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Sustainability Decision Making

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We live in a complex world, and sustainability problems in particular involve many interconnected and rapidly evolving systems and viewpoints. How can you go about making critical decisions about such impossible challenges? The courses in this certificate program present tools and decision-making frameworks for understanding and intervening effectively in complex sustainability-related challenges. By completing this certificate, students will gain practice at systems-level decision making that incorporates technological, environmental, social, and economic factors.

Learning Objectives


Gain exposure to foundational concepts and frameworks for understanding and navigating complex social-environmental systems by taking [required course]. 


Apply decision making frameworks and tools to practice systems-level decision making by taking two elective courses. Identify interconnections between environmental, social, and economic factors that need to be considered when making decisions about sustainability within the current economic system.


Grapple with real issues through a project or case-study based course. Apply knowledge and skills about decision making and from the students’ primary degree to complete a course-related project. 


You must complete the core course and 3 elective courses from the list below. 1 elective must be a project based course. 

Reminder: All courses must be taken for at least 3 units and a letter grade. You cannot receive credit towards the program requirements for repeated courses or courses counted towards your graduate degree

Core course

Elective courses

CourseTitleProject based
BIO 203Human and Planetary Health


BIO 279Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs


CEE 165HBig Earth Hackathon Wildland Fire Challenge


CEE 226Life Cycle Assessment for Complex Systems


CEE 243Introduction to Systems Engineering


CEE 265FEnvironmental Governance and Climate Resilience


CHPR 113Healthy/Sustainable Food Systems: Maximum Sustainability across Health, Economics, and Environment


EARTHSYS 213Hacking for Climate and Sustainability


ECON 155Environmental Economics and Policy


ENERGY 263Sustainable Energy Decisions


ENVRES 250Environmental Governance


ETHICSOC 278MIntroduction to Environmental Ethics


GSBGEN 367Problem Solving for Social Change


LAW 2504Environmental Law & Policy


LAW 808DPolicy Practicum: Smoke: Wildfire Science and Policy Lab


MS&E 243Energy and Environmental Policy Analysis


MS&E 394Advanced Methods in Modeling for Climate and Energy Policy


SUST 220Case Studies in Leading Change for Sustainability


SUST 225Decision Making for Sustainability


SUSTAIN 210Justice 40 Policy Lab


SUSTAIN 221Blue Foods for Indoesia: A Human and Planetary Health Action Lab


SUSTAIN 222Philanthropy Lab: Strategic Giving for Sustainable Development


View Explore Courses for a current list of course offerings in this program