The Shelburne Farms Institute for Sustainable Schools, in partnership with the University of Vermont, offers two graduate certificate pathways in Education for Sustainability (EFS).

Grounded in action research, transformative education, and youth leadership, coursework will energize your teaching practice and advance your knowledge, preparing you to empower learners in making positive change. 

These graduate programs are designed for practicing PreK-12, post-secondary, and informal educators with an interest in EFS. Our current cohort includes educators from varied backgrounds: classroom teachers, sustainability coordinators, school librarians, full-time graduate students, and non-formal educators. Although all share a goal of educating for sustainability, each student comes to the program with unique goals for their career, school, or community.

Whether you’re looking to advance your career, demonstrate a commitment to building a more sustainable future, realign your practice with your values, or build a professional network, you’ll practice change-making skills to transform the systems in which you work and deepen your expertise in bringing EFS to life for learners.

We are currently accepting applications for Summer 2023 enrollment.

Graduate Coursework

Choose from a 12-credit Micro Certificate of Graduate Study (mCGS-EFS) or an 18-credit Certificate of Graduate Study (CGS-EFS). 

Unique Shelburne Farms experiences, coupled with graduate coursework, form the foundation of each pathway. These experiences are flexible and adaptable based on location and time of enrollment.

The following courses lead toward a graduate certificate:

Foundations in Education for Sustainability/EDCI 343

Learn how sustainability can start in your classroom. Hybrid course. The recommended introduction to EFS. (Graduate credits: 3)

  • Online sessions in July
  • In-person retreat in July at Shelburne Farms’ Coach Barn, Vermont
  • All coursework due in August

Immersion in Education for Sustainability/EDCI 344

Deepen your understanding and dive into the essential questions of EFS. Hybrid course. Foundations in EFS is a recommended precursor to this course. (Graduate credits: 3)

  • Online sessions in July and August
  • In-person retreat in August at Shelburne Farms’ Orchard Cove House, Vermont
  • All coursework due in August 

Education for Sustainability Leadership Academy/EDCI 345 and EDCI 346

Develop an EFS professional action plan with peer network support. Hybrid course. Foundations and Immersion in EFS are recommended precursors. (Graduate credits: 6)

  • Year-long program with virtual sessions throughout the year, plus four in-person retreats. 
  • Kick-off in-person retreat: July at Shelburne Farms, Vermont. Note that this retreat opens the program, but is not offered for credit. Certificate participants register for corresponding UVM courses during fall and spring semesters.
  • Retreats 2-4 will count toward the UVM-accredited certificates.

Read more about all certificate courses and electives on the University of Vermont’s website.

Meet the Core Instructors

Students Say

The focus on relationships, mindfulness, and systems activities has been helpful. No matter what you teach, all of the things we're learning can be incorporated into any subject or grade level, and that's evident in the variety of participants. What I've enjoyed most is meeting the varied cohort. It's all about the exchange of ideas.

Susan Golden
Independent Educator
Aerial view of the University of Vermont campus in springtime. Large towering buildings stand in foreground with grassy school green in middleground. Rolling hills stand in background.
UVM Spatial Analysis Lab

Our Partnership with The University of Vermont

Shelburne Farms Institute for Sustainable Schools and the University of Vermont share a belief in the transformative power of education to shape a healthier, more sustainable future. Our programs combine the Institute’s international reputation for EFS professional learning and unique campus with UVM’s research capacity, land-grant mission, and track record of high-quality teacher education.

The EFS Certificates are learning cohort-based, meaning you’ll move through the program with a community of fellow educators. Facilitators, the majority of whom are former classroom teachers, will draw on your voice and interests and incorporate your goals into our work. The programs also offer the unique opportunity to access faculty and resources from two dynamic, world-class campuses. The result is a one-of-a-kind emergent curriculum.

Program Overview

Micro Certificate of Graduate Study in Education for Sustainability
  Certificate of Graduate Study in Education for Sustainability

Four core courses (12 credits)
Includes six on-site gatherings (totaling 18 days) at Shelburne Farms, as well as asynchronous and synchronous sessions online.


Four core courses (12 credits)
Includes six on-site gatherings (totaling 18 days) at Shelburne Farms, as well as asynchronous and synchronous sessions online.


Two elective courses (6 credits)
Select two electives to deepen your knowledge of sustainability in a field of personal interest. Topics include food systems, agroecology, and community design. See a complete list on UVM’s website.

Both programs include six place-based sessions at Shelburne Farms, located in Shelburne, Vermont, as well as asynchronous and synchronous sessions online. For electives: The mode and method of instruction depends on your selected courses, but UVM does offer remote and asynchronous learning options. Many UVM students take graduate-level courses and simultaneously work full-time. Explore all graduate offerings via the course catalogue on UVM’s website.

Recommended program sequence is as follows. The micro certificate can be completed in six semesters, and the certificate in seven semesters. For committed students, an accelerated version of the micro certificate may be completed in three semesters from summer through the following spring. (Note that UVM course numbers will change in fall 2023.)

Semester(s) Course(s)
Summer 1

Foundations in EFS/EDCI 343

Fall 1 and Spring 1

Optional electives (18-credit certificate only)

Summer 2

Immersion in EFS/EDCI 344

EFS Leadership Academy Session One

Fall 2

EFS Leadership Academy Session Two/EDCI 345

Optional elective (18-credit certificate only)

Spring 2

EFS Leadership Academy Sessions Three and Four/EDCI 346

Optional elective (18-credit certificate only)


To enroll, you must have completed a bachelor’s degree. There is no GRE required. Admission is on a rolling basis, but we recommend applying in spring for a summer start.

Students may enroll in one course prior to matriculating into the CGS program. Students may enroll as a non-degree student through University of Vermont Professional and Continuing Education (PACE). Normal UVM tuition and fees are charged. Visit PACE for further information on course registration.


Fees are based on the number of credits taken per semester. Fees below as of spring 2023.

Scholarships may be available for our programs on a need-based scale. Please fill out the scholarship application prior to registering for a program. Note that scholarship funds are limited to program fee; graduate credits are not covered.

12-credit Micro Certificate in EFS In-state Out-of-state
Core courses $2,820 $3,600
Shelburne Farms program fee $4,000 $4,000
UVM comprehensive fee $618 $618
Optional housing fee, Summer 1 $500 $500
Total $7,938 $8,718


18-credit Certificate in EFS In-state Out-of-state
Core courses $2,820 $3,600
Elective courses $1,410 $1,800
Shelburne Farms program fee $4,000 $4,000
UVM comprehensive fee $678 $678
Optional housing fee, Summer 1 $500 $500
Total $9,408 $10,578

Connect With Us

Have questions about these certificates? Start a conversation with Director of Professional Learning Jen Cirillo at or 802-985-0315. Or, complete our request for information form and someone will be in touch.