Graduate Certificate

The Graduate Certificate in Sustainability is a 15-credit, interdisciplinary program, drawing from faculty and course work across all colleges of the University of Arkansas.  The graduate certificate is accessible to all students admitted to the Graduate School, both degree-seeking and non-degree seeking, to participate in an advanced study in sustainability. The purpose of the Graduate Certificate in Sustainability is to provide functional graduate-level knowledge and skills related to the emerging discipline of sustainability organized around the four interdisciplinary systems areas.

Learning Goals

Students who complete the graduate certificate in Sustainability will be expected to:

  • Articulate commonly accepted definitions of sustainability and discuss various nuances among those definitions as well as engage in analytical thinking to enhance sustainability measures;
  • Address real-world problems of sustainability to reinforce and enhance their professional careers;
  • Have an understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of sustainability issues, particularly as they pertain to the thematic areas of knowledge addressed by the graduate certificate (sustainability of natural systems, sustainability of managed systems, sustainability of built systems, and sustainability of human social systems);
  • Be conversant regarding acquisition and analysis of data pertinent to measuring sustainability;
  • Communicate orally, and in writing organized thoughts defining sustainability measures and technical aspects of sustainability;
  • Identify potential strategies to address sustainability using appropriate analytical methods and data and provide results of analyses of data using novel sustainability metrics and indicators;
  • Make recommendations, based on data analysis and interpretation, to advance sustainability of individuals or institutions;
  • Develop methods, techniques and tools for implementing sustainability initiatives.


The course requirements for the graduate certificate are listed in the table below. All courses must be passed with a grade of 'B' or better in order to fulfill these requirements. Electives must be taken from at least two systems areas, and no more than 3 credit hours from courses numbered below 5000 may be used.  See below for a full list of courses and their descriptions, or download the checksheet (PDF).


WCOB 5023 Sustainability in Business 3
Elective 1 3
Elective 2 3
Elective 3 3
Elective 4 3
 Total Credit Hours:

Emphasis in Electric Energy Systems

The University of Arkansas offers a specialized Emphasis in Electric Energy Systems. This program provides for students to gain expertise in sustainability planning and design of electrical systems. This is achieved through courses that emphasize design projects in three central aspects to sustainability engineering:

  • Business processes and methods
  • Analysis and planning of engineering projects with sustainability practices
  • Design and operation of renewable electrical energy circuits and systems

Students who complete the certificate will have a broad set of skills and knowledge for planning and implementation of engineering projects for meeting sustainability objectives. In addition, students will acquire advanced skills in designing electrical circuits and systems that can be applied to a variety of sustainability projects.

Emphasis in Electric Energy Systems Requirements

Course Descriptions

Required Courses

 WCOB 5023. Sustainability in Business (Sp, Fa). 3 Hours.

The course focuses on theoretical and practical bases for pursuing sustainability in business and society.

Elective Courses

 ENG 5351. Sustainability Seminar (Su). 1 Hour.

Topics in environmental sustainability, green engineering, life cycle analysis, sustainable development and sustainability science. This course is offered on-line in collaboration with the AG*IDEA consortium of land grant universities. The principal instructor will be a non-UA faculty member at a participating university. Prerequisite: CHEM 1123.

 BENG 5933 Environmental and Ecological Risk Assessment

Process and methodologies associated with human-environmental and ecological risk assessments. Environmental risk assessments based on human receptors as endpoints, addressing predominantly abiotic processes. Ecological risk assessments based on non-human receptors as endpoints. Approach using hazard definition, effects assessment, risk estimation, and risk management. Application of methods to student projects to gain experience in defining and quantifying uncertainty associated with human perturbation, management and restoration of environmental and ecological processes.

 BIOL 4154. Biology of Global Change (Sp). 4 Hours.

Covers impact of global change on sustainability and adaptability of biological systems. Prerequisite: BIOL 1543 and BIOL 1541L and junior standing.

 BIOL 5814. Limnology (Odd years, Fa). 4 Hours.

Physical, chemical and biological conditions of inland waters. Lecture 3 hours per week, laboratory arranged. Corequisite: Lab component. Prerequisite: (CHEM 1123 and CHEM 1121L) or equivalent and 12 hours of biological sciences.

 BIOL 5843. Conservation Biology (Irregular). 3 Hours.

The study of direct and indirect factors by which biodiversity is impacted by human activity. It is a synthetic field of study that incorporates principles of ecology, biogeography, population genetics, economics, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, geology, and geography. Prerequisite: BIOL 3863.

 BIOL 5933. Global Biogeochemistry: Elemental Cycles and Environmental Change (Odd Years, Sp). 3 Hours.

