Program Description

Honolulu Community College offers its students the opportunity to study Sustainability in a program leading to an Academic Subject Certificate in Sustainability. This certificate provides students with an interdisciplinary understanding of core concepts in environmental and sustainability studies. Achieving this certificate connects students with an interest in sustainability to relevant courses, research, community-based applications, transfer opportunities and emerging career fields. This certificate will prepare students to pursue UH system certificate and 4-year degree programs related to sustainability.

To receive this credential, the student must complete a minimum of 13 credits and a maximum of 15 credits, depending if students take lab classes. All courses must be Sustainability Focused (SF) to apply to certificate. Honolulu Community College currently offers a sufficient number and range of Sustainability Focused courses to provide an academically rigorous certificate. New courses are certified each academic year.

Please contact Sustainability Co-Coordinators John Delay ( or Cynthia Smith ( if you are interested in pursuing this Certificate or want to find out more information. To receive counseling advice on what courses to take, contact academic counselors Nicole Mitani ( or Jean Maslowski (

Requirements (13-15 Credits)

Courses must be Sustainability Focused (SF) to qualify for this certificate:

  • 3 Credits required in Natural Sciences
  • 3 Credits required in Hawaiian Studies
  • 3 Credits required from other disciplines (e.g. Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences, Language Arts, Math & Business, CTE programs)
  • 3 Credits - additional class from any of these three areas (this can also include an SF course from another UHCC campus)
  • 1 Credit - Capstone Experience (HUM 193V, HUM 199V, SCI 193V, SCI 295V)

Some SF courses can be used to meet more than one of the categories (e.g. Humanities or Hawaiian Studies) but no course can be applied to two categories; in other words, a course counts only once in fulfilling certificate requirements.

The capstone component is 1 credit. There are three options:

  1. Research Projects. Students identify a research project and a faculty member who has experience teaching courses with any sustainability designation to oversee the work. These can be research projects related to an academic research topic, campus programs or campus operations.
  2. Service Learning Projects. Students create a service learning plan related to sustainability efforts on campus or in the community, and identify a faculty member to oversee the work.
  3. Internship. Students identify an internship commitment related to sustainability in Hawai'i, and a faculty member to oversee the work.

All options require students to identify a faculty member to oversee their completion of the capstone experience. All three options must be approved either by the Sustainability Designation Review Committee or a Sustainability Coordinator.

The 1 credit option will be pass/no pass; it will not be graded.

Students must complete the capstone requirement after completing all other certificate requirements or during semester when last course requirement is taken.

Courses fulfilling S-Focus requirements can come from across the curriculum. Any course in the AA or AS degree curriculum can receive a Sustainability Focus designation, except for Foundations (FW, FQ, and FG) courses. Specific course sections are approved to receive an S-Focus designation by the Sustainability Designation Review Committee and are identified on the Honolulu CC website Class Availability link. S-Focus courses are designated with an S- before the course titles (e.g., GEO 101 S-The Natural Environment). The list of S Focus classes which can be applied to the ASC can be found on the College Sustainability site.)