The Gund Institute is a national leader in Ecological Economics, a transdisciplinary field that examines relationships between ecological and economic systems while working to solve humanity's environmental challenges.

Ecological Economics is based on the understanding that the economy is grounded in a larger ecological system. It strives to create a future that is environmentally sustainable, socially equitable, and economically efficient.

Taught by leading experts in the field, the Ecological Economics Graduate Certificate is a 15-credit, problem-based interdisciplinary program for both graduate students and professionals. Participants 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 and throughout your career, including a theoretical and practical framework for integrating economic and ecological systems in real world scenarios.

The certificate is managed jointly by the Gund Institute and the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, and conferred by UVM’s Graduate College.

To pursue a PhD degree in ecological economics, UVM offers the Economics for the Anthropocene graduate training and research program. This international partnership between UVM, McGill University (Montreal) and York University (Toronto) combines ecological economics with an emphasis on real-world environmental solutions. 


Key Courses

Ecological Economic Theory: 3 credits (NR 341)
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 (NR 351)
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 (NR 352)
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.


Application Process

  • Current and prospective students seeking both a graduate degree and the certificate apply via the UVM Graduate College's online portal.
  • The certificate application fee will be waived for current, accepted, degree students.
  • Applicants seeking only to pursue the certificate are required to pay the $65 application fee.