Learn to Put Green Practices into Action
The Graduate Certificate in Applied Sustainability at Boston University’s Metropolitan College (MET) provides a unique interdisciplinary perspective on what it takes to make urban and economic development compatible with the natural environment.
A recent International Finance Corporation Report from the World Bank estimates that cities in emerging markets alone have the capacity to generate cumulative climate-smart investments to the tune of more than $29.4 trillion. By 2030, six key sectors, including green buildings, public transportation, electric vehicles, waste, water, and renewable energy, will attract a majority of this investment. This strong focus toward green values makes it an opportune time to add to your credentials in the field of sustainability.
Coursework in BU MET’s Applied Sustainability program guides you 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.
Program at a Glance
- On Campus
- Part-Time or Full-Time Study
- 16 Credits
- 4–8 Months to Completion
- No GRE/GMAT
Apply Sustainable Solutions to Urban Development
BU MET’s Applied Sustainability graduate 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.
Why Earn a Graduate Certificate in Applied Sustainability at BU?
- Active Learning Environment: BU’s Applied Sustainability courses focus on practical, hands-on approaches, ensuring that you are immersed in all aspects of the topic—education you can apply on the job.
- Engaged Faculty: In BU’s Applied Sustainability graduate certificate program, you benefit from working closely with highly qualified faculty who provide interdisciplinary perspectives on urban sustainability issues, sharing valuable expertise that will help you advance your career in the burgeoning sustainability economy.
- Extensive Network: Study complex issues alongside peers with solid experience in sustainable practices, learn from faculty who have valuable contacts in the field, and benefit from an alumni community with strong professional connections.
- Student Support: Enjoy an exceptional student-to-instructor ratio, ensuring close interaction with faculty mentors and access to support.
- Valuable Resources: Make use of Boston University’s extensive resources, including the Center for Career Development, Fitness & Recreation Center, IT Help Centers, Mugar Memorial Library, Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, Center for Antiracist Research, Initiative on Cities, Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground, George Sherman Union, and many others.
- Flexible Options: Study at the pace that works for you, with multiple on-campus class times that include evenings, and courses that begin fall, spring, and summer.
- Track Record: Learn from the best—BU MET has been offering programs in urban affairs since 1968. The Master of Urban Affairs was introduced in 1969, and the Master of City Planning was introduced in 1978.
Learn to Solve Challenges in Planning, Urban Management, and Public Policy
The Graduate Certificate in Applied Sustainability is offered through BU MET’s Department of Applied Social Sciences, which oversees several graduate programs focusing on the challenges of the urban environment, including the Master of City Planning (MCP), the Master of Urban Affairs (MUA), and the Graduate Certificate in Urban Policy & Planning.
BU’s Urban Affairs & City Planning programs prepare future leaders, practitioners, and innovators for the myriad challenges that arise in urban planning and policymaking. Students consider the political, social, and technical implications of each facet of planning and policymaking, and thus grapple with the fact that there are few, if any, simple solutions or approaches to urban issues.
Graduates can pursue a wide range of professional careers in town, city, and regional planning; sustainable management; community and economic development; transportation planning; public-sector/nonprofit management; and policy research, among others.
Graduate with Expertise
Boston University’s Applied Sustainability graduate certificate will equip you 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.
BU MET graduate certificate programs can serve as building blocks to a master’s degree. The Graduate Certificate in Applied Sustainability shares specific courses with the Master of Urban Affairs and Master of City Planning degree programs. To be eligible for the degree, you must apply for admission and be accepted into the degree program. Consult with a graduate admissions advisor to learn more about these options.
Graduate Certificate in Applied Sustainability Curriculum
In addition to the below courses, students are also required to maintain an e-portfolio of the work they produce throughout the program. For more information, please visit this page.
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.
