Sustainable Development


The Sustainable Development (SD) certificate program explores social, economic, and environmental sustainability in theory and practice, from local and international perspectives. Framed within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the certificate offers an applied, multi-disciplinary credential.  Classes are small and highly participatory, involving learning through cases, real-world examples, guest speakers, projects, policy design and social enterprise development.

The program is developed to meet students’ need for cost and time effective accreditation: (1) the SD courses may be applied to major or minor of a bachelor’s degree while earning a practical credential; (2) several courses can be used to meet breath requirements; (3) the certificate can also be earned as a stand-alone accreditation, without completing a degree; and (4) the required courses can be completed in three to four terms in the classroom or partly in the classroom and partly by distance education. 


Interested students may declare this certificate through the Sustainable Development Program Advisor in the Faculty of Environment.

Students may take SD courses without applying for the certificate and may apply SD courses and approved electives completed prior to admission already taken toward the certificate.

SFU alumni: If you are a SFU alumni or were once a SFU student and have been deactivated you will also need to apply to SFU for reactivation/readmission.  Your application for approval to the Undergraduate Certificate in SD is subordinate to your reactivation/readmission.

Non-SFU students: Your application for approval to the Undergraduate Certificate in SD is subordinate to your application to the university for admission, and conditional upon you receiving admission to SFU. These are two completely separate applications. Visit SFU Admissions for information on how to apply to SFU as a new student and for university application deadlines. Applicants holding degree(s) from a recognized university may be admitted to undergraduate studies to undertake the SD Undergraduate Certificate and would apply to SFU under the ‘University graduates (degree holders)’ admission category.

Program Requirements (Fall 2018)

Students complete five (5) courses of which four (4) must be SD courses. Students must maintain a minimum 2.5 cumulative grade point average (CGPA) in all SD courses to obtain the certificate.

Students complete:

SD 281 – Sustainable Communities, Sustainable World (3)

And 3 of the following upper division SD courses:

SD 301 – Building a Sustainable World: Concepts and Cases (4)
SD 381 – Building Sustainable Communities: Concepts and Cases (4)
SD 401 – Sustainable Development Goals Studio (4)
SD 481 –Sustainable Communities Leadership Lab (4)

And one (1) elective chosen:

  • an additional upper-level SD course from list above
  • a list of approved elective courses, or as approved by the program director

Note: Students must have taken SD 281 to enroll in any 400-level SD course. Elective courses in other departments may have prerequisites not included here.

Approved Electives

ARCH 365-3 - Archaeological Perspectives on Human Ecology
ARCH 386-3 - Archaeological Resource Management

BUS 272-3 - Behavior in Organizations
BUS 303-3 - Business, Society and Ethics
BUS 360-3 - Business Communication
BUS 361-3 - Project Management
BUS 374-3 - Organization Theory
BUS 453-3 - Sustainable Innovation
BUS 475-3 - Sustainable Operations
BUS 489-3 - Management Practices for Sustainability

CMNS 200-3 - Effective Communication
CMNS 346-4 - Communications and Development
CMNS 347-4 - Communication in Conflict and Intervention
CMNS 348-4 - Globalization and Media
CMNS 349-4 - Environment, Media and Communication
CMNS 353-4 - Social Contexts of Information Technology
CMNS 354-4 - Comm/Social Issues in Design
CMNS 425-4 - Applied Communication for Social Issues
CMNS 447-4 - Negotiation and Dialogue as Communication

DIAL 460-4 - Seminar in Dialogue and Public Issues

EDUC 311-3 - Foundations in Aboriginal Education, Language and Culture
EDUC 352-3 - Building on Reflective Practice
EDUC 370-4 - International and Intercultural Education
EDUC 441-4 - Multicultural and Anti-racist Education
EDUC 452-8 - Environmental Education

ECON 103-3 - Principles of Microeconomics
ECON 105-3 - Principles of Macroeconomics
ECON 110-3 - Foundations of Economic Ideas
ECON 260-3 - Environmental Economics
ECON 290-3 - Canadian Microeconomic Policy
ECON 355-4 - Economic Development
ECON 362-4 - Economics of Natural Resources
ECON 455W-3 - Seminar in Economic Development
ECON 460-3 - Seminar in Environmental Economics

