This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. Courses that expose students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning may be added and notification of additional program approvals may be received prior to finalization. General education program content is also subject to change. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

The Graduate Certificate in Sustainability, Health, and Health Care is a program that provides students with foundational knowledge about the interplay between climate change, human health and the health care industry. Students will learn how the consequences of climate change and the diverse ways in which health care facilities contribute to carbon emissions, waste, and air pollution, as well as steps public and private organizations are taking to mitigate these effects. Students will be prepared to contribute to actions that respond to the impact of climate change on patients and communities, increase the resilience of health care facilities and mitigate the impact of the industry on climate change. Graduates will be able to analyze specific problems, propose solutions and outline implementation strategies that influence sustainable practices within health care organizations.

Student learning outcomes

Students who complete this certificate program will be able to:

  • Explain the history, context and causes of climate change (from a layperson’s perspective)
  • Describe the scope of the problems created by climate change on both health and resource use, and their distribution across demographic subgroups
  • Assess the specific contribution of the health care industry to these costs and their consequences
  • Describe current efforts by public and private organizations/entities to address these issues, and assess the factors that contributed to their outcomes
  • Identify ways that they can play a role in climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • Identify a specific organizational or policy problem related to environmental sustainability
  • Gather and analyze data relevant to the problem
  • Devise an approach to address the problem, including an implementation plan
  • Create communication materials to educate diverse stakeholders about the problem and the approach to its solution, including advocacy strategies as appropriate

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Admission requirements

Degree: Semester(s) of entry: Deadline dates: Test requirements:
Certificate Fall Jul 1
Spring Dec 1

The admission requirements outlined will apply to all students. All applicants to the graduate certificate program are required to meet the admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School. Applicants will be required to submit the following materials to the Graduate School Admissions Office:

  • Application form and application fee
  • Three letters of recommendation, professional and/or academic
  • Official undergraduate transcripts from all schools attended
  • A personal statement of purpose outlining career goals
  • A resume stating relevant work experience

No transfer credit hours are accepted for this certificate program. Credits from a degree already awarded cannot be applied toward the certificate.

For international students:

Students who have not earned a baccalaureate degree in the U.S. must submit proof of English proficiency. International students must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language, International English Language Testing System academic exam or Pearson Test of English meeting the minimum requirements:

  • Submit an official transcript evaluation from a recognized foreign educational credentials-evaluation service accredited by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services or the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers
  • A TOEFL minimum composite score of 100 for the Internet-based test or 600 for the paper-based score; an IELTS minimum score of 6.5 on the academic exam; or Pearson score of 59 overall
  • A minimum score of 68 on the VCU English Language Program Compression test (Students who do not achieve a score of 68 will be placed in the appropriate level English language proficiency courses.)

Curriculum requirements

The certificate requires 12 graduate credits and will prepare students to understand and take action to both respond to and mitigate the impact of climate change on human health and health care systems. Students will learn concepts and strategies to be effective in making organizational change in health care systems, gain an understanding of the policy process and learn strategies to initiate policy change. Courses will focus on practical application of the concepts, culminating in a project in the final core course to address a specific sustainability problem in a health care organization or through a specific public policy.

Program requirements

Course Title Hours
HADM 615Health Care Politics and Policy3
HADM 630Sustainability, Health and Health Care3
HADM 632Applications of Sustainability, Health and Health Care 3
HADM 646Health Care Organization and Leadership3
Total Hours12

The minimum number of graduate credit hours required for this certificate is 12.

Saleema Karim, Ph.D.
Associate professor and interim chair

Additional contact
Cameron Parkins
Graduate student services administrator

Program website: