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2014-2015 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Sustainability in Public and Nonprofit Organizations, Graduate Certificate

The Graduate Certificate in Sustainability is a minimum of 12 credit hours.


A completed application requires:

  • A $30 non-refundable application fee unless the applicant has previously applied to Grand Valley State University and has paid this fee.
  • An official transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution.
  • Three letters of reference from informed sources.
  • An essay on career and educational objectives (250 to 750 words).
  • A resume
  • Submission of an official TOEFL or IELTS score report is required of applicants whose native language is not English.

Applications will not be reviewed until they are complete. The admissions committee may request additional information or a personal interview if it deems them appropriate and necessary.

The admissions committee is looking for the evidence that an applicant will be successful if admitted into the certificate program. This evidence can take several forms. Furthermore, the admissions committee considers each applicant as a whole student. No decision is based solely on any single factor. A strong applicant for the certificate program will have the following:

  • A 3.0 grade point average from an accredited college or university, calculated on the last 60 credits of undergraduate work. (This GPA will include all courses, including those classes that may have been repeated or transferred.) Also, holding a graduate degree, a graduate certificate, or having successfully completed at least 12 semester hours in another graduate program, will be considered as strong evidence of an applicant's academic competency to do graduate level work in the certificate program.
  • Three positive letters of recommendation from well-informed sources such as current and/or former professors or supervisors. These letters will address the applicant's academic skills, analytical and problem solving abilities, professionalism, reliability, and/or work ethic.
  • A demonstrated commitment to community and public service. Ideally this would be five or more years of professional work experience since receiving a baccalaureate degree.

An applicant concerned about falling short on the above criteria may want to consider these recommendations for securing favorable evidence of their competency to do graduate level work in the certificate program.

  • A GRE score of at least 550 verbal and 620 quantitative.

To ensure full consideration for fall admission, all application materials should be received by June 1.

Retention and Termination Standards

A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher must be earned in the entire certificate program in order to graduate. Students are not permitted to elect to take a class as credit/no credit if it is a graded course. Students will be dismissed if they do not achieve at least a C in a graded class. Students may also be terminated for serious violations of university rules or standards of conduct, as enumerated in the Graduate Catalog, the GVSU Student Code, or other official university publications.

Program Location

The three courses are normally offered online. They may also be offered on the Pew campus upon sufficient demand. The three workshops are in-person and offered on the Pew campus or at an off-campus location in Michigan.


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Time to Program Completion

Students would normally complete the certificate in a calendar year. If studies are interrupted, students would have up to 8 years to complete the certificate.

Requirements for a Graduate Certificate - Sustainability in Public and Nonprofit Organizations

The following 3 classes and 3 workshops are required for a total of 12 credits:

If you are in need of assistance please submit any questions or comments.