By Sarah Lappé, Sustainability Office Outreach Coordinator
When discussing the topics of climate change, sustainability and the environment, we are often asked the open-ended question, “What can I do?” At the U, we believe that through interdisciplinary education and collaborations we can build a foundation to better prepare students to answer that question, as well as prepare them for the changing job market and emerging opportunities.
To create the foundation, the University of Utah is now offering the Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Sustainability, which enhances graduate-level education by offering courses in a variety of areas that will help develop students’ knowledge and skills to better equip them to address the complex problems facing our planet.
Through the Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Sustainability program, students will expand their career opportunities as well as their capacities to be agents of transformational change within their communities and institutions. Institutions and companies are beginning to recognize the importance of sustainability in their organizations as it pertains to the triple bottom line—people, planet and profit—and to the organization’s overall success. In addition, employees are seeking to work in places that value sustainability. As the needs of employees and companies are coming together around sustainability, the job market is ripe for graduates of this new certificate.
The University of Utah launched the new Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Sustainability in January 2015. The certificate is the result of collaboration between the Global Change and Sustainability Center, the Graduate School, and the Sustainability Office. It is open to graduate students in any program at the University of Utah, and it also is available as a stand-alone program for non-degree seeking students with a bachelor’s degree.
The core curriculum is designed to bring students together from across campus to create a cohort experience, and it will emphasize systems thinking, interdisciplinary communication and collaboration skills and teamwork. The program also aims to provide students with opportunities to be involved with campus and community sustainability efforts.
- One credit Global Change and Sustainability Center seminar
- Three credit project-based course on “Global Changes and Society”
- One “gateway” course focused on chosen Certificate theme (themes are chosen by the student to incorporate interests and fields of study)
- Three sustainability electives that focus on societal, policy/economics and environmental science aspects of sustainability
The certificate provides many benefits, including: learning the mechanics of academic research; communicating and collaborating across broad disciplinary boundaries; and enhancing graduate education. Additionally, students can qualify for in-state tuition through Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. The certificate can be a key to opening up new doors and opportunities for your current degree, for future employment, and for the future sustainability of our planet and society.