University of Iowa Certificate in Sustainability: Information for ECE Students

42 megawatt, Cerro Gordo county Iowa, wind farm.  Iowa, PowerFilm Inc. (formerly ITFT), flexible solar cells.  Fueling a hybrid electric vehicle.

Sustainability is broadly defined as the implementation of policies, processes, and practices that meet the needs of the present without compromising those of the future.

The University of Iowa certificate in sustainability aims to provide students with the knowledge and skills they will need to contribute to the development of sustainable systems and to understand the complex interplay among them and society, culture, energy, economics, environment, and health.

The requirements for earning the certificate can be found in the sustainability program section of The University of Iowa general catalog. Attractive features of the program include:

  •  a transcript notation certifying satisfactory completion of the program.
  •  course work on, for instance, environmental impact analysis, that enhances marketability.
  •  the fact that ECE students can complete the program without taking any additional credits.

To avoid taking any courses beyond those required to earn the B.S.E. degree in Electrical Engineering students do, however, need to ensure that the certificate courses that they select also satisfy the engineering General Education Component (GEC), and electrical entineering Elective Focus Area (EFA), requirements.

The sustainability certificate requires 24 s.h. of course work, including completion of three introductory courses; four breadth electives-one from each of the certificate's four elective areas-and one project course. No more than three certificate courses may be taken from any single department or program; students must maintain a g.p.a. of at least 2.00 in all certificate course work; and no more than 6 s.h. of approved transfer credit may be counted toward the certificate.

Electrical and Computer Engineering students can satisfy these requirements in a variety of ways. For instance, the use of the following sustainability course selections to satisfy the listed Electrical Engineering requirements allows both electrical and computer track students to earn the certificate without taking any additional courses.

Sustainability Certificate Requirement EE requirement satisfied
Introductory Core
012:008 (GEOS:1080) Intro. to Environmental Science (req'd)
044:019 (GEOG:1070) Environmental Issues (req'd)
057:013 (ENGR:4013) Intro. to Sustainability (req'd)
3 s.h. general EFA elective
3 s.h. LL SOC GEC
3 s.h. general EFA elective
Changing Environments and Human Health
044:003 (GEOG:1020) The Gobal Environment* 3 s.h. LL/UL SOC/HUM GEC
Energy, Climate, and Built Environments
055:163 (ECE:5630) Sustainable Energy Conversion* 3 s.h. 100-level ECE EFA elective
Ethics, Economics and Public Policy
044:175 (GEOG:3760) Hazards and Society* ** 3 s.h. UL SOC same dept. GEC
Power of Culture and Society
113:113 (ANTH:2261) Human Impacts on the Environment* 3 s.h. UL SOC/HUM GEC
Project Course
053:107 (CEE:4107) Sustainable Systems* 3 s.h. technical EFA elective

     * Substitutions satisfying the same sustainability certificate, electrical engineering EFA, and engineering GEC requirements, are permitted.
   ** Students whose schedules can accommodate one additional s.h. should consider taking 044:125 (GEOG:4750), Environmental Impact Analysis, instead of 044:175 (GEOG:3760), Hazards and Society.

Many other sets of courses will also satisfy the sustainability certificate and electrical engineering requirements. Electrical and Computer Engineering students interested in minimizing the number of additional courses that must be taken to earn a sustainability certificate should, as early as possible, begin working with their advisors to ensure that at least 8 of their 5 GEC, and 7 EFA elective courses are selected in such a way that the sustainability certificate requirements listed in the University of Iowa course catalog are met.