University of Vermont

Gund Institute for Ecological Economics

Graduate Certificate: Earn Credentials in Ecological Economics

Types of Applicants

  • Graduate Students
  • People with a Master's
  • People with a Ph.D.
  • Continuing Ed Students
  • Working Professionals

On This Page

As a synthesis between different fields of study, this certificate is an ideal complement to any educational training or professional experience. In fifteen credits you will gain a solid foundation in Ecological Economics and develop new skills to help you contribute to the big picture at your organization, in your research, or throughout your career.

Getting Started

Earn the certificate as part of a UVM Master's or Ph.D. degree program or as a stand-alone program. Explore below to learn more...

  • Certificate in Ecological Economics

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    Ecological Economics is a transdisciplinary field that examines the relationships between ecological and economic systems while working to solve humanity's current environmental challenges. It is based on the understanding that the economy is a subsystem of a larger ecological life support system, and it strives to create an ecologically sustainable, socially equitable, and economically efficient future. The Certificate is a problem-based, interdisciplinary program focused on developing a practical framework for integrating economic and ecological systems. Students will acquire a theoretical and pragmatic basis to carry these skills into the world of practice.

Required Core Courses

Ecological Economic Theory: 3 credits
Ecological economics is an ongoing effort to reconcile economic theory and policy with accepted knowledge from other disciplines. This foundational course develops (1) a core understanding of the basic tenants of neoclassical economic theory, (2) an interdisciplinary critique of economic behavior and production models, and (3) a transdisciplinary foundation for problem-solving in the context of the scale and complexity of 21st century social and environmental problems. Students research, write, and present a paper that meets an academic conference/journal standard of review. As a gateway course to the Graduate Certificate, weekly seminars build peer mentoring relationships and connections to the Gund Institute learning community.

Ecological Economic Methods: 3 credits
Ecological economics considers the human economy as embedded in a social system and constrained by the biophysical world. As such, problem definition, analysis, and synthesis draws from many disciplinary perspectives. This course reviews key analytical tools used by ecological economists, and then develops methods for interdisciplinary synthesis such as dynamic systems modeling, multi-criteria analysis, input-output analysis, and spatial modeling of ecosystem services. Students develop a model of coupled human-natural systems to investigate a current management or policy decision.

Ecological Economic Practice: 3 credits
The full problem-solving process includes both credentialed experts and experiential knowledge in defining, analyzing, synthesizing, and communicating solutions. This hands-on course brings together students, faculty, and stakeholders from diverse backgrounds and disciplines to address a specific local, regional or global environmental problem. The problem for each semester is chosen in collaboration with a sponsor, and often involves an intensive workshop known as Gund ateliers (see past ateliers). Students learn to apply the principles and methods of ecological economics to messy, complex, real-world problems. Outcomes include collaborative research papers, grant proposals, and policy/management support.

Required Competencies

Required Competencies ensure that students gain a background in social and natural sciences analysis, synthesis, and communication. Students must demonstrate competency in four areas: Natural Science, Social Science, Management and Quantitative Methods. Two of the competencies (6 credits) are taken as electives through certificate course work at UVM.  The remaining two competencies are typically demonstrated as pre-requisites prior to enrolling in the certificate by appropriate graduate coursework at UVM or elsewhere, or by life experience. If prerequisites are not met prior to application, a student may be provisionally admitted with the understanding that the prerequisite(s) be taken at UVM prior to completion of the certificate.

Certificate in Ecological Economics Review Committee

Jon Erickson | Joshua Farley | Taylor Ricketts

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Course Search

Explore current course offerings

2017 Summer and Fall Suggested Courses

2017 Spring Suggested Courses

2016-2017 Suggested Courses

2015-2016 Suggested Courses

Course Tracker

Use this form to keep track of completed and intended courses.

Ecological Econ Form (PDF)

Other Questions?

We are happy to answer any questions regarding the certificate.


How to Apply

FOR CURRENT UVM STUDENTS: If you are currently enrolled in a UVM graduate or doctoral program, complete the Certificate of Graduate Study Short-Form Application (PDF) and attach a brief statement (200-500 words) explaining why you are interested in the Certificate program. Have your academic advisor sign the form. If you are not in RSENR, have your Graduate Program Coordinator sign the form. Give the original to Carolyn Goodwin-Kueffner in RSENR. She will send this on for the last two signatures.

FOR DUAL GRADUATE DEGREE/CERTIFICATE PROGRAM APPLICANTS: Students applying at the same time for both a regular graduate degree program and also for a Certificate of Graduate Study at UVM must complete the online UVM Graduate Application.

FOR APPLICANTS TO GUND CERTIFICATE PROGRAM: Applicants seeking to enroll in just a Certificate of Graduate Study program must complete the online UVM Graduate Application. Note: You must have completed an advanced degree (Masters, PhD, or JD) to apply for just the certificate. If you already have a graduate degree from an accredited college/university, GRE scores are NOT required.



  1. Please see the information for accepted and current certificate students (PDF).

General Requirements for the Certificate

  1. Complete all required credits in 5 years. Please see the Certificate Requirements (PDF).
  2. Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0
  3. Complete a Certificate of Graduate Study Program Plan Form (PDF) by the end of the first semester of enrollment in a Certificate of Graduate Study program.
  4. Submit an Intent to Graduate Form (PDF) to the Graduate College at the beginning of your final semester. NOTE: MAC users must first download the form, fill it out, click Print and then in the lower-left corner select Save as PDF, and then send it as an e-mail attachment. If you do not perform this step, the information cannot be seen on the form.
  5. Fill out a Certificate of Graduate Study Completion Form (PDF) before your thesis is due to the Graduate College. File a copy with your degree-granting program (if applicable), the Gund Institute, and the Graduate College.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What’s the value of a certificate? Certificates are one of the fastest growing credentials in postsecondary education. The Gund certificate offers concentrated coursework in a specialized topic. You can demonstrate to employers that you have knowledge in a relevant field.
  • Is financial aid available? No, unfortunately financial aid isn’t available for the certificate program.
  • What will I receive when I finish the certificate? The certificate is a document suitable for framing, awarded by the Graduate College. The certificate is recorded on your official transcript.
  • Can I apply to just the certificate program if I only have a bachelor's degree? No, you need to have a master's, PhD, or JD degree to apply as a stand-alone student for the certificate program.
  • How do certificates differ from degree programs? Certificates are professional development credentials. Often they require only 5 courses, while most degrees require 10 courses.

Last modified April 04 2017 12:31 PM