University of Washington's graduate degree program perfect for cycling and sustainable transportation advocates

Guest blog by Ed McCormack, Director, Master of Sustainable Transportation Program at the University of Washington. Pictured above: 2016 program graduate Brian Wood (left, center) and graduation day (right)

What if you could combine your passion for cycling with work in sustainable transportation?
Brian Wood recently started working as a planner for the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Active Transportation Section, which focuses on bike and pedestrian mobility.  This is an ideal job for Brian, who is a dedicated cyclist.  How did he get a position that combines his love of cycling with collecting a paycheck?  Brian is a 2016 graduate of the University of Washington’s Master of Sustainable Transportation, which made him the winning candidate for this position.  And since this degree program is part-time and online, Brian started the degree while working as a high school science teacher.  The MST degree led to a transportation planner position at Island County and ultimately to his new job supporting active transportation.

Keep your current job and get a degree that recognizes the important role of bicyclists 
The Master of Sustainable Transportation degree is designed specifically for people who want to become more competitive or change careers while keeping their current job.  The degree taps into a strong market for transportation planners and engineers who understand that transportation systems are integral to supporting our communities’ environmental, social, and economic needs.  Our graduates work for a wide variety of organizations, both public and private, ranging from our national DOT to regional transit organizations to small communities.  Given the nature of the program, a number of our students, much like Brian Wood, are actively involved in bicycle advocacy.

How does the program work?
The Sustainable Transportation program is an online degree offered through the UW’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The degree can be completed in three years (nine quarters) on a part-time basis, and we have students from around the U.S.  
Most incoming students have educational and professional backgrounds in civil engineering, urban planning and design, public affairs and policy, environmental science, or economics, but people from other professions are also admitted.  If you are not sure about a three-year commitment, there is also a one-year long, non-degree certificate option.

What do students learn?
The curriculum is multi-disciplinary and includes diverse topics such as planning for livable communities, environmental issues and impacts, policy development, heath, and economics.  Our professors, all PhDs, come from a range of educational backgrounds and professions.  And as you know, biking, as a mode of transportation, supports sustainability by reducing roadway congestion, cutting emissions, and promoting health, so the program integrates bike planning into a number of classes.

Find out more
To find out more about the Master of Sustainable Transportation, check out our website at: https://www.sustainable-transportation.uw.edu/. We are taking applications for this coming fall.  The site includes the schedule for our periodic informational webinar, application information, tuition rates, and much more.  You can also email the program’s director, Ed McCormack at edm@uw.edu or the program’s academic advisor, Jen Ross at jenross1@uw.edu.

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