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Sustainability Microcertificates

Build specialized skills in sustainability in 2-course microcertificates at Harvard Extension School.

  • Number of Courses

    2

  • Time to Completion

    1 to 3 semesters

  • Microcertificate Cost

    $6,680

Climate change is one of the most urgent issues facing our society and will have an impact across a wide range of sectors. With more employers focusing on climate action, expertise in specialized sustainability topics can set you apart in today’s competitive job market.

Whether you’re looking to learn a new skill or build upon your current experience, our microcertificates can help you reach your goals.

Our 2024–25 selection of 2-course sustainability microcertificates each address a different facet of sustainability, leveraging essential concepts, tools, and skills needed to apply to real-life problems.

  • Person climbing toward a flag.

    Accelerated. Earn a Harvard credential in 2 courses.

  • Diploma.

    Stackable. Apply courses toward a graduate certificate — or degree.

  • Growing flower.

    Actionable. Gain a new skill set for real-world impact.

Circular Economics Microcertificate

The circular economics model offers potential solutions to the issues created by the depletion of natural resources. A circular economy takes outdated, exploitative, and unsustainable models of economic growth and development and incorporates increased resiliency for the environment.

In this microcertificate, you will learn the essential concepts, tools, and skills needed to take part in the transition to a circular economy in a wide variety of sectors.

Courses

Stackability

The microcertificate courses can stack toward either of the following 4-course graduate certificates:

Skills & Outcomes

After completing the certificate, you will know how to clearly pitch the circular and regenerative economy principles and real-world applications to an organization.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) Accounting

With the advent of numerous regulations requiring disclosure of GHG emissions, organizations across the world need expert technical guidance on how to calculate, report, and reduce emissions. Through the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Accounting Microcertificate, you will learn how to calculate the greenhouse gas emissions inventory, or “carbon footprint,” of an organization using real-world emissions and how to use techniques such as audits, strategy development, and project management to reduce it.

You will also gain an understanding of GHG emissions in the broader context of the environment, including how GHG emissions are linked to climate-related risk; how organizations respond to the challenges of calculating, reporting, and reducing their emissions; and how to develop a business case to show the benefits of reducing GHG emissions.

Courses

  • ENVR 116 The Carbon Economy: Calculating, Managing, and Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • ENVR 116A Measuring and Mitigating GHG Emissions

Stackable Pathways

The microcertificate courses can stack toward either of the following 4-course graduate certificates:

Skills & Outcomes

Upon the completion of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Accounting Microcertificate, you will understand how to use an organization’s greenhouse gas inventory to develop a reduction plan to mitigate emissions in the near term, with a longer-term goal of making substantial reductions to avoid the largest impacts of climate change.

Course Eligibility

This new microcertificate is available starting fall 2024. Courses taken before the spring 2024 semester are outside of the one-year required timeframe and cannot be applied toward this credential.

Life Cycle Assessment Microcertificate

Life cycle assessment measures the impact of products on the environment. And it’s becoming an increasingly important factor in production and manufacturing.

In courses for this certificate, you will learn how to evaluate data, make key decisions, and gain proficiency using LCA analysis and software within the framework.

With future policy and regulatory changes on the horizon in the United States and the European Union, employers will be seeking out professionals with expertise in LCA.

Courses

  • Required: ENVR E-151 Life Cycle and Supply Chain Sustainability Assessment
  • Choose 1 of the following:

Stackable Pathway

The microcertificate courses can stack toward the 4-course graduate certificate Corporate Sustainability and Innovation.

Skills & Outcomes

Most multinational companies are now expecting current employees in sustainability departments to be fluent and comfortable with LCA data, analysis, and software.

This microcertificate will allow you to take advantage of these new career advancement opportunities, with positions such as:

  • Directors of sustainability and environmental management
  • Consultants advising corporations on LCA compliance
  • Life cycle analyst
  • Net zero transformation consultant
  • Public sector policymakers

Sustainable Finance Microcertificate

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria in financial decisions — for both the public and private sector entities and investors — have become increasingly important as climate change grows in urgency.

