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Ecological Economics Graduate Certificate

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- to 21-credit, problem-based program, depending on previous credits and life experience. Graduate students and professions 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 by the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, and conferred by UVM’s Graduate College.

UVM also offers PhD programs rooted in ecological economics, including Leadership for the Ecozoic (L4E). Learners can enroll in the Ecological Economics Graduate Certificate by itself, or paired with other UVM graduate programs, including L4E. 


Accepted certificate students should work with the RSENR Graduate Program Coordinator on the administrative steps.

Certificate Academic Requirements

The certificate requires 15 to 21 credits to complete. A minimum of 15 credits must be taken at UVM while enrolled in the program. The remaining 6 credits may be:

  • Taken at UVM
  • Fulfilled by appropriate previous graduate level credit courses
  • Fulfilled by life experience
  • Any combination of the above

Any method of fulfilling courses outside of UVM classes must be approved.

To complete the certificate program, students must take the following core requirements at UVM:

The below core courses must be taken for the certificate

  • Ecological Economic Theory: 3 credits (NR 341)
  • Ecological Economic Methods: 3 credits (NR 351)
  • Ecological Economic Practice: 3 credits (NR 352) OR (Advanced Agroecology: 0-4 credits (PSS 212) *or contact the RSENR Graduate Program Coordinator for approved alternatives.

Additionally, students must fulfill several competency requirements:

  • Natural Science (3 credits)
  • Social Science (3 credits)
  • Management (3 credits)
  • Quantitative Methods/Statistics (3 credits)

Certificate Coordinator: RSENR Graduate Program Coordinator

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.

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. 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.

Advanced Agroecology: 0-4 credits (PSS 212)

An in-depth overview of research and applications in the field of agroecology, including current ecological and social dynamics in agricultural landscapes in Vermont and abroad. 


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.