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Carbon Management Graduate Certificate

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Certificate Overview Open Accordion

Earn your graduate certificate in carbon management online

As governments and organizations across the globe take steps to reduce our collective greenhouse gas emissions, the emerging field of carbon management will continue to expand and evolve. Along with these evolving priorities, policies, and laws will come an increased demand for professionals with the skills to help organizations evaluate and manage carbon emissions.

Developed by CSU’s Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, this graduate certificate program provides you with the specialized knowledge to effectively analyze carbon production and manage and/or offset emission levels for government entities and large corporations.

Why study carbon management?

Clear scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring and will have significant impacts on society if measures are not taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, carbon dioxide has already become a major business liability, decreasing an organization’s value by $212,000 on average for every 1,000 metric tons produced, according to KPMG, a global network of professional firms that provide audit, tax, and advisory services.

As a result, more organizations and regional governments are recognizing the need to lower emissions and keep an accurate account of these reductions. Several large multinational corporations such as Microsoft, Walmart, Tesco, and the Bank of America are developing strategies to progressively reduce their carbon footprints. Small, medium, and large businesses around the world are beginning to see the economic benefits of investing in sustainable, environmentally conscious practices. These benefits include new revenue streams, employee and stakeholder engagement and loyalty, and the many PR benefits of corporate responsibility.

How is carbon managed?

To begin addressing climate change, some governments have been implementing action plans that put taxes on specific products or caps on greenhouse gas emissions. According to the New York Times, more than 40 governments across the globe have adopted some variation of carbon pricing, either through direct taxes on fossil fuels (often called a carbon tax) or cap-and-trade programs. Canada has one of the most robust carbon management plans, which includes reducing overall oil and gas methane emissions by 40-45 percent by 2025, developing a clean fuel standard, phasing out pollution from coal-fired electricity by 2030, and making historic investments in green technology, transportation, and business solutions.

Prepare for a career that makes an impact

Very soon, carbon management will touch every sector and industry, from agriculture to finance, manufacturing to transportation. Subsequently, new career opportunities will become available for people with the right skills. Now is the time to start building the in-depth knowledge to understand, develop, and implement carbon management strategies, including the policies and technical tools needed to achieve and accurately report emission reductions.

After completing this program, you will be able to:

  • Understand quantitative and qualitative methods applicable to the study of greenhouse gas emission management
  • Explain greenhouse gas sources and sinks, and how they might be managed
  • Discuss current issues in greenhouse gas policies and climate change
  • Evaluate the linkages between socioeconomic and ecological processes that drive increases in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations
  • Assess the costs, benefits, and co-benefits of emission reduction and offset purchase strategies.
  • Work in a multidisciplinary setting or as part of a multidisciplinary team
  • Carry out basic greenhouse gas assessments using systems approaches and integrative methods, including the application of life cycle analysis and other numerical quantification tools
Faculty Open Accordion

Richard Conant

Dr. Richard Conant’s research focuses on understanding the feedbacks between human activities and ecosystem biogeochemistry. Specifically, he is interested in how land use and land management practices impact carbon and nitrogen cycling in agricultural and grassland ecosystems. He has served as a writer, reviewer, and advisor for greenhouse gas registries, inventory groups, and analysts. Dr. Conant has authored national and international reports on greenhouse gas mitigation, most recently as a contributor to several State of the Carbon Cycle reports and as a Lead Author of the National Climate Assessment. He is a member of the Editorial Board for Global Change Biology, and has served on the US Carbon Cycle Science Steering Committee, the Field-to-Market Greenhouse Gas Emissions Advisory Group, the LEAP Technical Advisory Group, and as a mentor in the Village Capital venture accelerator. Dr. Conant co-founded Growcentia Inc. He earned his Ph.D at Arizona State University in 1997.

Stephen Ogle

Dr. Stephen Ogle is a Professor and Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Sustainability and Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory at Colorado State University. Dr. Ogle is a leader in research dealing with assessments of land use and management impacts on biogeochemical processes. He is the lead technical compiler on the U.S. national assessment of agricultural land use and management impacts on greenhouse gas emissions, which is used by the U.S. Government for reporting greenhouse gas emissions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Dr. Ogle has worked on international syntheses and reports through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), including the 2006 National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Guidelines, 2019 Refinement to the 2006 National Greenhouse Gas Inventory Guidelines, and Fourth Assessment Report on Climate Change (Mitigation). He also has experience assisting over 20 governments with improving their greenhouse gas emissions inventories.

FAQ Open Accordion
Why should I get the carbon management certificate?

A new job market is emerging for professionals who can assist corporations, governments, non-governmental organizations, and land managers with the implementation of more sustainable practices that reduce pollution associated with greenhouse gas emissions. Colorado State University’s Carbon Management Certificate program will provide you with the foundational, core knowledge you need to be conversant and introduce you to the analytical and technical skills you’ll need to apply this knowledge.

