University of Michigan
MasterTrack® Certificate

Sustainability and Development

In this 5-course program, you’ll learn how to address sustainability and development challenges with actionable knowledge that empowers you to develop solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.


Enroll by July 1, 2024

Class starts the same day.

4-6 months to complete

6-8 hours per week


In 4 installments of $525 or pay all at once to save $105

100% online

+Live session classes

No application necessary - enroll today

1 of the top 3 best graduate programs in sustainability

Earn a powerful university-issued career credential from CollegeChoice’s top-ranked program.

Earn degree credit

If you are admitted to the Master of Science in Environment and Sustainability program offered by The University of Michigan, your MasterTrack Certificate will count toward the degree.

Live sessions

Interact with instructors and peers to help build your professional network.

MichiganSustainabilityMT Assets

Program description

Design innovative solutions to pressing sustainability and development challenges


Across the courses offered in this program you will learn how to understand and explain the world’s most pressing sustainability and development challenges. You will be able to critically analyze the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how they relate to these pressing global challenges as well as learning how to use core frameworks and evidence to assess and develop effective solutions.

In addition, you’ll complete the certificate with a course consisting of two real-world projects which will give you hands-on experience in the field. In the first project, you will analyze three Michigan Sustainability Cases and synthesize their lessons for sustainability and development. In the second project, you will create your own Michigan Sustainability Case on the Gala case creation interface and develop an instructional component for the case of your choosing with a faculty member.

To receive the MasterTrack® program certificate you will need to complete five required courses with a passing grade.

Want to learn more about this program? Visit the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability’s website.

Required background

Familiarity with engaging with scholarly texts and critically discussing their implications in written form

Watch the program trailer


Skills you will gain

  • Critical thinking
  • Evaluating evidence
  • Assessing solutions
  • Applying theories and methods
  • Collaboration with cross-functional teams
  • Translating knowledge

5 required courses in this 4-6 month program

Course 1 of 5

Beyond the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) : Addressing Sustainability and Development


This course focuses on addressing the twin challenges of achieving sustainability and development through actionable knowledge. Rather than sustainability being a qualifier of development (e.g. sustainable development), Sustainability and Development as a field of study views the two concepts as co-equal fields of inquiry and action.

You will receive an introduction to some of the world’s most pressing problems along with understanding applicable theories, assessing relevant evidence, and employing skills necessary for innovating solutions.

Course 2 of 5

Conservation and Sustainable Development


Across the world, scholars, practitioners and advocates for biodiversity conservation are wrestling with how to maintain and enhance biodiversity without adversely affecting local and indigenous peoples. Various approaches have been tried including, most recently, offering incentives for conservation. Generally falling under the rubric of payments for ecosystem services, this approach has yielded various outcomes depending on spatial, social, political and ecological contexts. In this course, we will explore these contexts and outcomes based on a number of case studies.

Course 3 of 5

Gender and Quality Education for Sustainability


In this course you will discuss how imperialism both mined and marginalized indigenous knowledge around the world; colonial administrations enshrined highly unequal access to education along gender, class and cultural lines, while also building powerful complexes of highly specialized knowledge, intellectual property, and practical networks for diffusing technical know-how. You will be able to identify trends in contemporary education that addresses or attempts to “undo” those historical structures of inequity beyond the current SDG4 efforts.

You will also develop an understanding of the gaps and omissions that exist in current SDG framing and the limitations of current indicators and criteria for measuring progress.

Overall, you will have an understanding of how the cutting edge of sustainability education today acknowledges, addresses, and adapts beyond these histories, creating modes of learning that link knowledge together, and to practice, in new ways.

Course 4 of 5

Methods/ Skills in Sustainability and Development


The broad objective of this course is to learn about some of the most common methods that are useful in the field of sustainability and development. These methods will help you to collect, visualize, and analyze data, measure the impact of policies and programs, assess the life cycle impacts of given products, and understand how institutions can influence sustainability and development. All of these methods will help learners better synthesize evidence to evaluate progress on sustainability and development efforts.

Course 5 of 5

Capstone Projects


This course will help you learn how to analyze and think through decision problems. Case studies are used ubiquitously in many fields of professional education, including business, medicine, public health, law, and social work. In fields where decision making for achieving organizational and community goals is of central importance, case studies provide a means to gain critically useful experiential learning skills. This course will focus on case studies that concern sustainability and development. These case studies are designed to encourage readers to use available information and background resources to arrive at decision recommendations.

More importantly, the course will guide you with step-by-step instructions to create decision case studies yourself. Indeed, the objective of the course is that you will learn the key elements of what is involved in creating decision case studies in the field of sustainability and development. It will walk you through the most important elements of a decision case — a decision problem, a decision maker, a set of options, evaluative criteria, and analysis to identify a recommendation for the decision maker. By working through the materials for this course you will gain familiarity with how to make decisions in an uncertain and complex environment.

Earn credit toward a master’s degree from The University of Michigan

Take the next step in your education to boost your career. This MasterTrack® Certificate is a building block that offers you a pathway to a degree while also providing job-relevant skills today.

University of Michigan

MasterTrack® Certificate

Sustainability and Development

Sustainability and Development MasterTrack® Certificate earn credit towards:

If you apply and gain admission to the Master of Science in Environment and Sustainability offered by the University of Michigan, credits earned from your MasterTrack® program will carry over as you pursue your full degree. Upon successful completion of your MasterTrack® program, you will receive an official University of Michigan certificate, regardless of whether you elect to enroll in the full master’s program.


Frequently asked questions

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Coursera does not grant academic credit; the decision to grant, accept, or recognize academic credit, and the process for awarding such credit, is at the sole discretion of the academic institutions offering the MasterTrack® Certificate program and/or other institutions that have determined that completion of the program may be worthy of academic credit. Completion of a MasterTrack® Certificate program does not guarantee admission into the full Master’s program referenced herein, or any other degree program.