Climate Change Studies Minor

Climate Change Studies Minor header

Climate change is the most serious challenge of our lifetimes, posing serious risks to economic and social structures on local, national and global scales.  This interdisciplinary minor curriculum highlights UC San Diego’s broad campus expertise in understanding and responding to the challenges of climate change.  The minor covers an understanding of the scientific, social, political and economic dimensions of climate change, and involves students in developing solutions such as greenhouse gas mitigation strategies, climate adaptation projects and educational approaches.

The curriculum provides connections with any primary field of study and is open to students from any major.  The minor places a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary solution-based thinking, a skill which is relevant to solving many 21st century problems.  A hallmark of the climate change studies minor is the practicum requirement, in which students learn about carbon neutrality initiatives and climate change research on campus (e.g. CCS101 and 102), and then complete an applied project relevant to their major or interests in CCS 197 or CCS 199. More information about the practicum requirement is available on our FAQ page.

The Minor consists of twenty-eight units of coursework, at least twenty of which must be upper-division. Students must earn at least a letter grade of C- in courses used for the minor, with the exception of 199 courses or other courses that are only offered for a “P/NP” grade.

Academic advising for the Climate Change Studies minor is provided by the SIO Department, and questions or requests for advising appointments (for current students) can be submitted via the Virtual Advisor.

Climate Change Studies Minor Requirements      

1.     Climate Change: Solutions

        a. Required Course. Students choose one of the following courses:

  • SIO 109/POLI 117.  Bending the Curve: Solutions to Climate  Change (recommended)
  • ESYS 103.  Environmental Challenges: Science and Solutions
  • BIBC 140.  Our Energy Future—Sustainable Energy Solutions

2.     Climate Change: Understanding the Science

        a. Required Course. Students choose one of the following two courses:

  • SIO 25.  Climate Change and Society     
  • SIO 117.  The Physical Basis of Global Warming (recommended for students in science, math or engineering majors)

        b. Climate change science elective. Students select at least one of the following electives:

  • SIO 10.  The Earth
  • SIO 20.  The Atmosphere
  • SIO 35.  Water
  • SIO 40.  Life and Climate on Earth
  • SIO 50.  Introduction to Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • BILD 18.  Human Impact on the Environment    
  • ESYS 10.  Introduction to Environmental Systems
  • ENVR 30.  Environmental Issues: Natural Sciences
  • BIBC 140.  Our Energy Future—Sustainable Energy Solutions (if not already used for requirement 1.a. above)
  • BIEB 174.  Ecosystems and Global Change
  • BIEB 182.  Biology of Global Change
  • CHEM 171.  Environmental Chemistry I
  • CHEM 172.  Environmental Chemistry II
  • CHEM 173.  Atmospheric Chemistry
  • ESYS 102.  The Solid and Fluid Earth
  • ESYS 103.  Environmental Challenges: Science and Solutions (if not already used for requirement 1.a., above)
  • MAE 118.  Introduction to Energy Systems
  • MAE 119.  Introduction to Renewable Energy: Solar and Wind
  • MAE 120.  Introduction to Nuclear Energy
  • MAE 122.  Flow and Transport in the Environment
  • SIO 108.  Introduction to Paleoclimatology
  • SIO 115.  Ice and the Climate System
  • SIO 116.  Climate Change & Global Health: Understanding the Mechanisms
  • SIO 117.  The Physical Basis of Global Warming (if not already used for requirement 2.a., above)
  • SIO 143.  Ocean Acidification
  • SIO164/ANAR 164.  Maritime Archeology
  • SIO 173.  Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Climate
  • SIO 174.  Chemistry of the Atmosphere and Oceans

3.     Climate Change: Social and Human Dimensions

  1. Social and human dimension electives. Students must choose two of the following courses:

  • SOCI 30.  Science, Technology, and Society
  • COMM 171.  Environmental Communication
  • ECON 131.  Environmental Economics
  • ECON 132.  Energy Economics
  • ETHN 102.  Science and Technology in Society: Race/Gender/Class
  • ETHN 103.  Environmental Racism
  • HISC 180.  Science and Public Policy
  • MGT 166.  Business Ethics and Corporate Responsibility
  • MGT 167.  Social Entrepreneurship
  • PHIL 148.  Philosophy and the Environment
  • POLI 102L.  The Politics of Regulation
  • POLI 104E.  Environmental Law and Policy
  • POLI 104P.  Science, Technology, and the Law
  • POLI 162.  Environmental Policy
  • PSYC 104.  Social Psychology
  • PSYC 137.  Social Cognition
  • PSYC 148.  Psychology of Judgment and Decision
  • PSYC 185. Psychology of Climate Crisis 
  • SIO 109/POLI 117.  Bending the Curve: Solutions to Climate Change (if not already used for requirement 1.a., above)
  • SIO 114.  The Science and Analysis of Environmental Justice
  • SOCI 149.  Sociology of the Environment
  • SOCI 168E.  Sociology of Science
  • SOCI 171.  Technology and Science
  • USP 124.  Land Use Planning
  • USP 170.  Sustainable Planning
  • USP 171.  Sustainable Development
  • ANTH 109. Climate Change, Cultural Heritage, and Vulnerability (currently accepted by petition)
  • CCS 123. Policy and Politics of Climate Change

4.     Climate Change: Practicum

     a. Required Courses: students take both of the following 2-unit courses. 

  • CCS 101.  Carbon Neutrality at University of California (2 units)
  • CCS 102.  Research Perspectives on Climate Change (2 units)

     b. Climate change practicum electives.  Students select at least 4 units from the following options*.

  • CCS 197. Carbon Neutrality Internship (1-4 units) Prerequisites: CCS101 and CCS 102
  • CCS 199. Supervised Independent Study or Research (1-4 units) Prerequisites: CCS101 and CCS 102

*Other departmental internship or independent study courses can be approved for this practicum elective, by petition, if the student work was focused on research, projects or internships related to climate change research or solutions. 

For more information on the CCS 197/199 practicum requirement, please visit the FAQ page