Sustainability, Security and Resilience Curriculum and Certificates
This innovative program is designed to teach both the theory of effective climate change adaptation as well as the technical skills to implement it. The certificates can be earned individually or stacked to culminate with the capstone class and into a degree. Please note that only select classes from the program are offered each semester.
Learn Based on Industry Best Practices
Degree and certificate outcomes meet the core competencies developed by the American Society of Adaptation Professionals including risk and vulnerability management, climate related hazards and impacts, adaptation and resilience to climate change, systems thinking, change management, justice and equity, and communication.
Master of Sustainability, Security and Resilience (30 credit hours)
Community Risk and Resilience Certificate (9 credit hours)
ES 5610: Resilience Theory and Practice
Resiliency has emerged as a central concept across a wide variety of fields including city planning, policy analysis, human security, economics, natural resource and environmental management, public services, infrastructure planning, engineering, technology innovation, and indeed, any field dealing with rapidly changing systems. Students unpack and apply ideas in resiliency theory to a broad range of fields of practice, link new theory with application, and gain real world experience in applying these concepts. Students examine resiliency as a general concept, critique the concept as a management approach, and focus on concrete applications.
ES 5640: Risk, Climate Security, and Community Engagement
Climate change and other rapid environmental changes create risk to communities, infrastructure, and human security; managing these climate-related risks requires understanding of the community, its risk perception, and collaborative communication and management planning. Students characterize risk to communities from climate change and explore risk perception theory and methods to manage threats to human security. Students discuss concepts of justice and equity in risks to human security, risk management, and communication. Students explore these particular climate change and environmental challenges through the multidimensional and interdisciplinary lens of human security.
ES 5630: Climate Change Mitigation, Adaptation and Resilience Policy
This course introduces students to the study of climate policy and planning. Students examine the range of mitigation, adaptation and resilience approaches for managing greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of climate change to improve human and environmental security. Students gain an understanding of the implications of climate change science for public policy making and hands-on experience in using climate information for preparing a climate change plan. Students explore a basic overview of public policy theory, discuss various policy options for mitigation and adaptation policy, and gain the skills necessary for incorporating climate into a diverse area of public policy issues. Students are presented with the general theory, analytic frameworks, and specific techniques necessary to analyze climate change policy alternatives within a larger human security framework. The skills learned in this class are applicable to a variety of levels of government planning (local, state and national) as well as across the private, nonprofit and public sectors.
Environmental Change Management and Leadership Certificate (9 credit hours)
ES 5620: Environmental Science and Public Policy
Public administrators face a wide range of environmental science and policy challenges. This course develops skills in science literacy and environmental policy management. Students are empowered with tools for addressing environmental issues integral to economic development, infrastructure, and broader regulatory frameworks. This class explores the interaction between scientific analysis and policymaking through case studies at multiple levels of government.
ES 5831: Environmental Sustainability Assessment
This course covers the conceptual foundations and applied techniques of sustainability assessment. Sustainability assessment is a suite of approaches designed to evaluate the environmental impacts of activities in an integrated, future-oriented and comprehensive manner in order to influence decision making. It provides a framework through which alternatives can be weighed, processes analyzed, and tradeoffs made explicit. This course provides both the theoretical background and applied skills for sustainability professionals.
ES 6840 Environmental Leadership
Environmental leadership takes many forms on a wide variety of scales, issue areas, and sectors. The strategies, tactics, and skills deployed are just as diverse. Studying these different models and experiences is a critical component to understanding environmental science, studies, and policy, and is a necessary step for preparing students to work as environmental leaders in those worlds. This class explores these many environmental leadership models, engages with leaders in public, for profit, and nonprofit sectors, and applies insights to developing the students’ environmental leadership skills.
Planning Resilient Systems Certificate (9 credit hours)
ES 5740 Strategies for Resilient Agriculture
Agricultural production systems comprise a fundamental sector of the economy, of which many policy makers have only specialized knowledge based on single commodities. Students gain an overview of the diverse portfolio of agricultural products that drive essential systems in the United States, and the major challenges that exist for achieving resiliency in the agricultural sector. Students explore food, livestock, fiber, and fuel crop management and associate supply chains that are complex systems influencing social, environmental, and economic resilience.
ES 5730: Environmental Entrepreneurship
Students gain an understanding of key problems, root causes, and potential entrepreneurial solutions relevant to selected contemporary environmental challenges. Students apply interdisciplinary perspectives to identify, analyze, and evaluate environmental issues, measure impacts, and establish criteria for effective remedies. The course reviews key environmental challenges within selected areas, with themes chosen from contemporary issues in environment, health and wellbeing, education, economic development, and other timely topics. Fundamentals of social entrepreneurship enables students to design and present enterprise development models for market-based social ventures seeking to deliver such remedies. Students learn how to pitch venture proposals to address criteria evaluating efficacy, feasibility, sustainability, and potential "return on investment" for both financial and social/environmental impacts.
ES 5720: Energy Systems and Policy
Energy systems are undergoing rapid change due to resource constraints, market forces, local, state, national, and international policy, and environmental impacts. Public administrators have a need to understand the implications of energy systems and the policies that govern them. This course presents traditional and emerging energy systems and how policy affects these systems.
Master’s Degree Capstone
ES 6850: Capstone: Resilient Infrastructure and Communities
Resilience theory has emerged as an approach for understanding how systems are able to thrive through rapid, often unexpected change. Managing for resilience is key in preparing for some of the greatest challenges that society faces including climate change, globalization, and rapid urbanization. In this capstone, students analyze the risk and vulnerability of a community, organization, or infrastructural system to unexpected change and develop strategies to improve
the community or organization's resilience. Students critically evaluate the resilience preparation at a local, state, regional, and national level to highlight both best practices and lessons learned. They then select a system in which they are most interested including infrastructure, urban centers, community plans, ecological systems, organizational, and others. Students engage with organizations and communities to develop a resilience plan for that system with a focus on improving sustainability, human security, and resilience.
Exploring Co-Reclamation: Gesturing Towards Intercultural Collaboration and the Renewal of Indigenous Cultural LandscapesDecember 12, 2022Watch Video
A Double Whammy of Disasters: Flood Recovery during COVID-19 in Rural West VirginiaApril 25, 2022Watch Video
Other Gases: The Politics of Methane and Short-Lived Climate PollutantsFebruary 22, 2022Watch Video
Policy Options to Enable an Equitable Energy TransitionApril 29, 2021Read Report
Schoonover Green RoofFebruary 24, 2021Visit Website