graduate program. Therefore, to ensure each student is adequately prepared for the academic rigors of a graduate-level program, the following courses (or an undergraduate equivalent) must be satisfactorily completed as a foundation for graduate studies:

CSCI 3201 Info Mgmt Using Spreadsheets and Databases or MIS 2000 Info Tools for Business
SOC 3100 Methods of Inquiry
SOC 3200 Social Statistics


Assistant Professor of Anthropology & Sustainability
Program Director, Global Leadership and Sustainable Development Program
Hawai’i Pacific University

Dept. of History & Int'l Studies
500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 6313 (WP5-360-B)
Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone:  808.544.0815 | E-mail:

Recent MAGLSD graduates enjoy rewarding careers at companies around the world, including:

  • Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources

  • Norwegian National Rail Administration

  • Cincinnati Health Department

  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

  • California Center for Sustainable Energy

  • Pacific Northwest Laboratory

Success comes naturally to HPU MAGLSD alumni, including:

  • Lauren Reichelt ('17), Clean Transportation Manager, Blue Planet Foundation
  • Aaron McDonald ('14), Ph.D. student, University of Oregon, Lundquist College of Business
  • Danielle Lien ('13), Coordinator, Green Climate Fund Agency at Conservation International
  • Lauren Ballou (’12), Environmental Planner, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. (VHB), Boston, MA
  • Josh Prigge (’11), Director of Regenerative Development, Fetzer Vineyards
  • Jonathan Chin (’10), Energy Analyst, DBEDT, Honolulu, HI
  • Katie Fisk (’10), Disaster Reservist, FEMA, Denver, Colorado
  • Yasser Alkhalaiwi (’10), Corporate, Litigation and Labor Lawyer, Omar Al Rasheed & Partners Law Firm, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia