Climate Science and Impacts Concentration

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Program Overview

The aim of the Climate Science and Impacts concentration is to provide a flexible program for those interested in pursuing further graduate education or careers in industry. The Climate Science and Impacts concentration prepares you for graduate studies, climate modeling, and a position in “value added” industries that provide water resource, agricultural, seasonal recreation, and transportation industries with near-term climate analyses and predictions. Positions in government agencies serving to make policy or federal laboratories conducting climate research also are open to you.  The program provides students who are interested in both climate science and in a second area of expertise, such as the traditional engineering disciplines, policy, or law the option to take courses in those areas. There is a need for scientists and engineers who can carry out evaluation and engineering activities that require expertise both in climate science and in the engineering disciplines. These include issues related to air quality, energy engineering, sustainability, and water resources.

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Degree Requirements

CoE Core Courses (39 hrs.)

The College of Engineering requires that every engineering student, regardless of their proposed engineering major, complete specific courses in the core subjects of mathematics, engineering, chemistry, and physics. The Climate & Space department requires that declared students must earn a “C-” or better in all CoE Core courses:

Math 115 – Calculus I (4)
Math 116 – Calculus II (4)
Math 215 – Calculus III (4)
Math 216 – Introduction to Differential Equations (4)
Engineering 100 – Introduction to Engineering (4)
Engineering 101 – Introduction to Computers and Programming (4)
Chemistry 130 (3) with Chemistry 125/126 (2), or Chemistry 210 (4) with Chemistry 211 (1)
Physics 140 (4) with Physics 141 (1)
Physics 240 (4) with Physics 241 (1)

For more information regarding the CoE Core course requirements, please visit the CoE Bulletin.

Intellectual Breadth (16 hrs)

It is important that you learn about modes of thought and areas of human accomplishment to better understand the solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context beyond the purely technical. To assist students to gain a greater scope of diverse knowledge and to facilitate creativity, the College of Engineering (CoE) requires that students who have matriculated into the CoE complete the Intellectual Breadth requirement.
Under the Intellectual Breadth requirement, each student must select 16 credits of intellectual breadth courses, subject to these rules:

  • Humanities: At least 3 credits of Humanities classes marked HU in the LSA Course Guide; credit by test cannot be used to meet this requirement.
  • Professional & Creative Development Courses (PCDC): No more than 4 credits of PCDC. This means a student may count up to 4 credits of PCDC toward their Intellectual Breadth requirement, but completing a PCDC is not mandatory.
  • Liberal Arts Courses (LACs): The remainder of the 16 credits is drawn from any of the LACs.
  • At least 3 credits of Humanities or LACs must be at the 300-level or higher. This is known as the Upper Division requirement. Please note that PCDCs cannot fulfill this requirement.

For a complete explanation of the Intellectual Breadth requirement, and a listing of PCDC and LAC courses, please refer to the Intellectual Breadth section of the CoE Bulletin.

Core Courses (38 hrs.)

  • CLIMATE 320 Earth and Space System Evolution (3)
  • CLIMATE 321 Earth and Space System Dynamics (3)
  • CLIMATE 323 Earth System Analysis (4)
  • CLIMATE 324 Instrumentation for Atmos & Space Sciences (4)
  • CLIMATE 350 Atmospheric Thermodynamics (3)
  • CLIMATE 380 Introduction to Radiative Transfer (3)
  • CLIMATE 401 Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (3)
  • CLIMATE 405 Data Analysis and Visualization (4) (New Course)
  • CLIMATE 410 Earth System Modeling (4)
  • CLIMATE 414 Weather Systems (3)
  • CLIMATE 455 Capstone Design (4); or Student may take year-long (2 credits each term) CLIMATE 499 Directed Study as a Senior Thesis option

Concentration Courses (35 hrs.)

  • CLIMATE 473 Climate Physics (3)
  • Statistics/GIS Elective (3) (See table below)
  • Climate/Climate Change Elective (3) (See table below)
  • Energy/Sustainability Elective (3) (See table below)
  • Interactions Elective (4) (See table below)
  • Technical Electives (10)
  • Unrestricted Electives (9)
Suggested Climate/Climate Change Electives
Class Number Class Title Credits
CLIMATE 466 Carbon-Climate Interactions 3
CLIMATE 474 Ice Sheets, Glaciers and Climate Change 3
CLIMATE 480 Climate Change: The Move to Action 3
Suggested Atmosphere/Land/Ocean Interactions Electives
CLIMATE 421 Introduction to Physical Oceanography 3
CLIMATE 420 Environmental Ocean Dynamics 4
CLIMATE 467 Biogeochemical  Cycles 3
CLIMATE 475 Earth System Interactions 4
EEB 320


Rivers, Lakes, and Wetlands: Introduction to Aquatic Ecosystems 4
EEB 380 Oceanography: Marine Ecology 3
Suggested Energy/Sustainability Electives
CEE 265 Sustainable Engineering Practices 3
CEE 365 Environmental Engineering Principles 4
EARTH 344 Sustainable and Fossil Energy: Options and Consequences 3
ENVIRON 312 Environmental Politics and Policy 3
ENVIRON 367 Global Enterprise and Sustainable Development 3
MECHENG 433 Advanced Energy Solutions 3
NRE 574 Sustainable Energy Systems 3
Suggested Statistics/GIS Electives
CEE 270 Statistical Methods for Data Analysis and Uncertainty Modeling 3
EARTH 408 Introduction to GIS in the Earth Sciences 3
NRE 531 Principles of GIS 4
STATS 250 Introduction to Statistics and Data Analysis 4
STATS 412 Introduction to Probability and Statistics 3
STATS 425 /MATH 425 Introduction to Probability 3