University of Southern California

Marshall School of Business

Master’s Degree and Graduate Certificate Programs

Graduate Certificate in Sustainability and Business

Business is increasingly involved in social and environmental issues. On the one hand, government and civil society are exerting increasing pressure on the business sector to help address the world’s pressing social and environmental sustainability challenges, and on the other, a growing number of businesses are seeking to respond proactively to these challenges. The certificate prepares students to help shape solutions to social and environmental sustainability challenges, both from within and from outside the business sector.


Applicants must meet the same admission requirements as degree seeking students as outlined above. Some exceptions are made for current USC students and USC alumni. Visit for details.

Applicants may apply for admission to begin the program in the fall or spring semesters as well as in the summer, depending on course availability. Applications are submitted online through the USC Marshall School of Business Admissions Website at International applicants are advised to see the instructions for international students published in the USC Graduate Admissions Application (

Program Requirements

The program requires completion of 15 units.

CORE – complete at least 9 units from the following units
BAEP 591 Social Entrepreneurship 3
DSO 505 Sustainable Supply Chains 1.5
DSO 506 Sourcing and Supplier Management 1.5
FBE 557 Business Law and Ethics 3
GSBA 554 Digital Strategies for Sustainability in Global Markets 3
MOR 566 Environmental Sustainability and Competitive Advantage 3
ELECTIVES – complete 0-6 units from the following units
ARCH 519 Sustainability in the Environment: Infrastructures, Urban Landscapes, and Buildings 3
ARCH 579 Sustainable Building and Environment using LEED Metrics 3
CE 515 Sustainable Infrastructure Systems 3
CMGT 577 Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility 4
ENE 502 Environmental and Regulatory Compliance 3
ENST 530 Environmental Risk Analysis or
PPD 587 Risk Analysis 4
GEOL 525 The Science of Climate Change 4
ISE 576 Industrial Ecology: Technology-Environment Interaction 3
LAW 655 Environmental Law 2-4
POSC 546 Seminar in Environmental Policy 4
PPD 568 Environmental Governance and Sustainability 2
PPD 688 Business and Public Policy 4
PPD 689 The Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy 4
PPDE 632 Sustainable Cities 4
PPDE 660 Environmental Policy Design and Analysis 2

Students may also earn credit toward the certificate electives with up to 4 units of Independent Study (e.g., Marshall 592 or 593) or Directed Research (590 in non-Marshall departments) subject to approval by the faculty directors.

For current USC graduate students, courses credited to the Graduate Certificate in Sustainability and Business may be completed in conjunction with course work required for the program in which the student is already enrolled. Applicability of these courses to the student’s primary degree program is determined by the student’s home department. For USC alumni, courses completed in conjunction with a previously conferred degree may not be credited toward the certificate.

Successful completion of the program is acknowledged by a certificate (diploma) awarded by the university.