The Certificate in Integrative Design of Built and Natural Environments, offered through the Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture, is focused around an exciting trans-disciplinary design approach that relies on design processes and thinking and integrates spatial data technologies to effectively and efficiently inventory, represent, analyze, evaluate, and communicate planning and design alternatives for landscapes, cities, and regions. Proactively co-designing and co-producing healthy places comprehends, plans, and acts on social and environmental information and, therefore, a diverse suite of elective courses addresses social and environmental considerations through stakeholder engagement, environmental justice, policy, conservation, and management. Required courses will apply spatial technologies (GIS, Geodesign) to enable collaborations among the design professions (landscape architects, planners, engineers, and scientists and humanists from various disciplines), and community members. This collaborative process will help prepare you to work in interdisciplinary teams and to appreciate diverse perspectives and values while addressing complex problems.

How to Get in

Undergraduate students from across campus are encouraged to consider completing the Certificate.  To declare the Certificate in Integrative Design of Built and Natural Environments through the Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture, students must have completed at least one class that meets Certificate requirements, or be enrolled in at least one class in the current or upcoming semester that meets Certificate requirements. Students pursuing the program are encouraged to declare as early as possible so that they can best align the coursework with their interests. Students can declare the program by scheduling an appointment with the Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture Undergraduate Academic Advising Manager, or by filling out the online declaration form on the Department of Planning and Landscape Architecture website.

Students declared in the certificate should plan to complete the program before, or alongside, their degree and major requirements, as they are not able to extend their time on campus to complete a certificate. 


Students are required to a minimum of 14 credits to include one introductory course, one methods and applications course, and elective courses.

Introductory Course (complete one)2-4
Introduction to Design Frameworks and Spatial Technologies
An Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Methods and Applications3
Geodesign Methods and Applications
Elective Courses 7-9
Stakeholder Engagement
Native American Environmental Issues and the Media
Writing Science for the Public
Risk Communication
Research Methods in the Communication Industry
People, Land and Food: Comparative Study of Agriculture Systems
Environmental Justice and Policy
Earth Partnership: Restoration Education for Equity and Resilience
Indigenous Peoples and the Environment
Caring for Nature in Native North America
Ethnicity, Race, and Justice
Latino Urbanism: Design and Engagement in the American City
Outdoors For All: Inequities in Environmentalism
Introduction to the City
US Environmental Policy and Regulation
Environmental Governance: Markets, States and Nature
Applications of Geographic Information Systems in Planning
Culture and Environment
Introduction to Community and Environmental Sociology
Gentrification and Urban Restructuring
Environmental Conservation Management
Restoration Ecology
Applications of Geographic Information Systems in Natural Resources
Decision Methods for Natural Resource Managers
Conservation Biology
Environment, Natural Resources, and Society
People, Wildlife and Landscapes
Environmental Conservation
Preserving Nature
Green Urbanism
Nature, Power and Society
Critical Indigenous Ecological Knowledges
The Making of the American Landscape
The Humid Tropics: Ecology, Subsistence, and Development
Total Credits14

Pass/Fail Courses

Courses taken on a pass/fail basis will not count toward the certificate.

Residence and Quality of Work

  • At least 8 certificate credits must be completed in residence
  • Minimum 3.000 GPA on all certificate courses

Certificate Completion Requirement

This undergraduate certificate must be completed concurrently with the student’s undergraduate degree. Students cannot delay degree completion to complete the certificate.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the frameworks and processes involved in integrative design of built and natural environments
  2. Understand and demonstrate how to use techniques and research from biological, physical sciences, and social sciences in design, planning, and management contexts to create frameworks and designs
  3. Select and evaluate geospatial technologies appropriate for a variety of design, planning, and management contexts
  4. Understand and evaluate the role of stakeholder values and ethics in design frameworks relative to design, planning, and management of the built environment within social and natural systems

Advising and Careers


We encourage you to reach out to Debi Griffin, our undergraduate academic advising manager, if you’re interested in learning more about the Certificate or would like guidance as a current Certificate student. You can make an appointment via Starfish or email Debi (dagriffin@wisc.edu).


The interdisciplinary education provided through the Certificate in Integrative Design of the Built and Natural Environment will make graduates highly sought after by employers in local government, landscape and urban design, environmental science, management, and policy.

L&S Career Resources

Every L&S major opens a world of possibilities.  SuccessWorks at the College of Letters & Science helps students turn the academic skills learned in their major, certificates, and other coursework into fulfilling lives after graduation, whether that means jobs, public service, graduate school or other career pursuits.

In addition to providing basic support like resume reviews and interview practice, SuccessWorks offers ways to explore interests and build career skills from their very first semester/term at UW all the way through graduation and beyond.

Students can explore careers in one-on-one advising, try out different career paths, complete internships, prepare for the job search and/or graduate school applications, and connect with supportive alumni and even employers in the fields that inspire them.