Mar 25, 2023  
2020-2022 Graduate School Catalog 
2020-2022 Graduate School Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Sustainable Urban Communities (Certificate), Program Information

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Program Faculty

Program Director

Jack Leonard, PLA, ASLA, LEED AP BD+C

Assistant Professor


Tel: (443) 885-4221; Fax: (443) 885-8233


Program Description

The Post Baccalaureate Certificate Program in Sustainable Urban Communities is offered for students who desire to enhance their knowledge of the crucial issues associated with urban sustainability in a multi-disciplinary and comprehensive fashion.  The Program provides for the continuing education of those professionals who influence, create, or provide the policies, services, designs, and structure for healthy, vibrant and sustainable urban communities.

The Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Sustainable Urban Communities is an on-line program with a 15 credit requirement consisting of core introductory and synthesis courses (6 credits), courses within one of three areas of concentration (6 credits), and courses selected from offerings in areas other than the students’ particular concentration (3 credits).   

The core requirements provide for the introduction of concepts, issues, terminology and definitions; historical context and precedent; the multi-faceted aspects and complexities of urban sustainability; sustainable design principles and best practices; and the application of skills and knowledge through a project.  The core requirements also provide the student with the opportunity to explore the various aspects of sustainable urban communities in order to select an area of concentration.

Areas of concentration focus on a particular aspect of urban sustainability (community, design and construction, or the natural systems in urban areas) allowing the student to develop deeper knowledge in an area of interest.  The concentration area will also inform the basis for the Capstone Project.

The courses selected from other areas of concentration (crossover) ensure that students are obtaining a multi-disciplinary examination of sustainable urban communities.  This will provide opportunities for discussion of topics among students and faculty with various interests and backgrounds. It will also enhance the practicality and comprehensiveness that students will bring to problem solving (which will be applied and demonstrated in the Capstone Project).

Students in the Sustainable Urban Communities Program develop an understanding of and appreciation for the human condition and a sense of social and environmental responsibility for improving the quality of life for all.  Students study topics and “carry out research that gives significant priority to solving difficult real‐world problems faced by society” directed toward the needs of urban and underserved communities. The Sustainable Urban Communities Program helps students to:

  • Understand the complexity of sustainability in cities and urban communities;

  • Comprehend the interrelationships between public policy, social and cultural aspects of community, natural environment and systems, infrastructure, public health, and economics in sustainable urban communities;

  • Recognize the place of individual communities within the context of the larger urban environment or city as a key component to regional ecological sustainability; and

  • Become competent in the application of the acquired knowledge in solving complex urban problems.

Program Objectives

The purpose of the proposed Online Certificate program in Sustainable Urban Communities is to offer a diverse program of study that prepares students for careers or positions of influence in public policy development, planning, and community design relating to urban sustainability.  Post-baccalaureate program students will dig deep into content geared toward a graduate level experience and education. The major educational objectives are the following:

  • Provide students with the skills and knowledge associated with the complex and varied aspects of urban sustainability based upon a combination of theory, science and practical application;

  • Utilize an interdisciplinary approach in teaching to provide students with a broad perspective of sustainable urban community issues;

  • Challenge students with a learning environment where professionals and faculty with diverse backgrounds and interests work in a collaborative and participatory decision-making and design process to address urban community issues in a sustainable fashion;

  • Develop professionals and community leaders who will be capable of solving multifaceted problems in a comprehensive manner that focus on the interrelationships between public policy, social and cultural aspects of community, the natural environment and systems, infrastructure, public health, and economics in sustainable urban communities; and

  • Provide students with an opportunity to pursue topics of interest in depth, begin a research agenda, gain practical work experience, and develop a site design application through a faculty supervised capstone project.


Upon completion of the Online Certificate Program in Sustainable Urban Communities, students will have: 

  • Gained general knowledge of the concepts and principles of sustainability in the context of the urban community.

  • Developed an understanding of the primary regulations, guidelines, best practices, current and anticipated changes affecting Sustainable Design and Construction (LEED, SSI, ESD, etc.).

  • Acquired a comprehension of the diverse and complex nature of urban sustainability.

  • Obtained extensive knowledge of a specific aspect of Sustainable Urban Communities (sustainable construction, urban agriculture, residential design, environmental issues, public policy development, etc.).

  • Demonstrated the application of an interdisciplinary approach to addressing complex urban problems.

  • Exhibited practical application of the skills and knowledge acquired through a capstone project. 

  • Earned credits which can be applied to a graduate degree.

  • Earned continuing education credits.

General Requirements

Candidates for the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Sustainable Urban Communities must satisfactorily complete the minimum of academic credit hours within a selected area of concentration and submit an acceptable Capstone Project.


Please refer to the School of Graduate Studies Catalog, “Standards of Scholarship; Academic Regularities; Section 1 – Regulations and Procedures Governing Student Status; Subsection 10 – Grounds for Academic Dismissal” for regulations concerning the circumstances under which students may be dismissed or otherwise prevented from graduating. Like all other graduate students at Morgan, Department of Graduate Built Environment Studies’ students who have earned “C” grades totaling more than 20 percent of the credits needed to satisfy degree requirements are subject to dismissal. With the joint approval of the Program Director and the Department Chair, however, these students may retake as many courses in which C grades have been earned as needed to bring the number of “C” grades to 20 percent or below.


To be eligible for admission to the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Sustainable Urban Communities, an applicant must: 

  • Have earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. 

  • Possess an undergraduate cumulative grade point average (G.P.A.) of 3.0 or better to be considered for regular admission. Students who possess a cumulative undergraduate G.P.A. of between a 2.5 and <3.0 may be considered for conditional admission.  Post-bachelor’s undergraduate credits will not be used to enhance G.P.A. requirements for admission to graduate study. 

  • Submit an application for admission to the School of Graduate Studies.  All required documents must be submitted as directed by the School of Graduate Studies prior to program review and admission decision.  

  • Use the application system to arrange for two letters of recommendation to be placed with the application.  These letters must be from officials or faculty members of institutions previously attended who are acquainted with the applicant’s ability for graduate study or from employment supervisors where applicable. 

  • Submit a typed exposition regarding the candidate’s personal academic and professional plans and the reasons for selecting Morgan State University. 


Meeting the minimum eligibility requirements and submitting all the required documents does not guarantee that an offer of admission will be made to the applicant.  The decision of the Program Admissions Committee involves a review and analysis of all the elements of the application as well as the availability of positions in the program.  The committee then recommends to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies that an offer of admission should be made based on that review.

Program Course Requirements 15 credits

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Sustainable Urban Communities 15 credits

Concentration Courses 6 credits

Option 1: Planning and Policy - Sustainable Communities

Option 2: Sustainable Design and Construction

Concentration Area Courses 6 credits

CSUC courses are required and then students choose three (3) credits from the rest of the courses listed

Plan of Study

The plan of study must meet the Program Course Requirements and will be structured within these requirements to satisfy the objectives of the student.  At the initial conference (virtual or face-to-face) with an advisor, a preliminary plan of study will be established, and this will be reported to the School of Graduate Studies (using the SGS Plan of Study Form) for placement in the student’s official file.  At this time, any anticipated exceptions or anticipated transfer credits will be noted. The estimated time for completion of the Program Requirements and submission and approval of the Capstone Project (CSUC 502) is eighteen (18) months, although the structure of the program supports completion of the Program within a twelve (12) month period.  Changes to the plan of study will be reported to the School of Graduate Studies. The student and the advisor will sign the form submitted to the School of Graduate Studies.

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