Climate & Society MA Program (5000 level)

Required for students in the Climate and Society MA Program. An overview of how the climate system works on large scales of space and time, with particular attention to the science and methods underlying forecasts of climate variability and climate change. This course serves as the basic physical science course for the MA program in Climate and Society.

Prerequisites: undergraduate course in climate or physics; undergraduate calculus. 

Required course for students in the Climate and Society MA program. An overview of how climate-societal and intra-societal relationships can be evaluated and quantified using relevant data sets, statistical tools, and dynamical models. Concepts and methods in quantitative modeling, data organization, and statistical analysis, with applications to climate and climate impacts. Students will also do some simple model experiments and evaluate the results. Lab required.

Pre-requisites: undergraduate-level coursework in introductory statistics or data analysis; knowledge of calculus; basic familiarity with R programming language.

This course offers an exploration of the concepts, methods, and tools required to analyze climate-related problems and craft solutions for reducing vulnerability and building resilience to climate variability and change. Drawing on the framework of risk analysis, the course examines and integrates risk assessment, risk perception, risk communication, and risk management. The course explores several forms of climate governance, including market-based and policy responses, as well as the kinds of cultural and behavioral change that can be promoted by communication and education. Rather than focusing in a single discipline, the course spans both social and natural sciences. It also bridges a number of divides, including those between research and applications, between developed and developing countries, and between the temporal scales of climate variability and change.

The dynamics of environment and society interact with climate and can be modified through use of modern climate information. To arrive at the best use of climate information, there is a need to see climate in a balanced way, among the myriad of factors at play. Equally, there is a need to appreciate the range of climate information available and to grasp its underlying basis and the reasons for varying levels of certainty. Many decisions in society are at more local scales, and regional climate information considered at appropriate scales and in appropriate forms (e.g. transformed into vegetation stress) is key. Students will build a sufficient understanding of the science behind the information, and analyze examples of how the information can and is being used. This course will prepare the ground for a holistic understanding needed for wise use of climate information.

Prerequisites: EESC GU5400, EESC GU5401

During the third and final term of study for the 12-month M.A. Program in Climate and Society, students must complete either a thesis or internship and simultaneously enroll in EESC W4405. The summer internship requires a minimum of 140 hours of professional participation during the Summer Term in a position related to core issues of concern to the Program. The selected position must be approved by the Director of the M.A. Program by a specified date in the Spring Semester preceding the Summer Term. The position must be substantive in nature and must constitute a practical, professional experience. Students will be evaluated on the basis of oral and written updates on the work, a student internship report to be submitted at the end of the Summer Term, and on the basis of a supervisor report form to be submitted by the site supervisor for the internship.

Prerequisites: enrollment in the M.A. Program in Climate and Society.

This seminar is focused on practical applications of climate information and research. The objective of the course is to teach students to integrate their understanding of climate science, social science, policy studies, and communications to address real world problems, especially those they will encounter in academia or on the job after graduation.