To earn the certificate, students must complete the following three online graduate-level courses: 

Each course is 3 credits. FOR 835 will be offered during fall semesters. FOR 833 and FOR 837 will be offered during spring semesters. Visit MSU Student Information Center for more detail.

If you'd like to participate in these courses without earning academic credit and at a lower tuition rate, visit our Non-credit Participation Option page for more information. 

Course Descriptions 

For a copy of course descriptions that include learning objectives and tentative week-by-week schedules, please email

FOR 833: Human Dimensions of Forest Carbon Management

This course focuses on human dimensions associated with the management of forest carbon. The course examines values associated with trees and forests, contextualizing those values relative to economic and ecological benefits prioritized by the international community, with particular emphasis on forest carbon. The course will also examine the structure and function of human communities relative to community decisions about forest policies and the impact of those decisions on forest-based climate change mitigation projects. Public participation will be discussed, including the role of community engagement and collaborative processes in decision-making about forest resource priorities. The course will include the relationship between human communities and forests across landscapes in both international and domestic applications.

FOR 835: Forest Carbon Policy, Economics and Finance

This course provides participants with an overview of policy, economics and finance associated with forest carbon and an in-depth examination of international, regional and national case studies. We review the role of forests in international agreements and policy, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The course covers both domestic and international policy frameworks as well as finance and investment approaches including private capital, multi-lateral development assistance, and direct foreign investment mechanisms. Emerging markets such as emissions trading as they relate to forests are also discussed. To gain a broad understanding of context, participants are introduced to concepts such as ecosystem services and valuation, economic development, livelihoods, and sustainability.

FOR 837: Measurement and Monitoring of Forest Carbon

This is a skill-based training course in forest carbon inventory and carbon accounting methods. It includes both national and international monitoring of forest carbon stocks, developing carbon projects, reporting on emissions, and the verification process. It also includes applications of remote sensing and geospatial technologies to forest carbon inventory. The course provides participants with interdisciplinary training necessary to plan, manage, monitor and evaluate climate change mitigation projects that seek to retain or sequester carbon in forest ecosystems. Participants will gain specific expertise needed internationally to participate in market-based, climate change mitigation activities such as the United Nations Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).

Course Flyer

Click the links below to view a PDF version of our course flyers. These can be shared across any networks or printed to distribute for outreach purposes. These flyers provide additional information regarding course content, the Graduate Certificate, and the application process.