Certificate Overview

Students planting a new tree with "Certified" badge on image.

Critical Thinking and Creative Approaches

The complex and interdependent challenges of our world today require critical thinking and creative approaches to meeting the goals of our modern society without undermining the resources that support them. Sustainability is not a study for a select few, but a life skill that will provide every KU graduate and global citizen with an interdisciplinary world view, in preparation for contributing to solutions for our present and our future.

Undergraduate students from any major or discipline at the University of Kansas can earn a Sustainability Certificate as part of their degree portfolio.

The certificate includes three learning components:

  • Coursework — Students may choose three to four academic courses (totaling 9-16 credit hours), each introducing a unique interdisciplinary view of sustainability.
  • Experience — Students must engage in and complete 60 hours of experiential learning, which may take the form of service, research, or a combination of both.
  • Reflection — Having completed the course and learning requirements, students will submit a detailed reflection on their combined experience.

Interested in earning the Sustainability Certificate? Email sustaincert@ku.edu.


The KU Certificate in Sustainability is an academic program that enables students, regardless of their major discipline, to gain experience and knowledge of sustainability concepts. Completion of the certificate will be acknowledged on student transcripts.

Understanding of sustainability concepts can enhance any career field. Adding the Sustainability Certificate to your degree portfolio will allow you to demonstrate to employers that you can bring sustainable values and knowledge to the workplace.

Experiential learning offers a hands-on approach to connecting what you learn in the classroom to experiences outside of the classroom. Experiential education at the University of Kansas can be connected to a particular degree program or student organization, or be completed independently as a way to further your academic knowledge, explore your interests, and help others.

More information is available on the Office of Academic Programs & Experiential Learning website.

There is much more to sustainability than environmental issues. While the resources we depend on come from the environment, we also need to examine how we allocate, manage, market and trade these resources. Social workers, business persons, financial analysts, teachers, local government workers, and lawyers — to name a few — are all able to contribute to a goal of sustainability in their professions and their communities.

No. Only one qualifying certificate course can be from both your major(s) and/or minor(s), which includes any cross-listed courses. With the exception of the Global Environment series, in which case both classes in the series count toward your foundational requirement.

The Global Environment series, 140 and 142 combined, can be used as your foundational course. For Environmental Studies students, an additional course from both Physical Systems and Human Systems is required. Neither may be from or cross-list with your major or minor.

There are numerous courses offered at KU that would complement the certificate coursework. To see if a particular course would make an appropriate substitute, check out the criteria for each category of courses, then email sustaincert@ku.edu to discuss your proposed course substitution.

Courses that are recognized as transfer equivalents to KU can count toward the certificate; however, at least one of your certificate courses must be taken at KU. To find out if a course is a transfer equivalent check the KU Admissions Transfer Credit website.

Yes. You must earn a "C" or better in any courses you wish to count toward the certificate, as is the requirement for all experiential learning certificates at KU.

Probably not. Experiences may be retroactively considered if they began or were completed within the current or previous semester. An Experience Proposal is still required and is subject to the approval of the Certificate Coordinator. Site satisfaction form will need to be completed retroactively and proof of time demonstrated in some form. It is a good idea to contact the Certificate Coordinator at sustaincert@ku.edu to discuss a previous experience before pursuing paperwork.

Maybe! If your experiential learning for another certificate meets all of the guidelines of the sustainability certificate, it may be eligible to apply toward both. Please contact the Certificate Coordinator to discuss. An Experience Proposal is still required and is subject to the approval.