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Sustainable Development Program | Faculty of Environment Simon Fraser University Calendar | Fall 2021

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 also to major or minor programs 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.

Admission Requirements

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 toward the certificate.

Program Requirements

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 - Introduction to Sustainability (3)

Introduces the challenges and opportunities for developing sustainable communities and a sustainable world, through the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and alternative perspectives around sustainability (e.g. Indigenous, just sustainabilities etc.). Students will also learn from the practical experience of diverse experts and sustainability professionals. Conventional approaches to sustainable development will be critiqued to ensure considerations for equity and social justice. Highlights will be showcased from the Global North and Global South. Students with credit for SCD 201 or REM 201 or REM 281 may not complete this course for further credit. Breadth-Social Sciences.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
OL01 Tammara Soma

and 3 of the following upper division SD courses

SD 381 - Building Sustainable Communities (4)

Engages students in understanding how to plan and cultivate sustainability at the community and city level, taking into consideration the environmental, economic, and social aspects of development. Explores and analyzes policy instruments, planning tools, and strategies from around the world for engaging people and institutions in building sustainable communities. Prerequisite: One of PLAN 100, REM 100, or SD 281; and 45 units. Students with credit for SCD 301 or REM 301 or REM 381 may not complete this course for further credit. Breadth-Social Sciences.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
OL01 Andreanne Doyon
SD 401 - Sustainable Development Studio (4)

Engages students in creating innovative solutions to real-world challenges of sustainability and development, using studio-based approaches. Explores mechanisms for effective social and environmental change and develops policies and strategies for implementing sustainability in different locations and at different scales. Prerequisite: SD 281; one of SD 381 or SD 481; and 75 units.

SD 481 - Sustainability Governance and Leadership (4)

Engages students in understanding critical concepts and issues of sustainability at different scales and how they related to policy, management, leadership, and governance in a range of context and across different sectors (thinking about how local movements can come to influence national and international governance). Explores and analyzes the history of sustainability action, how change happens, the role of different levels of governance, current sustainability initiatives, and prospects for how to create change in the future. Prerequisite: One of PLAN 100, REM 100, or SD 281; and 60 units. Students with credit for SCD 401 or REM 401 or REM 481 may not complete this course for further credit.

and one (1) elective course chosen from the following:

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

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.

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.

More information available at