Graduate Certificate Program in Industrial Ecology

The primary objective of the Program in Industrial Ecology (PIE) is to provide University of Michigan graduate students fundamental skills in, and knowledge of, industrial ecology methods and applications. PIE's certificate complements any field of study by providing specialization in technological and industrial innovation, consumer behavior and consumption patterns, policy and regulatory issues, and economic factors and market forces to achieve more sustainable systems. Participating students will be better prepared to design and manage natural and industrial systems to meet human needs in an environmentally, economically and socially sustainable manner.

Due to the interdisciplinary emphasis of the Program in Industrial Ecology, required courses are offered from a variety of University of Michigan units, including SNRE and the schools of Engineering, Public Health, Public Policy, and Business.

Program in Industrial Ecology requirements

Students must earn a total of 15 credit hours, taking one course each from five core areas:

Program in Industrial Ecology core course (required)
NRE 557/CEE 586 Industrial Ecology

System analysis and sustainability (one course from this section is required)

NRE 501.037 Urban Sustainability
NRE 501.087 Technology and Community Sustainable Development
NRE 514/EHS 572 Environmental Impact Assessment
NRE 523 Ecological Risk Assessment
AOSS 467 Biogeochemical Cycles
NRE 550/STRAT566 Systems Thinking for Sustainable Development and Enterprise
MECHENG 589 Sustainable Design of Technology Systems
NRE 597 Environmental Systems Analysis
NRE 573 Environmental Footprintgint and Input-Output Analysis
EHS 672 Life Cycle Assessment: Human Health and Environ Impacts
Energy systems  (one course from this section is required)
NRE 501.091 Renewable Electricity and the Grid
NRE 574/PUBPOL519 Sustainable Energy Systems
NRE 567  Transportation Energy & Climate
CEE 567 Energy Infrastructure Systems
Environmental policy and economic analysis (one course from this section is required)
NRE 475 Environmental Law
NRE 532 NR Conflict Management
NRE 513/STRAT564&565 Strategy for Sustainable Development
UP 532 Sustainable Development: Resoliving Economics and Environ Conflicts
NRE 686/PubPol 563 The Politics of Environmental Regulation
NRE 527/BE 527 Energy Markets and Energy Politics
EHS 508 Principles of Risk Assessment
NRE 570 & NRE 501.060/059 Environmental Economics: Quantitative Methods and Tools and one other Environ Econ Topics course*
NRE 668/ECON 661 Advanced Natural Resource Economics
NRE 669/ECON 662 Environmental Energy and Resource Economics
ECON 437 Energy Economics and Policy

*NRE 570 and NRE 501.060/059 (topical courses) are half term courses. Taking NRE 570 and either 501.060 or 059 is considered one full-time PIE course.

Experiential Learning Requirement** (one activity to be approved by one of the co-directors)
Participate in Sustainbility Without Borders projects
Sustainability internship
Other to be defined with program co-directors

**One additional course from the above list can be taken to fulfill experiental learning requirement, if approved by one of the co-directors.


Application checklist

  • Application form
  • GRE scores
  • Transcripts 
  • Résumé
  • A one-page letter to the Steering Committee requesting admission. This letter will include the proposed course of study and, for students already in a U-M program, a signature endorsement by the student's advisor.  
  • Students already enrolled in a Rackham or non-Rackham graduate degree program must complete at least one term before applying.

                                  DEADLINES:  February 1 for fall admission; October 1 for winter admission.

Other important information

The following general rules apply:

  • Only graduate level courses may be used to meet certificate requirements; no transfer credit or undergraduate courses may be applied. All credits must be completed on the home campus (i.e., the campus on which the degree program is administered).
  • Not more than one-sixth of the credits required for a master’s degree may be double-counted with a certificate.
  • Not more than half of the credits necessary for a certificate that requires 10 or more credits of coursework may be double-counted with a master’s. If a certificate requires nine credits of coursework, only thre credits can be double-counted. Double-counted credits may not be used to fulfill requirements of other degrees or certificates. No double-counting is permitted for free-standing certificate programs.
  • Dual-degree students who are pursuing a certificate program can not double-count any credits; the certificate program is considered free-standing.
  • The student must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of B (3.0 on a 4.0 point scale) in courses for the certificate program. Only courses eligible for Rackham credit may be used to meet certificate requirements.
  • A person who is not a student in another Rackham program and who has been admitted to a free-standing certificate program must complete requirements within four years from the date of first enrollment in the program.

Graduation requirements

  • Upon admission to the program, meet with the certificate program co-directos (Greg Keoleian and Ming Xu) to clearly outline a plan to fulfill all of the certificate requirements in accordane with the conditions outlined in this document.
  • Complete Rackham's dual-degree election form prior to graduation, and submit to Registrars at both programs.
  • Apply for graduation from certificate program through Wolverine Access, similarly as one applies for graduation of degree program.

Application codes

Applicants will need the following codes to complete their application:

  • Program of application: Industrial Ecology
  • Numeric code: 01584
  • Plan (Subplan): 4720 CGR
  • Program level: Certificate