New Course Proposals

The MA in Climate and Society is a 12-month interdisciplinary graduate program that trains students to understand and address the impacts of climate. Students gain knowledge in the natural and social sciences as they relate to climate through classes and research experiences. The graduates go on to professional work in public, private, non-profit and community organizations/sectors, as well as to further academic and professional study.

Students in the MA in Climate and Society complete 22 core course credits. In addition to the core courses, students take a minimum of 12 elective course credits. 

Brief Overview

The Interim COI, comprising of members of faculty and administrators, is currently charged with reviewing course proposals in the Columbia Climate School for the MA in Climate and Society program. Individuals interested in submitting a course proposal for the Interim COI to review should reach out to [email protected]

Completing the proposal and follow up steps requested by the Interim COI does not guarantee course approval or eligibility for teaching. If a course is approved, faculty affairs will subsequently confer with HR and the Provost Office to determine teaching eligibility.

The first step in proposing a new course is to reach out to [email protected]. The Interim COI may reach out to requesting a proposal and syllabus and to provide feedback on those materials. Final decisions on a course will be made several months in advance of the semester start.

Proposals for fall courses:

  • Deadline to submit form: March 15

Proposals for spring courses:

  • Deadline: July 15

Proposal for summer courses

  • Deadline: November 15

Although the Interim COI welcomes course proposals in all subject areas related to climate, we encourage submissions that address the specialization topics below.

Suggested Areas for Courses

This area focuses on the relationship of disasters to sustainable development policies and practices. It analyzes the national and international frameworks for climate disaster resilience and sustainable development. It also examines the history and process of disaster aid programs from local to national and international levels and applies insights from natural and social sciences to community-inclusive disaster management strategies related to climate change.

This area provides students with a foundation in the physical, chemical and biological components of climate science, as well as the statistical and data analysis skills that are required to study climate impacts and risks. Students will gain a systems-based understanding of the climate system and how climate data are collected and distributed. They will build skills for the quantification and characterization of risk and uncertainty in the context of specific climate-change risks related to coastal infrastructure, food systems, supply chains and public health, and their impact on local communities and implications for climate justice.

This area works to advance student understanding on climate change and finance and how they intersect. The track provides students with rigorous problem solving and quantitative skills, knowledge of financial structures and instruments, and fluency with key data sources.

This area presents key questions and issues around the evolution of energy policy, current and future options in the energy system, and the notion of energy services. It also addresses the opportunities and barriers for energy transitions and the justice implications of past and pre-existing policies and policy reform.

This area examines the intersection between climate impacts, food systems, food production, and human livelihoods. Climate change is having adverse impacts across food systems, with more frequent and intense extreme events that will challenge food production, storage, and transport. At the same time, the way food is grown, processed, packaged, and transported is having adverse impacts on both the environment and humans. It teaches students to apply evidence-based approaches for food system transformation and helps them gain critical skills for professional pathways in this emerging field.