Mar 01, 2021  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog

Environmental Stewardship of Indigenous Lands Undergraduate Certificate

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs


The Environmental Stewardship of Indigenous Lands (ESIL) certificate is an exciting educational opportunity at the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver), where Indigenous comprises the terms Native American, American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Hawaiian Native. The ESIL certificate provides a unique training opportunity for students to combine a passion for protecting natural resources with a desire to communicate across diverse cultures and schools of thought. This unique program provides training, internships, and job placement for students interested in environmental issues involving tribal and non-tribal entities.

The certificate is available to current CU Denver undergraduate students, post-baccalaureate students, and transfer students. While the certificate is open to students from all educational backgrounds, ESIL targets students majoring in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Additionally, the ESIL certificate incorporates professional training through extracurricular activities and internships. The extracurricular activities provide students with culturally-relevant training in topics such as tribal sovereignty, environmental law, transcultural competency, and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK). Both the STEM curriculum and these professional skills are applied during internships in which students practice facilitation as tribal liaisons with partner organizations including Indigenous tribes and government agencies (State and Federal).

These degree requirements are subject to periodic revision by the ESIL certificate advisors. Exceptions and substitutions for individual cases will be made by ESIL advisors only. Students in the ESIL program are required to meet with their assigned advisor before the start of each semester to confirm best plans of study.

The ESIL program is offered at the undergraduate level.

ESIL Academic Advisors

Program Delivery

This is an on-campus program, with an off-campus internship requirement.

Declaring This Certificate

Admission requirements: Students must officially enroll in the ESIL certificate program following the link at

Upon enrollment in the ESIL certificate program, students participate in the ESIL certificate program, complete at least one ESIL internship, and take the ESIL coursework described below. All students are also required to complete any required course prerequisites.

Eligibility: Students in any discipline can enroll in the certificate as long as the certificate course prerequisites have been met.

General Requirements

  • Click here  for information about Academic Policies.

Program Requirements

  1. Students must complete a minimum of 32 credit hours of approved courses.
  2. Students must complete a minimum of six upper division level (3000-level and above) credits from approved courses.
  3. Students must earn a minimum grade of C-(1.7) in all certificate courses taken at CU Denver and must achieve a minimum cumulative major GPA of 2.0. All graded attempts in required and elective courses are calculated in the certificate GPA. Students cannot complete certificate  course requirements as pass/fail.
  4.  Students must complete a minimum of 12 credit hours of approved course with CU Denver faculty.

Program Restrictions, Allowances and Recommendations

  1. For the certificate recognition to appear on the student’s transcript, students must meet with an ESIL advisor no later than the start of the semester of graduation.
  2. Students must be enrolled in one course per year to maintain active status in the certificate program.
  3. Participation is required in ESIL workshops and seminars.
  4. ESIL internships are designed to expose students to the professional practice of facilitation and offer important connections and networking opportunities directly with agencies who hire tribal liaisons. Assignment and completion of the internship must be pre-approved by an ESIL advisor. The ESIL certificate requires a written report and presentation to demonstrate proficiency for each internship. The ESIL certificate requires at least one internship through the ESIL program. Biology students may earn academic credit for their internship through BIOL 3939. Geography and Environmental Sciences students may earn academic credit for their internship through GEOG 3939.
  5. The ESIL certificate requires the courses listed below. Each course applied to the ESIL certificate may carry prerequisites that must be met prior to course enrollment.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs