USC Center for Sustainable Cities

Improving cities through research, education, and community outreach

Certificate in Sustainable Policy and Planning

The Certificate in Sustainable Policy and Planning develops analytic and methodological skills and provides students the knowledge to understand the increasing importance of issues surrounding the environment and sustainability in policy and planning.

The Certificate in Sustainable Policy and Planning consists of 12-14* units of graduate course work:

Required Courses (6 units)

PPD 568 Environmental Governance and Sustainability 2
PPDE 660 Environmental Policy Design and Analysis 2
PPDE 634 Methodology, Methods and Tools for Urban Sustainability 2*

*Students in the certificate program will take the 2-unit version of PPDE 634.

Elective Courses (6-8 units)

PPD 587 Risk Analysis 4
PPD 619 Smart Growth and Urban Sprawl: Policy Debates and Planning Solutions 4
PPD 621 Environmental Impacts 4
PPD 690 Alternative Dispute Resolution 4
PPD 692 Transportation and the Environment 4
PPD 694 Coastal Policy and Planning 4
PPDE 632 Sustainable Cities 4
MOR 566 Environmental Sustainability and Competitive Advantage 3*
ARCH 519 Sustainability in the Environment: Infrastructures, Urban Landscapes and Buildings 3*

*If students select MOR 566 or ARCH 519, they will take 6-7 units of electives. Others will take 8.

Admission Requirements and Application Procedures

Current USC Graduate Students — Applicants for the Certificate in Sustainable Cities who are currently enrolled in a graduate program at USC and are in good standing with a 3.0 GPA only need to submit the appropriate paperwork for adding the certificate program, which may be obtained from the student services advisor in RGL 102.

Prospective Applicants — Applicants for the Certificate in Sustainable Cities who have not matriculated at USC must make a formal application at the USC Graduate Admissions website:

Please contact the USC Price Office of Admissions at for more information.