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Sustainability Certificate for Students - s certificate

The inter- and transdisciplinary-oriented certification program offers students the possibility to incorporate an individual focus on sustainability into their regular study programs, thus enabling them to acquire the competencies conferred by a higher education program in sustainability. Additionally, the program aims to bring together students within the TU Berlin with a particular interest in sustainability, thus promoting an exchange of ideas beyond the classroom. The sustainability certificate is awarded by the president of the TU Berlin. To be awarded the certificate the following criteria have to be met:



General Objectives of the Sustainability Certificate

The certification program...

  • is available to all bachelor’s and master’s students at the TU Berlin 
  • calls for an interdisciplinary as well as transdisciplinary approach 
  • certifies that students have pursued a clear, individual focus on sustainability as part of their studies 
  • seeks to convey a critical understanding of sustainability, taking the interrelationship between technology, the individual, nature and society into account 
  • provides students with the possibility to acquire competencies to allow them to shape their private and professional environments according to the goals of sustainable development, thus enabling them to exercise greater influence over these aspects of their lives (democratization) 
  • provides students with the possibility to acquire the certificate as part of their normal studies, by taking certain compulsory optional subject courses as well as some specific free elective courses 
  • is modular in form and is, to the greatest possible extent, incorporated into the existing course program, with the addition of only one single integrated course 
  • requires that aspects of sustainability be addressed in the final thesis 
  • aims to create a network of prospective students and working graduates 



Acquiring competencies through the certification program.

The learning outcomes of the certification program are aligned to the 12 core competencies or Gestaltungskompetenzen of sustainable development devised by Gerhard de Haan within the framework of the UNESCO Education Decade bearing the same name. The key element for knowledge transfer is the integrated course which fosters a critical understanding of sustainability as well as a broad general understanding of related societal and ecological issues. In the project laboratory, students can participate in the process of societal co-creation by working together on inter- and transdisciplinary projects, thus acquiring key competencies of cooperation. The requisite subject knowledge and skills are primarily to be acquired on the modules within the two compulsory optional subject areas. This two-part categorization further provides participants with a deeper insight into a specialist discipline other than their own, thus fostering an interdisciplinary approach. 



Timeline for the implementation and organization of the certification program

Key issues concerning organization and content to be finalized during the summer semester 2017 and the winter semester 2017/2018 are: 1) the exact certification conditions/guidelines for the awarding of the certificate, 2) the selection of compulsory optional modules, 3) development and implementation of the integrated course consisting of teaching class and project laboratory, each providing a focus on nature/technology and the individual/society, 4) public relations activities/publications, 5) administrative implementation 6) accompanying evaluation and 7) alumni work.

The compulsory optional courses to be offered are to be decided upon by the start of the winter semester 2017/2018 so that participating students are able to select the appropriate courses.

The module Critical Sustainability can be taken from summer semester 2018 on, enabling students to obtain the sustainability certificate from summer semester 2018 onwards.

An interim evaluation was carried out at the end of the winter semester 2018/2019. It showed that the students have a high interest in the certificate program and acquire the intended competencies. Based on this positive evaluation, the Sustainability Council recommended to the Executive Board that the trial be continued for two years until the 2020/2021 winter semester.

Since the summer semester 2020, the sustainability certificate is offered permanently at TU Berlin. The basis for the decision of the Executive Board was the final report at the end of the four-year trial period and a unanimous vote of both the Sustainability Council and the Commission for Studies and Teaching.



Organization of the sustainability certificate for students

The Executive Board of the TU Berlin introduced the certification program at the end of April 2017. The certificate is awarded by the president on the recommendation of the Council for Sustainable Development.

The Council for Sustainable Development is responsible for policy decisions relating to the certification program. These include approving guidelines for the awarding of the certificate as well as the recognition of courses and modules which can be taken as part of the certification program.

To assist with the process of decision-making and general support during the introductory phase, the Council for Sustainable Development has established a sub-committee to which all members of the TU can contribute.



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