2022-2023

Ecological and Environmental Informatics, Graduate Certificate

School of Informatics, Computing and Cyber Systems

College of Engineering, Informatics, and Applied Sciences

As human activities transform our land, atmosphere, and oceans, there is an increasing need to utilize large and disparate data sets to predict how ecosystems will respond to and influence future environmental change. Enormous amounts of data are accumulating about the Earth’s natural and managed ecosystems that can be leveraged to improve system understanding, forecast future changes, and inform conservation and management decisions. The EEI Certificate will provide students enrolled in graduate programs across NAU’s campus (e.g., biology, ecology, natural science, forestry, environmental science, and potentially computer science, statistics, and business) with important and useful informatics skills, while enhancing their research and career paths.

EEI certificate students take 13-15 credits distributed among 4 skill-based “cores”: statistics (3 credits), computing (3 credits), modeling skills (3-4 credits), ecological/environmental applications (3-4 credits), and synthesis (1 credit). The statistics, computing, modeling skills, and ecological/environmental application cores consist of courses aimed at building students’ skills in these respective areas. Through the synthesis core, students will be exposed to a broad range of disciplines that apply informatics tools to ecological and environmental questions (e.g., research seminars given by speakers from within and outside NAU), in addition to learning key 21st century “soft” skills (related to communication, collaboration, and professional development) that complement the hard skills learned in the other core areas. 

  • Graduate certificate programs require a minimum of 12 credit hours. Many certificate programs require more than 12 credit hours.

    No more than one 400-level NAU course (3 or 4 units) may be used on a certificate program.

    No more than 25% of the units required for the certificate program may be transferred from another university.

    A 400-level course (undergraduate course) completed at another university is not eligible for transfer credit.

    A minimum grade point average of 3.0 must be achieved to obtain a graduate certificate. No more than three units of coursework with a grade of "C" may be used in a certificate program.

    A graduate student may pursue a graduate certificate concurrently with a graduate degree. Each graduate degree program must decide which, if any, certificate courses can be counted toward the graduate degree.

    Students who are admitted to a graduate certificate program will be eligible for the official posting of the graduate certificate to their transcripts when all applicable coursework has been successfully completed and approved by the academic unit and the Graduate College.
  • Please be aware that federal financial aid is not available for some certificates, if the certificate is pursued and completed as a stand-alone certificate (i.e., not completed concurrently with a degree program).  See the “Details” tab for additional information.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Please note that students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

Minimum Units for Completion 14
Additional Admission Requirements Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

Purpose Statement

The Graduate Certificate in Ecological and Environmental Informatics (EEI Certificate) will provide students with training in informatics tools and skills (i.e., computing, data analytics and big data, modern statistics, mathematical and simulation modeling), focused on ecological/environmental applications. The EEI Certificate will help students build core skills that are widely applicable to many areas of science, engineering, industry, business, and research.

Through the EEI Certificate, NAU students enrolled in a range of STEM-related graduate programs (e.g., biology, ecology, natural science, forestry, environmental science, computer science, statistics, and business) will enhance their informatics and data science abilities. Students will engage in activities (seminars and courses) that illustrate how informatics tools can be applied to a range of ecological and environmental problems. They will gain skills working with big data, computing and simulation platforms, and statistical, mathematical, or simulation models for understanding or prediction.

The EEI Certificate will provide students with training and expertise in “hard skills” required to address complex 21st century problems, thus preparing them for future careers in growing fields (e.g., Natural Science Management, Environmental Science, Data Analytics). The Certificate follows recommendations of the National Academies (“Graduate STEM Education for the 21st Century”) by providing a flexible, student centered program where students select among multiple course options to fulfill specific skills areas and acquire broad technical literacy in informatics and data science that complements deep specialization in their primary area.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students completing the EEI graduate certificate program will demonstrate the following competencies and program learning outcomes:

  • Identify, explain, and synthesize fundamental concepts of modern statistical methods, computing techniques, and modeling approaches;
  • Apply modern methods and techniques to critical problems in ecological and environmental informatics;
  • Compose and engage in highly effective written and oral communication, by focusing on key 21st century “soft skills” (e.g., science communication, collaboration, professional development

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
    • NAU Graduate Online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
    • Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent. 
    • Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
    • Transcripts
    • For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy
    • International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy 


    Individual program admission requirements include:

    • Admission to a STEM-related graduate program at NAU
Certificate Requirements
  • This certificate may only be pursued and completed concurrently with a degree program. This certificate is not available as a stand-alone certificate.

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.