Study Climate at Emory

At Emory University, there are many opportunities for students to learn more about climate and climate change. Explore undergraduate and graduate courses, degree programs, and opportunities for studying climate abroad.  See tabs below for more information.

Please note that this information is subject to change. Please check the course atlas and the for the latest information.

Faculty -- have we missed or micharacterized a course?  Please email to let us know!

Fall 2018 courses that spend more than half of the semester on climate-related topics

ECAS | ENVS 326 / ENG 380-1 Climate Change and Society & ENVS 426 United Nations Climate Change Conference

Instructors: Eri Saikawa, Sheila Tefft

This class draws upon the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as a way to explain interdisciplinary issues related to the science, policy, and business of climate change through multimedia. ENVS 426 is offered to students selected to participate in a one-week fieldwork trip to the U.N. Climate Change Negotiation as a part of Emory's delegation. The course explores interdisciplinary climate change issues from science, policy, and business perspectives.

ECAS | ENVS 229 Atmospheric Science with Lab

Instructor: Shaunna Donaher

Meteorology is the science of the atmosphere and the weather it produces. It seeks to understand the dynamics of the system in terms of available energy and how those dynamics produce the daily weather and long-term climate of the globe. This course will include a weekly lab.

ECAS | PHYS 190-1: Freshman Seminar, The Science of Climate Change

Instructor: Justin Burton

This seminar presents a comprehensive introduction to all aspects of climate change. We will cover topics such as the greenhouse effect, the carbon cycle, basic physics and chemistry of the atmosphere, Earth's paleoclimate, and possible future predictions.  In addition, we will not only look at the scientific evidence, but will touch on some economic and policy issues as well.

ECAS | THEA 190-1: Freshman Seminar, Theatre + Ecology

Instructor: Lydia Fort

This course is a survey of the burgeoning field of theatre-making centered on our ecological crises. Through the critical reading of plays from around the world, students will examine how drama is being used to bring awareness to environmental issues including extinction, climate change, environmental justice and sustainability. Students will be introduced to organizations such as the international network Artists and Climate Change, and their Climate Change Theatre Action; and the Earth Matters On Stage (EMOS) New Play Festival and Symposium, that are leading the charge, uniting artists, educators and scientists to bring awareness to these issues through theatre. Also, theatre companies like Superhero Clubhouse, whose new plays teach eco-critical literacy to students. Additionally, we will look at eco-activist performance; theatre practitioners whose works challenges audiences to move from ego-centrism to eco-centrism; Green Theatre; and organizations and resources that promote sustainability in theatrical production practices. Students will consider how theatre artists can, and do, facilitate the normalization of eco-involvement in their communities. The course culminates in students creating either a short play that addresses an environmental issue or the conception of an event that use eco-theater.

ROLLINS | EH 582 / GH 582: Global Climate Change: Health Impacts and Response

Instructors: Shubhayu Saha, Daniel Rochberg

This course will explore the public health effects of global climate change, epidemiologic and other methods for understanding and studying these effects, the public health adaptation response, and health impacts of potential mitigation efforts and activities. The public health response will be discussed with particular focus on global health issues. The course will emphasize a practical approach to vulnerability and risk assessment, and students will develop skills assessing the risks of particular climate-related health impacts.

Other Fall 2018 Courses that Cover Climate-Related Topics

ECAS | ENVS 385 / FILM 389-2 It‘s in the Air: Media and the Environment 

Instructors: Uriel Kitron, Amy Aidman

Change is in the air, in the water, and in the soil; stories about that change reach the public through diverse media venues, including mainstream news outlets, documentary and fiction films, television series and social media.  In this interdisciplinary course taught jointly by Media Studies and Environmental Sciences faculty, and consisting of weekly presentations, screenings and discussions and other class activities, we will study the science of environmental change, and will learn to critically analyze how media are used to communicate it to the broader public.  Research teams (comprised of ENVS and Film & Media Studies (FILM) students) will use case studies to examine the interplay between scientific sources and popular media communications about environmental stories.

ECAS | ENVS 385 Marine Ecology

Instructor: Carolyn Keogh

This course will focus on the diversity, structure, and conservation of marine ecosystems. Topics include foundational ecological concepts in the context of marine ecosystems, experimental and analytic approaches to the study of marine systems, and case studies in marine biological invasions, disease, climate change, and marine protected areas. Students should have prior coursework in ecology or evolutionary biology, though exceptions will be considered. An optional field excursion during the Fall break will be organized pending student interest. Previous Biology/Ecology coursework required. Contact instructor for permission to enroll. May include field trips. 

ECAS | ENVS 227 / POLS 227 Environmental Policy

Instructor: Tracy Yandle

Introduction to basic concepts of American environmental policy. Topics include: history of federal environmental policymaking, environmental policy tools, controversies in environmental policy, and U.S. environmental policy in the age of globalization. Field trips required.

ECAS | ENVS 222 Evolution of the Earth with Lab

Instructor: Anthony Martin

History of earth in context of changing global environments. Emphasizes biological systems interacting with global processes: plate tectonics, climate change, sea level; lab exercises on minerals, rocks, fossils, geologic maps. Fulfills Intermediate Earth Science and upper-level lab for ENVS majors.