This course explores the chemical, biological, and geological processes occurring within ecosystems. An understanding of these processes is used to investigate how they form the global biogeochemical cycles that provide energy and nutrients necessary for life. Class discussions focus on global change and the effects of more recent anthropogenic influences. Prerequisite: College level chemistry or biochemistry and ecology.

 CSES 5224. Soil Physics (Sp). 4 Hours.

Physical properties of soils and their relation to other soil properties, growth of plants and transport of water, oxygen, heat, and solutes such as pesticides and plant nutrients. Lecture 3 hours, laboratory 3 hours per week. Corequisite: Lab component. Prerequisite: CSES 2203 and MATH 1203.

 CSES 5264. Microbial Ecology (Odd years, Fa). 4 Hours.

A study of the microorganisms in soil and the biochemical processes for which they are responsible. Lecture 3 hours, laboratory 3 hours per week. Corequisite: Lab component. Additional suggested prerequisite(s): BIOL 2013, CSES 2203, and ENSC 3003. Prerequisite: BIOL 1543 and BIOL 3863 or ENSC 3223.

 ENDY 5063. Climate Through Time (Irregular). 3 Hours.

The earth's climate history over the last 2 million years and the influence various factors have had on it; compilation and paleoclimatic histories and methods of dating climatic effects. Prerequisite: GEOG 4363 or equivalent. This course is cross-listed with GEOS 5063, BIOL 5063.

 ENDY 5113. Global Change (Sp). 3 Hours.

Examines central issues of global change including natural and human induced climate change, air pollution, deforestation, desertification, wetland loss urbanization, and the biodiversity crisis. The U.S. Global Change Research Program is also examined. Prerequisite: Graduate standing. This course is cross-listed with GEOG 5113.

 ENDY 6013. Environmental Dynamics (Fa). 3 Hours.

Required course for ENDY doctoral candidates. Overview of Earth Systems: Lithosphere; Hydrosphere, Atmosphere, Biosphere, Cryosphere, and human interaction across Earth systems. Emphasis on understanding of processes within Earth systems and interactions across Earth Systems as they pertain to global self-regulation, secular variation, climate stability, development and sustainability of human societies. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

 GEOS 5423. Remote Sensing of Natural Resources (Even years, Sp). 3 Hours.

Introductory digital image processing of remotely sensed data. Topics include data collection, laboratory design, scientific visualization, radiometric and geometric correction, enhancement, pattern recognition, artificial intelligence, and change detection in natural resource remote sensing. GIS-based exercises and a course project are included. Prerequisite: GEOS 4413 is recommended.

 AGEC 4163. Agricultural and Rural Development (Fa). 3 Hours.

Examination of agricultural and rural development issues in less developed countries. Alternative agricultural production systems are compared, development theories examined, and consideration given to the planning and implementation of development programs. Prerequisite: AGEC 1103 (or ECON 2023).

 AGEC 5133. Agricultural and Environmental Resource Economics (Even years, Sp). 3 Hours.

An economic approach to problems of evaluating private and social benefits and costs of altering the environment. Emphasis given to the interaction of individuals, institutions, and technology in problems of establishing and maintaining an acceptable level of environmental quality. Prerequisite: Minimum of 3 hours Agricultural Economics or Economics at 3000 level or higher or PhD standing. This course is cross-listed with AGEC 4413, ENSC 4413.

 BENG 5613. Simulation Modeling of Biological Systems (Irregular). 3 Hours.

Application of computer modeling and simulation of discrete-event and continuous-time systems to solve biological and agricultural engineering problems. Philosophy and ethics of representing complex processes in simplified form. Deterministic and stochastic modeling of complex systems, algorithm development, application limits, and simulation interpretation. Emphasis on calibration, validation and testing of biological systems models for the purposes of system optimization, resource allocation, real-time control and/or conceptual understanding. Prerequisite: AGST 4023 or STAT 4003 or INEG 2313.

 BENG 5633/OMGT 5633. Linkages Among Technology, Economics and Societal Values (Sp, Fa). 3 Hours.

Addresses how macro-level change is influenced by the linkages among technology, economics and societal values. Three major course initiatives: 1) Developing a conceptual model for understanding how macro-level change has occurred over history; 2) Examining recorded history in order to develop a contextual appreciation for Society's current situation; and 3) Using statistical data to identify six overriding world trends that are likely to greatly impact society's goal of achieving sustainable prosperity and well-being in the foreseeable future. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or instructor permission.

 CSES 4103. Plant Breeding (Even years, Fa). 3 Hours.

Basic principles involved in plant breeding programs to improve crop plants and seed programs. Lecture 2 hours, laboratory 2 hours per week. Corequisite: Lab component. Prerequisite: ANSC 3123 or BIOL 2323.

