Industrial Ecology (IE) Graduate Academic Certificate (GAC)

Objective: The GAC in IE provides the University of California, Davis graduate students with a unique set of skills in the principles and methods of industrial ecology. The GAC requirements are multidisciplinary and prepare students to assess and to design human systems in a sustainable manner. The field of industrial ecology is primarily concerned with quantitative approaches to assessing and reducing the negative environmental consequences of products, processes, and systems in balance with economic and social principles of sustainability. IE views human-made industrial systems through the lens of resource, energy, and waste flows and looks to models from natural ecology to improve their environmental sustainability and reduce their impacts on humans. Thus industrial ecology builds on the theory and science of many disciplines (economics, ecology, environmental health sciences, engineering, geography, and others) while providing a unique perspective and set of tools for research. The IE GAC has minimum overlap with existing programs, and, in fact, bridges an important gap in multidisciplinary training at UC Davis that connects the study of the built environment, technology and engineering systems, environmental health sciences and agricultural sciences, to name but a few.

The Industrial Ecology Graduate Academic Certificate Executive Committee:

Alissa Kendall, Graduate Academic Program Executive Committee Lead  – Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Ned Spang, Program Co-Director – Department of Food Science and Technology

Barbara Linke, Graduate Academic Program Executive Committee Member – Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Brett Milligan, Graduate Academic Program Executive Committee Member – Department of Human Ecology

Affiliated faculty

Frank Loge, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Deborah Bennett, Public Health Sciences

Susan Handy, Environmental Science and Policy

Christopher Simmons, Food Science and Technology

John Harvey, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Sabbie Miller, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Paul Erickson, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Program Coordinator, and primary contact for paperwork

Lauren Worrell, Civil and Environmental Engineering. Email:

Application and Admissions

The expected audience for the GAC is University of California Davis Master- and Doctoral-level graduate students. Students must apply to the GAC two to three months prior to the end of a quarter to enroll in the following term. Successful applicants will be notified prior to the end of the quarter in which they submitted their application of their acceptance to the GAC. Applicants to the GAC must complete a standard application form, and must specify their intent to gain expertise in industrial ecology, with an emphasis on life cycle analysis and material flow analysis, green engineering, sustainable manufacturing, or design to enhance sustainable use (and reuse) of natural resources. Students must select courses from the designated course listing, and identify a faculty mentor with whom they will clearly define the linkage of the GAC with their academic and or professional goals, and related research. There are no additional academic criteria or prerequisites unless otherwise stated within the course description. Potential GAC mentors include but are not limited to the GAC executive committee members and the affiliated faculty.

Industrial Ecology Graduate Application Certificate (IE GAC) Admissions documents: The following documents are required as part of your application.  Applications must be received and reviewed by the Executive Committee at least one quarter prior to graduation or the term in which the certificate is conferred.

IE GAC Application Information

IE GAC Application Form

Graduate Studies GAC Form

IE GAC Application Program of Study

Additional Documents Required for New and Continuing Students

IE GAC Student Advising and Monitoring Program

IE GAC Annual Progress Report

Documents Required for Completing the Certificate

Grad Studies, Final verification form for GAC

IE GAC Courses

Industrial Ecology Core Course (required)

ECI 244A/EGG 201 Life Cycle Assessment for Sustainable Engineering (4)

  • Life cycle assessment methodology is taught emphasizing applications to infrastructure and energy systems. Life cycle design, life cycle cost methods, other tools from industrial ecology, and links to policy are covered.

Sustainable Systems and Green Engineering (minimum of two courses from this section are required)

ABT 212 Path to Zero-Net Energy (4)

  • The UC Davis Program for International Energy Technologies in collaboration with the UC Davis Energy Conservation Office, have developed a multi-disciplinary course to educate and engage students in issues of energy use, demand, energy efficiency, renewable energy and climate neutrality as well as their associated technical, economic, social and political challenges.

CRD 243 Critical Environmental Justice Studies (4)

  • Application of social science theories of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and power to understand the production and contestation of environmental inequities.

CRD 244 Political Ecology of Community Development (4)

  • Community development from the perspective of geographical political ecology. Social and environmental outcomes of the dynamic relationship between communities and land-based resources, and between social groups. Cases of community conservation and development in developing and industrialized countries.

EBS 216 Energy Systems (4)

  • Theory and application of energy systems. System analysis including input-output analysis, energy balances, thermodynamic availability, economics, environmental considerations. Energy conversion systems and devices including cogeneration, heat pump, fuel cell, hydroelectric, wind, photovoltaic, and biomass conversion processes.

ECI 123 Urban Systems and Sustainability (4)

  • Systems-level assessment approach is taught emphasizing sustainability of urban systems based on interaction with natural environments. Definition, metrics, and system analyses of urban sustainability such as urban metabolism and material flow and analysis; enabling technology, policies, legislation; measures and modification of ecological footprints are covered.

