University of Oregon

Oregon Leadership in Sustainability

What is OLIS?

Are you concerned about climate change, social justice and the future of our cities?

Oregon Leadership in Sustainability (OLIS) is a one-year professional graduate certificate program at the University of Oregon that offers students a dynamic, practical course of study in urban sustainability issues related to planning, policy and design. OLIS provides skills and hands-on experience to prepare its graduates for a professional work environment, engaged in sustainability efforts in public agencies, nonprofit organizations and the private sector. 

Coursework in varied disciplines inspires our students to look beyond traditional barriers between professions to create robust, integrated solutions to complex challenges. OLIS drills down to the core issues affecting sustainability in cities: land use and transportation, energy and climate change, public health and food, water and waste, local jobs and prosperity, social justice and access to services and decision-making. 

View our program brochure.

What makes OLIS unique?

Cohort Model

  • OLIS students take core classes together throughout the year, forming lasting friendships and career connections.
  • Core classes are taught by UO faculty at the Eugene campus.
  • Students participate in nine months of full-time study (exceptions on a case-by-case basis).

Hands-on Experience Melding Theory and Practice

  • OLIS teaches students how to apply sustainability tools, theories and policies in communities, academia, governments and organizations.
  • Students work with government, nonprofit and private sector clients to solve real-world sustainability problems in one or more courses each quarter.
  • Leadership seminar emphasizes professional development, facilitation skills, communication techniques and strategies for effecting change.
  • Professional writing seminar prepares students for varied writing demands in academia and the public and private sectors.

Interdisciplinary Emphasis​

  • Elective courses from other UO graduate programs include Environmental Studies, Geography, Sociology, Political Science, Planning, Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Business Management.

Community Connections

  • OLIS faculty build meaningful projects with local governments and organizations to help students apply sustainability theory to real-world problems and give them the opportunity to build networks in the field.

Personal and Professional Development

  • OLIS offers hands-on experience to prepare its graduates for a professional work environment, including leadership skills, self-awareness, critical thinking, persuasive communication, peer feedback, and teamwork skills.
  • OLIS faculty provide support with a portfolio of professional development activities, including resume and cover letter writing, informational interviewing, networking and more.

Program Outcomes

  • Graduates gain literacy in the field of sustainability, practical skills for professional environments, and networks that facilitate sustainability careers in government, academia, active transportation, renewable energy, community development, advocacy and more in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.


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