Business, Environment, and Social Responsibility (BESR) is a 12-credit graduate/professional certificate that offers a suite of courses addressing the interrelations between business and its natural and social environment. Its goal is to provide graduate students the fundamental knowledge and skills to sustainably manage enterprises that integrate economic, environmental, and social dimensions into their decision-making.
Students in the program will acquire knowledge of (1) the causes of environmental and social challenges as relating to business, and respective policy and business responses; (2) frameworks and measurement systems for incorporating sustainability concerns into business analysis and decision-making; and (3) domains in which business activities and sustainability concerns intersect, and the management of these intersections. They further will acquire skills to (1) analyze the causes of and responses to environmental and social problems, as well as develop and implement solutions to these problems as managers and policymakers; (2) identify and apply frameworks for effectively incorporating sustainability considerations into the analysis and decision-making of managers and policymakers; and (3) analyze where and how environmental and social issues intersect with business, as well as develop and implement solutions for managing these intersections.
As determined by each student’s individual course path, students will acquire deeper knowledge and skills in select domains such as systems designs, risk management, green real estate, and more. Students are also encouraged but not required to participate in a variety of events and activities that provide a forum to exchange ideas and connect the business community with students and faculty interested in sustainability.
The BESR certificate is open to any student with graduate standing at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Before beginning the application to the graduate/professional certificate, students should gather the information listed below.
- Current GPA
- Advisor's name and email address
- Planned semester to begin the certificate
Note: For the application to be approved, it is required that the student has consent from the faculty advisor (or, where appropriate, graduate program coordinator) to participate in the BESR certificate. The student must have the advisor send an email to the certificate director at firstname.lastname@example.org confirming this consent.
For more information: Certificate advisor, email@example.com; bus.wisc.edu/degrees-programs/certificates/graduate/sustainability
The required foundation course, advanced business sustainability coursework, and electives from across the campus need to tally a minimum of 12 credits. The slate of coursework options available for fulfilling the certificate program is shown in the table below. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in related non-credit sustainability experiences via competitions, conferences, and speaker events.
The foundation course has no prerequisites and is open to all graduate students on campus. Students will: (1) take one required foundation course (M H R/ENVIR ST 710 Challenges & Solutions in Business Sustainability (2) choose at least 3 additional credits from a list of School of Business advanced business sustainability coursework, and (3) select up to 6 credits of additional courses from other elective coursework.
|Required Foundational Coursework|
|M H R/ENVIR ST 710||Challenges & Solutions in Business Sustainability (spring)||3|
|School of Business - Advanced Business Sustainability Classes choose at least 3 credits from list|
|OTM 770||Sustainable Approaches to System Improvement||4|
|REAL EST 651||Green - Sustainable Development||3|
|R M I 650||Sustainability, Environmental and Social Risk Management||3|
|Other Elective Coursework Up to 6 credits from other elective coursework can be counted towards the required 12 certificate credits|
|School of Business|
|ACCT I S 700||Financial Accounting||3|
|ACCT I S 710||Managerial Accounting||3|
|ACCT I S 771||Seminar in Strategic Cost Management and Performance Measurement||3|
|FINANCE 700||Introduction to Financial Management||3|
|M H R 728||Bargaining, Negotiating and Dispute Settlement for Managers||3|
|M H R 723||Business Strategy||3|
|MARKETNG 700||Marketing Management||3|
|OTM 700||Operations Management||3|
|OTM 732||Economics for Managers||3|
|R M I 700||Principles of Risk Management||3|
|R M I/GEN BUS 701||Managing Legal Risks||3|
|ECON/A A E/ENVIR ST/URB R PL 671||Energy Economics||3|
|College of Agricultural & Life Sciences|
