Graduate Certificate in Sustainability

The Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Sustainability at the University of Utah is a collaborative, interdisciplinary program grounding students in science, society and policy in order to effectively address global change and sustainability challenges.

“Having interaction with the scholars of other departments has been a benefit for me…The certificate creates an opportunity for me to learn more about the environmental and legislation challenges related to my research topic.”
 Roohallah Khatami, electrical and computer engineering 
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The Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Sustainability program will train students to think and act across disciplinary boundaries. This transdisciplinary literacy will enhance graduate education by building on disciplinary expertise. Students will be provided opportunities to develop their capacities as transformational change agents within their communities and institutions. This program is a collaboration between the Graduate School, Sustainability Office, and the Global Change and Sustainability Center.

For more information, see the FAQ below or contact Meghan Dovick at

  • Applications for Spring semester are due no later than October 30.
  • Applications for Fall semester are due no later than April 1.

Who can enroll in the Certificate program?

  • Any student enrolled in a graduate degree program at the University of Utah
  • Non-degree-seeking students with a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university

Application and Admission Process

  • University of Utah students should apply for the Certificate program as soon as they decide to pursue it, and must apply to the program prior to the semester of graduation via the online application. (Matriculated, Non-matriculated)
  • Applications will be reviewed twice each year.
  • Applications for Spring semester are due no later than October 30.
  • Applications for Fall semester are due no later than April 1.
  • Applications received after the deadline will be reviewed in the following application cycle.
  • Required for non-matriculated students: (1) confirmation of admission status as non-degree seeking student at the University of Utah, (2) transcripts confirming bachelors degree and GPA.
    • For non-matriculated students, U of U admission dates are different from general admission dates. Please see the Admissions website for current information.


  • Maximum of 4 years for completion
  • Courses must be completed with a grade of B or better
  • Courses used towards completion of the Certificate may also count towards matriculated graduate student Departmental degree requirements, if applicable
  • 9 credits from the Certificate may be applied towards a future graduate degree (applies to non-matriculated students only)
  • Non-matriculated students will need a permission code to enroll in graduate courses

Curriculum Requirements

Students will take two required courses and four elective course (16 credit hours total) that have sustainability course attributes. Such courses integrate fundamental concepts of sustainability including equity, economy, and environment.

Instructors: information on requesting the Sustainability course attribute can be found here

2 core courses (4 credits)
  • SUST 6800  –  Global Change & Sustainability Seminar (1 credit)
  • SUST 6000  –  Global Changes and Society (3 credits)
2 elective courses – SUSC attribute (6 credits)
ARCH 6018 Design/Build Bluff Studio
BIOL 5440/CMP 6610/BIOL 6610 Urban Ecology
CLCS 6900 The Posthuman
COMM 5360/COMM 6360 Environmental Communication
COMM 5365/COMM 6365 Communicating Climate Change
COMM 7200 Environmental Communication
COMM 7310 Communication and Community Engagement
ECE 5630/ECE 6630 Power Systems Economics
ECON 5530/ECON 6530 Principles of Economic Development
EHUM 6101
Foundations of Environmental Humanities
EHUM 6102
Field Methods in Environmental Humanities
EHUM 6103
Ecology of Residency
ENVST 5650 Food for Justice, Health & Sustainability
LAW 7240 Environmental Law and Policy
LAW 7280 International Environmental Law
ME EN 5810/ME EN 6810 Thermal Systems Design
MET E 5780 Metals Manufacturing Processing
PHIL 5540/CVEEN 6480 Hydrotopia: Water Rights and the Environment
PRT 6875
Sustainable Tourism and Protected Area Management
SUST 6000 Global Changes and Society
SUST 6800 Global Change and Sustainability Seminar
SUST 6870/ POLS 6870 Environmental Justice
SW 6101 Practice II


2 elective courses – SUSL OR SUSC attribute (6 credits)

In addition to any the SUSC attribute courses listed above, you may choose to take the following SUSL courses to meet your course requirements. For a complete list of all SUSL courses please see the class schedule for the semester. Navigate to the “other course attributes” link, then select “SUSL.”

