Introduction to Sustainable Cemetery Management - In development

SOIL 499 - Introduction to Sustainable Cemetery Management

This unique 2-credit hour ONLINE course is open to the general public, as well as professionals and current University students.(non-OSU Students who want credit transfers should apply at least 5 weeks before the term to ensure transferability)

  • Oregon State University online E-Campus registration page:  (Search for SOIL 499 and/or cemetery; Note: SOIL 199 has been changed to 499 located at the bottom of the Special Topics page)

 Enrollment and Term Info:

  • This course is currently in re-development for our online Professional and Continuing Education program. Please email Cynthia Beal to be added to the announcement list. IN THE MEANTIME, CHECK OUT SOME OF THE GREAT COURSE OFFERINGS IN THE SOIL AND HORTICULTURE DEPARTMENTS THAT WILL SERVE ANY LANDSCAPE MANAGER WELL - THE BEST FOR CEMETERIES ARE LISTED BELOW

Past offerings:

  • Fall 2015: Registration opens June 4; 10-week session is Sept. 29 -December 11 
  • Winter 2016:  Registration opens November 15; 10 week session is Jan. 4 - Mar 18, 2016
  • Winter 2015:  Registration opens December 4; 10 week session is Jan. 5 - Mar 20, 2015 (COMPLETE)
  • Fall 2014: Registration opens June 5; 10-week session is Sept. 29 -December 12 (COMPLETE)
  • This course is open to the public and professionals as a non-credit option; there are no prerequisites for non-OSU students! The course is $542.00 for 2 University credits - approx. 6-8 hours  of reading and interesting cemetery-oriented activities each week. There is no other introductory course in sustainable cemetery management available that we know of!

Continuing Education documentation for landscapers, funeral directors, and other professionals is available upon request.


REGISTRATION PROBLEMS? Contact and they'll help!


View our academic calendar for registration dates: ACADEMIC CALENDAR LINK

Testimonials from recent grads:

  • "I had no idea this material would become so relevant so quickly." OSU graduate and sustainability intern now in a local city government office
  • "I now have a new direction for my landscaping business that I hadn't considered approaching before." Adult online Horticulture degree student with own landscaping company in Pacific Northwest
  • "Thank you so much, Cynthia, for such an informative and inspiring course" Managing director of a New England Natural Resource management firm 
  • "Let me say how much I appreciate the Sustainable Cemetery Management class. When I started looking for ANY cemetery management class, I came up with with nothing at all until I found yours. I'm sure the class will help me find contacts locally and help me figure out how to chart a path for our church's cemetery's future (or any other cemetery I become involved with" Church cemetery volunteer in the Mid-West
  • "I think this is a unique course on a non-traditional topic that has substantial impact in real world situations. The course material and structure keeps me interested and thinking about situations in a different manner. The weekly discussion topics are very real and informative and it gets the class to open up and look at topics of cemeteries and cemetery resource concerns in many unique ways. It is a fun course packed with good information and a practical look on this topic. It's not just a class that defines what you need to know, it is a class that makes you think in other ways as if this was part of your job." Organic East Coast farmer and NRCS employee
  • "Very interesting material presented in a unique way.  The word "sustainable" encompasses so much more than the natural burial movement, and is applicable across a variety of fields (not just cemeteries)!  This class has really made me see the beauty of our historical cemeteries and the need to preserve them, while also recognizing that our current practises need to change." Natural burial activist involved in starting an East Coast natural burial ground
  • "I think that it is so important to learn about the end of life and everything that goes along with it.  I feel like this subject should be required for people because it is something that we all have to deal with at some point, and I think it is easier with a little education." OSU undergraduate student
  • "After getting halfway through this course I have found that my personal potentials and excitement for this this subject have only increased... I have found myself looking at cemeteries in a more complex way, something I feel llike I can apply to any system a bit now better than I did before." Post-graduate student now pursuing work options in sustainable cemetery management



While there isn't a formal degree in sustainable cemetery management, Oregon State University's College of Agriculture currently offers a degree in Horticulture that can be earned entirely online . Working with the Sustainable Cemetery Studies Lab advisors, the degree can be individually tailored to students seeking work in the field of sustainable cemetery operations, providing many of the business, landscape, ecology and natural resource management courses, as well as specific courses on cemetery-related subjects that create a good  foundation for modern cemetery operation. For more information, contact us!