The certificate in sustainability is focused on developing sustainability problem solving skills to address pressing complex sustainability challenges. The certificate requires a minimum of 12 credit hours and is available to all students. Sustainability involves balancing human aspirations for a good quality of life with the environmental quality and resource needs of future generations. Advancing sustainability requires understanding interactions between ecological and social systems in order to design actions inspired by beneficiaries’ needs. The sustainability certificate will help students pursue careers in fast-growing green job and non-profit sectors of clean energy, resource conservation, transportation efficiency, pollution prevention, waste elimination, second-generation biofuels, green building and infrastructure design, as well as human rights and community devolvement.
Sustainability, as a subject area, is vast in the academic disciplines and societal sectors it encompasses; no single academic field can claim sole ownership. The knowledge and skills needed to address pressing complex problems are not STEM-only, humanities-only or business-only. Sustainability requires diverse teams of actors with different areas of expertise in the environmental and social sciences, as well as the arts and humanities to solve complex social-environmental challenges. Thus, a science of sustainability is interdisciplinary, collaborative, rooted in systems theory and focuses on problems rather than disciplines.
To earn the certificate, students complete 12 credit hours including one 3-credit introductory course (ENV SC 2600/BIOL EN 2600), 6 credit hours of complementary approved electives, and 3 credit hours of an approved capstone course where students combine their disciplinary lenses to engage in real-world problems solving.