The Wisconsin School of Business Graduate/Professional Certificate in Business, Environment, and Social Responsibility (BESR) is designed for UW–Madison graduate students who want to broaden their understanding of sustainable business practices. This certificate provides the real-world skills and knowledge needed to manage enterprises that integrate economic, environmental, and social decision-making in their daily operations.
As determined by each student’s individual course path, students will acquire deeper knowledge and skills in select domains such as risk management, diversity, 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 students with Graduate/Professional students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.1 Admission is on a rolling basis. To declare the certificate, students must submit an online application form and request a certificate declaration through the Graduate Student Portal in MyUW. To declare this certificate, log in to MyUW, click on Graduate Student Portal, and then click on Add/Change Programs. Select the information for this certificate.
Graduate/Professional students enrolled in a 131/non-pooled revenue program cannot earn this certificate.
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 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. Coursework needs to be completed with a B or better to count towards the certificate.
|Required Foundational Coursework|
|M H R 710||Challenges & Solutions in Business Sustainability (spring)||3|
|School of Business - Advanced Business Sustainability Classes|
Choose at least 3 credits from list
|GEN BUS 713||Role of Business in Society||2|
|GEN BUS 714||Corporate Governance and Board Membership||3|
|M H R 617||Diversity in Organizations||3|
|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||Analysis of Performance Measurement & Control||3|
|FINANCE 700||Introduction to Financial Management||3|
|M H R 723||Business Strategy||3|
|M H R 728||Bargaining, Negotiating and Dispute Settlement for Managers||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|
|A A E/ECON/F&W ECOL 531||Natural Resource Economics||3|
|ENVIR ST/F&W ECOL 515||Natural Resources Policy||3|
|ENVIR ST/GEOG 534||Environmental Governance: Markets, States and Nature||3|
|ENVIR ST/C&E SOC/SOC 540||Sociology of International Development, Environment, and Sustainability||3|
|ENVIR ST/SOIL SCI 575||Assessment of Environmental Impact||3|
|ENVIR ST/A A E/F&W ECOL 652||Decision Methods for Natural Resource Managers||3-4|
|ENVIR ST/A A E/ECON/URB R PL 671||Energy Economics||3|
|ENVIR ST/AGROECOL/AGRONOMY 724||Agroecosystems and Global Change||3|
|ENVIR ST/POP HLTH 739||Climate Change, Human and Planetary Health||2|
|ENVIR ST/PUB AFFR/URB R PL 809||Introduction to Energy Analysis and Policy||3|
|ENVIR ST/URB R PL 843||Land Use Policy and Planning||3|
|ENVIR ST/URB R PL 865||Water Resources Institutions and Policies||3|
|ENVIR ST/POLI SCI/PUB AFFR 866||Global Environmental Governance||3|
|ENVIR ST/A A E/POP HLTH/PUB AFFR 881||Benefit-Cost Analysis||3|
|ENVIR ST 977||Sustainable Development - Integral Perspective||3|
|URB R PL/ECON/PUB AFFR 734||Regional Economic Problem Analysis||3|
|College of Agricultural & Life Sciences|
|A A E 642||Foundations of Development Economics||3|
|A A E 643||Foundations of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics||3|
|A A E 730||Frontiers in Development Economics 1||3|
|A A E 731||Frontiers in Development Economics 2||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|
|A A E 771||Microeconomics of Resources and Energy: Theory to Practice||3|
|A A E 772||Applied Econometrics of Resource and Energy Demand||4|
|A A E 773||Seminar in Resource and Energy Demand Analysis||1-2|
|College of Letters & Science|
|GEOG 507||Waste Geographies: Politics, People, and Infrastructures||3|
|LAND ARC 563||Designing Sustainable and Resilient Regions||4|
|LAND ARC 621||Designing Healthy Communities Seminar||3|
|SOC/C&E SOC 541||Environmental Stewardship and Social Justice||3|
|URB R PL 550||Transportation and the Built Environment||3|
|URB R PL 551||Climate Action Planning: Sustainable Transportation||3|
|URB R PL 841||Urban Functions, Spatial Organization and Environmental Form||2-3|
|LAW 845||Water Rights Law||2-3|
|LAW 848||Introduction to Environmental Law||3|
|LAW 918||Selected Problems in International Law-Seminar "Human Rights/Humanitarian Law" or "Climate, Human Rights & Enviro"||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|
|School of Medicine and Public Health|
|POP HLTH/M&ENVTOX 789||Principles of Environmental Health: A Systems Thinking Approach||3|
|College of Engineering|
|CIV ENGR/G L E 421||Environmental Sustainability Engineering||3|
|CIV ENGR 494||Civil and Environmental Engineering Decision Making||3|
|CIV ENGR 729||Environmental Sustainability Tools||3|
|E P D 660||Core Competencies of Sustainability||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 their individual goals for taking the certificate. The request requires approval by the certificate director.
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 or the Sustainable Success Speaker Series
- Sustainability oriented student organizations such as NetImpact; other relevant student organizations can be found here.
- UW's Green Fund Competition
- Conferences such as the Nelson’s Institute Annual Earth Day conference
- Analyze how business, society, and the natural environment interrelate to drive sustainability challenges.
- Synthesize knowledge of business with knowledge of the natural and societal environment to develop and implement sustainability solutions for business and policy.
- Develop appreciation of how different professions and disciplines contribute to business sustainability.
- Prepare for business sustainability-related career pathways in industry, consulting, government, and NGOs (non-governmental organizations).