|A A E/ECON/F&W ECOL 531||Natural Resource Economics||3|
|A A E 643||Foundations of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics||3|
|A A E/ECON/ENVIR ST/URB R PL 671||Energy Economics||3|
|A A E 729||The Microdynamics of Environment and Development||3|
|A A E 760||Frontiers in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics 1||3|
|A A E 762||Frontiers in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics 2||3|
|F&W ECOL/A A E/ENVIR ST 652||Decision Methods for Natural Resource Managers||3-4|
|College of Agricultural & Life Sciences / College of Letters & Science|
|URB R PL/A A E/ECON/ENVIR ST 671||Energy Economics||3|
|URB R PL/ECON/PUB AFFR 734||Regional Economic Problem Analysis||3|
|URB R PL 841||Urban Functions, Spatial Organization and Environmental Form||2-3|
|URB R PL/ENVIR ST 843||Land Use Policy and Planning||3|
|URB R PL/ENVIR ST 865||Water Resources Institutions and Policies||3|
|Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies|
|ENVIR ST/SOIL SCI 575||Assessment of Environmental Impact||3|
|ENVIR ST/A A E/ECON/URB R PL 671||Energy Economics||3|
|ENVIR ST 707||Professional Skills for Global Systems Analysis||1|
|ENVIR ST 977||Sustainable Development - Integral Perspective||3|
|College of Engineering|
|E P D 660||Core Competencies of Sustainability||3|
|E P D 661||Industrial Ecology: Sustainability Tools in Context||3|
|LAW 845||Water Rights Law||2-3|
|LAW 848||Introduction to Environmental Law||3|
|LAW 918||Selected Problems in International Law-Seminar "International Environmental Law & Policy" or "Climate Change, Human Rights & the Environment"||2-3|
|LAW 988||Selected Problems in Environmental Law-Seminar "Natural Resources Law" or "Agricultural Law & the Environment"||2-3|
|LAW 989||Environmental Law and Practice||3|
|La Follette School of Public Affairs|
|PUB AFFR/ENVIR ST/POLI SCI 866||Global Environmental Governance||3|
|PUB AFFR/A A E/ENVIR ST/POP HLTH 881||Benefit-Cost Analysis||3|
|School of Medicine and Public Health|
|POP HLTH/ENVIR ST 560||Health Impact Assessment of Global Environmental Change||3|
|School of Education|
|CURRIC 975||General Seminar||2-3|
The list of electives is dynamic and will be adjusted as new courses are being offered and others dropped. Students may request to substitute listed electives with courses that are currently not listed. Such a request requires that the student explains how the substitute class meets the learning outcomes of the certificate and assists the student in reaching his or her individual goals for taking the certificate. The request requires approval by the certificate director in coordination with the Certificate Oversight Committee.
For courses with access restricted to School of Business students, non-business school students may select equivalent open-access lower-level courses numbered 300 and above (e.g., substitute M H R 723 Business Strategy with M H R 423 Strategic Management).
Extracurricular Activities (Certificate students are encouraged, but not required, to engage in extracurricular activities that enhance the certificate’s learning outcomes.) These include:
- Speaker events such as the Weston Lecture Series
- Competitions such as Walmart’s Sustainable Business Plan Competition and Burrill Business Plan Competition
- Conferences such as the Nelson’s Institute Annual Earth Day conference and Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council Conference
1. Gain knowledge of (i) causes of environmental and social challenges related to business and respective policy and business responses, (ii) frameworks and measurement systems for incorporating sustainability concerns into business analysis and decision-making, and (iii) domains in which business activities and sustainability concerns intersect and the management of these intersections.
2. Acquire skills to (i) analyze causes of and responses to environmental/social problems; develop and implement solutions as managers and policymakers, (ii) identify and apply frameworks for incorporating sustainability considerations into analysis and decision-making, (iii) analyze where and how environmental and social issues intersect with business and develop and implement solutions.
3. (i) develop/articulate view of role business plays in sustainability, (ii) use knowledge and skills in business to strengthen sustainability and in sustainability to strengthen business, (iii) create network of likeminded individuals, acquire ability to engage with professionals outside their fields, and grow appreciation of how different professions contribute to business sustainability.