Please note the certificate program outlined below is only available to students who matriculated fall 2020 and earlier. Students who matriculate fall 2021 and after are encouraged to explore the Marine Science & Conservation majors and minor. If you have questions, please contact Katie Wood, Assistant Director, Undergraduate & Marine Lab Programs, at


Focus of Study

The Marine Science and Conservation Leadership Certificate program is rooted in marine science and conservation and includes studies in a variety of disciplines: biology, earth and ocean sciences, economics, engineering, environmental sciences and policy, markets and management studies, philosophy, political science, public policy, religion, and theater studies. The Certificate will provide undergraduate students with leadership skills and an understanding of both natural and social science concepts and practices. 

Students enrolled in the Certificate program will:

  • Develop an understanding of scientific and policy fundamentals in marine science and conservation
  • Explore the intersection of marine science, marine conservation, and marine policy
  • Become knowledgeable about social, ecological, economic, and political aspects of environmental challenges
  • Contribute knowledge and analysis to a contemporary policy debate
  • Discuss the ethics of advocacy
  • Acquire tools, techniques, and perspectives to enhance abilities as leaders and agents of change, with particular emphasis on research methods in social and natural sciences, the political process in the real world, and effective communication skills for scientific, political, and public contexts.


The Certificate program consists of courses offered in Durham and Beaufort and requires a residential component at the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, N.C., for an academic semester or two five-week summer terms.


The certificate requires a total of six courses:

  • One introductory course—ENVIRON 102 (25) or ENVIRON 201 (101) in Durham
  • One leadership, ethics, management, or communication course
  • Two marine science courses: one natural science and one social science
  • One marine conservation course
  • One capstone course taken during spring of senior year in Durham

Complete list of courses

Course Restrictions

  • No more than three courses may originate in a single department.
  • No more than two courses that are counted toward the Marine Science and Conservation Leadership Certificate may also satisfy the requirements of any major, minor, or other certificate program.
  • At least four of the six classes need to be 100-level or above.
  • At least half of the classes need to be taken at Duke.
  • Appropriate courses may come from Course List or may include other courses as approved by the Director.
  • Acceptance into the certificate program does not guarantee enrollment in electives, with the exception of the capstone course.


The Certificate is available for Duke University undergraduates only and can’t be completed by students outside of Duke.