(Two courses/8 credits)
MET UA 617 Actionable Sustainability
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. ]
MET UA 627 Smart Green Cities
Smart Green Cities examines the three elements of "sustainability" and their application to guide decisions about development, investment, and the role of government, particularly at the city level. Through comparative study of a range of sustainable practices in important subfields of planning, such as transportation, land use, and energy, students will learn about the crucial role cities play in addressing equity and other social concerns, environmental challenges, and global climate change, the constraints and opportunities cities face, and how to effectively address them. Recognizing their increasing importance, the course will focus on the use of data and technology as tools to advance more sustainable land development, travel, energy, natural resources, and other decisions. Finally, particular attention will be given to the practical application of land use planning techniques. The course includes lectures, discussions, case studies, and student presentations. [ 4 cr. ]
|A1||IND||Gaertner||MET 122||T||6:00 pm – 8:45 pm|
(Two courses/8 credits)
The two elective courses can be 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.
MET UA 521 Environmental Law, Policy, and Justice
Principles and status of environmental law for pollution control and environmental improvement. Impact statements, resource conservation and protection, growth management. Emphasis on air, water, land, and hazardous waste issues. Environmental, economic, and other policy relationships. Case materials and court decisions. [ 4 cr. ]
MET UA 527 Feeding the City: Urban Food
This course examines historical and contemporary issues involved in providing food to cities and metropolitan areas. Tracing the routes that food takes into the city and the major sources of food, the course looks closely at the accessibility of food, especially in poorer urban neighborhoods. Among topics covered are obesogenic neighborhoods, food deserts, gentrification and foodie culture, public school food and nutrition, attempts to minimize food waste, and immigrants and ethnic foods in the city. The course also considers recent attempts at food production in cities, including urban agriculture, vertical farming, and craft production of food products. After closely looking at the history and current status of food programs, the course concludes with a consideration of urban food policies. [ 4 cr. ]
|SB1||IND||Carroll||NIP 320||TR||6:00 pm – 9:30 pm|
MET UA 610 Urban Environmental Issues
This course is designed to present a comprehensive approach to urban environmental issues by integrating environmental planning and policy. It is intended for both students with and without planning background. This course provides a broader view and discussion of natural resources planning relating to issues affecting urban watershed management. This approach includes water policy, sustainability of water resources, freshwater planning (Lakes and Rivers), coastal waters, open space protection, stormwater management, clean water act, wetland protection, low impact development, and stakeholder involvement with a focus on the means and techniques available to local governments to plan and protect watersheds. Case studies will be used to demonstrate the potential to address full range of urban watershed issues, including water supply planning, water quality restoration and protection, open space planning, habitat protection and ecological conservation, and enhancement and regulatory activities. [ 4 cr. ]
|A1||IND||Kyei-Aboagye||CAS 204A||M||6:00 pm – 8:45 pm|
MET UA 613 Urban Design and Development
The role of urban design in the community development process. Examines human behavior, aesthetic foundations of design methods, citizen/client participation, and public policy issues. Analysis of actual community spaces. Student design exercises. [ 4 cr. ]
|SB1||IND||Dutta-Koehle||LAW AUD||MW||6:30 pm – 9:30 pm|
MET UA 619 Urban Transportation Policy and Planning
This course will provide students with a broad introduction to important concepts and policy issues in transportation, principally at an urban and metropolitan level. In addition, the course will explore methods planning practitioners can use to analyze transportation problems and propose solutions. The course will use specific examples of planning initiatives (both operations and capital) from transportation agencies within the Boston Metropolitan region. Guest speakers from local, regional, and state transportation agencies within the Greater Boston Metropolitan area will supplement the instructor's lectures and assigned readings. [ 4 cr. ]
|A1||IND||Hassol||CAS 226||W||6:00 pm – 8:45 pm|
MET UA 629 Urbanization and the Environment
Interrelationships between physical environment and processes of urbanization. Case studies develop historical perspective on social, economic, and physical aspects of the quality of urban life. Special attention to the preparation of environmental impact statements and assessment of urban environmental quality. [ 4 cr. ]
MET UA 654 GIS and Spatial Analysis
Geographic Information Systems for Planners provides an introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specifically with a focus on applications in urban planning. The role of spatial analysis in local, state and regional planning has steadily increased over the last decade with the infusion of windows-based GIS software such as ESRI ArcGIS. The class focus is to prepare students to feel comfortable communicating with other GIS users, research spatial data, and produce high quality digital maps in an applied learning environment. [ 4 cr. ]Spring 2021
|A1||IND||Sungu-Eryilm||CAS 330||W||6:00 pm – 8:45 pm|