Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Learning

What is the difference between synchronous vs. asynchronous instruction, and online courses vs. remote instruction courses?

Courses originally offered online (i.e. Energy and Society and Water and Sanitation Justice) are asynchronous, meaning students can watch lectures and complete coursework at their convenience within the weekly module window.
All other courses are in-person and synchronous, unless otherwise noted. Sustainability courses which have been moved to remote instruction format due to COVID-19, on the other hand, will continue to be held at their scheduled times unless noted otherwise by individual instructors. If you are concerned about being able to attend the posted class times, please reach out to

Minor vs. Certificate?

What is the difference between the minor and the certificate?

The minor is available to UC Berkeley students only, while the certificate is available to non-UC Berkeley students. There are no other differences.

I’m a student at another University of California campus, will I receive a minor or a certificate?

You will receive the certificate only, but you may contact your campus to see if there are other options. It is up to each campus to decide what courses or programs they will honor. Contact the equivalent department at your campus (such as an Environmental Science department) to see if the courses can be used toward receiving a similar minor at their UC campus. If you wish to have the Sustainability Minor (using that title) honored by your campus, it would be up to you to pursue this inquiry through your campus leadership.

I’m not a UC Berkeley student, but I would like to complete the Certificate during the course of a summer and Fall semester. Is this possible?

Non-UC Berkeley students are able to complete Sustainability Summer Certificate courses offered during the Fall semester through UC Berkeley Extension Concurrent Enrollment. This program provides an opportunity to enroll in UC Berkeley campus courses on a space-available basis without formal admission to the University. Please note that the program involves significant costs per unit.

Learn more about Concurrent Enrollment here.

Enrollment and Course Logistics

What is the deadline to add Sustainability Summer classes?

Summer 2022 Session C courses can added through July 1, 2022 through the website. If instruction has begun and you have not yet been added to the course because you are on a waitlist, it is recommended you attend lecture while you wait for official enrollment.

When is the application due? What are the chances of getting accepted?

For the certificate, the application is for information gathering only and is not competitive. You can find enrollment deadlines here.

Are there any course requirements?

The Sustainability minor and certificate requires a minimum of 15 total units of coursework. All minor or certificate students must take EITHER Energy and Society (ENERES 100/ PUBPOL 184) or Climate Change Economics (ENERES 176/ENVECON 176/IAS 176), although students may elect to take both. UC Berkeley undergraduates may elect to take either of these in the summer or fall for greater flexibility, though they should be aware of scholarship restrictions if they take both during the fall. All other courses will be offered during the summer only and are unique to summer.

What are the expected deliverables?

Assignments vary between courses and may include items such reports, essays, exams, and presentations. There are no assignments/deliverables outside of those in the courses that are needed to complete the certificate.

Are course syllabi available?

We have copies of past syllabi. However these are not finalized prior to the start of summer, and thus they are subject to change. Contact for more information.

What is the expected workload outside of class? It says 10-15 hours per course, but if I’m taking five courses that would be more than 40 hours outside of class.

The recommendation by our Student Learning Center is that you should spend about 2 hours per unit per week. So, if it is a 3-unit class, about 6 hours a week should be spent on that class. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you take the program courses over multiple sessions, summers, or semesters.

Can the minor/certificate be completed over the course of a single summer?

While earning a minor/certificate in one summer is possible, we strongly encourage students to complete the program over two summers, over multiple sessions (i.e. session A and C), or to extend the course-load into the following fall semester.

Can the minor/certificate be completed in more than two summers?

Yes, the two summer limit is only for UC Berkeley undergrads wishing to receive the $1,500 Summer Minor scholarship. Certificate students can take as long as they like to complete the program, as can minor students who are not trying to qualify for the scholarship.

Can I take some of the courses during the academic year and some during the summer?

Energy and Society C100 and Climate Change Economics C176 can both be taken during the summer or fall semester. All other courses are unique to summer. Four of the five courses must be completed in in summer in order for you to receive the scholarship.

Can I take Sustainability Summer Minor courses as pass/no-pass (P/NP)?

At this time, all courses required for completion of the Sustainability Summer Minor must be taken for a grade. Students taking courses for the Sustainability Summer Certificate are able to opt for P/NP.

For more information, please contact

Will I receive credit for Sustainability Summer Minor/Certificate courses if I enroll in a cross-listed option?

All of ERG’s cross-listed courses (i.e. Energy and Society, Climate Change Economics, and Business, Sustainability, and Society) count towards the Sustainability Summer Minor/Certificate regardless of which option you select.

UC Berkeley Graduating Seniors

Can I complete the minor if I’m a graduating senior?

Yes, in this situation, there are two pathways:
1. You can remain a UC Berkeley student and be considered as one until the end of the summer. This way, the minor will be added at the end of the summer, and you will still be eligible for both financial aid and the scholarship. However, the student would have to finish the minor in one summer. You must extend your EGT to the summer in order to graduate at the end of Summer Sessions.
2. You can graduate, complete your time as a student, and do the summer program as a certificate instead of a minor. However, this would impact financial aid and increase costs. You would also not be eligible for the scholarship, but would be able to complete the certificate in more than one summer.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Who is eligible for summer financial aid and scholarships?

