Sustainability is the practice of meeting the needs of today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. In order to achieve sustainability, we need to understand human and environmental systems and their complex interactions. 

The certificate program in sustainability focuses on changing environments and human health; energy, climate, and built environments; the power of culture and society; and ethics, economics, and public policy. This program will help you become an effective leader and an agent of change for sustainability in any professional setting you choose.

Course Work

Sustainability encompasses multiple disciplines, methodologies, and institutional practices. Certificate students must understand the interdisciplinary nature of the field, which is represented by the program's breadth electives:

  • Dynamics of natural systems
  • Dynamics of human systems
  • Communication, ethics, and interpretation 

Students also must be able to analyze real-life problems in and outside of the classroom and work collaboratively to solve everyday problems.  

This program requires 24 s.h. of credit. Work for the certificate includes three introductory core courses, four courses from the breadth area electives, and one project course. 

Students may be able to count certificate courses toward requirements for other majors, minors, or other certificates. Certificate courses may not be taken pass/nonpass.

Admission Requirements

The Certificate in Sustainability may be earned by any University of Iowa student who is not concurrently enrolled in a UI graduate or professional degree program. 

Students must declare their intent to earn this certificate. See Sustainability Certificate in the UI General Catalog or the Certificate in Sustainability website for details about admission and course requirements.  

Student Opportunities

In addition to having more than 600 student organizations, Iowa students choose from multiple study abroad programs and undergraduate research opportunities


This program provides a solid foundation for careers in fields related to sustainability. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for individuals with training in the environmental area is projected to grow by 11 percent between 2014 and 2024, faster than the national average.

Iowa graduates have job placement rates ranging from 86-100 percent, depending on their area of study, and our Pomerantz Career Center offers multiple resources to help students find internships and jobs. 

Application Process

Application Process Tabs

Undergraduate certificate programs are available to students once they are enrolled in a degree program at Iowa, or after they have received a bachelor's degree. Review our Areas of Study to select a major.