Degrees and Certification Programs
The Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) developed a campuswide, interdisciplinary undergraduate minor in sustainability, named the Sustainability, Energy, and Environment Fellows Program (SEE FP).
But iSEE wants to encourage all U of I students who are interested in degrees or certifications in sustainability, and so we have compiled a list of other such options across campus below. If you find a resource that should be added to this page, please contact us!
NEW: Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Design, College of Fine & Applied Arts. Incorporating the disciplines of design, architecture, landscape architecture, and urban and regional planning, this undergraduate major focuses on the places, things, systems, and policies needed to help solve problems in a sustainable society. Students experience an innovative, interdisciplinary, and unique course of study that prepares them to enter jobs in the public or private sector guiding institutions and society to greater sustainability or continue their educational pursuits in a variety of graduate programs.
Agricultural and Consumer Economics concentration in Environmental Economics and Policy. Students learn how to assess the economic aspects of resource and environmental issues such as mining, forest production, recycling, and waste disposal. Resource and environmental economists work in legislative offices, interest groups, and agencies, including agriculture, environmental protection, conservation land management, and transportation agencies.
Civil and Environmental Engineering primary program in Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure Systems. Programs developed in response to such forces as globalization, sustainability requirements, emerging technology, and increased complexity. Primary develops core technical competency in systems analysis, which creates knowledge and skills that are essential for holistically planning, designing, and managing infrastructure systems and their interactions for sustainability and resilience.
Civil and Environmental Engineering program in Water Resources Engineering and Science. Hydrologic and hydraulic engineers are responsible for the planning, design, operation, and management of surface and ground water systems, preservation and enhancement of the natural river and watershed environment, design and construction of water control facilities, and conservation of water resources.
Civil and Environmental Engineering program in Energy-Water-Environment Sustainability. EWES is a new cross-cutting program focused onproviding and supporting sustainable solutions for the exploration, production, delivery and use of energy, and their intersection with water and the natural and built environment. The enables students interested in a cross-disciplinary civil and environmental engineering education to earn a degree that focuses on integrating scientific principles, engineered processes, and systems analyses to address diverse challenges related to society’s growing energy needs and their nexus with water and the environment.
Civil and Environmental Engineering sustainability specialty area within Environmental Engineering and Science. Focus on sustainability as it applies to Environmental Engineering and Science in both developed and developing countries, includes areas such as sustainable engineering design, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), best management practices that improve “greenhouse gas” emissions and water quality, water treatment and reuse, water resources management, material life cycle analyses, and renewable energy, all in the context of economic, environmental, and social considerations.
Crop Sciences concentration in Agroecology. Students learn about the interactions between agriculture and our environment. They study ways in which commercial agriculture affects managed and unmanaged ecosystems through courses on plants, plant pests, ecology and environmental issues. The Agroecology concentration addresses ecologically based management of cropping systems, stewardship of the environment and sustainable food production systems.
Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences undergraduate major with concentration in Human Dimensions of the Environment. Students investigate economic, psychological, and sociological implications of different approaches to managing natural resources and environmental challenges. The Human Dimension concentration emphasizes the study of human-environment interactions at the individual, household, community, regional, and global levels.
School of Earth, Society and Environment major in Earth, Society, and Environmental Sustainability. This is a flexible B.S. degree that allows students to structure an academic program with room for significant coursework pertaining to environment and sustainability issues. The major offers two concentrations: (1) Science of the Earth System, which is geared toward students with a physical or biological science focus, and (2) Society and the Environment, which is geared toward students with a social science and humanities focus. Each concentration allows students to select courses not only from ESE offerings but from many departments across campus, and thus provides an interdisciplinary perspective in both scientific and human aspects of environment and sustainability problems.
The Sustainability, Energy, and Environment Fellows Program (SEE FP) is a new campuswide undergraduate minor that helps students develop a systems-level perspective of the economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainability to help you navigate them. This is the perfect opportunity for anyone pursuing careers in the corporate sector, nonprofit organizations, government agencies and environmental advocacy groups. Students are encouraged to apply in the spring semester of their freshman year and start the coursework for the SEE FP in the fall of their sophomore year, though more advanced students will be considered. Minimum of 16 hours.
Global Studies minor in Environment, Sustainability, and Social Responsibility (ESSR). Presents topics on local-global environmental conditions, opportunities and challenges in sustaining healthy environments, as well as social responsibility for sustainability. Students take courses to familiarize themselves with environmental issues and concerns, the politics of conservation and social response to environmental concerns. Minimum 9 hours in Global Studies minor core and 9 hours in ESSR elective list.
Landscape Architecture minor in Landscape Studies. Students gain considerable knowledge of the ecological, social, cultural and historical factors that have shaped landscapes of the Western and non-Western world. Students interested in integrative studies of the natural, cultural and built environment, and those concerned with landscape as context for art and design, will develop a comprehensive theoretical framework for work in their major field of study. Minimum of 17 hours.
Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences undergraduate minor in Natural Resources Conservation. Provides an integrated approach to managing natural resources from a sustainability perspective. With courses involving the diverse biological, physical, social, economic, and political aspects of natural resources and stewardship, the unifying focus of this minor is the conservation and stewardship of healthy and sustainable ecosystems that provide important human and community benefits. Minimum of 18 hours.
Architecture and Landscape Architecture Doctoral Program with specialization in Technology and Environment. The option of Technology explores and studies the tools, methods and theories to improve our surroundings and building environments. This option presents a fertile field of research, which has a direct impact on design, management and construction, human comfort, economics, materials and structural systems.
Civil and Environmental Engineering primary program in Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure Systems. Programs developed in response to such forces as globalization, sustainability requirements, emerging technology, and increased complexity. Primary develops core technical competency in systems analysis, which creates knowledge and skills that are essential for holistically planning, designing, and managing infrastructure systems and their interactions for sustainability and resilience. Offering M.S. and Ph.D. degrees.
Civil and Environmental Engineering program in Energy-Water-Environment Sustainability. EWES is a new cross-cutting program focused onproviding and supporting sustainable solutions for the exploration, production, delivery and use of energy, and their intersection with water and the natural and built environment. The enables students interested in a cross-disciplinary civil and environmental engineering education to earn a degree that focuses on integrating scientific principles, engineered processes, and systems analyses to address diverse challenges related to society’s growing energy needs and their nexus with water and the environment. Offering M.S. and Ph.D. degrees.
Civil and Environmental Engineering sustainability specialty area within Environmental Engineering and Science. Focus on sustainability as it applies to Environmental Engineering and Science in both developed and developing countries, includes areas such as sustainable engineering design, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), best management practices that improve “greenhouse gas” emissions and water quality, water treatment and reuse, water resources management, material life cycle analyses, and renewable energy, all in the context of economic, environmental, and social considerations. Offering M.S. and Ph.D. degrees.
Civil and Environmental Engineering program in Water Resources Engineering and Science. Hydrologic and hydraulic engineers are responsible for the planning, design, operation, and management of surface and ground water systems, preservation and enhancement of the natural river and watershed environment, design and construction of water control facilities, and conservation of water resources. Offering M.S. and Ph.D. degrees.
Master of Engineering in Energy Systems. This program offers interdisciplinary education in energy systems for a variety of professional career-track students. Training includes math and science as well as teamwork, communication, and overall understanding of project management.
Master of Science in Sustainable Urban Management. This program provides urban professionals working in a variety of fields with the necessary knowledge and skills for understanding the multiplicity of inter-related urban systems and crafting the necessary policy interventions that facilitate the creation of sustainable, healthy, safe, and resilient communities. The degree is a one-year (nine month), full-time, in-residency degree for professionals who want to build their analytical skills as well as reflect on practice.
Geography MS and PhD degrees with specialization in Cities, Space and Society. The program addresses human aspects of environment and sustainability that build upon foundations of human geography as an integrating social science to examine the interplay of socio-spatial processes involved in the shaping of the Earth’s natural and built environments.
Veterinary Medicine joint degree DVM/MPH. Veterinarians have made substantial contribution to public health within the state of Illinois and nationally over the past 120 years. It has been estimated that 25 years of the 30 year gain in human life expectancy achieved through the 20th century were due to improvements in sanitation and hygiene, two areas in which veterinarians continue to play an active and productive role. The Doctor of Veterinary Medicine is located at UIUC combined with an MPH from UIC and could be structured for study of sustainable health systems for both humans and animals.
Human Dimensions of Environmental Systems graduate minor with students majoring in their disciplinary programs. An interdisciplinary program comprised of faculty from six colleges and graduate students from every college on campus. HDES examines connections between humans and their environments to enhance scholarship on the mutual interdependence of humans and their physical and social environments.
New! Undergraduate Certificate in Environmental Writing (CEW). The Certificate is a joint venture of the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE), the School for Earth, Society, and Environment (SESE), and the English Department, and features learning about the latest scientific research on the environment — and how to communicate that research effectively to the public.
Graduate Certificate in Energy and Sustainable Engineering (EaSE) for M.S. and Ph.D. students. An interdisciplinary approach to join the fields of science, engineering, environment and policy to study development of technologies for energy harvesting, conversion, transmission and use that are highly efficient and sustainable in future generations. Provides infrastructure for commerce in efficient and renewable ways that minimize adverse impact on the earth system.
School of Earth, Society and Environment Online Certificate in Environmental Sustainability. Students learn about the interconnectedness of environmental, economic, and social systems of the world; the implications of our actions on the environment; factors that determine the sustainability of human institutions, organizations, cultures, and technologies; finding solutions through innovative approaches; and expanding future options by practicing environmental stewardship. The aim is to develop citizens, businesses, and societies that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same.
