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 Certificate in Sustainable Innovation is designed to provide students in any VCU baccalaureate program the option of adding a formal certificate program in sustainability and sustainable approaches to problem-solving. The Certificate in Sustainable Innovation will use a systems-thinking approach to problems of sustainability across all of the academic disciplines.


Applications are available through the Center for Environmental Studies [Trani Center for Life Sciences, Room 105; (804) 828-7202]. Completed applications must be received by March 15 of each year.

Admission requires a minimum 2.8 grade point average. Students with fewer than 60 credits will be given priority for admission to the certificate program. Provided, however, transfer students may apply during their first year of admission to VCU and will receive equal priority to applicants with fewer than 60 credits. For transfer students, grade point average will be a compilation of grade points from transfer credits and courses taken at VCU.

Applicants are required to include a 500-word personal statement explaining their interest in the certificate. Applications will be reviewed by at least three members of the Sustainability Academics Leadership Team subcommittee on curriculum. All students meeting the admission requirements will be placed in a lottery to fill available positions in the program.


Gateway course: 3 credits
ENVS 300 Sustainable Societies: James River Basin 

Sustainability electives: 12 credits
Students should choose from courses with the sustainability attribute. An updated list of these courses is available from the Center for Environmental Studies or may be accessed each semester by searching the Schedule of Classes with Attribute Type, Sustainability.

Culminating practical experience: 3 credits
Students will complete the Certificate in Sustainable Innovation by fulfilling a 400-level directed research project/independent study or internship. The project or internship may be in any discipline, but a proposal must be approved in advance by the director of the certificate program as meeting the learning outcomes for the certificate.

Additional requirements
Students in the certificate program will be required to maintain a portfolio for the duration of the program in which they will summarize their elective courses and describe how each course meets the goals of the certificate program. The portfolio also will include a product from their culminating practical experience.

The minimum total of credit hours required for this certificate is 18.