Sustainability requires innovation and leadership, on the part of public and private partners working together to solve complex problems at multiple scales. Our Executive Master of Natural Resources (XMNR) program emphasizes the need for effective partnerships involving interdisciplinary, multi-institutional, and cross-cultural collaboration among business, civil society, and government. Our students work in teams to develop solutions to real world problems. All aspects of the program — including coursework, the international residency, and capstone directed study projects — are designed to bring about institutional and policy change, as well as personal and cultural transformation.
- Timeline: 14 months
- Orientation Session
- New students begin the program each January
- Classes meet one weekend each month (e.g., Friday afternoon and Saturday)
- International Residency (10 days)
- Capstone Directed Study Projects
Virginia Tech’s Executive Master of Natural Resources (XMNR) program is an accelerated, 14-month graduate degree for full-time working professionals with significant prior work experience. Students represent a wide range of organizations in the public and private sectors throughout the Washington, DC region and beyond. Immediate program outcomes include organizational and policy changes while long-term outcomes include personal and cultural transformation.
In January of each year, a new cohort of students starts the program and begins a rigorous process of peer-to-peer experiential learning and collaborative problem-solving. By focusing on the needs of their own organizations and the needs of others, students gain a robust understanding of the opportunities to address a broad range of sustainability challenges in local communities and throughout global society. During the program, students work individually and in interdisciplinary teams to develop strategies for real-world challenges. Major elements of the XMNR program include an orientation session; series of core courses, learning modules, and skill development seminars; international residency project and study tour; and, capstone directed study projects.
All aspects of the curriculum emphasize the development of advanced leadership, management, and administrative skills for achieving local, regional, and global sustainability goals. Students graduate with competencies in leading people, leading change, business and political acumen, and demonstrated results for their respective employer. The program emphasizes a broad range of leadership skills and executive core qualifications identified by public and private sector employers, including interpersonal and organizational communication; financial, information and technology management; program evaluation and policymaking; marketing and public relations; partnerships, team building and conflict resolution; entrepreneurship, innovation and resilience.
- Undergraduate degree
- Prior work experience
- Application Form
- Goal Statement
- Recommendation letters
- $75 non-refundable application fee
- Rolling admissions. Process takes approximately 2-3 weeks. Note: Apply as soon as possible; the program fills each year.
This 2-day session (Friday and Saturday) builds a sense of community and commitment to teamwork among the cohort. Activities focus on group dynamics, learning styles, and conflict management strategies. Students meet with XMNR faculty and are introduced to university resources and services including the Library and Institute for Distance and Distributed Learning.
A series of core courses and learning modules, including professional skill development seminars, provide the foundation for the XMNR program. Core courses focus on the development of strategic leadership, management, and administration skills for achieving local, regional, and global sustainability goals.
Specific topics and content varies according to the needs of the students in each cohort. Students gain competencies in leading people, leading change, business and political acumen, and demonstrated results for their respective employer. For more information, see the Core Competencies section of this website.
The International Residency is a distinctive 10-day experience planned and organized specifically for each cohort. The purpose is to network with international partners and learn about multi-scale strategies for global sustainability. Students gain a better understanding of the opportunities and constraints for working internationally and in an increasingly global society. Specific locations and topics vary but will likely focus on green infrastructure and sustainable development in Morocco, Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey, India, and/or China.
Capstone Projects take a variety of forms depending on individual student interests and provide an opportunity for each student to reflect on the program and apply lessons learned to their own organization. The final product is the result of a 9-month process where each student works closely with a team of faculty and peer advisors to compete a project of their own design.
Admission requirements include an interview with the Director, significant prior work experience, completion of an undergraduate degree, and a completed application package including transcripts, resume, goal statement and letters of recommendation.
Financial aid is available to XMNR students in the form of scholarships and loans. Most students opt for the Federal Stafford Loans to cover costs of attending the program.
We encourage our applicants to involve their management and human resource decision-makers early on in the application process. This allows employers to understand an applicant’s motivation for pursuing the XMNR degree and appreciate the benefits of having their employees participate in the program.
Leadership and sustainability are complex issues that benefit from collaboration and teamwork. Our program emphasizes peer-to-peer learning through a collaborative, team-based approach to problem-solving. Faculty co-teach the courses and facilitate the learning experience.
We recognize that grades are a way to measure on-going progress in the program for the student as well as for their institutional sponsors. We provide registration letters and grade letters as needed. Each course grade is a combination of individual and team deliverables, presentations and special projects. How these components are weighed varies from one class to the next.
- Tuition and fees
- Books, supplies and course materials
- A laptop with a full array of accessories configured to facilitate learning and team dynamics
- Friday night lodging, meals and parking during weekend class meetings
- International Residency: round-trip international airfare, lodging and meals
- $42,000 for in-state
- $62,000 for out-of-state
Financial aid is available to XMNR students in the form of scholarships and loans. Most students opt for the Scholarships, Federal Stafford Loans, and Graduate Plus Loans. For more information on financial aid options, please visit Virginia Tech’s Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.
This core competency reflects strategic leadership skills as identified in public and private sector professional development programs such as Senior Executive Service of the Office of Personnel Management.
This core competency reflects multi-scale issues identified by organizations such as the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE), Ecological Society of America (ESA), US Green Building Council (USGBC), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
This core competency reflects core requirements for graduate programs such as Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Public Administration (MPA), and Master of Organizational Development (MOD).
The International Residency is a distinctive 10-day experience planned and organized for each cohort. The purpose is to network with global partners and apply lessons learned during the program to develop multi-scale strategies for global sustainability.
Students gain a better understanding of the opportunities and constraints for working internationally and in an increasingly global society. Locations vary and include diverse places and topics of interest to faculty and students.