Graduate Certificate Program Sustainability Graduate Certificate

PSU sustainability graduate student charging an electric car

Sustainability Graduate Certificate Overview

Addressing the world’s toughest challenges—from poverty to climate change to urban development—requires unprecedented collaboration and knowledge from every field. This is sustainability.

Our Graduate Certificate in Sustainability will provide you with an in-depth understanding of the connections between social, environmental, and economic systems, and arms them with the knowledge to apply sustainable, integrated problem-solving approaches in their lives and careers.

This graduate certificate, offered in collaboration with 14 participating departments and schools on campus, is open to students from all areas of study and professional backgrounds. It is available as an add-on to a master’s or doctoral degree program at PSU or as a stand-alone program for professionals and college graduates who want to better understand sustainability issues. Our graduates go on to pursue careers in a variety of fields, including engineering, urban planning, communications, and business.

Our current students join the program from academia, from midway in their career, or from careers that they are looking to switch out of for a field they are more passionate about.

Graduate certificates have great value in the marketplace. Read about it in this US News article, Graduate Certificate Programs Offer Quick Path to Career Upgrade.

Degree Details

  • GC
    Graduate Certificate
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term
    Fall, Winter, Spring

Sustainability Graduate Certificate: Why PSU?

Portland State is a leader in sustainability in one of the greenest cities in the United States. Come and learn from the experts in this field! Our unique certificate employs an interdisciplinary design and is built on the following core classes:

  • environmental science
  • economics
  • sociology
  • urban planning

Students may also choose from electives from many different fields and areas.

Courses in the certificate can double as graduate degree program requirements for master’s and doctoral students. The certificate is a stand-alone program for professionals and college graduates who want to know more about sustainability challenges.

What can I do with a graduate certificate in Sustainability?

We invite students and professionals from all disciplines and careers who are interested in embarking, or furthering, a career in sustainability to apply.

The certificate can be used by mid-career professionals who want to move inside their organizations or who want to explore jobs in various fields of sustainability (whether in the nonprofit, governmental, or private sector); by those seeking a path to a regular, related master’s degree at PSU; by college graduate and mid-career professionals who want to learn new tools and applications to complement their existing education and experience by taking classes and working on targeted projects to help reach that goal; by PSU students who enroll in this graduate certificate to add it to their current degree to supplement their degree and widen their job possibilities; and by other PSU students to learn more about sustainability and go onto a Ph.D.

Featured Courses

  • ESM 588 Environmental Sustainability
  • USP 588 Urban Studies and Planning
  • EC 522 Economics of Sustainability
  • SOC 565 Environmental Sociology


There are several exciting electives that a student can take. Some of them are:

  • ESM 564 Managing Climate Risks/Vulnerabilities
  • CE 512 Sustainability in Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • EC 530 Resource and Environmental Economics
  • USP 510 Climate Resiliency Planning
  • PA 542 Sustainable Development Implementation
  • PA 574 Food and Agriculture Policy


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).