MBA Certificate of Excellence in Sustainable Management and Technology. Awarded in recognition for outstanding achievement in sustainable management and technology through completion of field work and projects. Eligibility based on completion of field work and a set of projects including but not restricted to the term project in the course, enrollment in several business courses related to sustainability and subsistence. Available to students across campus both graduate and upper-level undergraduates.
Professional Certification Programs
A look at just some of the options available to U of I students, graduates, and community members:
Buildings and Energy
Building Performance Institute (BPI). This group offers certifications for weatherizing and retrofitting existing residential buildings. Among the certifications are AC & Heat Pump; Air Leakage Control Installer; Building Analyst; Crew Leader; Energy Auditor; Envelope professional; Healhty Home Evaluator; Heating Professional; Infiltration & Duct Leakage; Manufactured Housing; Multifamily Building Analyst; Quality Control Inspector; and Retrofit Installer Technician.
Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET). Learn how to become a certified Home Energy Rater, assessing and certifying building energy systems.
Association of Energy Engineers (AEE). This nonprofit professional society helps certify several positions: Energy Manager, Energy Auditors, Measurement & Verification Pro.; Building Commissioner; Carbon Auditor; Sustainable Development Pro.; Demand Side Manager; Energy Procurement Pro.; Lighting Efficiency Pro.; GeoExchange Designer Program; Business Energy Pro.; Industrial Energy Pro.; Water Energy Pro.; Energy Efficiency Pactitioner; Renewable Energy Pro.; Distributed Generation Pro.; Performance Contracting & Funding Pro.; Building Commissioning Firm Program; and Green Building Engineer.
EarthCraft. Certified EarthCraft Builder or HVAC for high-performance home certifications in the U.S. Southeast.
Passive House Institute (PHIUS). Certifications for building and certifying buildings meeting Passive House/Building criteria.
Green Building Initiative. Become a Green Globes Emerging Professional (GGEP) for college students and early career, and a Green Globes Professional (GGP) for professionals with five-plus years of experience.
U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Become a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Associate, LEED Associate Professional, or LEED Fellow.
International Living Future Institute. Earn Living Future Accreditation (LFA) through rigorous green building and sustainable design standards.
WELL Building Institute. Become a WELL Accredited Professional to advance health and well-being in buildings globally.
North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). Certifications include: Solar PV Installer; NABCEP Associate Program for Photovoltaic, Solar Heating, & Wind; Board Certifications for: PV Installation Professional (PVIP); PV Design Specialist (PVDS); PV Installer (PVIS); PV Commissioning & Maintenance (PVCMS); PV Technical Sales (PVTS); PV System Inspector (PVSI); Solar Heating Installer (SHI); and Solar Heating System Inspector (SHSI).
Environmentalism & Advocacy
Green Corps. Part of the Public Interest Network, this program offers training in environmental organizing and activism.
Climate Change and Sustainability Professionals, Business, Reporting
Association of Climate Change Officers. Join a a Certified Climate Change Professional (CC-P) Pilot Program for young professionals or those transitioning to careers in climate change.
International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP). From this professional association of sustainability practitioners, earn credentials as a Sustainability Excellence Associate (SEA) for early to mid-career professionals; or a Sustainability Excellence Professional (SEP) for those advanced in their careers.
School for Democratic Management. A program of the Democracy at Work Institute, this program helps managers build strong participatory ownership cultures.
Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). Earn professional certification in a corporate sustainability role in operations, finance, communications, or other functions..
Value Reporting Foundation. Accounting professionals may earn the Fundamentals of Integrated Reporting Certificate
Sustainability Accountaing Standards Board (SASB). Accounting professionals may earn the Fundamentals of Sustainability Accounting Credential.
National Green Infrastructure Certification Program (NGICP). Entry-level workers can learn the basic skill set needed to properly construct, inspect, and maintain green stormwater infrastructure.
Outdoors, Gardening, Wildlife, Natural Resources
International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). Earn the following certifications: Arborist, Utility Specialist, Municipal Specialist, Tree Worker Climber Specialist, Aerial Lift Specialist, Tree Risk Assessment, or Board Certified Master Arborist.
Permaculture Design. Certification for those wanting to design regenerating ecosystems and/or to ecologically meet human needs by producing food systems, creating shelter, storing water, and designing economic and governance systems.
Master Gardener (Illinois). Earn training as a horticulture expert. Many states have these programs.
Master Naturalist (Illinois). Learn to provide education, outreach, and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas. Many states have these programs.
The Wildlife Society. Certify as an Associate Wildlife Biologist or a Certified Wildlife Biologist in the fields of wildlife science, management, and conservation.