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Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies Certificate

Why Choose an Environmental Studies Certificate?

The Environmental Studies Certificate Program allows undergraduate students at UW–Madison to explore the environmental intersections that complement their major, but with fewer curricular requirements than the major. Students completing the certificate also benefit from participation in the Nelson academic community and gain invaluable access to a network of multidisciplinary problem-solving colleagues. The certificate program is available to any UW–Madison student pursuing a bachelor's degree through the university's regular academic departments.

Completion of the certificate program is noted on a student’s academic transcript.

Requirements for the Certificate

Students are required to take five courses/15 credits to include two courses in the Foundation section and three courses in the thematic areas. A minimum of 6 credits overall must be at the intermediate or advanced level (I/A/D). A minimum GPA in certificate courses of 2.0 is required.

  • Environmental Humanities or Environmental Social Science
  • Physical Science or Ecological Science
  • Students are required to take five courses/15 credits from the thematic areas listed below.
  • Courses may be concentrated in one area or taken from multiple areas.
  • Courses used in the thematic areas cannot be used in the Foundation section.

Thematic areas include: Biodiversity; Climate; Energy; Food and Agriculture; Health; History / Culture; Land Use; Policy; Water

Certificate students may enroll in a capstone course after the majors have enrolled, and the capstone course will be allowed to count in the thematic requirement. We recommend junior standing for enrollment.

Pass/Fail Courses. Courses in the environmental studies major cannot be taken on a pass/fail basis.

Courses listed under more than one category in the curriculum may be used to satisfy only one category.

For a list of course options for each category, see Certificate Curriculum on the program website.