Core Curriculum for Certificate

The courses outlined below constitute the entirety of the Climate Adaptation Certificate, and form the foundation of the Climate Change & Society Degree. MEA 519 and GIS 510 are offered online, while MEA 517 and MEA 518 are conducted both in-person and online.


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. MEA 517 is offered in the Fall semester.


MEA 518 Adaptation to Climate Change investigates the technological, economic, communication, scientific and legal challenges inherent to adaptation to climate change. This course provides practical hands-on experience for professionals in developing adaptation strategies in climate sensitive sectors. Content draws heavily on case studies in international development, infrastructure, health, energy, and transportation sectors. MEA 518 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. MEA 519 is offered in the Fall semester.


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. GIS 510 is offered in the Fall and Spring semesters.

*The GIS 510 course may be substituted by a different course, per the student’s interests, after consultation with the program director.