ENV 319-3 - Environmental Law
ENV 321-3 - Ecological Economics

First Nations Studies
FNST 332-3 - Ethnobotany of British Columbia First Nations
FNST 383-4 - Indigenous Technology: Art and Sustainability
FNST 401-3 - Aboriginal Peoples and Public Policy
FNST 403-3 - Indigenous Knowledge in the Modern World
FNST 433-4 - Indigenous Environmental Justice and Activism

Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies
GSWS 308-3 - Women in the Economy: Paid & Unpaid Labour
GSWS 309-3 - Gender and International Development
GSWS 312-4 - Immigrants, Women and Transnational Migration 
GSWS 314-4 - Race, Class and Gender 
GSWS 327-4 - Aboriginal Women in Canada

GEOG 321-4 - Geographies of Global Capitalism
GEOG 322-4 - World Resources
GEOG 324-4 - Geography of Transportation
GEOG 325-4 - Geographies of Consumption
GEOG 327-4 - Geography of Tourism
GEOG 328-3 - Labour Geographies
GEOG 362-4 - Geography of Urban Built Environments
GEOG 363-4 - Urban Planning and Policy
GEOG 377-4 - Environmental History
GEOG 383-4 - Regional Development and Planning
GEOG 389W-4 - Nature and Society
GEOG 424-4 - Cities, Transportation, Infrastructure
GEOG 432-4 - Problems in Environmental History
GEOG 441-4 Cities, Spaces and Politics
GEOG 449-4 City and Environment 

HIST 326-4 - History of Aboriginal Peoples of North America Since 1850
HIST 327-4 - Canadian Labor and Working Class History
HIST 358-4 - Development, Aid and Difference in Historical Perspective
HIST 377-4 - Environmental History
HIST 428-4 - Problems in the Social and Economic History of Canada
HIST 432-4 - Problems in Environmental History

Health Sciences
HSCI 308-3 - Sickness and Wealth: Health in Global Perspective
HSCI 340-3 - Social Determinants of Health
HSCI 406-3 - Global Perspectives in Indigenous Health

International Studies
IS 358-4 - Development, Aid and Difference in Historical Perspective
IS 410-4 - Politics, Institutions and Development
IS 421-4 - The Economics of International Organizations and Development

Political Science
POL 221-3 - Introduction to Canadian Government
POL 251-3 - Intro to Canadian Public Administration
POL 327-4 - Globalization & the Canadian State
POL 342-4 - Developing Countries in Global Politics
POL 343-4 - Global Political Economy
POL 352-4 - Urban and Local Governance in Canada
POL 353-4 - Public Sector Management
POL 354-4 Comparative Metropolitan Governance
POL 423-4 B.C. Government and Politics
POL 454-4 Urban Public Policy Making

Resource and Environmental Management
REM 311-3 - Applied Ecology and Sustainable Environments
REM 350-4 - Sustainable Energy and Materials Management
REM 356-3 - Institutional Arrangements for Sustainable Environmental Management
REM 370-3 - Global Resource Issues in Oceanography
REM 445-3 - Environmental Risk Assessment
REM 454-4 - Water Security

Sociology and Anthropology
SA 302-4 - Global Problems and the Culture of Capitalism
SA 316-4 - Tourism and Social Policy
SA 326-4 - Ecology and Social Thought
SA 340-4 - Social Issues and Social Policy Analysis
SA 345-4 - Race, Immigration & the Canadian State
SA 362-4 - Society & the Change in Global Division of Labour
SA 363-4 - Processes of Development and Underdevelopment
SA 364-4 - Urban Communities and Cultures
SA 371-4 - The Environment and Society
SA 388-4 - Comparative Studies of Minority Indigenous Peoples

Sustainable Development
SD 491-4 - Directed Studies in Sustainable Development
SD 499-4 - Special Topics in Sustainable Development

Transfer Credit

Transfer credit may be approved toward program fulfilment provided it meets the program's requirements for sustainable development relevance and SFU’s residency requirements.


General SFU Certificate regulations apply. Units applied to one certificate may not be applied to another Simon Fraser University certificate or diploma.  Those who complete the undergraduate certificate cannot enroll in the Post Baccalaureate Diploma in Sustainable Development.