The Certificate Program in Environmental Sustainability

The center offers a certificate program designed to enhance the under­graduate experience with a strong concentration on environmental issues and sustainability. Available to students in any major, it enables those who are ready for an additional academic challenge to cultivate their interest in environmental topics through coursework, conferences, individual study and a paid intern­ship or research experience during the summer following the junior year. It is appealing to those who wish to blend their interest in the environment with a non-science major and will be of particular interest to students planning careers in environmental policy, law, economics or education. With the assistance of a center adviser, students apply to the program in the fall of their sophomore year. As a part of the program, the center will help students find an internship or research project in the summer following their junior year and will provide a $3,000 stipend to cover travel and living expenses during the internship. The purpose of the internship is to offer students experiences that have a positive impact on their intellectual, professional and personal development through exposure to work environments that they might not otherwise encounter as an undergraduate.

Program Components

  1. Application: Students who have a 3.0 cumulative GPA may apply for the Certificate Program in the first semester of their sophomore year. During the application process which often begins in the spring semester of their first year, students are matched with a center adviser who helps them develop a program proposal. The application to be submitted in the fall of their Sophomore year must include the following:
    • application form.
    • program proposal.
    • academic transcript.
    • two letters of recommendation by faculty.
    • resume.
  1. Course Requirements: Students participate in a customized program of courses:
    • Environmental Studies (ES 110 or ES 111), taken as a first-year or sophomore.
    • Three additional courses selected to prepare the student for a summer internship or research project and their senior integrative project. The student chooses these courses in consultation with their center adviser.
    • Certificate Seminar (ES 290/ES 395, 396/ES 495, 496), taken during the spring semester of the sophomore year, one semester of the junior year and both semesters of the senior year, prepare students for their internships and senior integrative projects. The four-credit seminar in the sophomore year includes a Service Learning Project that focuses on management of local preserves through a community partnership with a land conservation group. This seminar, and the two­ credit seminars in the junior and senior years, provide opportunities for in-depth discussion of current environmental issues with invited speakers; sharing of information among students with diverse interests; and practical assistance in the planning of internships and senior projects and in the written and oral presentations of the results.
  1. Symposium/Conference Requirement: Students are expected to be active participants in workshops and special events sponsored by the Goodwin-Niering Center. In addition to events announced each semester, they must attend the biennial environmental Lear-Conant Symposium and write a reflection paper on the topic.
  2. Internship/Research Project: Students participate in an approved internship or a faculty-supervised research project during the summer after the junior year. Center staff and faculty will support the student in finding and selecting an internship or research project that is closely related to the student's planned Senior Integrative Project.
  3. Senior Integrative Project: A project that integrates the summer experience with the rest of the student's certificate program may be completed as a one or two-semester individual study or an honors study in the major field. Public presentation of the results is required.

    For more information call 860-439-5417, visit the center's office in Olin 109, or go to