Environmental justice (EJ) refers to the right to a safe and healthy environment for everyone, regardless of race, class, gender, ability or other considerations, as well as a place at decision-making tables. From this perspective, the environment is not separate from society, but includes spaces where people live, work, play, learn and pray. Research demonstrates that environmental and climate-related problems and hazards often disproportionately impact the health and economic opportunities of communities of color, Indigenous communities and working-class communities. These patterns are related to systemic forms of inequality in society, including unequal representation in environmental decision-making and leadership, racism and other forms of oppression, and the neglect of diverse value systems.

The graduate certificate in environmental justice provides training in the interdisciplinary and dynamic field of environmental justice studies, as well as opportunities for engaged interactions with the challenges and solutions environmental justice communities face today.

The certificate program is open to CU Boulder graduate students from all units and programs, as well as to nondegree students, and seeks to include scholars and practitioners from diverse disciplinary and experiential backgrounds in its development.

For more information, visit the Graduate Certificate in Environmental Justice website.


Students must complete 12 credits, including the 3-credit pillar course and three approved electives. 

At least one of the electives must be taken outside of the student's home department. To satisfactorily complete each course, students must earn a grade of B or higher.

Required Course
ENVS/GEOG/PSCI/COMM 7118Foundations of Environmental Justice3
Choose three of the following:9
Environmental Communication (focused on an EJ-related topic such as Toxic Bodies)
Special Topics in Environmental Studies ("Power, Justice and Climate Change" or "Conflict Management and Collaboration for Human-Environment Systems")
Native American and Indigenous Environmental Issues
Topics: Specialized Comparative Studies (Topic: Indigenous Political Ecologies)
Indigenous Thought and Theory: Foundations in NAIS
Seminar: Topics in Economic Geography (Topic: Geographies of Dispossession)
Seminar: Political Ecology
Readings in Environmental History
Environmental Law
Seminar in Environmental Philosophy
Seminar: Selected Political Theories (Topic: Environment and Political Theory)
Foundations of Environmental Sociology
Inequality, Democracy, and the Environment
Total Credit Hours12