Certificate in Sustainability


The Certificate in Sustainability is a for-credit undergraduate certificate open to all Faculty of Arts & Science students and is designed to complement any degree or discipline. It is offered in conjunction with any undergraduate program at the Faculty of Arts & Science. Successful completion of the certificate is recorded on the academic transcript.

This certificate brings together students from the arts and sciences, to approach the topic of sustainability from multiple perspectives. Students will develop a sustainability-lens through which they can approach the rest of their academic program, career path and life in general.

This Certificate is part of a tri-campus initiative, led by the President’s Advisory Committee on the Environment, Climate Change, and Sustainability (CECCS), to incorporate sustainability into the undergraduate curriculum and address society’s pressing sustainability challenges. It serves as the Sustainability Scholar component for the Faculty of Arts & Science. Similar programs already exist in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering and the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design on the St. George campus.


Students are required to take 2.5 courses comprised of:

ENV222H1 Pathways to Sustainability: An Interdisciplinary Approach

The foundations course introduces students to environmental studies and provides them with a sustainability lens that integrates sciences, social sciences and humanities. Students will learn the guiding principles of sustainability to support the remainder of their degree and will be introduced to their journal practice for elective courses that they will return to if they take the ENV411H1 Capstone course.

Students who have taken the TrinOne sustainability courses TRN140Y1/141Y1 may count these towards the certificate as an alternative to ENV222H1.

Between the foundation and capstone courses, students must take 1.5 credits from a curated list of existing 200- and 300-level courses. Students may select courses from at least two of the four clusters below:

  • Cluster 1 – Environment/Ecology/Climate
  • Cluster 2 – Equity/Ethics/Culture
  • Cluster 3 – Economics/Development/Resources
  • Cluster 4 – Food/Health/Wellbeing

The three electives are selected from a curated list of 42 half courses from 19 different units across the Faculty of Arts & Science that draw connections between multiple dimensions of sustainability (environmental, social, political, ethical, cultural, and economic).

Nominating An Elective Course:

Students have the option to nominate a third- or fourth-year credit that is not included in one of the clusters to count as one of their elective credits (0.5 FCE). This course could either be one they have already taken or one they are planning to take. Students must submit the relevant cluster, course code and description, a course syllabus (if the student has already taken the class), and proposal (500 words max) that addresses the following three criteria:

  • Why the course belongs to the cluster mentioned.
  • How the class addresses connections between at least two aspects of the following aspects of sustainability: environmental, social, political, ethical, cultural, and economic.
  • How the student expects the course to fill a specific gap in their personal learning objectives within the Certificate.

Elective nominations are accepted on a rolling basis and must be submitted at least one semester prior to graduation. To submit a nomination for an elective course, please use this form.  

The capstone courses require students to reflect on their sustainability education journey, using their guiding principles and journal reflections.

Students must select one course from the three listed below:

ENV461H1 Campus as a Living Lab for Sustainability

This experiential learning course puts students into groups of 4-6 and pairs them with partners within the university looking to implement a sustainability solution or test the effectiveness of one they have already implemented. This course has a pre-requisite of 10 FCE and completion of either ENV221H1 or ENV222H1. Students will gain significant perspective through the experience.

ENV421Y1 Community Research for Social & Environmental

This research course partners small groups of students (3-5) with civil society organizations to conduct research to support social and environmental justice, broadly defined. This course is restricted to students enrolled in a program or certificate at the School of the Environment, or special permission of the Undergraduate Associate Director.

ENV411H1 Sustainability Thinking

This course includes a lecture section where students come together as a larger group to explore sustainability theory more deeply. It also includes smaller seminar-style tutorials where students will relate this theory to their past interdisciplinary learning experiences of their degree as well as their future careers and sustainability aspirations.

How to Apply

Apply to the Certificate in Sustainability on ACORN, as you do for programs of study. The certificate code is ASCER1500. 


Please contact the Undergraduate Student Advisor.

Certificate of Sustainability Elective Courses

Course Code Course Name Cluster
ANT204H1 Social Cultural Anthropology and Global Issues Equity/Ethics/Culture
ANT366H1 Anthropology of Activism and Social Justice Equity/Ethics/Culture
BIO220H1 From Genomes to Ecosystems in a Changing World Food/Health/Wellbeing
CAS202H1 Global Asian Studies: Sites and Practices Economics/Development/Resources
CSB202H1 Further Exploration in Biotechnology Food/Health/Wellbeing
CRE271H1 Reading the Wild (formerly VIC271H1) Equity/Ethics/Culture
CSE240H1 Introduction to Critical Equity and Solidarity Studies (was NEW240H1) Equity/Ethics/Culture
CSE342H1 Theory and Praxis in Food Security (was NEW342H1) Food/Health/Wellbeing
ECO313H1 Environmental Economics and Policies Economics/Development/Resources
EEB208H1 Ecosystems and the Human Footprint Environment/Ecology/Climate
ENV200H1 Assessing Global Change: Science and the Environment Environment/Ecology/Climate
ENV221H1 Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Environment Environment/Ecology/Climate
ENV261H1 Is the Internet Green? Economics/Development/Resources
ENV307H1 Urban Sustainability Economics/Development/Resources
ENV322H1 International Environmental Policy Environment/Ecology/Climate
ENV333H1 Ecological Worldviews Equity/Ethics/Culture
ENV341H1 Planetary Health (name change from Environment & Human Health) Economics/Development/Resources & Food/Health/Wellbeing
ESS205H1 Confronting Global Change Environment/Ecology/Climate
FOR302H1 Societal Values and Forest Management Equity/Ethics/Culture
FOR303H1 Human Dimensions of Global Forests Economics/Development/Resources
GGR223H1 Environment, Society and Resources Economics/Development/Resources
GGR314H1 Global Warming Environment/Ecology/Climate
GGR329H1 The Global Food System Food/Health/Wellbeing
GGR334H1 Water Resource Management Economics/Development/Resources
HIS218H1 Environmental History Environment/Ecology/Climate
HPS200H1 Science and Values Equity/Ethics/Culture
INS240Y1 Ecological Interactions: Intro to Indigenous and Western Sciences Environment/Ecology/Climate
INS250H1 Indigenous Environmental Science and Practice Environment/Ecology/Climate
INS355H1 Current Issues in Indigenous Environment and Health Food/Health/Wellbeing
JGE331H1 Resource and Environmental Theory Economics/Development/Resources
JIG322H1 Indigenous Worlds, Worldviews and the Environment Equity/Ethics/Culture
MCS326H1 The Material Culture of Food Food/Health/Wellbeing
NFS284H1 Basic Human Nutrition Food/Health/Wellbeing
PHL273H1 Environmental Ethics Equity/Ethics/Culture
PHL373H1 Issues in Environmental Ethics Equity/Ethics/Culture
POL205H1 International Relations in the Anthropocene Economics/Development/Resources
POL384H1 Global Environmental Governance from the Ground Up Economics/Development/Resources
TRN312H1 Sustainability Issues in Ethics, Society, and Law Equity/Ethics/Culture
TRN350H1 Scarcity, Sustainability, and the Future of International Relations Economics/Development/Resources
WGS273H1 Gender & Environmental (In)Justice Equity/Ethics/Culture
WGS367H1 The Politics of Gender and Health Food/Health/Wellbeing