Undergraduate Certificate in Sustainability and Environmental Studies

Sustainability is about creating economic and technological systems that harmonize with the way the natural world works.  Environmental studies provides the knowledge base for creating a sustainable future.

The Undergraduate Certificate in Sustainability and Environmental Studies adds a layer of cross-disciplinary knowledge of how people can reduce environmental harm or create a positive impact on the natural and man-made environments of the communities in which we live, work and play.

The Certificate is for students who are not necessarily majoring in an environment- or sustainability-related discipline, but who may be interested in bolstering their credentials in this area.  For example, a business major may be interested in managing a green business; a political science major may be interested in environmental policy and law as a career.  The Certificate is also for students who, regardless of their major, have a passion for nature and want to learn more.

Certificate requirements include taking the course, GEOG140 Introduction to Environmental Studies, followed by courses in physical systems and the environment, policy and economics, and human dimensions, and culminating in a Capstone course with field applications.  Required coursework totals 18-22 credit hours.

Classes in these required areas come from disciplines such as anthropological sciences, biology, chemistry, geology, geospatial science, physics, recreation parks and tourism, sociology, Appalachian studies, and design.  The capstone course provides experiential learning opportunities combined with a culminating capstone experience through which students can synthesize and apply the understandings and tools gained in fulfilling the other area requirements.

Following is the description of the Certificate from the 2011-2012 Radford University Undergraduate Catalog:

New link to the gainful employment document

Applicants must be degree seeking students
at Radford University in good standing and must
successfully complete Introduction to Environmental
Studies (GEOG 140) with a “C” or
Certificate Requirements 18-22

1) Introductory Class:

GEOG 140. Introduction to
Environmental Studies. 3

Students take four courses (12-15 credit hours)
in Areas 2 through 4. At least one course must
be taken in each of the three areas, and a second
course must be taken in one of the three areas, in
consultation with the advisor.
2) Physical Systems and the
Environment. (choose one: 3 – 4 credits)
This area will introduce students to how the
natural world works from the perspective of the
natural sciences. Courses focus on earth systems
and processes, ecology, biological diversity,
and energy.
ANSC 361. Human Impacts on the
Prehistoric Environment. 3
BIOL 103. Environmental Biology. 4
BIOL 131. Ecology and Adaptation. 4
(Will not count toward the university
or college core requirement.)
BIOL 390. Conservation Biology. 3
CHEM 215. Environmental Chemistry. 3
GEOL 100. Earth Resources and Natural Hazards. 4

GEOS 130. Physical Geography. 4
GEOS 335. Biogeography. 3
PHSC 431. Energy and the Environment. 3

3) Policy and Economics
(choose one: 3 – 4 credits)
Courses in this area help students develop their
ability to analyze public policies for influencing
human impact on the environment.
ECON 272. Natural Resource
Economics. 3
ECON 375. Environmental Economics. 3
GEOS 241. Environmental Regulation. 3
GEOS 362. Water Resources. 4
GEOS 492. Land Use. 3
4) Human Dimensions
(choose one: 3 credits)
Courses in this area focus on how humans have
interacted with their environmental and how
different cultural attitudes have brought about
and responded to environmental change. Using
the methods of the humanities, design, and
social sciences, these courses focus on a range
of environmental problems and the ethical,
aesthetic, practical, and sociological issues associated
with them.
ANSC 361. Human Impacts on the
Prehistoric Environment. 3
APST 200. Introducing Appalachia. 3
BIOL 215. Plants and Society. 4
DSN 110. Introduction to Design. 3
DSN 402. Global Design. 3
ENGL 454. Literature and the
Environment. 3
GEOS 340. International
Environmental Problems. 3
PSYC 347. Environmental Psychology. 3
RCPT 230. Introduction to
Outdoor Recreation. 3
SOCY 370. Environmental
Sociology. 3

5) Field Applications and Capstone Experience
(choose one with approval of advisor: 3-4 credits)
These courses provides experiential learning
opportunities combined with a culminating
capstone experience through which students can
synthesize and apply the understandings and
tools gained in fulfilling the other area requirements.
Emphasis is placed on active learning
through a field-based experience. The student’s
advisor and Area 5 instructor approve and cofacilitate
the capstone project. Only students
who have completed the requirements in the
other four areas are eligible to take the capstone
course as the culminating course for this certificate
program. The student will be responsible
for securing the cooperation of the capstone
course instructor through a written agreement
to be signed by the student, the instructor, and
the advisor. Students will 1) apply their body
of knowledge in environmental studies and sustainability
in a field-based context; 2) synthesize
their knowledge and skills through a meaningful
capstone project; and 3) demonstrate a broad
understanding of environmental studies and
sustainability by presenting their capstone project
in a public forum.
BIOL 217. Flora of Virginia. 4
BIOL 476. Forest and Wetland Ecology. 4
COMS 407. Science and Environment
Writing. 3
RCPT 331. Outdoor Living Skills. 3
RCPT 431. Sustainable Tourism. 3
Appropriate Special Topics Class
Approved by Advisor 3-4


For further information please contact Dr. Richard Roth in the Department of Geospatial Science, College of Science and Technology, at (540) 831-5558.

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