ARCH 6030
Urban Design Studio I
ARCH 6236
Cultures and Architecture of the Southwest
ATMOS 6030
Climate Dynamics
CMP 6100
Urban & Planning Theory
CMP 6240
Reason, Power, Values
CMP 6371
Systems Complexity
CMP 6445
Urban Design Studio 
COMM 7460
Seminar/Rhetoric of Soc. Movements
ECON 6560
Gender and Economic Development
ECON 6960
Special Topics: Rigged Economy
ECON 6960
Special Topics: Bayesian Econometrics  | Rigging & Unrigging
ECS 6641
Social Inequality in U.S. Higher Education
ECS 6655
Critical Pedagogy
ECS 7641
Social Inequality in U.S. Higher Education
EHUM 6105
EH Writing Seminar
EHUM 6804
EHUM 6900
Special Topics: Environmental Leadership  |  Field Study  | EH Writing Seminar
ELP 7480
Leadership and Social Justice Theory
H EDU 6040
Applied Resiliency
LAW 7200
Natural Resources
LAW 7230
Water Law
LAW 7260
Environmental Practice
MD ID 6510
Prep for Global Health
PADMN 6550
Nonprofit & NGOs
PHS 6715
Intro to Population Health 2
POLS 6322
Environmental and Sustainability Policy
REDEV 6100
Urban & Planning Theory
REDEV 6371
Systems Complexity
SW 6120
Reflexive Social Work I
SW 6140
Community Strategies
SW 6240
Social Policies


IGCS Total Program Credits:  16 CREDIT HOURS

Keep checking back as we are continuing to update and add additional SUSC and SUSL courses for you to personalize your certificate experience.

Of the four electives, no more than two may be within the student’s home department. One may be within the student’s home college but outside of the student’s home department, and one must be from outside of the student’s home college. (Courses taken at the University of Utah prior to official admission to the program may count towards certificate.)

For questions regarding electives, please contact Meghan Dovick at

Learning Objectives

Students completing the requirements of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Sustainability will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate both depth in a particular thematic area of expertise and breadth in sustainability literacy and key concepts
  2. Utilize systems thinking, life cycle analysis, and other concepts and tools to analyze the complex interconnections among social, economic, and environmental systems
  3. Communicate and collaborate across disciplinary boundaries
  4. Reflect deeply about the ethical practice of sustainability (e.g., recognize inherent conflicts of interest, trade-offs, and moral dilemmas, and discuss them in a way that shows an ability to weigh the pros and cons of complex sustainability strategies, recognize different stakeholder perspectives, and understand that costs and benefits are not equally distributed).
  5. Evaluate and implement visions of sustainable practices and values through the translation of knowledge of sustainability into actions for sustainability.

Application for degree-seeking graduate students

Application for non-matriculated students

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I am a non-matriculated applicant. How do I obtain a uNID (University ID Number)
A. Once you have applied for admission as a non-matriculated student, you will receive a uNID.

Q. What is the tuition for a non-matriculated student?
A. It depends on the courses in which you enroll. Please go here for general graduate tuition information.

Q. When is the application period?
A. Applications will be accepted throughout the year and reviewed as follows:

  • Applications for Spring semester are due no later than October 30.
  • Applications for Fall semester are due no later than April 1.
  • Applications received after the deadline will be reviewed in the following application cycle.

Q. What semester does the program begin?
A. Students may start the program in fall or spring.

Q. I have already taken a course/courses that serve as Certificate electives. Does that credit apply to the Certificate?
A. Students who have previously taken and passed the GCSC seminar course (BIOL 6964/SUST 6800) or Global Changes and Society (BIOL 7961-002/SUST 6000) course may apply those towards completing the Certificate. Other courses may be approved.

Q. How do I know if a class that I have taken or a class I want to take will count toward the certificate?
A. If the class is not listed with the electives on this page, please request approval of a new elective course by completing this form. Send the form along with a copy of the class syllabus to Meghan Dovick.

Q: When will I know if my Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Sustainability Elective Proposal has been approved?
A: All proposals will be reviewed by the Sustainability Education Committee at their meetings on October 6, 2017 and April 6, 2018. Notifications of course approvals will be sent out via email shortly thereafter.

Q. Where can I find the certificate completion plan form?
A. Click here to download the certificate completion plan form.

Q. I have more questions. Who should I contact?
A. Please contact Meghan Dovick at