Certificate in Community-Based Environmental Management

Certificate Information


Community-Based Environmental Management


Community-Based Environmental Management (CBEM) involves communities becoming empowered to manage their own environment in ways that are economically viable, socially just and environmentally sustainable.


The CBEM Certificate Program trains graduate students at the Nicholas School of the Environment to become highly effective managers of CBEM programs and facilitators for communities wishing to improve the management of their own environment. The Certificate Program exposes students to a wide variety of approaches to promoting CBEM, including:

  • Integrated conservation and development (ICDP) initiatives
  • Community-based natural resource management
  • Environmental justice campaigns
  • Participatory urban environmental planning and management
  • Community-private partnerships for sustainable development

Students receiving the CBEM Certificate are recognized for having strong theoretical foundations and applied skills in community organizing and in assessing, designing and implementing community-based environmental management initiatives. Certificate recipients will be competitive for domestic and international positions in community-based natural resource management, community development, city and regional planning, environmental justice, corporate social responsibility, and environmental education and communication in the non-profit, private for-profit and public sectors.

For more information about the CBEM Certificate program, please contact:

Dr. Elizabeth Shapiro-Garza
CBEM Certificate Program Director
Office: Grainger Hall 4103


The CBEM Certificate Program provides students with the theory and methods that will allow them to identify the potential problems and pitfalls commonly associated with CBEM initiatives, both domestically and internationally, along with the tools necessary to create and managed their own projects. At the completion of the certificate program, students will have demonstrated proficiency in:

  • The conceptual and theoretical foundations of CBEM
  • Strategies for designing and implementing CBEM programs that account for the complexity and variability of social and natural system
  • Methods to assess the strengths and weaknesses of individual CBEM initiatives and tools and skills to improve their efficacy.

Required Coursework

Students wishing to earn a certificate in Community-Based Environmental Management will be required to complete a series of 4 core and advanced courses during the 2 year MEM program that will add to a total of 12 course credits. It is expected that most or all certificate components can be used to fulfill other graduate degree requirements (e.g., program–specific course requirements or other electives). There must also be a significant focus on CBEM and an application of the skills learned in certificate course work in the student’s Master’s Project.

1) Fundamentals Course (Required)


  • ENV 755 Community-Based Environmental Management – Shapiro (Fall)

2) Practicum (required)


  • ENV 560.26 Practicum in Community-Based Environmental Management – Shapiro (Spring)

3) Theory and Methods Courses (at least one of the following)


  • ENV 557 Social Science Surveys for Environmental Management – Kramer

  • ENV 579S: Collective Action, Environment, and Development – Pfaff-Talikoff

  • ENV 887A Theory and Methods for Policy Analysis of the Commons – Basurto (DUML)

  • ENV 850 Program Evaluations of Environmental Policies – Bennear

  • ENV 658 Applied Qualitative Research Methods – Clark

  • ENV 832 Environmental Decision Analysis – Maguire/Albright

  • ENV 860SA Political Ecology – Campbell

  • PUBPOL 790.13 Monitoring and Evaluation – Boehmer

  • PUBPOL 790.15 Impact Evaluation for Development – Bhattacharya

4) Application Courses (at least one of the following)


  • DOCST 271S Video for Social Change – Orenstein
  • DOCST 230S Small Town, USA – Post-Rust
  • DOCST 317S Veterans Oral History Project – Lanier
  • ENV 551DA International Conservation and Development – Campbell (DUML)
  • ENV 528SA: Community-Based Marine Conservation in the Gulf of California (DUML)
  • ENV 538: Global Environmental Health and Economics – Pattayak
  • ENV 684 Politics of the Urbanized Environment – Mullin
  • ENV 737 Environmental Education and Interpretation – Cagle
  • ENV 590.67 Participatory Techniques in Environmental Decisions – Maguire/Addor
  • ENV 556 Environmental Conflict Resolution – Maguire/Albright
  • ENV 571A: Sojourn in Singapore: Urban Tropical Ecology – Rittschof (DUML)
  • ENV 869 Environmental Law and Policy Clinic – Longest/Nowlin
  • ENV 975 Community-Based Environmental Management in Mexico – Shapiro-Garza
  • PUBPOL 723 Poverty Reduction and the International Financial Institutions – Pomerantz
  • PUBPOL 546 Understanding & Assisting Development in the Third World – Krishna
  • PUBPOL 707 Capacity Development – Webb
  • PUBPOL 790.16 Project Management for International Development – Webb

5) Related Master’s Project


The student’s master’s project must include a focus on community-based environmental management and contain some significant application of the theories and skills learned from certificate coursework.

Substitution of Coursework


Students may be allowed to substitute courses from other Duke departments or from UNC or NC State for the Theory and Methods and Applications component of the certificate program. Documentation of course content and a written justification of how the substitution will enhance the student’s educational experience must be submitted for approval to the certificate manager BEFORE the course is taken in order to count toward completion of the certificate.

Eligible Students


Nicholas School students enrolled in the Master of Environmental Management (MEM) or Master of Forestry (MF) degree programs are eligible to participate in the certificate program.

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