Contexts of Environmental Policy Graduate Certificate

National Park Service Roger Kennedy Fellows Program

For National Park Service employees who have served for three years or more

The NPS Contexts of Environmental Policy Graduate Certificate Program is designed to help prepare current and future leaders who are responsible for the preservation and protection of our public lands and cultural heritage.  Inspired by a gift from Roger and Frances Kennedy and made possible by the Friends of Roger Kennedy, this 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.  Offering a wide range of courses that contextualize environmental policy, the Certificate allows both flexibility and purpose to NPS students.

Program Overview

The certificate program consists of four graduate-level courses resulting in twelve credits.  All courses will be taught by GW faculty who are experts in their fields, and all will be offered at the Washington, D.C. campus of GW at the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.

The certificate program will begin in Fall 2013.  Students may take one or two courses per semester, and some courses are also offered in the summer.  Students must meet the admission requirements of GW and will be enrolled as degree students.  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.

Students will be 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.

Admissions Process

The admissions process for this program is a two-tiered review:

  • The first level of review will be conducted by a NPS Review Committee, to ensure that NPS employees meet all eligibility requirements and are appropriate candidates to be considered for participation.
  • The second level of review is the actual selection of participants by a CCAS Admissions Committee.  This committee will conduct their selections based on the Admission policies of CCAS and GW.


Tuition costs will be 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 will be responsible for University and course fees, such as a matriculation fee of $185 and the Student Association fee of about $1.85/credit hour. There is also a voluntary library fee of $50.  Book costs will vary from $50 to $250.

How to Apply

This application packet must include the following documents:

  • Proof of completion of Bachelor’s Degree and Official Transcript w/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 transcripts at your earliest convenience, in order to ensure that you receive your transcripts in time to submit by the May 24, 2013 deadline.
  • 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.
  • Resume that includes nominee’s current position, and minimum overall work history of at least 5 years.
  • Submit a 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)

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.

Each applicant must submit the supporting documents by May 24, 2013.

Method for Evaluating and Ranking Candidates

A NPS Review Committee will evaluate and approve NPS nominees.  The NPS Review Committee will rank each nominee based upon the information provided in his/her application package using the evaluation criteria outlined in the evaluation section of this announcement.  The ranking process will consist of an evaluation of the nominee’s education, work experience, personal and professional goals, and writing ability.  Applicants will be notified via email of their admissions status no later than July 5, 2013.

Once the candidate has completed the official on-line application (on or before May 24, 2013), the applicants will be notified by email of the Admission Committee’s decision by July 5, 2013 as to whether or not the applicant has been accepted into the program. 

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 may result in termination from the program.