The biomimicry Undergraduate Certificate Program

Biomimicry is an emerging discipline that seeks to emulate life’s strategies for human design with a particular emphasis on sustainability. This 18-credit certificate provides a comprehensive introduction to biomimicry while developing the skills to innovate inspired by nature. The certificate is designed to empower future change-agents from a wide variety of disciplines who are passionate about learning from the natural world, and want to bring the practice of biomimicry into their chosen field. The certificate offers an opportunity for students to foster sustainable solutions by asking the question: What would nature do?

The structure of the undergraduate biomimicry certificate allows students to gain a specialization that compliments their current field of interest. The program is designed to prepare students to bring biomimicry to their discipline and career path upon graduation, enhancing skills and increasing employment opportunities.

The Biomimicry Center and School of Sustainability administer this program. For more information and details on how to enroll, please visit the School of Sustainability certificate page.

About the certificate

An understanding of biomimicry is increasingly attractive for jobs related to a wide range of fields (such as sustainability, engineering, design, business, architecture, etc). The knowledge, competencies, and skills students will have upon completion of this certificate includes the ability to:

  • Integrate biomimicry thinking into any discipline-specific opportunity resulting in biomimetic outcomes
  • Apply Life’s Principles to specific needs within one’s discipline
  • Facilitate the integration of biology into design within one’s discipline using biomimicry thinking
  • Guide processes in one’s discipline towards sustainability from a biomimetic perspective
  • Interpret observations in nature with a functional lens for design applications

Plan of study

The biomimicry certificate requires 18 credit hours of study. The program includes 12 credit hours of core courses, and 6 credit hours of electives (including a capstone). Admission to the certificate program requires a minimum GPA of 3.0. Undergraduate students must earn a grade of “B” or better in all courses to be eligible for the certificate.

The following courses are required as part of the Undergraduate Biomimicry Certificate:

  • SOS110: Sustainable World (includes Introduction to Biomimicry)
  • BMY230/BIO230: How Nature Works
  • BMY 302: Principles of Life
  • BMY304: The Practice of Biomimicry

BMY230/BIO230: How Nature Works 

(Available Every Semester)
How Nature Works teaches biology through the lens of function, thereby providing a core understanding in biology for all students, no matter their background. This course will explore the process of scientific discovery and how biological knowledge can inform other disciplines. Each week, we will investigate a new topic regarding how ecosystems and organisms function—e.g., How do ecosystems cycle nutrients? How do animals move through air, water, and on land? How do organisms defend themselves against disease? By the end of this course, students will have learned core concepts in biology as well as how these concepts apply to other disciplines.

BMY302: Principles of Life 

(Available Yearly Spring Semester)
Principles of Life is a course exploring nature’s universal design guidelines based on 3.8 billion years of successful strategies across all life. This course develops participants’ understanding of the deep patterns found in nature, and acts as an introduction into one of the tools of biomimicry, including the review and study of life’s operating conditions on Earth, the six primary principles, and their related sub-principles. This course gives participants the knowledge necessary to bring these design guidelines into practice and provides opportunity to integrate them into one’s discipline.

BMY304: The Practice of Biomimicry 

(Available Yearly Fall Semester)
The Practice of Biomimicry course will explore the process of nature-based design from a methodology-based approach. This course is a deep dive into the biomimicry process and reviews how biology and biomimicry can be incorporated into the four major phases of any design process: scoping, discovering, creating, and evaluation. It introduces the art of translating biological concepts into strategies for application and building a taxonomy of design principles. The course includes a practicing tools component and a final multi-week group project, and will offer students the structure for which biomimicry can be put to practice.

Biomimicry-focused elective (in student’s discipline)- will be approved on an individual basis by The Biomimicry Center and School of Sustainability. This course must be upper-division and biomimicry-related, ideally making a connection between the student’s major and the certificate (3 credits). Students can work with their advisor to select a course that meets these requirements. The Biomimicry Center works with over 47 affiliate faculty who instruct courses that incorporate biomimicry in many different disciplines- see the Affiliate Faculty page on our website to explore more.

Biomimicry-focused Practicum: 

The Biomimicry Practicum is a course allowing for multi-disciplinary experimentation and creative activity within the field of biomimicry. This practicum is designed to engage undergraduate students in dive deep using the biomimicry tools and resources presented during the courses in the certificate and to apply them selectively to a specific and unique opportunity of the student’s choosing within their discipline. The Practicum acts as a platform to connect students to research and design a self-defined project in a collaborative setting. Successful completion of the Practicum (or its equivalent in one’s discipline) partially fulfills the graduation requirements for the Undergraduate Certificate in Biomimicry.


Undergraduate students that have questions about this program or wish to enroll in the certificate must meet with a School of Sustainability advisor to complete an academic plan and required paperwork. You can schedule an appointment online below.