Certificate in Contexts of Environmental Policy

The National Park Service (NPS) Roger Kennedy Fellows Program funds NPS students to undertake a course of study that strengthens their knowledge of the natural and cultural resources which lie at the heart of the NPS mission. The program was inspired by a gift from Roger and Frances Kennedy and made possible by the Friends of Roger Kennedy.

All courses are taught by GW faculty who are experts in their fields, and all classes are offered at the Washington, D.C., campus of GW. Most courses are in the evening and meet once a week. 

Certificate Benefits


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For National Park Service Employees

The National Park Service Roger Kennedy Fellows Program is for NPS employees who have served for three years or more and who are looking to develop as current and future leaders who are responsible for the preservation and protection of our public lands and cultural heritage.

Flexibility to Succeed

Flexibility and Purpose

Strengthen your knowledge of the natural and cultural resources which lie at the heart of the NPS mission through a wide range of courses that contextualize environmental policy. Select four courses (12 credits) for the certificate and take one or two courses per semester.

Applications and Cost

The admissions process is a two-tiered review:

  • The admissions process for this program is a two-tiered review: The first level of review will be conducted by a NPS Review Panel, ensuring NPS employees meet all eligibility requirements and are appropriate candidates to be considered for participation.  The NPS Review Panel will rank each nominee based upon the information provided in his/her application package. The ranking process will consist of an evaluation of the nominee’s education, work experience, personal and professional goals and writing ability.
  • The second level of review is conducted by a CCAS Admissions Committee. This committee will make the final selections and conduct their selections based on the Admission policies of CCAS and GW.  Applicants who move on to the CCAS review will need to sign up and complete GW’s graduate application through the university's online application system.  Students must meet the admission requirements of GW. Upon admission to the certificate program, students will not need to apply again each semester, as long as they are in good academic standing as defined by Columbian College of Arts and Sciences standards.

The application packet must include:

  • Proof of completion of Bachelor’s Degree and Official Transcript with a GPA 3.0 or above. If you plan to apply, be sure to contact the Registrar’s Office at each of the colleges or universities from which you will be requesting official sealed transcripts at your earliest convenience, in order to ensure that you receive your transcripts in time to submit them no later than June 1.
  • A personal statement of at least 300 but no more that 800 words that includes the purpose for undertaking graduate study, academic objectives, research interests, and career plans/accomplishments.
  • Résumé that includes nominee’s current position, and minimum overall work history of at least 5 years.
  • Signed letter of recommendation from the applicant's supervisor, specifying how the certificate would benefit the applicant and the organization and agreeing to support his/her participation for the duration of the program.
  • Current SF-50 (Standard Form 50, Notice of Personnel Action) proof of being in a Competitive Service Permanent Position

Optional Document Requested:

  • DI-Form 1935, Applicant Background Survey.  Providing this demographic information is voluntary, and no individual personnel selections are made based upon this information.

Tuition costs are covered by GW out of funds raised by the Friends of Roger Kennedy group. The number of students admitted will depend on the level of funding available.

Students are responsible for university and course fees, such as a matriculation fee of about $300 and the student association fee of about $3.00/credit hour. Book costs vary from $50 to $250 per course.

June 1: Each applicant must submit the supporting documents (deadline set by NPS).

Applicants will be notified via email of their admission status in early July.

Satisfactory Participation Requirement

As the program constitutes a graduate-level professional development opportunity, participants must demonstrate sustained progress in course work and work assignments sufficient to predict successful completion of the program. Failure to pass any course taken, or to maintain a 3.0 grade point average, may result in termination from the program.

Course Requirements

Students are required to take one policy course as they enter the program and then can choose among a large number of electives, which fall into either policy or culture categories. By special permission, depending on students’ backgrounds, students may also enroll in graduate courses in the sciences.

Students may try a blended learning approach to the certificate program. Students based outside the DC area would need to arrange with their management to be in the DC area for approximately six to seven months. The blended approach requires employees to be in the DC area for either the spring and summer semesters (mid-January through early July) or the summer and fall semesters (mid-May through early December). While students are in the DC area for the six-to-seven-month period, they would need to enroll in three courses at the university's Foggy Bottom campus. The one remaining course can be completed online and could be completed at the individual’s local area.

The following requirements must be fulfilled: 12 credits, including one 3-credit required course and 9 credits in elective courses.

PPPA 6006Policy Analysis
or PPPA 6066 U.S. Environmental Policy
9 credits in elective courses selected from the following:
AMST 6530Field Methods in Architectural Documentation
ANTH 6101Proseminar in Biological Anthropology
ANTH 6807Public Archaeology
ENGL 6510Writing, Race, and Nation
ENGL 6520Ethnicity and Identity
ENRP 6101Environmental Sciences I: Physical Sciences
ENRP 6102Environmental Sciences II: Life Sciences
GEOG 6219Seminar: Climatology
GEOG 6230Seminar: Environmental Issues in Development
HIST 6011Reading and Research in History and Public Policy
HIST 6302Colonial North America
HIST 6304American Indian History to 1890
HIST 6420Religion and American Culture
HIST 6480Theory and Practice of Public History
HIST 6495Historic Preservation: Principles and Methods
MSTD 6101Museum Management
MSTD 6203Preventive Conservation Concepts
PHIL 6281Environmental Philosophy and Policy
PPPA 6010Politics and The Policy Process
PPPA 6031Governing and Managing Nonprofit Organizations
PPPA 6043Land Use Planning and Community Development
PPPA 6067Environment, Energy, Technology, and Society
PPPA 6140Introduction to Environmental Law
PSC 6103Approaches to Public Policy Analysis
SMPA 6201Strategic Communications Skills
SOC 6250Urban Sociology
STAT 6104Statistics in Management, Administration, and Policy Studies
Students may be permitted to take alternative electives with permission of the advisor.

Students should consult with Environmental and Resource Policy Director of Graduate Studies to construct an individualized curriculum best suited to their needs and interests.