We are now offering a graduate certificate in sustainable building construction to professionals seeking an opportunity to pursue in-depth studies in sustainability in building design and construction without needing to complete a full degree program. This certificate’s topics comprise sustainable (green) building systems and materials, energy and conservation, building technologies, and construction management. 16 credits of coursework can be completed through a combination of in-person and online courses, with in-person courses offered in Amherst, Newton (on our Mount Ida campus) or both.
If you are considering applying to the Professional Masters in Sustainable Building Systems after completing the certificate, all 16 course credits will transfer toward your degree. Please note, however, that admission to the certificate does not guarantee admission to any of our graduate programs.
Advance your knowledge in sustainable building construction and increase your market value with this credential.
Learn Your Way
Attend online or in-person courses and learn at your own pace. You can even count the certificate credits towards our one-year Master’s degree.
Learn For Less
Earn this certificate for under $10k while you work. Check with your employer for tuition reimbursement programs.
You can view our current flyer here.
Who Should Apply?
- Building energy assessment and modeling
- Design of wood structures, including mass-timber
- High-performance building design
- Sustainable building certification systems
- Building Information Modeling (BIM)
- Managing sustainable building projects
Course of Study
We have a handy Requirements Checklist (updated 12/2020) as well.
Core readings course:
- ECO 692S – Readings in Sustainable Building Systems (3 credits, Fall, Amherst and Online)
Core electives (select two courses with a total of six credits):
- BCT 520 – Energy and Buildings (3 credits, Fall, Amherst)
- BCT 540 – Design of Wood Structures (3 credits, Spring, Amherst and Online)
- BCT 597BE – Introduction to Building Energy Modeling (3 credits, Winter, Online)
- BCT 597Q – Living Labs: Solving for Carbon Neutrality with High Performance Buildings (3 credits, Spring, Newton and Online)
- BCT 597W – Understanding Wood and Wood Products (3 credits, Fall, Amherst and Online)
- ECO 697DL – Sustainable Building and Smart Growth Systems (3 credits, Fall, Newton and Online)
Elective courses (select at least two courses with a total of six credits):
- BCT 521 – Environmental Control Systems and Lab (4 credits, Spring, Amherst)
- BCT 525 – Solar Energy Systems & Building Design (3 credits, Fall, Amherst and Online)
- BCT 550 – Construction Scheduling and Project Control (3 credits, Fall and Spring, Amherst)
- ECO 692C – Sustainable Buildings Seminar (1.5 credits, can be taken twice for credit, Fall and Spring, Amherst and Online)
- BCT 597N – Legal Aspects of Architecture, Engineering, and the Construction Process (3 credits, Fall, Newton and Online)
- ECO 620 – Studies in Building Information Modeling (3 credits, Spring and Summer, Amherst and Online)
- Any core course not taken as core requirement
Please note: During our roll-out, course availability may change. We intend to always present the most up-to-date listing on this page. Contact us if you have any questions about course availability.
We admit students to the certificate on a rolling basis. You may even take up to two courses (through UWW) before you officially apply to this certificate. Remember that our classes follow the UMass academic calendar.
Applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree, preferably in a related field (e.g. BCT or other Construction, Architecture, Engineering, or related).
- Personal statement (1 page, PDF format)
- Resume (1 page, PDF format)
- Transcripts from undergraduate (and graduate) institutions attended (PDF format)
Submit all documents using this link:
Enrolling in Classes and Receiving the Certificate
Enrolling in Classes:
- Create a student record. (You should not need to do this step if you took a course in the previous semester) Go to spire.umass.edu. On the right hand menu, under Apply/References click on Non-Degree Enrollment Application and fill out the form there. You will receive an email with your NetID and password (this may take up to 3 days).
- Create an enrollment appointment. Once you have received your NetID and password you can create an enrollment appointment by logging in to SPIRE (spire.umass.edu) with the NetID and password you received. Once logged in, navigate to Main Menu > Enrollment > Summer/Wntr/Non-degr Enroll Appt and follow the instructions. (It can take up to one day for SPIRE to recognize your NetID, so if you do not see these navigation options try the next day.)
- Register for classes. The enrollment appointment should be available immediately. Register for the class by logging in to SPIRE (spire.umass.edu) and navigate to Main Menu > Enrollment > Add Classes.
Completing the Program:
Once you have registered for your final course, be sure to complete and return the Certificate Eligibility Form to us. Forms are due by the following dates for each degree conferral period:
- September Conferral: August 12
- February Conferral: November 26
- May Conferral: March 20
Tuition and Fees
University Without Walls (UWW, formerly CPE) at UMass Amherst administers registration and payments for this graduate certificate’s courses.
Tuition Details (as of December 2019, see the UWW site for latest rates):
- Tuition is currently at $569/credit.
- Tuition for each 3-credit course is $1,707 plus applicable fees.
- Total tuition for the 5-course program is $9,104.
- There is also a $47/semester registration fee.
Contact the Bursar’s Office at or call 413-545-0337 for questions about tuition, fees, payments, and discounts. Financial aid is typically not available for certificates.
I am a current undergrad student. Can I take courses towards this certificate in my senior year?
At this point you cannot do that. You must first graduate from your major and then you can take courses towards this certificate. See Enrolling in Classes above.
I am a current graduate student at UMass and am taking a course that is also part of this certificate. Can I double-count that course?
You can take up to three “University session” (i.e. non-UWW) courses that double-count towards this certificate. It is acceptable that those courses also count towards your other grad program.
I have been working for a while and am not sure whether my background qualifies me for this certificate.
Send us your application documents (see link above) anyways (it’s a free application!). We will then look at your situation and can provide you feedback.
Do I need to take the certificate courses in any particular order?
There is no need to do that. Just take the courses in any order that is convenient for you. We recommend you take ECO 692S as early as possible, however, because it provides an overview of our various topics.
I have completed this certificate and would like to now pursue a Masters. Is that possible?
Yes. You can count all of your (15) credits from this certificate towards our Professional Masters in Sustainable Building Systems. This leaves you with only 15 remaining credits in the Masters program, which you may be able to complete in one semester. Please note, however, that completing this certificate does not automatically admit you to our MS program; you will need to apply (and be accepted) here. Also: Starting the MS program and counting all 15 certificate credits towards it does not remove your certificate – you get to keep that no matter what you do afterwards.
If I transfer my credits to the Masters program, can I also transfer the “regular” six credits from being a non-degree student?
No. You can only transfer either oneof those into your MS program.
Contact us anytime if you have questions.