A research thesis demonstrates your ability to conduct original research. This is done under the supervision of a faculty member who guides the student, helps develop a sound research question, and assists in finding an appropriate method.
Your masters research should be original and contribute to the existing body of knowledge. The Sustainability Management masters thesis will be about 100 pages and completed theses are published on UW Space.
Refer to our guide for graduate research and supervision for more detailed information.
Finding a supervisor
When considering your ideas for a research topic begin by looking for a professor who might able to supervise you:
- Look through the SEED professor profiles and check out what research topics they are interested in.
- Investigate more into those professors who interest you, beginning with their Waterloo webpage. Look for what “current projects” they are doing, browse SEED's research pages and note the names of graduate students they have supervised.
- Dig deeper into the research done by professors, look through their projects or read their recent publications, for example by using Google Scholar or ResearchGate.
- See what previous graduate students have done for their research and see which professor has supervised which students. You can access our community list of student theses for SUSM on UWSpace, and search UWSpace by student, supervisor or subject.
- Contact a professor directly if you might be interested in working with them. Each supervisor will have their own requirements and opportunities. Sometimes professors are seeking students to work on specific research projects; other times they may be more or less open to interested applicants.
Below is a list of SEED's faculty members. More information on each is available by clicking their name or going to the SEED people profiles. You can also consider supervisors from elsewhere in the Faculty of Environment.
- Sustainable Communities: Implementation of collaborative regional (or community) sustainability plans and local sustainable development and the engagement of stakeholders / partners
- Sustainable Campuses: Institutionalizing campus environmental management in Canada
- Social Entrepreneurship / Green Jobs: Enabling environmental change through youth-led social ventures (or initiatives) and defining the local green economy
International environmental law, global environmental politics or related disciplines with interests in research on the law and governance of areas beyond national jurisdiction
Particular interest in comparative analysis of the structure of global commons legal regimes, such as the deep sea bed, the high seas, outer space or Antarctica is preferred
- Life cycle sustainability assessment of food and agricultural systems; health and environmental implications of dietary patterns; eco-labeling and certification of food systems
Planning for food secure cities in the Global South with a focus on Africa
The Hungry Cities Project operates in China, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, Mozambique and South Africa
- Social innovation; social entrepreneurship; social finance; social innovation labs; youth employment; peer-based pedagogy; non-profit and co-operative governance; voting systems in decision-making; and participatory governance
- Innovation and entrepreneurship in rural and northern regions
- Regional economic development planning, policy and practice
- Community readiness and community impacts related to natural resource development
- Exploring resource dependency of future clean energy systems with a focus on metals, material and energy flow analysis, resource criticality assessment, waste management, and life cycle assessment
- e-Waste and circular economy
- Corporate greening
- Green and social entrepreneurship
- Energy efficiency/green buildings
- Sustainable transportation
- Waste minimization
- The understanding of complex human-environment connections (or disconnections) with particular attention to change, its drivers, their influence and possible ways to deal with them
- Commons, environmental governance, social-ecological system resilience, environmental justice, political ecology
- Growing the green economy
- Incubators: innovation and partnerships
- Community energy planning and low carbon strategies
- Sustainable energy policy, residential energy efficiency
- Smart grid technology and household engagement
- Renewable energy and remote First Nation communities
- Research on understanding the metabolism of local rural systems and their long-term dynamics using biophysical variables, such as material and energy flows, land use, and time-use
- The Role of Biodiversity in Climate Change Mitigation in Latin America
- Environmental Justice Organizations, Liabilities and Trade
- Africa; water management; environmental politics; the south in globalization; natural resources governance
- Innovative strategies designed to reduce the economic impacts of extreme weather and climate change within the financial sector
- Economic geography
- Urban and regional economic development and policy
- Creative and cultural economy of cities
- Labour market dynamics and workforce development
- Design, innovation and technological change
- Sustainable finance: The impact of social finance, microfinance and impact investment – analyses, measurement and indicators
- Sustainability strategies for the financial sector: What is the sustainability case for banks, insurances and institutional investors?
- Current SSHRC funded project on the impact of voluntary codes of conduct and financial sector sustainability regulations on the sustainability performance of banking, project financing, and investing. Students interested in this field are offered a graduate research scholarship for one term.
- Business sustainability
- Resilience, scale, decision-making environmental performance
How can material resources be managed sustainably and responsibly?
Developing Ontario's circular economy through reuse, remanufacturing and recycling
Conflict minerals, responsible sourcing and metals global supply-chains
Management and policy use of sustainability standards, third-party auditing and certifications of companies and products
Past research theses
For a look at the theses submitted by past Sustainability Management students, see the UWSpace page.