Applied Sustainability Graduate Certificate

Governments, corporations, and entire industries are currently seeking experts who can guide them toward greener practices. There is an increasing demand for individuals who can assess environmental impact, navigate national and international regulations, minimize waste by streamlining IT infrastructure, propose budget-cutting energy strategies, and implement policies that are as financially and politically sound as they are eco-friendly.

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. Taught by Metropolitan College faculty from the departments of Applied Social Sciences, Administrative Sciences, and Computer Science, the coursework guides students through the foundations of ecology; current theories of sustainability; methods for optimizing energy and land use; building management techniques; the politics, law, and economics of the global green movement; and the relationship between IT and the consumption of resources.

This certificate is appropriate for individuals currently in roles as sustainability professionals as well as those seeking to enter this expanding and exciting 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. Upon completion, students will be prepared to guide their organizations toward a sustainable future in strategic and competitive ways.

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

  • An awareness of human and environmental systems, and systems theories.
  • Awareness of the legal and political dimensions of environmental protection and regulation.
  • Awareness of the relationship between information technologies and environmental sustainability.

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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Credits for UA courses completed in the Graduate Certificate in Applied Sustainability program may be applied to the Master of Urban Affairs and Master of City Planning degree programs.

With the corresponding department approval, students pursuing or planning to pursue master’s degrees in computer science or administrative studies may apply certificate credits toward their degree.

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)

This course provides a framework to study the global environmental problems and the direct impact on government, business, and non-governmental organizations in seeking sustainability. Students will be seeking resolution of major environmental concerns related to a vital balance between economic needs and environmental protection domestically and on a global perspective. Students will examine global concerns of climate change, ozone destruction, disposal of solid & hazardous waste and 20 major global environmental issues. 4 credits   [ 4 cr. ]

This course empowers students to reduce the energy use, waste, and other environmental impacts of IT systems while reducing life cycle costs, thereby improving competitive advantage. Students learn how to measure computer power usage, minimize power usage, procure sustainable hardware, design green data centers, recycle computer equipment, configure computers to minimize power, use virtualization to reduce the number of servers, and other green technologies. Students also learn how to make green IT an integral part of organizational culture and planning, to foster long-term sustainable information technology. The course is executed through a combination of lectures, guest lectures, field trips, assignments, labs, case studies, and a term project.   [ 4 cr. ]

History, concepts, and methods of contemporary urban and regional planning practice. Governmental, nonprofit, and private settings of professional planning; plans, research, and policy development; uses and implementation of planning. Political analysis of planning issues, such as comprehensiveness, public interest, advocacy, negotiation, and future orientation. Case materials drawn from redevelopment, growth management, land use conflicts, and service delivery.   [ 4 cr. ]

Section Type Instructor Location Days Times
A1 IND Dutta-Koehle CAS 226 M 6:00 pm – 8:45 pm

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. ]