Aug 12, 2022  
2022-2023 General Catalog 
2022-2023 General Catalog

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) - Graduate Institutional Certificate of Proficiency

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S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources

Department of Environment and Society

Director: Dr. Joanna Endter-Wada, Department of Environment and Society
Program Curriculum Administrator: Dr. Lisa Welsh, Department of Environment and Society
Location: Natural Resources 352
Phone: (435) 797-0922
FAX: (435) 797-4048

Graduate Program Description

The Department of Environment and Society at Utah State University and the Shipley Group, Inc. have a partnership to provide a graduate-level certificate program that offers training related to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA is an important environmental law that requires analysis of impacts, alternatives, and mitigation measures for all major federal actions affecting the environment, both within the territorial boundaries of the U.S. and at foreign military installations. Government agencies, private businesses, public interest organizations, and other groups involved in the NEPA process need individuals who have been trained in decision-making, analysis, and documentation aspects of NEPA, as well as in the accompanying Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations and various agencies’ NEPA implementing procedures.

The NEPA Graduate Certificate Program was designed to prepare natural resource and environmental professionals to meet the challenges of complying with the Act and working effectively on NEPA documents. Participants who successfully complete the program should have a solid understanding of both the spirit and the letter of the law and will be more effective members of interdisciplinary teams responsible for developing NEPA documents.


Students who complete the program will receive a graduate-level certificate in the National Environmental Policy Act. Their USU transcript will list the courses and grades received to complete the program. Students can choose to earn 12 graduate academic credits or 18 graduate continuing education units (CEUs) to complete the certificate. Please contact the certificate administrator for more information on the CEU option.

Admission Requirements

To apply for admittance to the program, a person must complete and submit a NEPA Graduate Certificate Program application form, as well as provide a transcript documenting the completion of a bachelor’s degree. Students pursuing the NEPA Graduate Certificate are not required to be enrolled in a graduate degree program. However, academic credits obtained from the program may be applied toward a graduate degree.

Course Requirements

To receive the Certificate, a participant must complete the following set of requirements:

  • Apply and be accepted into the NEPA Graduate Certificate Program
  • Register for and successfully complete seven graduate-level courses (four required courses and three elective courses)
  • Complete an individual capstone experience for graduate credit
  • Maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA for program courses (grades below C will not be accepted)
  • Abide by the Code of Policies and Procedures for Students at Utah State University.

NEPA Graduate Certificate Program Courses

Courses for the program are offered in the short-course format at various locations around the country or as webinars. To view the current schedule of courses, please go to the Shipley Group website at Courses are offered for 2 credits or 3 continuing education units (generally 3-day courses), or for 1 credit or 1.5 continuing education units (2-day courses). Participants must complete a written examination in addition to class attendance. All courses offered as part of the NEPA Graduate Certificate Program may be taken for university graduate credit, whether or not a participant in the course is enrolled in the NEPA Graduate Certificate Program.


Students must complete four core courses (2 credits each), three elective courses (1 credit each), and a capstone experience (1 credit) in order to fulfill the requirements for the NEPA Graduate Certificate.

Capstone Experience

After completing the coursework, participants are required to complete a NEPA Capstone Experience (NEPA 6370 ) before being awarded the NEPA Graduate Certificate. This experience will be individualized for each participant and will consist of a project that has been negotiated between the participant and Dr. Welsh.

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