 CSES 4133. Weed Identification, Morphology, and Ecology (Fa). 3 Hours.

Study of weeds as economic pests occurring in both agricultural and nonagricultural situations and including poisonous plants and other specific weed problems. Gross morphological plant family characteristics which aid identification, habitat of growth and distribution, ecology, competition, and allelopathy are discussed. Lecture 2 hours, laboratory 2 hours a week. Corequisite: Lab component. Prerequisite: CSES 2103 (or HORT 2003).

 CSES 4143. Principles of Weed Control (Sp). 3 Hours.

Advanced concepts and technology used in modern weed control practices and study of the chemistry and specific activity of herbicides in current usage. Lecture 2 hours, laboratory 2 hours per week. Corequisite: Lab component. Prerequisite: CHEM 1073 and CHEM 1071L and CSES 2003.

 CSES 4224. Soil Fertility (Fa). 4 Hours.

Study of the soil's chemical, biological and physical properties, and human modification of these properties, as they influence the uptake and utilization of the essential nutrients by plants. Lecture 3 hours, laboratory 2 hours per week. Pre- or Corequisite: CHEM 1123 and CHEM 1121L or (CHEM 1073 and CHEM 1071L and CHEM 2613 and CHEM 2611L). Corequisite: Lab component. Prerequisite: CSES 2201L and CSES 2203.

 CSES 5023. Weed Physiology and Herbicide Resistance in Plants (Even years, Fa). 3 Hours.

The reproduction, growth, and development of weeds and the ecological factors affecting these processes; development and mechanisms of herbicide resistance, flow of herbicide-resistance genes; and development of herbicide-resistant crops. Corequisite: Lab component. Prerequisite: CSES 4143 and (BIOL 4303 or CHEM 5813).

 CSES 5033. Advanced Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition (Even years, Fa). 3 Hours.

Study of water uptake, ion absorption, translocation and metabolism in higher plants. Lecture 3 hours per week. Prerequisite: BIOL 4303 and CHEM 2613 and CHEM 2611L.

 MGMT 4243. Ethics and Corporate Responsibility (Sp, Fa). 3 Hours.

A comprehensive and critical examination of traditional and current ethical theories and approaches that guide business decision-making, ethical issues that affect business decisions, and ethics related to the various business disciplines.

 WCOB 5843. Special Topics in Business: Cross Sector Collaboration for Sustainability (Irregular). 3 Hours.

This course explores how organizations in the three sectors of society work together in value creation by addressing social and environmental problems. Focusing on business and nonprofit organizations, we investigate the forces that bring about and influence these collaborations from practical and theoretical perspectives, and managerial responses to collaboration challenges. Prerequisite: Graduate Status.

 SCMT 5123. Sustainable Logistics and Supply Chain (Irregular). 3 Hours.

Explores key sustainability concepts across supply chain functions of supply management, operations, and distribution. Course topics include values-based leadership, globalizing sustainability, marketing sustainability, voluntary product standards and governance, stakeholder engagement, reverse logistics, humanitarian logistics, and transportation. Overall, we will consider the feasibility and role of firms in producing sustainability in global supply chains.

 ARCH 4023. Advanced Architectural Studies: Sustainable Design (Sp, Fa). 3 Hours.

Advanced seminars in subjects to special interest to students and faculty. May be repeated for degree credit.

 BENG 5613. Simulation Modeling of Biological Systems (Irregular). 3 Hours.

Application of computer modeling and simulation of discrete-event and continuous-time systems to solve biological and agricultural engineering problems. Philosophy and ethics of representing complex processes in simplified form. Deterministic and stochastic modeling of complex systems, algorithm development, application limits, and simulation interpretation. Emphasis on calibration, validation and testing of biological systems models for the purposes of system optimization, resource allocation, real-time control and/or conceptual understanding. Prerequisite: AGST 4023 or STAT 4003 or INEG 2313.

 BENG 5623. Life Cycle Assessment (Sp). 3 Hours.

This course will examine the process and methodologies associated with life cycle analysis (LCA). The course will explore the quantitatively rigorous methodology for life cycle inventory (LCI), LCA and life cycle impact assessment (LCIA). This course is offered on-line. The principal instructor will be a UA faculty member.

 CVEG 4863. Sustainability in Civil Engineering (Irregular). 3 Hours.

Qualify and quantify the economic, environmental, societal, and engineering drivers behind sustainability in Civil Engineering. Justification of the feasibility and benefits of sustainability in environmental, geotechnical, structural, and transportation engineering through verbal and written communications. Prerequisite: Senior standing.

 LARC 5043. Landscape Architecture Seminar: Sustainable Housing (Irregular). 3 Hours.

