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 – 31 Credit Hours)
- MEA517 Fundamentals of Climate Change Science (3 credits, Fall)
- ST511 Experimental Statistics for Biological Sciences (3 credits, Fall and Spring)
- GIS510 Introduction to Geographic Information System Science (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 (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 explores current knowledge about the fundamentals of climate variability & climate change science, climate change analysis tools and data, national and international activities in support of climate services and research framework & analysis of climate change case studies. The course also provides experience for students in hands-on analysis of climate risks & development of adaptation and mitigation management strategies/policies in climate-sensitive application sectors. 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, Introduction to Geographic Science provides an overview of operations and functions of geographic information systems (GIS). Students develop expertise in spatial reasoning, problem definition, and skilled application of GIS software through lectures, readings, and extensive hands on experiences. GIS skills are important as climate professionals use spatial analysis to assess vital components associated with local and regional climate adaptation projects, and demand for downscaled climate projections increases. GIS510 is offered in the Fall and Spring semesters.
MEA 518 Climate Risk Analysis for Adaptation provides practical hands-on experience for professionals in analyzing climate risks and developing adaptation strategies in climate sensitive sectors. The first half of the semester focuses on statistical analysis while the second half of the semester centers on science-based adaptation policy case studies. The course concludes with an instructor-approved capstone project, which applies knowledge to a real-world climate issue. 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 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 applicationof policy analysis in environmental assessment and consideration on theoretical perspectives on nature of the environmental crisis. PA550 is offered in the Fall semester.
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.