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CEREO C-NSPIRE Requirements

C-NSPIRE Certificate Program

Program Overview | Certificate Requirements | Certificate Application

Admission Requirements | Required Classes  |  Capstone Experience

Certificate Requirements

Our goal is to develop among the students a critical scientific understanding of the elemental cycles and, in particular, to understand how scientific research informs policy needed to address environmental and global change issues.

This certificate provides a wide array core skills for graduate students through a progression of courses that facilitate an interdisciplinary understanding of nitrogen and carbon cycle science, the modeling of dynamic, complex systems as they relate to pressing environmental issues, and the important role of the policy-making process as society attempts to address these issues.

Particular attention is paid to developing student communication skills so that they are more able to bridge the gap between biophysical science and policy creation and implementation. Therefore, students and their advisors will also be required to attend and present information at brown-bag discussions regarding research and policy activities on campus.

For additional questions about the certificate program, please contact us at

Admission Information

To participate, students must:

  • be in good academic standing
  • obtain approval of their major advisor
  • have an advisor who is a participating CEREO faculty member
  • take a minimum of 13 credits (10 required, 3 elective)
  • earn a minimum of a B grade in all courses
  • participate in a capstone experience that is the final component of the certificate
  • attend relevant seminars across campus
  • interact with seminar speakers to assist in building personal networks.



Required courses

  • Biology 569 Ecosystem Ecology and Global Change (3cr)
  • Biology 593 Seminar I. Literature and Problems (1cr; taken with Biol 569)
  • Environmental Science 550 Modeling the Environment (3cr)
  • Political Science (one of Pol_S 430, Pol_Sci 514, Pol_S 590 & Pol_S 591)


  • Soil Science 514 Environmental Biophysics (2cr)
  • Soil Science 515 Environmental Biophysics Lab (1cr)
  • Civil Engineering 555 Natural Treatment Systems (3cr)
  • Soil Science 441 Soil Fertility (3cr)
  • Soil Science 541 Soil-Plant Microbial Interactions (3cr)
  • Geology 562 Watershed Biogeochemistry (3cr)

Capstone Experiences

Each student must participate in a capstone experience as a final component of the certificate program.  Limited funds are available to support travel, stipends, and other financial costs associated with these experiences on a competitive basis.

Students interested in securing financial support for their experience must:

  1. Discuss the capstone experience with their primary advisor, then
  2. Fill out the C-NSPIRE Capstone Experience Application and return it to Julie Padowski ( at least one semester prior to when the funds would be needed.

General questions about the capstone experience can be directed to  Specific questions about the application form should be sent to Julie Padowski