What type of background do I need?

This interdisciplinary program is intended for leaners from a wide variety of backgrounds – such as municipal sustainability, environmental studies, natural resource management, business sustainability, natural sciences, engineering, and agriculture. The certificate is intended to enable you to shift into a meaningful career tackling climate change issues.

What will I learn?

Training in accurate quantification of greenhouse gas emissions and reductions is central to the deployment of cleaner technologies and practices across all sectors of the economy. Most nations have recognized the importance of limiting greenhouse gas emissions and agree that emissions must be reduced with the goal of sustaining the earth’s resources for future generations. This goal cannot be achieved without a new class of technically adept professionals.

After completing this program, you will better understand:

  • Greenhouse gas sources and sinks
  • Greenhouse gas emission management using quantitative and qualitative methods
  • Current issues in greenhouse gas policies and climate change
  • Linkages between socioeconomic and ecological processes that drive increased emissions
  • The costs and benefits of emission reduction and offset purchase strategies
How long does it take?

The Carbon Management Certificate requires completion of four courses: ESS 524 (3 cr.), ESS 542 (2 cr.), and ESS 543 (2 cr.) plus one elective (3-4 cr.). The certificate can be completed in a single year, depending on course availability.

After I complete the certificate, how will I find a job in this field?

Organizations of all kinds are making commitments to reduce emissions or become carbon neutral. They’re going to need help doing it, so we anticipate the number of jobs in organizations of all kinds will continue to grow. CSU online students can leverage CSU Career Center resources for additional support.

What are some organizations that have implemented or are currently overseeing carbon management projects?
  • Anthesis Group
  • HXE Partners
  • Winrock International
  • Radicle
  • Huco
  • The Climate Trust
  • Antea Group
  • Global Research Alliance
  • Cities group
  • City of Fort Collins
  • EDF
  • Brendle Group
  • Field to Market
Curriculum Open Accordion

To earn the Graduate Certificate in Carbon Management, you must complete all three required courses and at least one elective. Please note that you must be admitted into this program for the certificate to appear on your official University transcript.

Required Courses

Elective Courses

*Course currently in development for online delivery

How to Apply Open Accordion

Application Deadlines

Fall semester July 15
Spring semester December 1

Start your application online and upload materials directly into the online system. You can save your progress and return any time.

Apply Now

1 Review Admission Requirements

The Carbon Management Graduate Certificate requires that students have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution.

2 Prepare Application Materials

While it is not required, it is recommended that you contact us in advance of submitting application materials. Prepare the materials below and upload when you apply online.

  • Statement of purpose
    • Your purpose for pursuing graduate education and how it will contribute to your long-term goals and career plans,
    • Why you have selected Colorado State University as the place to pursue your graduate studies, and
    • A description of teaching, research/creative, or other academic work you have engaged in relevant to the qualifications.

3 Complete Online Application

Complete the online graduate application and pay the nonrefundable application processing fee (payable online). As soon as you have completed the required information, please submit your application. Your application will not be reviewed until it is complete and all required materials have been received.

  • Choose "Carbon Management (Certificate) – Distance" when choosing the Program of Study.
    (Note: You must first select "Certificate" at the top.)

4 Request Transcripts

Request one official transcript from the institution where you earned your bachelor’s degree. Transcripts must be received directly from the originating institution to be considered official. Transcripts from Colorado State University are not required.

Electronic (preferred):
Digital Transcripts must be submitted by the originating institution using a secure service such as parchment, eScrip-Safe, the National Student Clearinghouse, or e-Quals. Transcripts received via emails are considered unofficial.

Use institution code 4075 for Colorado State University or if the secure service requires an email address.

Mail (if necessary):
Graduate Admissions
Colorado State University – Office of Admissions
1062 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1062

Check Your Application Status

View your application status at any time to ensure your application checklist is complete or to check on updates.

Once your complete application, including supporting materials, is received, the department admission committee will review your application and notify you of their decision.

For International Applicants

Proof of English language proficiency is required for applicants from countries or United States territories where there are official languages other than (or in addition to) English. This includes the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico.

Learn more about English language proficiency requirements.


We love learning about your goals and answering any questions you have.

Morgan Parsley
Prospective Student Support Coach
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Program Details

10-11 credits
$685 per credit
Same in-state tuition for all.
Learn more about financial aid and scholarships Tuition/fees are just part of the cost to attend CSU. Learn more about the full Cost of Attendance
Certificate Awarded
Graduate Certificate in Carbon Management
Time Frame
Varies based on intensity of study and course availability
Admission Reqs.
  • Undergraduate degree from an accredited four-year institution.

Application Dates

Fall semester
July 15
Spring semester
December 1

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