Graduate Certificate

Business, Environment, and Social Responsibility (BESR):

This Nelson Institute certificate offers a suite of courses addressing the interrelations between business and its natural and social environment. Students will acquire knowledge and skills in

  • Identifying causes of environmental and social challenges as they relate to business
  • Structuring decision making processes to frame and incorporate these challenges in business decisions
  • Analyzing and positively leveraging the interdependencies between business and its natural and social environment


Culture, History, and Environment:

The environmental challenges we face today arise as much from human actions as from natural processes. Only at our peril do we forget that nature, in all its myriad forms, is inextricably bound up with every aspect of human culture, economy, and politics.

In exploring past environmental and cultural change and synthesizing diverse research methods and approaches drawn from the full spectrum of humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences, Culture, History, and Environment Program contributes in important ways to the understanding of past, present, and future environmental issues through interdisciplinary education and research.

CHE’s curriculum accommodates graduate students in a wide range of degree programs at UW-Madison.


Energy Analysis and Policy:

Energy plays a crucial role in today’s world, yet energy production and consumption pose serious risks to the environment and international security. From energy industries to environmental organizations, the landscape of energy decision-makers is evolving to take these multifaceted issues into account.

Energy Analysis and Policy (EAP) is an optional graduate-level certificate or Ph.D. minor that gives students the knowledge and skills needed to become leaders in industry, government, consulting, and key energy fields.

EAP’s interdisciplinary curriculum considers technical, economic, political, and social factors that shape energy policy formulation and decision-making. It examines current topics in energy resources, energy market structures and practices, traditional public utilities, energy technology, energy and environmental linkages, energy and environmental policy, and energy services. The curriculum also acquaints students with relevant skills: quantitative reasoning, analysis of energy issues, pricing and life-cycle costing, business analysis, and environmental quality assessment.

The Nelson Institute’s Environment and Resources program provides complete curriculum overlap with the EAP certificate. EAP can be used to complement any graduate degree program related to energy resources, distribution, use, or impacts. A number of graduate programs actively promote their overlap with EAP, including:

Master’s-degree students who complete the program receive EAP certificates in addition to their degrees.  Doctoral students can count the program as a distributed minor. EAP is not available as a stand-alone graduate degree.

EAP alumni are employed in the public and private sectors, academia, and the nonprofit world.


Humans and the Global Environment:

The Certificate on Humans and the Global Environment (CHANGE) trains graduate students to work effectively in interdisciplinary environmental research settings. CHANGE is a 12-credit graduate certificate program and Ph.D. minor that can supplement any graduate degree program on campus. It is not available as a stand-alone graduate degree.

Problems of global environmental sustainability and vulnerability have many interconnected components. To become effective agents of environmental progress, professionals and academics working on these issues must be able to communicate across disciplinary boundaries. CHANGE provides interdisciplinary training that helps students truly integrate humanistic, natural science, and social science perspectives on environmental sustainability. The CHANGE program recognizes that meaningful interdisciplinary collaboration does not happen simply because students have been exposed to multiple perspectives. It is a skill that must be learned and practiced.

The unique three-semester CHANGE curriculum trains students in professional communication and knowledge-management skills while exposing them to cutting-edge understandings of how human and non-human environmental systems operate. The cohort-based CHANGE training concludes with an interdisciplinary capstone course in which you and your peers join together in teams to tackle a real-world environmental problem for a private, government, or academic client.

CHANGE was developed by faculty affiliated with the Nelson Institute’s Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment as the training component of the CHANGE-IGERT Program, a graduate funding opportunity that was supported jointly by the National Science Foundation and the Graduate School at UW-Madison.


Transportation Management & Policy: 

Sustainable transportation systems are vital to modern societies. Demand for and use of our highway, public transportation, freight, rail, air, and water transportation networks are influenced by globalization of the economy, development of healthy economic mega-regions, lifestyle choices, and societal affluence. Concerns about their sustainability arise from our reliance on fossil fuels and rising transportation costs, vehicle emissions, impacts on land use, and the performance of aging infrastructure.

The Transportation Management and Policy Program (TMP) satisfies the demand for transportation professionals who understand multiple dimensions of mobility management and planning, enabling them to make choices leading to more environmentally and socially sustainable transportation systems now and in the future.

TMP’s curriculum integrates the study of the environment, transportation and land use planning, engineering, economics, freight mobility, multi-modal systems, spatial analysis, and decision making with the study of political, legal, environmental, and social factors that shape transportation management.

The program prepares students for professional work with public sector transportation agencies, consulting firms, and other organizations concerned with sustainable transportation management and policy. It is closely associated with the National Center for Freight and Infrastructure Research and Education (CFIRE) at UW-Madison.

Master’s-degree students who complete the program receive TMP certificates in addition to their degrees. Doctoral students can count the program as a minor. TMP is not available as a stand-alone graduate degree.


Engineering for Energy Sustainability:

Equity and sustainability of energy resources in the face of increasing global population and economic development are key issues at the center of the public discourse today. The objective of this certificate program is to offer undergraduate students a suite of courses addressing energy sustainability that span across the engineering curriculum, with firm roots in “real world” design and engineering practices.


Students who are enrolled as degree-seeking undergraduate students with a minimum GPA of 2.5 and a plan of study to fulfill the certificate requirements may enroll in the program. Applications may be submitted at any time, but students are strongly encouraged to apply early in their undergraduate careers in order to ensure successful completion of the program. Students may take courses that fulfill certificate requirements prior to submitting an application; however, it is strongly recommended that students submit their application prior to their final semester on campus. Declaring the certificate gives students access to the most up-to-date information on meeting certificate requirements, including new and special topics courses.

A student interested in completing the certificate program must contact a designated faculty member in his or her major department to apply. The student and faculty member must fill out the following declaration of intent and study plan to enter the certificate program: