Courses: Sustainability / Environment

Courses and Programs

The University of Kentucky offers undergraduate and graduate level courses and certificates in a variety of sustainability focused disciplines. Including sustainability studies into academic programs is one way students can enjoy the benefits of specialization and and enhanced marketability in a modern and changing workforce. 

Undergraduate Certificate Programs

Appalachian Studies

Students in any college may earn the Undergraduate Certificate in Appalachian Studies. The Certificate is interdisciplinary (requiring course work in at least two colleges) and combines critical analysis with experiential education in the Appalachian region. The course work and practicum are tailored for each student in consultation with the program director to make the interdisciplinary certificate relevant to the student’s major, interests, and career plans. Faculty Director: Dr. Shaunna Scott, Director, Appalachian Studies and Appalachian Center, (859) 281-6928. Details and requirements for the Appalachian Studies Certificate are listed in the College of Arts and Sciences section of the UK Course Bulletin.

Distillation, Wine and Brewing Studies

The Undergraduate Certificate in Distillation, Wine and Brewing Studies (DWBS) is inclusive of students from all departments and colleges at UK. The Departments of Animal and Food Sciences; Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering; Chemistry; Chemical and Materials Engineering; History; Horticulture, Plant and Soil Sciences; Retailing and Tourism Management; and Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Studies are all engaged in DWBS. Three key student learning outcomes comprise the DWBS and are accomplished through a cluster of courses. Faculty Director: Dr. Seth DeBolt, Department of Horticulture. Details and requirements for the DWBS Certificate are listed in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment section in the UK Course Bulletin.

Environmental Engineering

The Environmental Engineering Undergraduate Certificate enhances traditional education offered within degree programs available within the UK College of Engineering. Students are required to complete a total of 12 credit hours (200-level or greater), submit a report that reflects they can use environmental engineering and environmental science concepts to address environmental problems that combine academic disciplines. It integrates principles of engineering, biology, and chemistry with the development of sustainable solutions to environmental problems impacting ecosystem and human health.

Food Systems and Hunger Studies

Career opportunities related to food systems and hunger are expanding domestically and abroad. However, there are limited academic programs that prepare the workforce with a comprehensive approach focused on the impact of food systems on food security and health. The 12-credit hour Certificate in Food Systems and Hunger Studies provides students with a cross-disciplinary approach to understanding the impact of food systems on food security, hunger, and the overall health and wellness of a community. Through structured experiential learning opportunities, students will apply knowledge of food systems and the environment to develop and implement evidence-based strategies to end hunger in both the United States and globally. Faculty Director: Tammy Stephenson, Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition. Details and requirements for the Food Systems and Hunger Studies Certificate are listed in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment section in the UK Course Bulletin.

Leadership Studies

The Undergraduate Certificate in Leadership Studies will allow students to demonstrate their preparedness to lead, live, and work in an interconnected and interdependent global community. Students will improve their understanding of leadership and develop the skills needed to lead in their particular field through a series of courses designed to provide a rich leadership focus. Faculty Directors: Dr. Maria Cahill, Assistant Professor, School of Information Sciences (College of Communication and Information) who holds a joint appointment in the Department of Educational Leadership Studies in the College of Education; and, Dr. Kris Ricketts, Community and Leadership Development (College of Agriculture, Food and Environment). Details and requirements for the Leadership Studies Certificate are listed in the College of Education section of the UK Course Bulletin.

Peace Studies

The purpose of the Peace Studies program is to develop students with increased interests and understanding of issues of peace and justice from individual to global levels; to provide them with basic skills in peaceful communication, nonviolent and transformative conflict resolution; and to help them develop peaceful and cooperative cultures. The Peace Studies program will empower students to understand and reduce conflict at multiple levels, and will provide them with conflict resolution skills that are increasingly valued by employers, graduate programs, and are much needed in our communities. Faculty Director: Dr. Clayton Thyne, Department of Political Science. Details and requirements for the Peace Studies Certificate are listed in the College of Arts and Sciences section in the UK Course Bulletin.

PEIK - Power and Energy

This Certificate in Power and Energy gives students the recognition of competency in the power and energy field. Successful completers of this Certificate will have an understanding of global energy issues, knowledge of electric power in an area that best fits their particular discipline (focusing particularly in power generation, transmission and distribution, or economics and public policy). Faculty Director: Dr. Joseph Sottile, Department of Mining Engineering. Details and requirements for the Power and Energy Certificate are listed in the College of Engineering section of the UK Course Bulletin.

Universal Design

The Certificate in Universal Design is designed to give students a foundation in the principles of universal design and its application across disciplines. The Certificate will create a focus for students’ scholarly work in developing environments that maximize the engagement of all community members, including people with disabilities. Universal design creates environments and resources that are useable by people across the lifespan. Universal design utilizes a broad set of strategies that promote inclusion and participation of all, particularly people with disabilities, within a diverse world. Universal design grew from the independent living movement, and legislation including the Architectural Barriers Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Higher Education Opportunities Act furthered the reach of Universal Design through definition of Universal Design for Learning, or UDL, that provides flexibility in education in information presentation, student engagement and demonstration of knowledge. Faculty Director: Dr. Kathleen Sheppard Jones, director of the Human Development Institute (HDI), and adjunct professor in the Department of Early Childhood, Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling, College of Education. Details and requirements for the Universal Design Certificate are listed in the College of Design section of the UK Course Bulletin.

