A Sustainability Studies Certificate adds value to any career environment

Passionate about all things environmental? Explore the many ways we influence, and are influenced by, our communities, lifestyles, and natural resources. Discover how the decisions we make today affect the future of global warming, our economy, and society as a whole. An in-depth understanding of the factors that affect sustainability has valuable applications in a wide range of careers. MCC’s Sustainability Studies certificate will give you a unique advantage in fields like:

  • Architecture
  • Geology
  • Urban Planning
  • Meteorology
  • Law
  • Business (Domestic and International)
  • Energy Conservation
  • Government
  • Agriculture
  • Manufacturing

Strengthen your degree and expand your transfer options

You’ll complete 16-20 credits of coursework relevant to the study of sustainability as part of your degree program. Depending on your interests and career goals, you’ll choose at least one course in each of three core areas—humanities, natural science, or social science. A certificate in sustainability studies is a smart addition to many of MCC’s associate degree programs—especially transfer programs that prepare you for careers in education, law, geo-sciences, business and more.

Here are just some of the programs enhanced by a Sustainability Studies certificate:

  • Business Administration, A.S.
  • Global Studies, A.S.
  • International Business, A.S.
  • Geology, A.S.
  • Urban Planning, A.S.
  • Liberal Arts & Sciences—General Studies, A.S.
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences—Science, A.S.
  • Hospitality Management, A.A.S.

Get in touch with your academic advisor or the MCC admissions office at or (585) 292-2200 to learn more about the opportunities you can create with a Sustainability Studies certificate.


Certificate Program



MCC Program Code: SC01

Sustainability, which is grounded on the conviction that societies should develop ways to meet their present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to provide for their own needs, is a field of concern and inquiry that overlaps a vast array of disciplines. Rather than focusing on one particular area of concern, the certificate in sustainability is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the issues, topics, and disciplines that sustainability encompasses. Courses in the certificate program will focus on the social, economic, institutional and environmental aspects of sustainable development as they relate to both human society and the non-human environment. The objectives of the certificate program are three fold: to introduce students to the ways that different disciplines affect and are affected by the field of sustainability; to help students understand the complex web of cause and effect that interconnects those disciplines; and to connect an understanding of sustainability to larger issues of energy, the environment, social and economic justice, agriculture, etc.

In contrast to MCC’s stand-alone, vocational certificates, the sustainability certificate is designed to complement the college’s associate degree programs by allowing a given student to earn credit toward his/her degree while at the same time pursuing what amounts to a minor field of study in sustainability. The certificate requires students to complete 16-20 credits of coursework relevant to the study of sustainability; students will complete at least one approved course in each of three core areas (natural science, social science, and humanities) and may choose the remaining six credits from the list of core courses or from a list of approved electives. Sustainability is becoming a priority in a number of fields, including business, agriculture, law, natural science, and technology. This certificate will provide evidence that a given student has completed a coherent course of study in the emerging field of sustainability.
The Certificate in Sustainability requires concurrent matriculation into a degree program. The program is not financial aid eligible.

Program Learning Outcomes
1) Describe the concept of sustainability.
2) Identify examples of sustainability issues.
3) Explain how natural, social, and economic systems are interrelated in understanding sustainability issues.
4) Explain connections between sustainability concepts and the student's everyday life.

Employment Potential
For related jobs: Career Coach
Occupational Resource:

Requirements for Program Entrance
Algebra (1 year high school math or placement into Level 4 Math at MCC).

Students must complete one course (3 hours) from each of the following core areas:

Distribution RequirementsCredit Hours
HUMANITIES: 3 Credit Hours
ENG 105 Introduction to Literature (GR Designation) OR
PHL 105 Technology and Values OR
SUS 101 Introduction to Sustainability **

SOCIAL SCIENCES*: 3 Credit Hours
GEG 102 Human Geography OR
SOC 209 Environmental Sociology OR
SUS 101 Introduction to Sustainability **
NATURAL SCIENCES*: 3-4 Credit Hours
BIO 116 Introduction to Environmental Science OR
BIO 260 General Ecology OR
GEG 130 Digital Earth OR
GEG 204 Climate Change: Past, Present, and Future OR
GEO 210 Environmental Geology
SVL 101 Service-Learning Seminar OR
Any course with a Service-Learning designation
ELECTIVES: 6-7 Credit Hours
Students must choose their remaining courses from the following.*
BIO 114 Natural History of Rochester
BIO 116 Introduction to Environmental Science
BIO 156 General Biology II
BIO 260 General Ecology
ECO 101 Introduction to Economics
ECO 112 Principles of Macroeconomics
GEG 102 Human Geography
GEG 104 Extreme Weather
GEG 130 Digital Earth
GEG 204 Extreme Climate
GEG 211 Economic Geography
GEO 108 Dangerous Earth - GR
PHL 105 Technology and Values
PHL 210 Human Rights & Democrat in Domestic and International Contexts
SOC 209 Environmental Sociology
GLS 100/SOC 210 Introduction to Global Studies
SUS 101 Introduction to Sustainability

* Consult the College Catalog as some of these courses have pre-requisites. **SUS 101 does not simultaneously fulfill both the humanities and social science requirements.

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