A new program offered by the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and School of Arts and Sciences enables graduate students to earn a dual master of business administration-master of environmental studies degree in three years or less, the university says.

The program is intended to groom its participants for global leadership roles in environmental management, finance and other business specialties, according to the university.

In creating the program, the University of Pennsylvania joins about 30 other colleges and universities around the world that now offer advanced degrees in courses of study that focus on sustainability and other green issues, according to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

There are 13 MBA programs on sustainable enterprise in the United States and one in Norway, according to AASHE.  Another 16 universities in the U.S. and Canada have MBA programs that emphasize, concentrate or specialize in environmentally and socially responsible business, the organization says.

At the University of Pennsylvania, the students in the program will take business classes full-time for three semesters at Wharton and spend a year in SAS's College of Liberal and Professional Studies, which oversees the environmental studies portion.

"Wharton is very pleased to establish this new multi-disciplinary degree that advances educational goals in both the business and environmental studies disciplines," said Eric Orts, a professor of legal studies and business ethics and director of the Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership at Penn/Wharton, in a statement. "It is a good example of the Penn Compact's promise to integrate knowledge across disciplines."

IGEL is supported by a group of leading companies, including BASF, GE, Exelon, Goldman Sachs, Interface, International Paper, Merck, Rohm & Haas, Suez Environnement and Xerox.