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College of Environment and Design

ABOUT THE Environmental Ethics Certificate Program

Who We Are

The Environmental Ethics Certificate Program (EECP) is an interdisciplinary program that prepares students to synthesize ideas from a wide variety of perspectives to solve complex environmental problems, both in theory and in practice. It is the first certificate of its type in the United States, established by Eugene Odum and Frederick Ferré in 1983.

The program emphasizes environmental leadership, and the knowledge, skills, values and competence necessary to address environmental issues in interdisciplinary and collaborative ways. The program provides a forum where philosophers, scientists and people from all other disciplines can discuss social and scientific responsibilities toward our environment in a rational manner which clearly defines problems, considers all the information, and maintains our values.

Required courses include a core course in ecology and in philosophy, an environmental ethics seminar seminar, and a capstone independent research project. Through elective courses, students explore other facets of environmental ethics such as environmental justice, aesthetics and perceptions of Nature, animal rights, ecofeminism, environmental economics, sustainable design, and environmental policy.

The Environmental Ethics Certificate will complement any area of study. Alumni of the EECP have gone on to successful careers in business, landscape architecture, academia, environmental advocacy, planning, and more.


How to Apply


Learning Objectives

The Environmental Ethics Certificate Program is the first certificate of its type in the United States, established in 1983. The EECP is an interdisciplinary program that prepares students to synthesize ideas from a wide variety of perspectives to solve complex environmental problems. The program emphasizes environmental leadership through consideration, analysis, and evaluation of various ethical schools of thought and how they inform and impact theoretical and real world problems. The core competencies identified below provide EECP students with the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to address environmental issues in a range of disciplines.

CTC- Critical Thinking Competency: Students will seek out and recognize relevant sources of information; will be able to interpret and question norms, practices and opinions; will reflect on their own values, perceptions and actions; and will consciously seek to develop and refine their personal environmental ethic. Students will be able to negotiate environmental values, principles, goals, and targets, in a context of conflicts of interests and trade-offs, uncertain knowledge and contradictions and will take an informed position in environmental ethics discourse. 

STC-Systems Thinking Competency: Students will be able to recognize and understand complex interactions of systems; analyze and evaluate various systems to inform decision-making; and deal with uncertainty when making decisions; and understand that a complex web of interactions, in social and ecological networks, affects the distribution and flow of resources through systems.

CC- Collaboration Competency: Students will be able to reflect on their own role in the local community and global society; will have the ability to be effective and productive contributors in collaborative relationships; communicate with diverse audiences in relevant ways; and to value the diverse perspectives, expertise and experience of others; will be able to diagnose challenges and identify potential partnerships; to understand that power is often not distributed equally but that their individual voice is powerful as well as the ability to empower others in collaborative problem solving.

AC- Anticipatory Competency: Students will be able to understand and evaluate multiple futures-possible, probable and desirable; to create their own vision of the future; to apply the precautionary principle; to assess the consequences of action; to deal with risk and change; and to embrace adaptation when necessary.

IPSC- Integrated Problem Solving Competency: Students will be able to apply different problem-solving frameworks to complex environmental problems and develop viable, inclusive, and equitable solutions that promote ethical sustainable development and integrate the other competencies. Students will recognize that when faced with a conflict, it is imperative to keep a process moving forward through negotiation and dispute resolution; to recognize unproductive actions (denial, scapegoating, etc.) and be able to reframe issues; and to identify common ground among diverse perspectives.


Supporting Units on Campus

UGA’s College of Environment + Design serves as the academic home for the Environmental Ethics Certificate.

Additional support for the Certificate is provided by:

  • College of Family and Consumer Sciences
  • College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Public Health
  • Franklin College of Arts and Sciences
  • Graduate School
  • Lamar Dodd School of Art
  • Odum School of Ecology
  • School of Law
  • Terry College of Business
  • Warnell School of Forestry

Non-degree granting support:

  • Center for Integrative Conservation
  • Ideas for Creative Exploration
  • Office of Sustainability


Certificate Staff

EECP Staff

Email: (preferred)

Phone: 706-542-6550


EECP Emblem

EECP Emblem - Sea Oats

The endangered plant, sea oats (Uniola paniculata), is primarily responsible for the stability of the dunes on Georgia's barrier islands. Without sea oats, the barrier islands would soon be destroyed by the ocean. Sea oats exhibit beauty of form and function characteristic of nature; consciousness of such a value in nature is one basis of environmental ethics. The illustration of sea oats by Allen Rowell seen on our home page is the official emblem of the EECP.


EECP History 

Under the direction of Frederick Ferré and Eugene Odum, an interdisciplinary forum between the Department of Philosophy and Religion and the Institute of Ecology evolved to become the Philosophy and Ecology Support Group in 1980-1981. This lead to the establishment of the Environmental Ethics Certificate Program, which officially began in Fall Quarter 1983. Follow this link for a detailed history of the EECP.

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