The core courses outlined below constitute the foundation of the Climate Change & Society Degree. MEA519 and GIS510 are offered online, while MEA517 and MEA518 are conducted in-person and online.
Core Courses (Total – 28 Credit Hours)
- MEA517 Fundamentals of Climate Change Science (3 credits, Fall)
- ST511 Experimental Statistics for Biological Sciences (3 credits, Fall and Spring)
- GIS510 Fundamentals of Geospatial Information Science and Technology (3 credits, Fall and Spring)
- MEA518 Climate Risk Analysis for Adaptation (3 credits, Spring)
- MEA519 Barriers to Climate Change Literacy (3 credits, Spring)
- PA550 Environmental Policy or PS536 Global Environmental Law and Policy (3 credits, Fall)
- COM538 Risk Communication (3 credits, Fall)
- PHI816 Introduction to Research Ethics (1 credit, Fall and Spring)
- MEA593 Applied Climate Experience (6 credits, Summer)
MEA 517 Fundamentals of Climate Change Science presents the basic science of climate change, including chemical and physical systems and processes. The students will be introduced to how the climate system works and the role of greenhouse gases in the climate system. Students will learn about climatological data, climate models and how predictions/projections are made. Emphasis will be placed upon relating predicted/projected changes to manifestations such as sea level rise and changes in the distribution and character of precipitation. Topics include the primary climate components, ocean-atmospheric teleconnections, decadal and multi-decadal climate indices, natural and anthropogenic climate variability, and climate model projections. MEA517 is offered in the Fall semester.
ST 511 Experimental Statistics for Biological Sciences provides basic concepts of statistical models and use of samples; variation, statistical measures, distributions, tests of significance, analysis of variance and elementary experimental design, regression and correlation, chi-square. ST511 is offered in the Fall and Spring semesters.
GIS 510, Fundamentals of Geospatial Information Science and Technology provides an advanced overview of how geographic information systems [GIS] facilitate data analysis and communication to address common geographic problems. Students improve spatial reasoning and problem definition expertise while emphasizing geographic data models and structures, data manipulation and storage, customization through programming, and the integration of geospatial analysis and modeling into project-based problem solving applicable to a variety of disciplines. Skilled application of both desktop and cloud-based GIS software supports these areas. Extensive independent learning and computer experiences include virtual laboratory sessions, alongside optional online or in-person weekly help sessions to facilitate student learning. GIS510 is offered in the Fall and Spring semesters.
MEA 518 Climate Risk Analysis for Adaptation applies methods of risk analysis to evaluate options for dealing with climate change. This course will introduce appropriate statistical methods and develop applications to climate-change related issues. This course provides practical hands-on experience for professionals in analyzing climate risks and developing adaptation strategies in climate sensitive sectors. The specific content will rely heavily on case studies in hydrology, health, energy, and transportation sectors. MEA518 is offered in the Spring semester.
MEA 519 Barriers to Climate Change Literacy investigates the cognitive, affective and behavioral barriers to climate literacy and the ways in which effective communication strategies can be utilized to address these challenges. Critical analysis of key aspects of climate science, common misconceptions, mental models, cultural influences, and risk perceptions about climate change will be examined. The various approaches to creating effective climate messages that appropriately address a variety of publics will be discussed where students will develop products that incorporate these methods/practices. The course will feature relevant readings, classroom discussions, student-led presentations, and summative and formative course feedback though course assignments and exams. MEA519 is offered in the Spring semester.
PA 550 Environmental Policy or PS 536 Global Environmental Law and Policy. PA 550 focuses on formation and impact of environmental policy in the U. S. Examination on decision-making processes at all levels of government. Comparisons between political, economic, social and technological policy alternatives. Emphasis upon application of policy analysis in environmental assessment and consideration on theoretical perspectives on nature of the environmental crisis. PS 536 explores international organizations, laws and policies addressing global environmental problems including: population growth, atmospheric pollution, climate change, use of oceans, forests and biodiversity. Relationship between environment and Third World economic development. PA550 is offered in the Fall semester and PS536 is offered in the Spring.
COM 538 Risk Communication provides a comprehensive review of principles, theory, research, and practices involving consensus building; associated with environmental, health and safety; enabling analysis and management of risks. Emphasis on risks associated with emerging science and technology. No quantitative experience necessary. Graduate standing required. COM538 is offered in the Fall semester.
PHI816 Introduction to Research Ethics provides institutional rules guiding the responsible conduct of research (RCR) and their philosophical justification. Rudiments of moral reasoning and their application to RCR. Topics: plagiarism, falsification and fabrication of data, and ethics versus custom, law, science, and religion. PHI816 is offered in the Fall and Spring semesters.
MEA 593 is the Applied Climate Experience portion of the degree. MEA593 is completed over the Summer semester.