UVM’s 15-credit, one-year Certificate of Graduate Study in Agroecology combines ecological, social, and economic perspectives in the pursuit of practical solutions to contemporary problems in our agrifood system. The fully prescribed coursework consists of four foundational classes, and a final synthesis capstone course.

In addition to taking these courses for credit as part of the Certificate of Graduate Study, students can take any of these courses as stand alone, non-credit course. Students taking it as a non-credit course will receive a Certificate of Completion and a digital badge.


Introduction to Agroecology (PSS 6110, 3 credits)

Instructor: Martha Caswell

Course description:  This course seeks to provide students with both conceptual and practical content, covering the evolution of agroecology, from its origins to the present, as it gains increasing recognition in scientific, policy, social movement and farming spaces. We will explore some of the debates around application, the risks of cooptation, and agroecology’s potential for moving us closer to full transformation of our current food systems. Through examples of agroecology in practice, the design of thriving farming-systems, cultural and political dynamics related to agroecology and more, this course will facilitate a solid foundational understanding from which to pursue agroecology as researchers, activists, policy-makers and/or practitioners.

Credit course prerequisite: Graduate standing or instructor permission

The Ecological Foundations of Agroecology (PSS 6120, 3 credits)

Instructor: Katie Horner

Course description: This course examines the ecological foundations of agroecology while critically assessing how ecological and social processes are inherently intertwined. Over the course of three sequential modules, students explore the fundamental principles of ecology and their application to agroecosystems. Students will be challenged to integrate learning around ecosystems functions and processes with equally complex social factors that mediate (agro)ecosystem health. Through this practice, students will cultivate their capacity to understand, support and advocate for agroecological practices holistically and across a wide array of social-ecological contexts.

Prerequisite: One semester biological science at the 100-level or instructor permission

Participatory Action Research (PAR) & Transdisciplinary Approaches to Agroecology (PSS 6130, 3 credits)

Course description: Participatory, transdisciplinary and action research have become widely recognized as vital approaches for agroecology and food sovereignty. These approaches require a careful and intentional cultivation of a researcher’s commitments, skill and competencies. Students will learn how participatory action research can deepen our collective understanding of complex issues and support social transformations for social justice and sustainability. We will use participatory learning methods to form a learning community to engage in theory, build skills, learn new methods and cultivate a critical self-awareness as a researcher.

Prerequisites: Graduate standing

Agroecology, Food Sovereignty, and Social Movements (PSS 6140, 3 credits)

Course description: While academics work with agroecology as an emerging field that integrates multiple disciplines, social movements have described it as a tool in the construction of people’s sovereignty over food systems. Through both individual and group work and an international roster of guest speakers, this course will engage with social movements’ reflexive understandings of themselves, their critical analysis of the systems that they are fighting for and against, their intentional social processes and mechanisms for organizing, their relationship to agroecology, and their vision for food sovereignty.

Prerequisites: Graduate standing

Capstone Experience (PSS 6150, 3 credits)

Course description: The capstone is designed for the application of newly developed knowledge and skills in a culminating experience/project that addresses an agroecological topic relevant to the individual student.

Prerequisites: PSS 6110, PSS 6120, PSS 6130, PSS 6140