Sustainability (SUST)

Ken McCown
Department Chair and Program Coordinator

Graduate Certificate Offered:
Sustainability (non-degree)

Program Description: The Graduate Certificate in Sustainability is interdisciplinary, drawing from faculty and course work across all colleges of the University of Arkansas. The graduate certificate is accessible to all students admitted to the Graduate School, both degree-seeking and non-degree seeking, who wish to pursue advanced study in Sustainability. The purpose of the Graduate Certificate in Sustainability is to provide functional graduate-level knowledge and skills related to the emerging discipline of Sustainability organized around four thematic areas reflecting strength in scholarship of University of Arkansas academic colleges: Sustainability of Social Systems, Sustainability of Natural Systems, Sustainability of Built Systems, and Sustainability of Managed Systems. Students who complete the graduate certificate in Sustainability will be expected to:

  1. Articulate commonly accepted definitions of sustainability and discuss various nuances among those definitions as well as engage in analytical thinking to enhance sustainability measures;
  2. Address real-world problems of sustainability to reinforce their professional interests.
  3. Have an understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of sustainability issues, particularly as they pertain to the thematic areas of knowledge addressed by the graduate certificate (sustainability of natural systems, sustainability of managed systems, sustainability of built systems, and sustainability of human social systems);
  4. Be conversant regarding acquisition and analysis of data pertinent to measuring sustainability;
  5. Communicate orally, and in writing organized thoughts defining sustainability measures and technical aspects of sustainability;
  6. Identify potential strategies to address sustainability issues using appropriate analytical methods and data and provide results of analyses of data using novel sustainability metrics and indicators;
  7. Make recommendations, based on data analysis and interpretation, to advance sustainability of individuals or institutions.
  8. Develop methods, techniques and tools for implementing sustainability initiatives.

Required Courses

Students must earn a grade of “B” or better for all courses used to fulfill requirements of the Graduate Certificate in Sustainability.

SEVI 50203Sustainability in Business (Required course for the Graduate Certificate)3
Elective courses with sustainability focus selected from a broad menu of offerings in four thematic areas:12
Sustainability of Social Systems
Sustainability of Natural Systems
Sustainability of Built Systems
Sustainability of Managed Systems
Total Hours15

Elective courses must be completed in at least two thematic areas. In addition, nine of these 12 hours must be in courses numbered 5000 or above.

A complete list of elective courses may be found on the university's Sustainability website.


SUST 51003. Foundations of Sustainable and Resilient Systems. 3 Hours.

Exploring sustainability foundations, application, and assessment, this course provides students the skills and competencies to understand, communicate, and evaluate sustainability at multiple scales. Using core sustainability concepts, such as systems and complexity, resilience and vulnerability, we evaluate interrelationships among environmental, societal, and economic well-being and the implications for decision-making. (Typically offered: Fall)

SUST 52003. Decision Making, Analysis and Synthesis in Sustainability. 3 Hours.

Provides an applied framework for analyzing decision dynamics, supporting and promoting more sustainable decisions, and measuring the sustainability of systems. The course applies theories of change, institutional decision theory, social and institutional constructs of sustainability, indicator and metric development across social, ecological, and economic domains, and communication strategies. (Typically offered: Spring)

SUST 53003. Sustainable Global Food, Energy and Water Systems. 3 Hours.

Provides a detailed review of the existing global food production/distribution and water systems, with an emphasis on scarcity, equity, management and challenges from changing global systems. This course explores the inputs and efficiencies of existing agricultural production systems, and examines equity and value in these systems. (Typically offered: Fall)

SUST 56003. Environmental Sociology. 3 Hours.

The course provides a social perspective on environmental issues. It examines the linkage between society, ecological systems and the physical environment. It provides conceptual framework(s) for analyzing environmental issues, considers the role of humans in environmental issues, and enhances understanding the complexity of the relationship between societal organization and environmental change. Graduate degree credit will not be given for both SUST 46003 and SUST 56003). (Typically offered: Fall)

SUST 56903. Environmental Justice. 3 Hours.

This course deals with the ethical, environmental, legal, economic, and social implications of society's treatment of the poor, the disenfranchised, and minorities who live in the less desirable, deteriorating neighborhoods, communities, and niches of our country. The class integrates science with philosophy, politics, economics, policy, and law, drawing on award-winning films, current news, and case studies. Graduate degree credit will not be given for both SUST 46903 and SUST 56903. (Typically offered: Spring)

SUST 5900V. Special Problems in Sustainability. 1-6 Hour.

Special Problems is intended to fulfill a need in the sustainability curriculum to offer one-time pilot course work in any semester prior to the formal curriculum approval process, offer seminars on unusual but timely topics in sustainability on a one-time basis, or independent study for students seeking additional expertise in sustainability research and scholarship. Prerequisite: Graduate standing. (Typically offered: Irregular) May be repeated for up to 6 hours of degree credit.

SUST 69103. Sustainable Design and Construction: Remediation and Plants on Structure. 3 Hours.

Plants on Structure introduces students to strategies and techniques of plant use in the built environment. Potential topics include green infrastructure (e.g., green roofs and walls), site, soil, and water remediation techniques (e.g., phyto-remediation, bioswales, and living machines), and structural considerations. Technical documentation methods and other representation and/or communication techniques as a means of conveying design intent are included. (Typically offered: Spring)