The role of the landscape architect in contemporary society; how this is affected by technological change and awareness of ecological problems. Group discussions, individual research projects, and guest lectures. Prerequisite: Fourth-year standing.

 LARC 5063. Alternative Stormwater Management (Irregular). 3 Hours.

Introduction to the role of alternative stormwater management techniques toward a more sustainable development to include constructed wetlands, bioswales, rain water harvesting, green roofs, and other stormwater reduction techniques. Emphasis on multidisciplinary team approach to problem solving. This course is open to non-majors and includes both lecture and laboratory time.

 AGEC 5153. The Economics of Public Policy (Sp). 3 Hours.

This class will examine the impact of public policy on agricultural and other business sectors as well as households and individuals, particular in rural areas. Emphasis will also be placed on analyzing the potential impact of future policy changes. The course will focus on the application of welfare criteria and economic analyses to the problems and policies affecting resource adjustments in agriculture and rural communities. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

 COMM 5513. Sustainability and Communication (Even years, Fa). 3 Hours.

Communication's role in creating and conveying an organization's environmental sustainability philosophy and initiatives. Discusses internal communication when establishing and communicating sustainability goals and initiatives. Covers communicating sustainability to external groups through websites, sustainability reports, and advocacy initiatives. For profit, nonprofit, governmental, NGOs, and/or advocacy organizations discussed.

 CVEG 4203. Environmental Regulations and Permits (Fa). 3 Hours.

Topics include federal and state environmental regulations, the permitting process, permit requirements and related issues. Prerequisite: CVEG 3243 with a grade of C or better and senior standing.

 ENDY 6033. Society and Environment (Sp). 3 Hours.

This course examines the complex interrelationships between human societies and the natural environment. Drawing on diverse and interdisciplinary perspectives in archaeology, ethnography, history, geography, and palaeo-environmental studies, readings and discussion will explore the co-production of social and environmental systems over time. This course is cross-listed with ANTH 6033.

 GEOS 4693. Environmental Justice (Sp). 3 Hours.

This course deals with the ethical, environmental, legal, economic, and social implications of society's treatment of the poor, the disenfranchised, and minorities who live in the less desirable, deteriorating neighborhoods, communities, and niches of our country. The class integrates science with philosophy, politics, economics, policy, and law, drawing on award-winning films, current news, and case studies.

 HIST 4773. Diplomatic History of the US, 1945 to Present (Odd years, Fa). 3 Hours.

U.S. involvement in world affairs since WWII. The Cold War from an international perspective, including strategies, nuclear deterrence, conflicts, economic developments, cultural relations among allies and adversaries. Post-Cold War scenarios, including war on terrorism.

 HIST 5103. Agricultural and Environmental History (Irregular). 3 Hours.

This seminar will explore the intersection of two vibrant fields of American history—agricultural and environmental history.

 LAWW 500V. Climate Change Law (Irregular). 3 Hours.

This course concerns the law and policy of climate change, the environmental issue that many consider to be the most important—and difficult—facing our generation. How has the legal framework responded to the immense challenge of climate change? What does the future hold?

 LAWW 5824/7827. Food Justice: Law and Policy (Odd years, Fa). 1-2 Hour.

Survey of the legal and policy issues raised by the food justice movement. Topics covered include food insecurity and poverty, public health concerns such as obesity, the economics of healthy eating, food deserts, and food waste. Each will be considered in light of the legal and governmental policy issues raised.

 PLSC 5153. Environmental Politics and Policy (Even years, Fa). 3 Hours.

Surveys recent patterns of environmentalism in the U.S. and explores the nature of policy making with regard to environmental and economic development issues. Several debates are presented, such as conservation vs. preservation, multiple use vs. sustainability, intergovernmental policy implementation, incentives, and free market environmentalism.

 PLSC 5173. Community Development (Irregular). 3 Hours.

Community development encompasses the political, social, and economic issues that shape contemporary communities. The seminar examines substantive issues in community development, related theories, and techniques. A major focus of the course will be on low-income and minority neighborhoods and efforts to create more inclusive communities in the U.S. and abroad.

 RSOC 4603. Environmental Sociology (Sp). 3 Hours.

The course provides a social perspective on environmental issues. It examines the linkage between society, ecological systems and the physical environment. It provides conceptual framework(s) for analyzing environmental issues, considers the role of humans in environmental issues, and enhances understanding the complexity of the relationship between societal organization and environmental change. This course is cross-listed with SOCI 4603.

 SOCI 5113. Seminar in Social Inequality (Fa). 3 Hours.

Major theories of stratification; types of stratification systems, comparisons of modern and traditional systems; emergent trends. Prerequisite: Graduate standing.