Climate Minor

The Climate Minor, offered through the College of the Environment, provides undergraduates with a unique opportunity to explore the science of climate in a multi-disciplinary context. The minor brings together coursework in climate chemistry and biology, physical climate and past climate through courses in Atmospheric Sciences, Oceanography, Earth and Space Sciences and other science departments, with additional opportunities to explore policy, energy and human dimensions of climate change. Successful completion of the climate minor provides students with a strong interdisciplinary foundation in climate science and will help to prepare students for graduate study in climate related fields. To learn more about geoscientists watch the video below or go to:

Be a Geoscientist: Earth is Calling


Miriam Bertram
Program on Climate Change
p: 206.543.6521

and your departmental adivsor.

For undergraduates interested in the Climate Minor, please subscribe to:


Minimum of 25 credits.

  • One of ESS 201, ATMS 211 or ATMS 321 (3-5 credits)
  • One of Ocean/FISH 452, AMATH 301, Q SCI 381, or STAT 311 (3-5 credits)
  • Integrated Capstone Experience: ATMS/ESS/OCEAN 475 (3 credits)
  • Science Electives: At least one course from each focus area to include at least one course each from ATM S, ESS, and OCEAN. See below for list of approved electives. (minimum of 12 credits).
  • Policy Elective: one social science, policy, and energy course from an approved list of electives may be used to reach 25 credits.
  • Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA in courses applied to the minor.
  • Minimum 15 credits must be taken from the University of Washington.
  • Minimum 15 credits outside the student's major.
  • Minimum of 15 credits must be upper division.
  • NOTE: Students are encouraged to take MATH 124, MATH 125, Math 126, PHYS 121, PHYS 122, and PHYS 123 or see advisor in order to complete the requirements for the minor.


    The list of elective courses is designed to be expansive and allow majors to select courses that will provide in depth content in Climate Science while also meeting requirements within their selected major. These courses are arranged by topic area. Students must take one course from each focus area (Past Climate, the Physical Climate, and Chemistry and Biology) to also include one course from each of the three departments ATM S, ESS, and OCEAN.


    OCEAN 400: Chemical Oceanography
    OCEAN 430: Biological Oceanography
    ATM S 358: Fundamentals of Atmospheric Chemistry
    ENVIR/FISH 330: Climate Change Impacts on Marine Ecosystems
    ATM S 458: Global Atmospheric Chemistry
    BIOL 315: Biological Impacts of Climate Change
    FISH 464: Arctic Marine Vertebrate Ecology


    OCEAN 423: Ocean Circulation and Climate
    OCEAN 210: Ocean Circulation
    ATM S 301: Introduction to Atmospheric Sciences
    ATM S 340:Introduction to Thermodynamics and Cloud Processes
    ATM S 341: Atmospheric Radiative Transfer
    ATM S 380: Weather and Climate Modeling
    ATM S 431: Boundary-Layer Meteorology
    ESS 416: Geophysics: The Atmosphere


    ESS 433: Environmental Change in the Glacial Ages
    ESS 431: Principles of Glaciology
    OCEAN 450: Climatic Extremes
    ESS 461: Geological Time


    One social science, policy, and energy course from the list below may be used to reach 25 credits.

    ENVIR/PHIL 416: Ethics and Climate Change
    ENVIR/CHEM E/M E 442: Renewable Energy
    ENVIR/CHEM E/M E 341: Energy and Environment
    SCAND/EURO 351: Scandinavia, the European Union, and Global Climate Change
    GEOG 480: Environmental Geography, Climate, and Health
    PHYS 217: Energy Future: The Technical and Social Barriers to Large-Scale Sustainable Energy


    In addition to the approved policy elective courses above, select one-time special topics courses can also be used for the policy option. Courses are added as they come available below.

    JSIS 482/582 (Special Topics in Canada) and ENVIR 495 (Advanced Topics in Environmental Studies): Business in the Artic- Working with Law and Policy in Resource Development


    The NASA Space Grant Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) is a 9-week summer undergraduate research opportunity at the University of Washington for students studying science, technology, engineering, and math. The application and more information will be posted in January. For more details and to apply, please visit this link:

    UW Climate Change Video Contest- The University of Washington School of Environmental and Forest Sciences wants to know: What does climate change mean to you? Create a video in three minutes or less to show the world how you feel about climate change. There are prizes for the 1st and 2nd place winners from the High School and Undergraduate submissions. Submissions are due on April 13, 2015 by 5pm (PST). For more information go to:

    Arctic Alaska Environmental Change Course- University of Alaska Fairbanks is offering a summer course from June 10-30, 2015 as a field excursion to the North Slope. During this 21-day course, students will learn about Arctic vegetation, soils, landforms, permafrost, geology, wildlife and land-use along the incredible research transect from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay, which traverses boreal forest, alpine, and Arctic biomes. Plant species and vegetation will be studied in the context of environmental gradients. Students will learn methods for vegetation sampling and description, and will undertake an independent research project of their choosing. Twelve days will be spent camping at locations along the transect. We will also stay three nights at Toolik Field Station, a world-renowned Arctic research station. Guest instructors will discuss Arctic ecology and landscape features in greater detail at key points along the travel route. For more information and to register go to:


    The Wild Rockies Field Institute (WRFI) is offering a variety of courses on climate change and other related topics. These classes are offered in various locations across the country depending on what the class is about. Some classes of interest include Cycle the Rockies: Energy and Climate Change in Montana (offered for 9 credits from June 10-July 7) and Environmental Ethics: Climate Change and Visions of a Sustainable Future (offered for 4.5 credits from July 27-August 13). These classes may be petitioned for credit as an elective course. For more information on what is being offered go to: If you have any questions feel free to contact the program at


    Green Corps is looking for college graduates who are ready to take on the biggest environmental challenges of our day. Green Corps is a yearlong paid program that provides classroom training, field training on real campaigns, and can help launch your career by connecting graduates to groups looking to hire full-time staff.

    Winter Application Deadline: Feb.10th

    For more information and to apply go to:


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