This microcertificate equips you with the skills and insights to launch your career in a growth area of the financial industry.

You’ll gain the specific skills and insights to understand key sustainability concepts and how to integrate them into financial decision-making.

Courses

Stackable Pathway

The microcertificate courses can stack toward the 4-course graduate certificate Corporate Sustainability and Innovation.

Skills & Outcomes

Early- to mid-career professionals will find this credential valuable as they seek a role in this new and emerging and in-demand area of the financial industry.

Completing the microcertificate can help you prepare for a variety of roles, including sustainable finance analyst, sustainable finance growth lead, and senior manager of ESG.

Cost of a Microcertificate

Learning on a budget doesn’t have to mean compromising on your goals. Our 2-course microcertificates cost $6,680 ($3,340 per course), making it an affordable alternative or stepping stone to a longer academic program.

Starting and Completing a Microcertificate

To begin, you simply register for your first course for the microcertificate — no application required.

To earn the microcertificate, you complete 2 microcertificates courses at the graduate level and with a grade of B or higher, within 1 year. This short timeline will support momentum and reinforce the learning between the 2 related courses.

To request your microcertificate, log in to MyDCE and complete the Certificate Course Tracker and Request Form. You must request your certificate within 30 days of the release of your final grade in your last microcertificate course (see calendar for dates). If you do not request your microcertificate after this deadline, it won’t be awarded until the next awarding cycle, which is at the end of the subsequent semester. 

FAQs

What is a sustainability microcertificate?

A sustainability microcertificate is a set of short, competency-based courses to help you build and demonstrate mastery in an area of sustainability.

  • A short timeline. Other continuing education options, like master’s degrees, can be a significant time commitment and may not fit life or your goals. Microcertificates allow you delve into highly focused topic and earn a graduate-level credential with only 2 courses.
  • Stackability. Our sustainability microcertificates are designed to stack with at least one graduate certificate. They are also stackable toward certain master’s degrees.
  • A verified Harvard credential. Harvard confers CeCertificates, an official, secure, and verifiable PDF version of your accomplishment. You can share it with your colleagues, employers, or friends and family. You also have the option to provide your Certified Electronic Document Identifier and validation URL on your resume for easy access.

Who should pursue a sustainability microcertificate?

Microcertificates are a great way to enhance your professional learning or development.

With more organizations around the globe committing to climate action, microcertificates offer the opportunity to address potential skill gaps and help you gain confidence in your current field — or explore a new one — all while helping build a sustainable future.

Designed to meet the needs of career-driven individuals and lifelong learners alike, microcertificates provide a platform for building a specialized skill set quickly. They offer an accelerated learning experience for those looking to advance their careers and a pathway for perpetual knowledge acquisition.

Who teaches the sustainability microcertificate courses at Harvard?

The courses featured in the microcertificates are taught by Harvard Extension School instructors, who teach across Harvard as experts in renewable energy, ocean resource management, sustainable development, and more. They bring a genuine passion for teaching — students give our faculty an average rating of 4.6 out of 5.

Visit our faculty page to meet some of them.

How will a microcertificate in sustainability help me improve my career or company?

Completion of a sustainability certificate shows proficiency in specific industry competencies — such as measuring the impact of products on the environment and corporate sustainability — while earning academic credit. In a semester or 2, you can upskill or reskill to demonstrate initiative and develop new skills in your place of business.

How many hours will I spend on a sustainability microcertificate each week?

The amount of time you’ll spend on a sustainability microcertificate varies from class to class and student to student. Generally, outside of the time spent in class, students spend 8 to 10 hours doing work for a HES class.

Who do I contact with questions?

We are here to help. Send us an email at Microcredentials@Extension.Harvard.edu.