Climate Change and Society Major

Students in Geography 3350 participate in climate negotiations

Students in Geography 3350 participate in climate negotiations.  After each round of negotiations, their commitments are entered in a model so they can see their progress in reducing emissions, warming and sea level rise by 2100. Photo credit: Beth Hundey

An Urgent Challenge

It is impossible to overstate the urgency of responding to climate change, which is at the forefront of all the challenges that human societies face today. Mitigating the extent of climate change and adapting to changes that are unfolding require major political, economic, social, and cultural responses, on every scale from individual action to municipal governments to nation states to multilateral organizations. The Major in Climate Change and Society is geared to students who recognize the enormity of climate change and who seek to contribute to solutions to the many problems it poses.

An Interdisciplinary Approach

Diverse disciplinary perspectives are needed to understand the challenges of climate change mitigation and adaptation, which cut across all realms of society. The Major in Climate Change and Society involves a core group of science and social science courses, along with electives from groups of courses in science, social science, and the humanities.

The 4 core half-courses in the major are taught by the Department of Geography and Environment. These are:

Beyond this, there is a good deal of flexibility to select electives in different groups of courses.

Academic Calendar, Honours Double Major check list, BA 3 or 4 year check list

A key goal is to foster both depth and breadth of knowledge and a capacity to understand complex and interrelated problems, with a good understanding of the physical science of climate change but with greater overall focus on the human dimensions of problems and responses.

Climate Change and Society can be paired with a variety of other majors and minors, including but not limited to programs in: Environmental Science; Biology; Health Science; Earth Science; Indigenous Studies; Sociology; Anthropology; Psychology; Philosophy; Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies; and Information and Media Studies.

Careers that Make a Difference

The program is designed to develop systematic knowledge, critical thinking, and analytic and communication skills that will prepare students for further study or high-impact work in related fields. Career pathways include the private and public sectors, in a range of fields such as environmental policy-making, environmental law, land use planning, community development, conservation, sustainable social enterprises, business consulting, and education.