Sustainability Certificate Requirements

Please click here for an important announcement about the conclusion of the Sustainability Certificate Program (4/29/2020).

Students currently pursuing the Sustainability Certificate

If you have already taken the Introduction to Sustainability course, you are still eligible to complete the BOW Sustainability Certificate. If you would like to complete the certificate, fill out the Declaration Survey if you haven’t already. If you are able to take the Sustainability Synthesis course in fall 2020, you should do so. We are relaxing the prerequisites for the Synthesis course so that all certificate students who have taken Introduction to Sustainability are eligible to take Synthesis, even if you have not yet completed your elective courses. If you need the Synthesis course in order to complete the certificate and cannot take it in fall 2020, please notify your campus advisor or program director Alison Wood.

Jay Turner, Wellesley College,

Kate D'Angelo, Babson College,

Alison Wood, Olin College of Engineering,

Sustainability Certificate Requirements:

There are three components to the five-course certificate program:

  1. Introduction to Sustainability course
  2. Sustainability Synthesis course
  3. Three approved certificate electives
  • This list includes all courses that have been approved as certificate electives: Approved Sustainability Electives
    • Additional courses have been proposed as electives and are under review.  Please check back for updated information.
  • The “last offered” date gives some indication of whether it’s a regular or occasional course offering.
  • Because the three institutions have different timelines for finalizing course schedules and opening registration, posting a definitive three-college list each semester can only happen later than many students need the information. Therefore, we offer this new list and students can directly consult the upcoming course schedules from the three schools.
  • One of the three Certificate electives can be fulfilled by a course taken in a study abroad experience. For this substitution to be approved, you must talk with your campus adviser and share with them, at minimum, a course description and your rationale for including this course in your plan of study. Your campus adviser may ask for additional materials before approving the substitution.

Each student must take three electives to satisfy the certificate requirements. Students are required to take at least one elective at each of their non-home institutions. For example, a Wellesley student must take at least one elective at Olin and one at Babson; the third elective could be taken at any one of the institutions.  Please note that you can begin taking your electives before you have taken Introduction to Sustainability or you may take them concurrently; the Intro course is not a prerequisite for elective courses. The only course ordering that is required for the program is that you have completed the Intro course and at least two electives before taking the Synthesis course.

Students are strongly encouraged to select elective courses in their non-home disciplines, to leverage the opportunities to learn from other disciplines and best prepare for real-world, interdisciplinary work.  For example, Olin students are encouraged to take electives in the liberal arts and business; Wellesley students are encouraged to take electives in business and engineering; Babson students are encouraged to take electives in liberal arts and engineering.

Electives must be approved by the student's campus adviser. If the electives chosen do not cover a range of disciplines, the student will be asked to explain the choices and reconsider the plan of study to best meet program objectives.

The use of the five required certificate courses to meet home-institution graduation requirements is limited in the following ways:

  • The Introduction and Synthesis courses cannot count towards any other institutional requirement
  • Any certificate elective can also count for any distribution requirement
  • Specific home-institution course requirements cannot count as a certificate elective. At this time, this just means that Olin students cannot use Design Nature as a certificate elective
  • Concentration/major courses can count for certificate home-institution electives
  • Any multi-campus course approved as a certificate elective cannot count as an institution specific course

Introduction to Sustainability:
Babson: SUS2600/CVA2013/ Olin: SUST 2201/ Wellesley: SUST 201

This case-based course introduces students to the basic concepts and tools that business, engineering, and the liberal arts (science, social science, and the humanities) bring to a consideration of sustainability. It is team-taught by faculty members from multiple BOW institutions, with coursework  integrated across the three approaches.  Students from Wellesely, Olin, and Babson Colleges engage in hands-on challenges to develop the cross-disciplinary awareness and collaboration skills needed to approach environmental issues holistically.  Course meetings will take place at Wellesley, Olin, and Babson Colleges.

Sustainability Synthesis:
Babson: SUS 3600/ Olin: SUST 3301/ Wellesley: SUST 301

This project-based course helps students synthesize learning from the Introduction to Sustainability course and certificate electives by providing them with a chance to apply and integrate the concepts and tools of business, engineering, and the liberal arts (science, social science, and the humanities) to address sustainability.  Students will work in multi-campus groups on a project with a client throughout the semester, along with common readings and discussions about taking place in class time. Course meetings will take place at Olin College.

Prerequisites: Because Sustainability Synthesis is not offered every year, we are relaxing the prerequisites for the course.  If you have taken the Introduction to Sustainability course and declared participation in the certificate program, you are eligible to take the Sustainability Synthesis course in Fall 2020.  If you intend to complete the Sustainability Certificate Program, please fill out the Declaration Survey if you have not already done so.

Cross Registration
For information on cross-registering for elective courses see the BOW Cross Registration Page.

Record of Completion
A record of completion of the program will appear on the transcript of a student's home institution once they have met all of the certificate requirements.

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