ECAS | ENVS 190 Natural Disasters: Hollywood vs Science

Instructor: Shaunna Donaher

Course description: This course will examine the science behind natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunami, meteorite impacts and more. We will critically evaluate Hollywood’s interpretation of these disasters in blockbuster films via student-led discussions and reports on historical events. The course will culminate in the development of an accurate film clip depicting a disaster. 

GOIZUETA | OAM 332 Business and Society

Instructor: Wesley Longhofer

This course surveys the complex and evolving relationship between corporations and society. As powerful social actors, corporations are increasingly held accountable to not just their shareholders but also a range of internal and external stakeholders. This course adopts a broad theoretical perspective on the challenges and opportunities that corporations confront in their interactions with society, such as struggles to maintain legitimacy, acquire resources, build partnerships, and solve complex global problems. Topics covered in the course include (but are not limited to) the following: The history of the corporation as a social, political, and legal actor; the participation of business in government, including lobbying and PACs; corporations, the environment, and human rights; ethical consumerism and cause-related marketing; fair trade and fair labor; corporations, NGOs, and social movements; and multilateral institutions that impact business, such as UNICEF and the UN Global Compact. A significant portion of the course will address the issue of corporate social responsibility and how companies are strategically addressing these challenges with business acumen.

ROLLINS | EH 500 Perspectives on Environmental Health

Instructor: William Michael Caudle

Students enrolled in EH 500 will focus on both domestic and global environmental and occupational health problems. Presents the ecological paradigm as applied to public health. Introduces the core areas of environmental health -- human toxicology, environmental epidemiology and exposure science ¿ and how they help us understand environmental influences of disease, exposure pathways, regulatory efforts, and the health impacts of various environmental exposures. Discusses various aspects of environmental health, including environmental contamination, food safety, occupational health, chemical and physical hazards, injuries, vector control, global climate change and rapid industrialization, and developing nations' perspectives.

Though Climate@Emory is a non-degree granting organization, Emory University offers several programs within which students may pursue climate change-related course tracks. Potential doctoral students might consider Emory's graduate programs in Population Biology, Ecology and EvolutionEnvironmental Health SciencesPhysics or other related fields.  Prospective masters students might consider the Masters of Public Health (MPH) program in the Rollins School of Public Health, the Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) program, or the Masters of Science in Environmental Sciences. Prospective undergraduate students might also consider a major or minor in Environmental Sciences.

Research opportunities on a wide range of topics related to climate change are available across the Emory campus, and are open to qualified and energetic junior researchers from many backgrounds. Prospective graduate or undergraduate students should read recent research manuscripts and theses from Emory faculty and students to become familiar with the diverse research being conducted on campus.  

Research Opportunities

  • Undergraduate students are able to conduct research through the Scholarly Inquiry and Research at Emory (SIRE)program.  Students interested in conducting research for a full academic year are eligible to apply and they will be matched with a faculty member, if successful.  SIRE students can either apply a work-study fellowship or gain course credits.  All students present their year-long research at a formal research symposium in April.
  • Undergraduate students interested in conducting research during the summer are encouraged to apply for the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience.  SURE students conduct guided research over the summer and participate in a formal research symposium at the end of the program.

Global Field Experiences

  • The Rollins School of Public Health offers Masters of Public Health (MPH) students opportunities to conduct a Global Field Experience.  See descriptions of past student experiences in this program.

Emory provides opportunities for conducting climate-related coursework in international settings through its Center for International Programs Abroad.  See below to find out about study abroad locations with an emphasis on climate change.

University of Freiburg

The University of Freiburg, an academic center long associated with the environmental movement in Europe, offers undergraduates semester-long opportunities to study climate change under its Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources. Emory students participate through IES Abroad, an education non-profit based in Chicago that has a designated Environmental Studies and Sustainability program at Freiburg (see IES Freiburg—Environmental Studies and Sustainability). Students take 5-6 courses per semester. (In the last two years, six Emory students have participated in the program.) Among the course offerings are:

  • Renewable Energies in a World of Transition: a course predominantly about climate change;
  • Green City: Economic Aspects of Environmental Change: one-third of the classes focus on climate-related issues;
  • EU Environmental Policies: On the Road to Sustainability: one-third of the classes are devoted to climate change;
  • Environmental Policies and Green Business in Freiburg: two out of 22 classes are about climate change.

School of Geography, Queen Mary College, University of London

Queen Mary College of the University of London, home to one of the leading geography departments in the United Kingdom, offers courses on climate through its School of Geography. Students are able to study at the college on a semester basis. Among the courses that principally or partially cover climate change topics are:

  • The Science and Politics of Climate Change: devotes a full semester to exploring climate-related topics;
  • Global Environmental Change: more than half of the classes cover climate issues;
  • Earth Surface Science: one-third of the classes involve climate issues;
  • Global Environmental Issues: about one-fourth of the classes are devoted to climate change.

Department of Geography, University College London

The University College Geography Department has a strong climate focus. Two of its six designated research clusters focus on climate change: Past Climates and Recent Environmental Change and Biodiversity, which is part of the Environmental Change Research Center. Undergraduates are able to study for a semester and take climate-related courses under the department's environmental geography program.