Credits and costs
Earn an Online Undergraduate Certificate in Earth Sustainability
The Undergraduate Certificate in Earth Sustainability, developed by Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and delivered through Penn State World Campus, is designed to provide students like you — regardless of your background — with the knowledge needed to make environmentally sustainable decisions.
This certificate increases your geoscience literacy and can help add depth to your résumé and prepare you to become a steward of the green movement in education, politics, business, or law. You may also use this credential to jump-start a career in geosciences, emergency preparedness, environmental health and sustainability, land management and conservation, or natural resource management.
Why Sustainability at Penn State?
As a leading research institution and leader in geosciences, Penn State brings expertise and depth to the study of sustainability. Our online certificate program will provide you access to a Penn State education — without stepping foot on campus. Even though you may be learning from a distance, your experience will be supported by frequent interaction with faculty and other students, access to information and instructional resources, and valuable academic advising and support services.
Your Online Sustainability Courses
The courses in this 12-credit program address key sustainability issues, including the impact of climate change on Earth and its inhabitants, access to clean drinking water, sustainable energy, and the hazards posed by our overpopulated coastal regions.
This online program was made possible, in part, by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to introduce more students to the geosciences and the importance of sustainable living.
Information for Military and Veterans
Are you a member of the military, a veteran, or a military spouse? Please visit our military website for additional information regarding financial aid, transfer credits, or application instructions.
The online Earth sustainability certificate is a 12-credit program of study that you may earn as a stand-alone certificate. To acquire this certificate, you must successfully complete the following 3-credit prescribed course, along with 9 credits chosen from the offerings within the additional courses section.
General Education Requirements
If you are pursuing a bachelor's degree from Penn State, these courses may also satisfy certain individual General Education requirements. You should consult with your adviser to determine what, if any, credits earned in this certificate may be applied toward your degree completion requirements.
Prescribed Course (3 credits)
Additional Courses (select 9 credits)
If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.
Costs and Financial Aid
Undergraduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register and the number of total credits you have accrued at or transferred to Penn State. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.
|How many credits do you plan to take per semester?||If you have 59 or fewer credits||If you have 60 or more credits|
|11 or fewer||$620 per credit||$664 per credit|
|12 or more||$7,527 per semester||$8,125 per semester|
Financial Aid and Military Benefits
Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.
Paying for Your Certificate
Students pursuing a certificate are considered "nondegree," a status that is not eligible for federal student aid, including the Federal Direct Stafford Loan program. A private alternative loan may be an option to consider.
Additionally, Penn State offers many ways to pay for your education, including an installment plan and third-party payments. Penn State World Campus also offers an Employer Reimbursement and Tuition Deferment Plan. Learn more about the options for paying for your education.
Students pursuing a degree and meeting all other eligibility requirements may qualify for financial aid.
How to Apply
Deadlines and Important Dates
- Summer Deadline: Apply by May 7 to start May 15
- Fall Deadline: Apply by August 14 to start August 21
- Spring Deadline: Apply by January 1, 2024, to start January 8, 2024
All supporting materials should be sent following the submission of your application.
For current and future course registration deadlines, visit the Registrar's website to view the academic calendar by semester.
If you have questions about the admissions process, contact [email protected].
To apply for the Undergraduate Certificate in Earth Sustainability, you must be a high school graduate, or have completed your GED. There are no additional prerequisites associated with taking the individual courses.
Review the technical requirements for this program.
Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.
Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State undergraduate certificate?
Start or Advance Your Career
Start or Advance Your Career
You can use the knowledge gained from this program and the support of Penn State career resources to pursue careers in a variety of fields, depending on your goals.
For questions about admissions and applications, please contact World Campus Central:
World Campus Central
To learn more about the online Undergraduate Certificate in Earth Sustainability, offered in partnership with Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, please contact:
Noelle Capparelle, Program Assistant
Earth Science Programs
The Pennsylvania State University
2217 Earth–Engineering Sciences Building
University Park PA 16802