Duke Sustainability Certificate FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions about the Sustainability Certificate

The Sustainability Engagement Certificate is open to undergraduate students currently enrolled at Duke University and is earned upon graduation in conjunction with their major degree. Second-semester first-years, sophomores, and first-semester juniors are eligible to apply. Students may apply as early as the spring semester of their freshman year. The deadline to apply is the end of the drop/add period in the fall semester of a student’s junior year.

Applications for admission for the following semester must be submitted by the last day of classes on the previous semester. To apply, click here.

You are encouraged to apply as soon as you are eligible and feel ready to complete the application. The benefits of applying earlier are that you will have a longer period of time over which to complete the requirements and you will have earlier access to the advising and enrichment opportunities that accompany the program.

No limit exists to the number of students we will admit to the program. The Sustainability Engagement Certificate is available to all eligible Duke undergraduates who, through their application, demonstrate a good fit with the program and can put together a cohesive and thoughtful pathway through the requirements. If there is any concern about a student’s application, the student will be counseled to determine if the Sustainability Engagement Certificate is the right fit for their Duke experience.

The Gateway and Electives are open to all Duke undergraduates (and in some cases, graduate students as well), but make sure to check the individual course listings to determine if any of them have specific restrictions or prerequisites. The Capstone course is restricted to students in the Sustainability Engagement Certificate program only.

As a member of the Sustainability Engagement Certificate program, you will become part of a community of Duke students dedicated to sustainable practices. Certificate students will also have individual advising as well as special access to workshops, speakers, mentorship, and networking opportunities.

You should apply to the certificate with a clear set of your goals for the program as well as a general interest area that you want to focus on through your courses and experiences. However, we understand that your plan may evolve as you progress through your undergraduate career and accumulate more experience. Feel free to contact Sustainability Certificate representatives if you want to discuss your particular path and components.

You do not need to know what your specific experiences will be at the time you apply to the Sustainability Engagement Certificate. However, you should be able to broadly identify the type of experiences you want to undertake as part of the certificate, and justify why they are a good fit for your overall pathway through the program.

You may change the selection and timing of your courses and experiences after you are accepted into the program. We understand that your plan may evolve as you progress through your undergraduate career and accumulate more experience. Regardless, the courses and experiences you end up completing must together form a cohesive pathway and coherent story.

Yes. If you complete the approved Gateway course, it will count towards your certificate requirements, regardless of when it was taken or when you apply.

The recommended sequence of courses is:

  1. Gateway
  2. Elective
  3. Elective
  4. Capstone

One experience may occur prior to the Gateway, but no electives will count that precede the Gateway. That said, electives may be taken concurrent with the Gateway.

If you have already been accepted into the Certificate, contact your thematic advisor and provide the elective course title, description, syllabus (if available), and rationale for why you believe this course fits your pathway and should count for the certificate. If you are applying for the program, feel free to suggest any elective that you believe meets your chosen theme.

Yes, it can. One experience may predate your application and completion of the Gateway course. However, both experiences must be aligned with your area of focus.

After you are admitted into the program, you will fill out a series of forms that will be used to determine if an experience meets the criteria for the certificate. The general criteria for an experience are that it is hands-on and practical, is innovative and entrepreneurial in some way, and helps further your individual objective(s) for completing the certificate.

No more than one course taken for the Certificate may be used to satisfy the requirements of a major, minor, or other certificate program. An experience may also double count towards the Public Policy Studies internship program, the Global Health experience, or other such non-credit bearing experiences. Experiences may not be credit-bearing, with one exception. If hours spent on service-learning activities in a for-credit course bearing a Service Learning label at Duke, and if those hours clearly match the thematic of a students Certificate focus, those hours may count towards the 150-hour experience.

The Gateway Course is typically offered in the fall semester. The Capstone will be offered for the first time in Spring 2017. At a minimum, it will be offered every spring semester thereafter. We will continue to assess demand to determine whether or not it will also be offered in the fall semester. The Electives differ on a semester-by-semester basis. Please check ACES for the most up-to-date listings.

You are not required to take the Capstone course during the second semester of your senior year, although this is likely when most people will take it. You may take the Capstone any semester after you have completed the Gateway, two Electives, and one of the 150- and 300-hour experiences. You may be completing one of your experiences concurrently with the Capstone course.

This varies, depending on when you start the program. You have until the time you graduate from Duke to complete the certificate requirements.

The experiences are not time-bound. You may choose to do them at any time and over any period of time, as long as they meet the minimum hour requirements and are both completed prior to taking the Capstone

After you are admitted into the program, you will be provided a comprehensive set of guidelines for completing the ePortfolio, which will be in PebblePad. These guidelines will provide clear instructions for everything from how to set up your ePortfolio to the specific content that it should contain and how it is assessed.