Graduate Certificate in PK-12 Climate Justice Education

The Graduate Certificate in Climate Justice Education is designed to encourage systemic change toward climate education across grade spans and curricular areas. The program will intentionally recruit and serve cohorts of educators from PK through grade 12, representing the full range of subject areas. The program uses a multidisciplinary approach that foregrounds issues of climate justice in students’ and teachers’ communities and helps ground climate education within a “pedagogy of hope.”

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Graduate Certificate

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Admission requirements and how to apply

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About the Program


The 12-unit/one year Graduate Certificate in PK-12 Climate Justice Education serves the needs of current classroom teachers (grades PK-12) during a time when the need for climate education far exceeds what most teachers have been prepared to do in their classrooms.

While 86% of teachers and 80% of parents nationwide believe that climate science should be taught in PK-12 schools, fewer than half of teachers at this level report any climate-related content in their teaching (IPSOS/NPR, 2019).

The most frequently given reasons are lack of preparation/ knowledge base and the feeling that it falls outside educators’ subject area expertise. PK-12 teachers need access to content knowledge; culturally responsive, developmentally sensitive pedagogies; and supportive communities of practice in order to engage in teaching for climate justice.

The coursework in the certificate will culminate in collaborative action research projects in which educators enrolled in the program will work in small groups to integrate climate justice education and evaluate its impact in their educational setting.

The goal of the certificate program is to develop leadership capacity among practicing educators so that they are able to serve as leaders in climate justice education in their schools and districts as well as at the state and national level. 

Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)

  1. Develop core scientific knowledge of the causes and impacts of climate change as relevant to PK-12 educational contexts.
  2. Critically examine the ecological, social, and economic impacts of climate change on communities educators serve.
  3. Develop culturally responsive, developmentally sensitive practices to engage PK-12 students in learning about the causes, impacts, and justice-based responses to climate change.

Course Format & Schedule

Participants will meet in person for one week in the summer and for one weekend in the fall and spring semesters, with all other instruction occurring online.

This graduate certificate program uses a low residency instructional model to allow educators from a large geographical area to participate while also engaging in place-based learning.

Key Dates

Summer 2025 - Spring 2026 Dates TBA

Summer 2024 - Spring 2025:

  • May 15, 2024: Priority application submission date (for scholarship consideration)
  • June 1, 2024: Application deadline
  • June 17, 2024 - August 9, 2024: Summer Session (EED 765 and SCI 403) Online + One Week in Person
  • June 24, 2024 - June 28, 2024: IN PERSON Week on SF State Campus, Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. (required)
  • August 26, 2024 - December 13, 2024: Online + In Person Weekend TBD
  • January 25, 2025 - May 16, 2025: Online + In Person Weekend TBD

Cost & Length

Cost: $4,740 ($395/unit)
Length: One year
When to Start: Summer


Scholarships that cover full cost of attendance are available for a select group of students, with priority given to teams of three or more PK-12 teachers.  Each team member should apply separately


This program is offered in collaboration with the Graduate College of Education's Department of Elementary Education. The program is also receiving  support from the campus-wide Climate Justice Leadership Initiative.

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