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Sustainability and Energy Certificate

The Sustainability and Energy Undergraduate Certificate provides a means for Northwestern students to pursue interdisciplinary instruction in the increasingly important areas of sustainability and energy during their undergraduate coursework, while signaling broad topic proficiency to potential future employers.

Students pursuing the certificate will in some cases receive preferential pre-registration access to certain courses associated with the certificate, and be apprised when new courses are introduced at the university.

The certificate can be petitioned by any undergraduate student at the university, and consists of seven total courses:

  • Three introductory survey courses at the 200-level (ISEN 210, 220, 230)
  • Four additional elective courses across a variety of disciplines and departments, including natural science, engineering, social science, study abroad opportunities, and special topics

Electives (4) Requirements:

  • At least 3 at the 300 level
  • At most 2 from any department or program
  • Only 1 approved study abroad course can be counted
  • Relevant “Special Topics” courses may be counted more than once, with a change in topic

Sustainability and Energy Certificate
Pre-Approved Courses

In addition to the introductory core classes, there are a wide range of other courses offered in various programs at Northwestern that are relevant to the broad field of sustainability and energy.

This combination of a 3-part core sequence and 4-part elective series creates an introductory curriculum of courses with an sustainability/energy concentration that is accessible to the broadest range of Northwestern students - that is, students from every school and program in the university.

Download the full list of pre-approved elective courses.

Sustainability and Energy Certificate

Listed below are the necessary documents associated with registering for and petitioning to graduate with the Sustainability and Energy Undergraduate Certificate.

Declaration of Intent

  • You may officially "declare" the certificate (added to your Academic Plan, as tracked by Caesar) by filling out this form once you've taken at least one of the three core ISEN 200-level courses.
  • You may declare at any time during the academic year.

Declaration Form

As it may take up to two weeks to process paperwork, we recommend declaring at least two weeks before the beginning of pre-registration for the next quarter, to take full advantage of preferential registration times available to declared students.

Petition to Approve Elective Course

If you would like to count a course that is not listed as a pre-approved course as one of your four electives for the Sustainability and Energy Certificate, you must submit this petition for approval.

Completed forms can be submitted to Jeff Henderson at the Paula M. Trienens Institute for Sustainability and Energy, On the Fourth Floor of Northwestern Technological Institute at 2145 Sheridan Rd, in room M486 or at as an email attachment.

Elective Petition Form


Do you have more questions? Visit the Sustainability and Energy Certificate FAQ page.