Leaders in Sustainability Certificate


ucla helps l.a. pitch greenest olympics ever

Graduate students looking for an edge in future careers need look no further than the IoES Leaders in Sustainability graduate certificate. Companies, consumers and governments across the world increasingly focus on making products, services, operations and lives more sustainable. Leaders in Sustainability gives students the tools to make that happen in a collaborative, action-oriented setting.

The national award-winning certificate is free to UCLA graduate students pursuing degrees in any discipline. By bringing together diverse academic focuses, the program fosters cross-pollination for innovative ideas and solutions. More than 190 students from 24 disciplines participate in Leaders in Sustainability.

Each graduate student takes a core sustainability class along with electives of their choosing. Working with other students, faculty and professionals, they initiate a leadership project that measurably advances sustainability. For many, this project serves as a jumping off point into their post-graduate careers and studies.

LiS Course Requirements

Leadership Project

A few samples of past projects:

  • Developing tools to assess the environmental impacts of nanomaterials
  • Organizing guided nature walks for African-American youth with disabilities
  • Reducing the carbon footprint of the supply chain for a Chinese semiconductor company
  • An interactive online map showcasing sustainable building in Los Angeles
  • Recommendations to make UCLA campus food and drinking water more sustainable
  • Producing an environmentally-focused film festival

Through these projects, students make a positive impact on communities before they graduate. Relationships formed during the program develop an ever-growing network of professionals. Together, they use what they’ve learned to take the lead in creating a more sustainable world—working at places such as Liberty Hill Foundation, Bank of America and the Environmental Protection Agency.

How does it work?

  • Students are required to take four sustainability-related courses, including the LiS core course offered in winter 2019. At least one of the four courses must be outside your home department. Examples of approved courses can be found on the LiS website.
  • Complete a Leadership Project. The project should address at least two out of three of the components of sustainability—environment, social equity and economics—and should have measurable performance outcomes. Projects may overlap with capstone projects and must exemplify leadership.