Certificate in Cultural Sustainability

About the Certificate in Cultural Sustainability

The Certificate in Cultural Sustainability provides undergraduate students and non-degree-seeking students an opportunity to gain a deep understanding of how culture intersects with conceptualizations of sustainability. Cultural sustainability encompasses several areas of focus. In one area, we examine why and how we can protect cultural sites and artifacts and what we can learn from the past to help us address current sustainability issues. In another area, we consider issues surrounding the sustainability of vulnerable peoples’ cultural traditions and languages and what we will lose if these cultures and languages disappear. At a more global level, we look critically at how our cultural values, beliefs and assumptions about our relationships with each other, other species, and the natural world shape ecological, economic, and social sustainability policies and initiatives. In addition to learning about cultural sustainability, students also have opportunities to engage in real sustainability issues through internships and through research practices associated with understanding the past (e.g., archaeological research) and the present (e.g., ethnography).

Why Is This Certificate Important Now?

We created the Certificate in Cultural Sustainability because of the serious need for people to understand the human side of sustainability. By focusing on the intersection of culture with economic, social, and environmental sustainability we are more apt to develop sound and effective policies, use limited resources wisely, understand what sustainability means to different groups of people, and identify why and how we embrace or resist sustainability efforts.

Is the Certificate in Cultural Sustainability Right for Me?

This certificate is perfect for any student interested in exploring the human side of sustainability. It easily compliments the anthropology major or minor. It is relatively easy for other majors to complete the certificate’s 18 credit hours because courses in 14 other programs can be included as electives.

The Certificate in Cultural Sustainability will give students an edge when applying for jobs in:

  • Non-profit organizations
  • Businesses concerned about sustainability
  • Governmental agencies
  • International agencies and organizations

Program Requirements

Students complete 18 credit hours to earn the Certificate in Cultural Sustainability.

Required Courses (9 credits)
ANTH 115: Introduction to Cultural Sustainability (3 credits)
ANTH 345 Applied Anthropology (3 credits)
ANTH 201: Cultural Anthropology (3 credits) OR ANTH 202: Introduction to Archaeology (3 credits)

Elective Courses (9 credits)
As an interdisciplinary program, the Certificate in Cultural Sustainability draws on identified courses [link to catalog here] in the following programs:

  • Anthropology
  • Art History
  • Biology
  • Economics
  • Environmental Studies
  • Geology
  • Geography
  • Historic Preservation
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Sociology
  • Urban Studies


If you have any questions about the Certificate in Cultural Sustainability please contact Dr. Christine Finnan at (finnanc@cofc.edu).