An Experiential Learning Program
What is Sustainability?

Sustainability refers to an ongoing effort to find balance between the goals of our human systems and the capacity of our natural resources to support those goals. In other words, finding the best way to continue having a quality modern life, without abusing and depleting all of the resources that make it possible. There is also a social component to sustainability, in which these goals apply fairly and justly to all members of our society. Economic stability is another important area of focus as we seek to maintain access to goods, services, and investments that are profitable, while also being responsible.

What is a Certificate in Sustainability?

The KU Certificate in Sustainability is an academic program that enables students, regardless of their major discipline, to gain experience and knowledge of sustainability concepts. Completion of the certificate will be acknowledged on student transcripts.

Why earn a Certificate in Sustainability?

Understanding of sustainability concepts can enhance any career field. Adding the Sustainability Certificate to your degree portfolio will allow you to demonstrate to employers that you can bring sustainable values and knowledge to the workplace. 

What is Experiential Learning?

Let's visit the KU Experiential Learning page to find out!

My degree has nothing to do with the environment. Why would I consider a Certificate in Sustainability?

There is much more to sustainability than environmental issues. While the resources we depend on come from the environment, we also need to examine how we allocate, manage, market and trade these resources. Social workers, business persons, financial analysts, teachers, local government workers, and lawyers - to name a few - are all able to contribute to a goal of sustainability in their professions and their communities.

I've already taken courses from each of the course categories, but more than one is from my major (or minor). Can I still count them toward the certificate?

No. Only one qualifying certificate course can be from both your major(s) and/or minor(s), this includes any cross-listed courses. With the exception of the Global Environment series; in this case both classes in the series count toward your foundational requirement.

Does the Global Environment series count as one or two courses toward the certificate?

The Global Environment series, 140 and 142 combined, can be used as your foundational course. For Environmental Studies students, an additional course from both Physical Systems and Human Systems is required. Neither may be from or cross-list with your major or minor.

I have taken or am enrolled in a class not listed in the qualifying course list and I want to see if it can count toward the certificate.

There are numerous courses offered at KU that would complement the certificate coursework. To see if a particular course would make an appropriate substitute, check out the criteria for each category of courses, then email to discuss your proposed course substitution.

Do transfer courses count toward the certificate?

Courses that are recognized as transfer equivalents to KU can count toward the certificate; however, at least one of your certificate courses must be taken at KU. To find out if a course is a transfer equivalent check

Does it matter what grade I earn in a qualifying course?

Yes. You must earn a "C" or better in any courses you wish to count toward the certificate, as is the requirement for all experiential learning certificates at KU.

I participated in a learning experience that dealt with sustainability a few years ago. Can I count it toward the certificate?

Probably not. Experiences may be retroactively considered if they began or were completed within the current or previous semester. An Experience Proposal is still required and is subject to the approval of the Certificate Coordinator. Site satisfaction form will need to be completed retroactively and proof of time demonstrated in some form. It is a good idea to contact the Certificate Coordinator at to discuss a previous experience before pursuing paperwork.

I am working toward another KU certificate and my experiential learning component will/does focus on sustainability. Can I count it toward the sustainability certificate too?

Maybe! If your experiential learning for another certificate meets all of the guidelines of the sustainability certificate, it may be eligible to apply toward both. Please contact the Certificate Coordinator to discuss. An Experience Proposal is still required and is subject to the approval.

I am from a community organization or campus department and I am seeking a certificate student to help with a sustainability-related project or effort.

Great! Simply complete the simply online form and the Certificate Coordinator will follow up with you. 

I am ready to get started. How do I register?

Email for more information on how to get started.

Spring 2019 Deadline

Students graduating in May 2019 should complete and submit all certificate requirements by Friday, May 24 at 5pm

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