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Certificate in Sustainability


Westerhof (left) and Sean Plenner.Sustainability is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Accomplishing this goal requires an understanding of human and environmental systems and the complex interactions between them.

Because sustainability embraces many disciplines, methodologies, and institutional practices, certificate students must have knowledge of the multidisciplinary breadth of the field, which is represented by the program’s four areas of breadth electives: changing environments and human health; energy, climate, and built environments; the power of culture and society; and ethics, economics, and public policy. They also must have experience with analyzing real-life problems in and outside of the classroom and with working collaboratively to solve such problems.

This is a program at the University of Iowa that draws on a number of different disciplines to create a 24 semester hour certificate that will give you the knowledge and skills to contribute to developing sustainable systems. Students who earn the certificate will enhance their preparation for a variety of vocations such as researcher, corporate officer, technology specialist, farmer, government official, and grassroots advocate.

UI students learn about wind power through several different courses.

UI students learn about wind power through several different courses.


Students complete three introductory courses; four breadth electives-one from each of the program’s four elective areas; and one project course. They may be able to count some courses taken for the certificate toward requirements for their major or for a minor. No more than three certificate courses may be taken from a single department or program. Students must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 2.00 in all certificate course work. A maximum of 6 s.h. of approved transfer credit may be counted toward the certificate. Learn more in the UI General Catalog…


How can I declare the Sustainability Certificate?

Contact Frank Yoder, certificate coordinator, at C210 Pomerantz Center (353-5700) or contact the Academic Program Services office at 120 Schaeffer Hall (335-2633).

Can a student get a certificate after they have earned an undergraduate degree?

Yes. Certificates need to be attached to an undergraduate degree so if they have earned an undergraduate degree at Iowa or at another college or university, they can earn a Certificate in Sustainability.

Can a graduate student earn a Certificate in Sustainability?

Graduate students cannot earn undergraduate certificates while they are enrolled as graduate students.

Contact Us

Jenni Stacy-Adams
C210 Pomerantz Center
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Last modified on July 28th, 2015
Posted on August 16th, 2013