Applied Sustainability Graduate Certificate

The Graduate Certificate in Applied Sustainability provides a unique interdisciplinary perspective on what it takes to make urban and economic development compatible with the natural environment. The coursework guides students through the foundations of ecology; current theories of sustainability; methods for optimizing important resources such as energy and water; building management techniques; and the politics, law, and economics of the global green movement.

This certificate is appropriate for individuals currently in roles as sustainability professionals as well as those seeking to enter this expanding and high-demand field. Architects, facilities managers, city planners, and IT experts have the opportunity to fill gaps in their existing knowledge, whereas those just beginning careers in these and related fields will gain the foundation to make green thinking central to their work from the outset.

Students who complete the Graduate Certificate in Applied Sustainability will be able to:

  • Analyze and assess the economic, environmental, political, social, and equity issues around urban environmental sustainability to prioritize and develop sustainable solutions.
  • Lead and work effectively with socially diverse stakeholder groups, to evaluate and create sustainable and equitable planning and policy options.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the legal and political dimensions of environmental protection and regulation.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between human and environmental systems and environmental sustainability.
  • Incorporate broad resources and use evidence-based approaches to evaluate and create sustainable planning and policy options.

Official transcripts of previous academic work, two letters of recommendation, personal statement, and résumé are required as part of the application.

Minimum passing grade for a course in the graduate certificate program is B– (2.7), but an average grade of B (3.0) must be maintained to be in good academic standing and satisfy the certificate requirements.

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The Graduate Certificate in Applied Sustainability can be earned as a standalone certificate, or combined with the Master of Urban Affairs or Master of City Planning degree programs. Credits for UA courses completed may be applied to either degree, but not to other certificate programs.

Please Note: If a required course is not offered within the academic year (fall, spring, and summer sessions), students may request to take a replacement course. The request must be permitted, reviewed, and approved by the program coordinator in conjunction with representatives of the participating MET academic departments.


Applicants to the program are required to have a bachelor’s degree. Some courses may have additional prerequisites.


(Four courses/16 credits)

Sustainability generally refers to the ability of "systems" to be maintained such that they remain viable over long periods of time. As much as achieving the perfect sustainable equilibrium may be the ideal, it is important to recognize that there will be competing and conflicting interests, especially within complex hierarchical social, economic and ecological systems, particularly in light of ongoing climatic change. This field intensive course draws on the practices and theories of sustainability and climate change to understand what sustainability can mean in different contexts, and, more important, how nuanced, sustainable solutions can be achieved under varying conditions and in different systems. With an emphasis on the urban environment, the course will consist of projects in which students will identify, analyze, and develop practical proposals to real world issues. This course is intended for a wider audience from a range of disciplines.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
C1 IND Dutta-Koehle CAS 425 W 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm
C1 Dutta-Koehle FAB 214F F 9:00 am – 6:00 pm

Examines the theoretical elements of "sustainability" and their applicability in guiding development, particularly at the city level. Through a comparative study of a wide range of sustainable practices in important subfields of planning, such as transportation, landuse, and housing, students will learn about the constraints and opportunities different cities face, and how to effectively address them. Special attention will be given to the preparation of environmental impact statements and assessment of urban environmental quality. This is a project based course and includes lectures, discussions, workshops, case studies, selected guest speakers, and a final project.   [ 4 cr. ]

Plus two elective courses selected, per student interest, from a list of pre-approved courses, across different disciplines, offered at MET or University-wide. Additional courses may be approved in consultation with the academic advisor. A complete list of approved electives for the certificate can be obtained from the department.