Graduate Certificate in Forest Carbon Science, Policy, and Management

Part of the Forest Carbon and Climate Program

  • Available completely online
  • Supplements a wide range of vocations, from working professionals to those pursuing advanced degrees
  • Take just one course, or complete all required courses to earn a graduate certificate


Download a program flyer on the Graduate Certificate in Forest Carbon Science, Policy, and ManagementImage of Forest Carbon Certificate Flyer

The Graduate Certificate in Forest Carbon Science, Policy, and Management offers participants the interdisciplinary tools and conceptual background to plan, implement, manage and evaluate forestry-based, climate-change mitigation activities. The certificate gives participants an edge in competing for employment in carbon mitigation projects of corporations, governments, and non-governmental organizations. Each of the three courses required to complete the certificate are now available online so participants can complete their training from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

The certificate teaches participants how forest management actions affect forest carbon balance, the ins and outs of forest carbon markets, the social context of managing forests for carbon sequestration, and the tools for measuring, monitoring, and accounting for forest carbon – including satellite imagery, remote sensing, and integrated carbon sequestration models. 
The certificate is open to a wide range of participants, including students with a bachelor’s degree who are not enrolled in an MS or PhD. program, as well as current MS and PhD. students at MSU and other universities. To be considered for admission into the Graduate Certificate in Forest Carbon Science, Policy, and Management, applicants should have completed a bachelor’s degree in forestry, natural resources, environmental sciences, or a related field. The certificate is open to students in any environment-related graduate program at MSU.
Given the need to integrate sustainability and climate change mitigation across all economic sectors, applicants from all backgrounds, including those involved in business, law, forestry, natural resources, environmental consulting, and government will be considered. Participants without experience in forestry or a related field may need to supplement the certificate courses with independent study or additional coursework. The certification will appear on transcripts of MSU Graduate Students. Participants not enrolled in an MSU graduate degree program will receive an MSU certificate. 


To earn the certificate, students must complete all of the following courses, which are available online:

  • Human Dimensions of Forest Carbon Management (FOR 833)
  • Forest Carbon Policy, Economics, and Finance (FOR 835)
  • Measurement and Monitoring of Forest Carbon (FOR 837)

FOR 835 will be offered during Fall Semesters. FOR 833 and FOR 837 will be offered during spring semesters. See MSU Schedule of Courses for more detail.

Certificate Cost

To explore tuition costs, see Student Accounts. Make sure to select the appropriate residency status and then select “Graduate” then scroll down to “Graduate Certification” to get the cost per credit hour. There are a total of nine credits in the certificate in three, three-credit courses. Costs are applied each semester based on the number of credits taken.
Besides the application fee and tuition expenses, there are no additional costs associated with the certificate. Please contact Lauren Cooper to learn about securing financial support as well as the Department Forest Carbon Certificate Scholarship.

Financial Aid

The Forest Carbon Graduate Certificate Funding Toolkit is available to assist you in securing funding. Please contact Lauren Cooper to receive this tool. 

Department of Forestry Forest Carbon Graduate Certificate Scholarship

The Department of Forestry is pleased to announce the availability of scholarship support for three incoming 2017-2018 academic year participants in the amount of $1,500 each. The funds will be distributed on a ‘’per-course’’ basis – meaning that participants will receive one-third (33 percent) of the total award in tuition support for each of the three courses in the certificate.

Learn more about applying for a scholarship in this PDF.

Apply Now

Certificate-Only Students: If you would like to pursue the certificate without earning a MS or PhD through MSU, you still need to apply through the MSU Admissions office. Domestic students will need to provide official transcripts, whereas international students will need to provide official transcripts and TOEFL scores. GRE scores are not required for the certificate alone. Visit the Apply Now page for full instructions, or go directly to to complete the online application.

MSU-Degree Students: Students who are currently enrolled, or are already applying to, a graduate degree program at MSU do not need to complete a separate application for the certificate. However, please contact Lauren Cooper and share your plans to complete the certificate to ensure appropriate administrative changes are made. If you are a student in the Department of Forestry, this certificate has a special waiver so that all courses in the certificate may double count to your graduate degree requirements at Michigan State University.

Enrollment is now open for 2016 Fall Semester. U.S. domestic individuals must complete the application and deliver transcripts; international individuals must complete the application, deliver transcripts, and submit TOEFL scores. Additionally, all applicants must pay the application fee.

Student Profiles


David Rothstein

David Rothstein

Professor, Forest Ecology / Biogeochemistry


David Skole

David Skole

Professor, Global Ecology, Remote Sensing, and GIS


Runsheng Yin

Runsheng Yin

Associate Professor, Forest Economics


Academic Advising

If you have questions about the Graduate Certificate in Forest Carbon Science, Policy, and Management, please contact:

Lauren Cooper

Lauren Cooper

Academic Specialist, Forest Carbon Curriculum


Michigan State University Michigan State University Close Menu button Menu and Search button Open Close