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Certificate in Sustainability


Sustainability is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Accomplishing this goal requires an understanding of human and environmental systems and the complex interactions between them.

Because sustainability embraces many disciplines, methodologies, and institutional practices, certificate students must have knowledge of the multidisciplinary breadth of the field, which is represented by the program's four areas of breadth electives: changing environments and human health; energy, climate, and built environments; the power of culture and society; and ethics, economics, and public policy. They also must have experience with analyzing real-life problems in and outside of the classroom and with working collaboratively to solve such problems.

This is a program at the University of Iowa that draws on a number of different disciplines to create a 24 semester hour certificate that will give you the knowledge and skills to contribute to developing sustainable systems. Students who earn the certificate will enhance their preparation for a variety of vocations such as researcher, corporate officer, technology specialist, farmer, government official, and grassroots advocate. 

Download a certificate flyer (PDF).


  • The Certificate in Sustainability requires 24 s.h. of course work.
  • Undergraduate students pursuing a degree from The University of Iowa are eligible for the certificate.
  • Students who already have earned a baccalaureate degree from The University of Iowa may return to complete or earn the certificate if they are not enrolled in a graduate or professional program.
  • Holders of baccalaureate degrees from other institutions who are not enrolled in a graduate or professional program may enroll at the University of Iowa to complete the certificate.
  • Students must declare their intention to pursue the certificate at the Academic Advising Center, C210 Pomerantz Center (319-353-5700), the Office of Academic Programs & Student Development in 120 Schaeffer Hall (319-335-2633), or on ISIS>Student Records>Programs of Study & Advisors.

  • A minimum grade-point average of 2.00 must be maintained on all IBC course work.
  • No more than 3 courses may be taken from a single department.
  • A maximum of 6 hours of transfer coursework may be counted toward the certificate.
  • Certificate courses may not be taken pass/non-pass.
  • A minimum of 18 semester hours of certificate course work (other than language courses) must be completed at The University of Iowa or in approved study abroad programs.
  • A course may not be used to satisfy more than one certificate requirement.
  • Sustainability Certificate courses may also satisfy major or minor requirements.
  • University of Iowa Guided Independent Study is accepted toward the certificate.


Students complete three introductory course courses; four breadth electives-one from each of the program's four elective areas; and one project course. They may be able to count some courses taken for the certificate toward requirements for their major or for a minor. No more than three certificate courses may be taken from a single department or program. Students must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 2.00 in all certificate course work. A maximum of 6 s.h. of approved transfer credit may be counted toward the certificate. Learn more in the UI General Catalog.

Course Substitution Guidelines - for Students

All course substitution proposals must include the following:

  • Name of student, ID number, major(s), and hours completed
  • Name of credit granting institution (if course is a transfer course)
  • Name of professor teaching the course (if course is a transfer course)
  • Number of credit hours requested (if course is a transfer course)


How can I declare the Sustainability Certificate? The Sustainability certificate can be declared on ISIS, or by contacti...

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For Faculty

Sustainability Certificate Course Approval Guidelines for Faculty Members   All University of Iowa instructors, in whate...

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Advisory Committee Members

Sustainability Certificate Advisory Committee Members David Bennett, Geography, Associate Professor, david-bennett@uiowa...

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Certificate in Sustainability Contact

Jenni Stacy-Adams
C210 Pomerantz Center
319.353.5700 (phone)

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Sustainability at Iowa

1650 University Capitol Centre
200 South Clinton St.
Iowa City, IA 52242
(319) 335-5516