Summer aid and scholarships are available only to qualified UC Berkeley students enrolled in 6 or more units in Summer Sessions.
Non-UC Berkeley students may be eligible for financial aid from their home university. For more information about eligibility, please visit UC Berkeley’s Summer Aid FAQs.

What financial aid opportunities are available to UC Berkeley students?

UC Berkeley students, including newly admitted students, can find information about summer aid here.

UC Summer Fee Grant
The UC Summer Fee Grant is a need-based grant that will be applied to a student’s per-unit tuition costs and the campus fee. Use the Summer Aid Estimator, available under the ‘My Finances’ tab in Cal Central, to estimate the amount of aid you qualify for (see below).

Year Round Pell Grant
Pell Grants are available to students during the summer. Award amounts are based on the Expected Family Contribution from a student’s FAFSA and the number of units in which a student enrolls. Students can determine their Pell eligibility through the Summer Aid Estimator, available to them under the My Finances tab in Cal Central.

$1,500 Summer Minor Scholarships
A $1,500 scholarship is available to UC Berkeley students who are enrolled in a minor that is only available in the summer. You are eligible if you:

• Are currently enrolled as a UC Berkeley student
• Complete the academic requirements of the minor in one summer or during two consecutive summers
• Receive a grade point average of 2.0 or higher in all courses comprising the minor and complete all courses before graduation
• Complete a maximum of one of the Sustainability program courses (either Energy and Society or Climate Change Economics, but not both) during the academic year

The scholarship is typically credited in December. Students completing their final course in fall do not fall within the eligibility submission deadline for fall, and would instead have to be evaluated in January/February and included in the following confirmed group the next November.

Completing in fall bumps students into the following academic year, so their scholarship must be tied to the following summer (as the summer term is a trailer to the academic year). If students have graduated in that time, they will receive a refund of the $1,500 the following December when the scholarships are processed.

Unfortunately, we cannot make exceptions to these award dates. Due to financial aid implications, students must be included in their appropriate award group and scholarships cannot be awarded late (or early) so please make sure to complete your declaration form by the deadline.

NOTE: The scholarship amount for Summer 2021 and prior was $2,000. However, the amount was reduced to $1,500 starting in Summer 2022. Students completing the minor after Summer 2021 are no longer eligible for the $2000 amount. 

How do I receive the $1,500 scholarship?

In order to qualify, students must fulfill the required courses without ‘Incompletes’ and complete the Minor Declaration Form prior to the deadline posted on the Sustainability program page. The scholarship will be credited to CalCentral, though it may ultimately be refunded to the student via EFT if they have that set up and do not have an outstanding balance.

Can I still get the $1,500 scholarship if I complete the minor in two summers, or take ENERES 100/PUBPOL W184 or ENERES N176/ENVECON C176 in the fall afterwards?

Typically, students must complete the minor in either one or two summers in order to be eligible for the scholarship. Students completing in the fall term are still eligible for the scholarship as long as they complete only one of the Sustainability program courses (either Energy and Society or Climate Change Economics, but not both) during the academic year. However, they will have to wait to receive the scholarship until the following December when they are credited with the next summer’s scholarship recipients.

What aid opportunities are available to non-UC Berkeley students?

Non-UC Berkeley students are able to apply funds from Outside Agency Scholarships (i.e. from other institutions or organizations) toward their summer fees. For a list of potential scholarship sources for visiting students, please visit the Berkeley Outside Scholarship Resources webpage.


Is housing available? What are my options? How do I find housing?

Some resources are available though the Summer Sessions website.


Graduate-Level Course Offerings

Is there a graduate-level option for Sustainability Summer Minor & Certificate courses? Can I transfer Sustainability Summer Minor & Certificate units to ERG’s graduate program?

At this time there are no plans for Sustainability Summer graduate-level course offerings. As such, you are not able to apply course credits from our Sustainability program to a graduate degree.

High School Students

As an incoming fall freshman can I take summer courses?

Yes, you can opt-in as part of Freshman Edge and begin taking these courses the summer before your first fall semester. You qualify for the Berkeley student rate (rather than the visitor rate) and are also eligible for the Summer Minor scholarship if you meet the requirements. Financial aid is available to Freshman Edge students, provided they complete the prior year’s FAFSA as well as the one which corresponds to the upcoming academic year.

Can I take summer courses if I’m still in high school or have recently graduated?

High school graduates are able to take summer courses even if they do not plan to attend UC Berkeley in the fall. These units would go towards completion of the Sustainability Summer Certificate and can be completed over the span of one or more summers. Please note that knowledge of college-level mathematics is recommended.
You are eligible for Sustainability Summer courses as a high school student with instructor approval. To learn more, please email

Career Applicability

What kind of job can I get with a Sustainability Minor/Certificate?

The Sustainability Minor/Certificate is not geared towards one kind of profession. If you are currently working, or a job candidate looking to add value to your education or experience, the Sustainability Certificate is a great way to gain a professional edge. As sustainability is a versatile and pertinent subject, these courses demonstrate to employers a desire to stay up-to-date with industry trends and show your initiative by completing a rigorous education program. This knowledge can be applied to all sorts of work to give a new angle and provide additional insight on work already being done.

[Back to top]