Graduate Certificate in Environmental Justice

University of Colorado Boulder

Date Posted: July 10, 2019
Submitted by: Genevieve LaMarr LeMee
Sustainability Topic: Curriculum
Content Type: Academic Programs
Program Type: Graduate Certificate/Diploma


Environmental justice (EJ) refers to the conditions of or right to a safe and healthy environment for everyone, regardless of race, class, gender, ability or other considerations. From this perspective, the environment is not separate from society and “out there,” but a space where people live, work, play, learn, and/or pray. Research demonstrates that environmental and climate-related problems and hazards often disproportionately impact the health and economic opportunities of racial and ethnic minorities, Indigenous communities, workers, low-income people, women, the young and the elderly. 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 purpose of the graduate Certificate in Environmental Justice at CU-Boulder is to provide structured training in environmental justice for CU graduate students, opportunities for graduate students and faculty to interact on environmental justice issues, and equip CU graduate students to be effective scholarly leaders and practitioners in this dynamic field. The Certificate draws upon the strengths of interdisciplinary faculty who teach and conduct research on environmental justice issues, and balance theoretical and applied approaches. In particular, the certificate guides students to engage with diverse theoretical underpinnings of environmental justice and social change; explore the real-world justice implications related to issues such as climate change, land use, waste, transportation, energy, and food systems; and consider local environmental conflicts and issues through a global lens.