Courses and Timeline

Program Structure

The program consists of three required courses, each taking 3 weeks of study time. The program will take about 60 hours to complete.

The program is offered in 2 sessions each year, one in the Fall (October – December) and one in the Winter/Spring (February/April). Students may register and complete all courses in one session or spread out the courses (in order of prerequisite requirements) over a 2-year time frame.

Each course in this program will require approximately 20 hours of learner’s time.

  • Introduction to Life Cycle Assessment
    • October 14 – November 1, 2024
  • Organizational LCA – Concepts and Practices
    • November 11 – 22, 2024
  • Greenhouse Gases (GHG) Reporting – Protocols and Challenges
    • November 25 – December 6, 2024

Each course has a theory element and a practice element. The use of existing case studies and lessons learned are key elements in each course.

Courses must be taken in sequential order, as they build on one another, but may be taken individually, in different sessions within a two-year time frame, to receive the micro-certificate.

Timeline to Completion

Participants have the flexibility to set their own timeline to completion, within a maximum of two years.

Course Descriptions

Course 1: Introduction to Life Cycle Assessment

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a methodology that systematically quantifies the potential environmental impacts of a product system from its entire life cycle perspective. LCA has been widely used in understanding the potential environmental impacts of products, guiding improvements towards impact mitigation, and assisting policy design for environment protection and resource conservation. This course will cover the key concepts, principles, and examples of the applications of LCA in different fields. Learners will gain hands-on experience with operating OpenLCA, an LCA software commonly used by industry and academia. At the end of this course, learners will submit a plan to apply LCA to a product of their choice.

Course 2: Organizational LCA: Concepts and Practices

Building on the materials and learning outcomes in Course 1, this course teaches learners how to apply LCA in the context of organizational operations. This course will cover the key concepts and theories of the “Guidance on Organizational Life Cycle Assessment (O-LCA)” (the “Guidance” hereafter). Learners will understand the similarity and differences between organizational LCA and product-based LCA (covered in Course 1). Learners will also understand how to translate the questions related to corporate sustainability into the modelling questions that LCA can answer. Learners will gain applied experience in data preparation, impact calculations and reporting requirements stated in the Guidance. At the end of this course, learners will submit a short O-LCA report for a case study.

Courses 3: Greenhouse Gases (GHG) Reporting: Protocols and Challenges

In this course, learners will understand the importance of GHG reporting. The course will familiarize learners with the major protocols and platforms for GHG reporting. The learners will gain applied experience in data collection and curation for a case study. Then, learners will calculate the corresponding GHG emissions. At the end of this course, learners will submit a short document that conforms to a commonly-used GHG reporting protocol, based on the results of the case study.