Requirements and Guidelines

The Sustainability Certificate Student Resource Guide provides details on all aspects of the program. Information on requirements, orientation and advising, and applying to graduate is also included below. Students are always welcome to reach out to with any questions.


Students are required to take a minimum of 17 credit hours and should earn a "C" or better in all program coursework to earn the Certificate in Sustainability. The certificate will consist of the following components:

  • Anchor course in sustainability (3 credit hours)
  • One course from each of 3 “spheres” (Ecological, Economic, Social) (9 credit hours total)
  • Two semesters of the Sustainability  Seminar-SUST 4200/6200 (2 credit hours total)
  • A Sustainability Capstone -SUST 4500/6500(3 credit hours)
  • Portfolio

Anchor Course

These courses provide a foundation in sustainability, including its history, components, and application.  Courses which qualify as anchor courses for this certificate explore the social, environmental, and economic dimensions of  sustainability challenges from an interdisciplinary perspective.  There are a minimal number of courses from different departments from which students can choose that may serve as anchor courses.

Coursework from three spheres

  • Ecological Sustainability: Courses in the ecological sustainability sphere will build upon a baseline understanding of ecology and address issues concerning ecosystem services, system limits, and climate change.
  • Economic Sustainability: Courses in this sphere will build upon a baseline understanding of economics and address the bottom-line, as well as  decision-making principles, business practices, and equity principles that ensure all people can thrive now and in the future.
  • Social Sustainability: Courses in the social sustainability sphere will build upon a basic understanding of social science and/or the humanities and will address the social aspects of sustainability, including issues of diversity, social justice, policy and law, communication, the built environment, behavior change, and community.

NB: We require that at least one of the spheres come from courses outside your major and highly recommended that two of the three spheres come from courses outside of your major to develop the broadest perspective on sustainability. For students interested in aligning their sustainability certificate with a specific topic (e.g. climate or environmental justice), we offer example course pathways.


The sustainability seminar (SUST 4200/6200) introduces students to the many ways UGA faculty and businesses, non profits, and government agencies in the community are promoting sustainability. The Sustainability Competencies are introduced and reinforced through collaborative activities.  The seminar will be open to the entire UGA Community as a means of connecting and communicating across disciplines. The seminar will also allow students the opportunity to present their capstone course project and receive feedback from their peers.

Capstone Course/Project

The Sustainability Capstone course (SUST 4500s/6500s) provides students with an opportunity to apply what they have learned to hands-on sustainability challenges. Students work in interdisciplinary teams on problems partner identify on campus and in the surrounding community to offer creative, sustainable solutions. For details, see the Guidelines for the Capstone.


A collection of documents presented at the completion of the certificate that ties together the courses, seminar, and capstone project completed by the student. This portfolio will provide students with an opportunity to reflect on the integration of disciplines, systems thinking, analysis of complex problems, and their ongoing commitment to sustainability. For details, see Guidelines for the Portfolio.



Apply here. Log in with your UGA MyId and then fill out the application form. Students must be in good standing with the University at the time of applying. Students will be notified by email when they have been accepted into the program. Once accepted, students must add the Sustainability Certificate to their active curricula program via the MyPrograms option in Athena.


Once accepted into the program, please request a new Google Site Portfolio from EITS by completing this form (select "Portfolio" site template; select "Google Sites Shared Drive" for where to store your site).

Completion of Pre and Post Assessment

Upon admittance into the certificate program, students will be prompted to complete an online survey to measure their baseline sustainability attitudes and knowledge. Near completion of the certificate, students will gain access to another online survey measuring approximately the same domains. These assessments are for internal use only (primarily to measure the effectiveness of the program), and responses will not have bearing on the students' approval to receive the certificate; however, students are strongly encouraged to complete both surveys.

Completion of the Checklist

Once a student has applied and been approved, they can begin filling in a checklist of completed requirements by logging into this website.


There will be an information session/orientation for new and continuing students in the program early each semester.

Advising Appointments

Students are encouraged to meet with the director and/or the certificate graduate assistant after an application has been approved to plan a program of study and then periodically after as needed. (E-mail to schedule)

Making regular progress

Regular progress is expected to remain in the program.

Applying for graduation

When you Apply to Graduate - you must apply to Graduate with the Sustainability Certificate. This will be done the semester you graduate - do NOT forget. Here is what you will do when the time comes:

Log onto Athena:
Click: Student > Apply to Graduate > Follow the Directions to add the Sustainability Certificate.


Students can petition for substitutions to requirements for the certificate. A written rationale for the substitution should be included in the Checklist under Substitution. The director, in consultation with the Advisory Board, will review the petition and let the student know the results.  A syllabus for the substituted course may be required.