ECI 239 Design of Materials & Systems for Sustainability (4)

  • Effects on environmental impacts from materials selection and design in the built environment. Material mechanics, design constraints, and life cycle assessment in the development of “greener” materials and systems. Design of engineered materials through selecting constituents & processing techniques and the influence on mechanical properties, microstructure, and environmental impacts. Role of materials in the environmental impacts of buildings, infrastructure, and other systems.

ECI 244B Advanced Methods in Industrial Ecology (4)

  • Implementation, interpretation, and methodological issues and advances in life cycle assessment and other complementary methods from the field of Industrial Ecology with a focus on use in research.

EGG 200 Introduction to Energy Systems (4)

  • Technical, societal and environmental components of energy systems at global, national and regional scales from an interdisciplinary perspective. Energy resources; end-uses and demand; electricity systems; energy efficiency; energy justice; energy emissions; energy policy.

ENG 250 Technology Management (3)

  • Management of the engineering and technology activity is taught emphasizing functions of design, planning, production, marketing, sales, and maintenance. Technological product life cycle research and development activity, project planning and organization, and manufacturing issues are covered.

FST 228 Food Systems Sustainability (3)

  • The objectives of this course are (1) to familiarize graduate students with systems approaches and metrics for quantifying the sustainability of food products, (2) to explore key topics, technologies, practices, and assessment tools for sustainable water, energy, and waste management in food processing, and (3) to study the roles and interactions between policy, technology, suppliers and consumers to enable more sustainable food systems.

LDA 201 Theory and Philosophy of the Built Environment (4)

  • Examines the major theories of environmental design. Epistemology of design serves as the framework to examine modern landscape architecture, architecture, urban design, and planning. Normative theories of design are reviewed along with the social and environmental sciences.

LDA 215 What is Infrastructure: Critical Infrastructure Studies (3)

  • Introduction to interdisciplinary scholarship and design on expanding conceptions of infrastructure, that include social, technical, ecological, political and aesthetic dimensions of the medium. Focus on application of theory to case studies and thinking through landscape as infrastructure.

MAE 218 Advanced Energy Systems (4)

  • Review of options available for advanced power generation. Detailed study of basic power balances, component efficiencies, and overall powerplant performance for one advanced concept such as a fusion, magnetohydrodynamic, or solar electric power plant.

MAE 256 Sustainable Manufacturing & Design (4)

  • Sustainability trends in manufacturing are taught. Energy and material efficiency of manufacturing strategies and life cycle engineering, and tools to measure and assess sustainability in different settings are covered.

SPH 262 Principles of Environmental Health Science (3)

  • Principles, approaches and issues related to environmental health. Recognizing, assessing, understanding and controlling the impact of people on their environment and the impact of the environment on the public.

Elective Courses (courses from this section may be taken to satisfy the unit requirement)

ABT 182 Environmental Analysis using GIS (4)

  • Prerequisites required. Ecosystem and landscape modeling with emphasis on hydrology and solute transport. Spatial analysis of environmental risk analysis including ecological risk assessment, natural resource management. Spatial database structures, scripting, data models, and error analysis in GIS.

ARE 121 Economics of Agricultural Sustainability (4)

  • Prerequisites required. Application of economic concepts to agro-environmental issues relevant to agricultural sustainability. Topics include market efficiency, production externalities, government policies, agricultural trade, product differentiation, all linked to sustainability issues.

ARE 275 Economic Analysis of Resource and Environmental Policies (4)

  • Prerequisites required. Development of externality theory, market failure concepts, welfare economics, theory of renewable and non-renewable resource use, and political-economic models. Applications to policy issues regarding the agricultural/environment interface and managing resources in the public domain.

EBS 265 Design and Analysis of Engineering Experiments (5)

  • Prerequisites required. Simple linear, multiple, and polynomial regression, correlation, residuals, model selection, one-way ANOVA, fixed and random effect models, sample size, multiple comparisons, randomized block, repeated measures, and Latin square designs, factorial experiments, nested design and subsampling, split-plot design, statistical software packages.

EBS 270 Modeling and Analysis of Biological and Physical Systems (3)

  • Mathematical modeling of biological systems: model development; analytical and numerical solutions. Case studies from various specializations within biological and agricultural engineering. Offered in alternate years.

ECI 155 Water Resources Engineering and planning (4)

  • Prerequisites required. Basic engineering planning concepts; role of engineering, economic, environmental and social information and analysis; institutional, political and legal aspects. Case studies and computer models illustrate the planning of water resource systems.

ECI 161 Transportation System Operations (4)

  • Principles of transportation system operations are taught emphasizing traffic characteristics and methods of measurement; models of transportation operations and congestion applied to urban streets and freeways.

ECI 267 Water Resources Management (3)

  • Prerequisites required. Engineering, institutional, economic, and social basis for managing local and regional water resources. Examples in the context of California’s water development and management. Uses of computer modeling to improve water management.

LDA 140-Green Building, Design, and Materials (4)

  • Prerequisites required. Restricted to Landscape Architecture majors only. Sustainable design and construction techniques at site and building scales. Emphasizes real-world case studies, analysis of opportunities for actual sites, and application of LEED and Sustainable Sites green rating systems.

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