Graduate Certificate Programs

Global Health

The goal of the graduate certificate program in Global Health is to provide a general foundation in the understanding of global health issues and the complex multiplicity of factors that affect them, and to provide some basic tools in health assessment methods to measure their impact. Given the widespread globalized nature of our world today, there is an increasing need for understanding the impact of globalization on health, both in terms of health patterns common across regions, and in terms of how what were once considered focal, limited local issues can transcend national and continental borders. The program is designed to prepare students for the increasing demand for international, interdisciplinary skills in the areas of public health prevention, health care and other health-related disciplines. The global health certificate will include a minimum of 15 credit hours - 12 of classroom coursework and 3 based on a required international internship course. The program is housed in the college of public health, but it is intended to be multidisciplinary and open to a variety of graduate students in any of the health sciences or other disciplines across campus. It is also available to professionals or other college graduates interested in obtaining this additional training.

Historic Preservation

The graduate certificate in Historic Preservation is now available to both graduate students and practicing professionals. Certificate students have a choice of three areas of concentration: preservation and design; preservation and economic development; and preservation and planning. The certificate requires 12 credit hours, and is a great way to gain an advantage in an increasingly competitive job market. The certificate consists of two core courses, and two courses from the area of concentration. The graduate certificate may be earned concurrently with a master’s degree in any other field, such as architecture, interiors, history, anthropology, engineering, or business. It may also be earned by professionals who already possess a bachelor’s degree in another field. Previous design experience or education is not a requirement for acceptance into the certificate program. Knowledge of the values and legal framework that drives preservation decisions is useful to numerous professions in today’s world. Certificate students will learn preservation principles, tools, and techniques that will allow them to apply their base knowledge within a historic context. 

Leadership for Deeper Learning Graduate Certificate in Deeper Learning examines the systemic changes to teaching and learning within schools. The courses within the certificate focus on inquiry learning, project-based learning, performance assessments, competency learning models, and a variety of other components of systems of teaching and learning that provide deeper, more equitable learning opportunities for students in educational organizations. We are creating a micro-credential, stackable model in our Masters/Specialist program.

Non-Profit Management

The Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management is designed to provide skills to support graduate students and professionals in leading, directing, and managing organizations in the nonprofit sector. The certificate benefits students seeking careers in the nonprofit sector, professionals currently working in the nonprofit sector, and government employees transitioning to the nonprofit sector. This certificate can be obtained as a stand-alone degree, but can also be integrated with our other degree offerings. Contact the Student Affairs Officer to further discuss this option.

Power and Energy (PEIK)

The purpose of the Graduate Certificate in Power and Energy is to provide students With state of the art knowledge in power and energy areas and produce well trained graduates in Power and energy areas. It is anticipated that there will be a substantial shortage of power and energy Professionals in the national labor force in the near future. In close collaboration with industry, the Power and Energy Institute of Kentucky (PEIK) will combine existing UK College of Engineering power engineering courses with newly created courses to provide students with an attractive, clearly-marked pathway into the power engineering workforce.

Undergraduate Courses

Environmental and Sustainability Studies (ENS)

  • ENS 201, Environmental & Sustainability Studies I: Humanities and Social Sciences
  • ENS 202, Environmental & Sustainability Studies II: Natural Sciences and Policy
  • ENS 300, Special Topics in Environmental & Sustainability Studies
  • ENS 400, Capstone Course in Environmental & Sustainability Studies
  • click here for additional ENS program courses

Natural Resources and Environmental Science (NRES)

  • NRE 201-Natural Resources and Environmental Science
  • NRE 381- Natural Resources and Environmental Policy Analysis
  • NRE 355- Geographic Information Systems
  • SRE 471 - Senior Problem in NRES
  • click here for full NRES plan of Study

Geography (GEO)

  • GEO 135- Global Climate Change
  • GEO 162- Intro to Global Environmental Issues
  • GEO 230-Weather and Climate
  • GEO  231 Environment and Development
  • GEO 235- Environmental Management and Policy
  • GEO-316 Environment and Development
  • GEO- 321 Land/People/Development in Appalachia
  • GEO 331 Global Environmental Change
  • click here for additional Geography courses



Forestry (FOR)

  • FOR 240 Forestry and Natural Resource Ethics (2)
  • FOR 280 Forest Resource Policy and Law (3)
  • FOR 355 Introduction to Forest Health and Protection (1)
  • FOR 340 Forest Ecology (4)
  • FOR 370 Wildlife Biology and Management (4)
  • FOR 435 Conservation Biology (3)
  • click here for additional Forestry courses

Other Courses Across Disciplines

College of Agriculture, Food and the Environment

  • GEN 100- Introduction to Issues in Agriculture, Food and Environment

Community Leadership and Development

  • CLD 360- Environmental Sociology
  • CLD 380- Globalization: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

Plant and Soil Science

  • PLS 104: Plants, Soils and People: A Science Perspective


  • BIO 102- Human Ecology

Agricultural Economics

  • AEC 302 - Agricultural Management Principals

Writing, Rhetoric and Digital Studies

  • WRD 304 -Writing in the Social Sciences
  • WRD 305 -Writing Public Science
  • WRD 310 -Writing in the Natural Sciences