Climate Change Studies Minor

  • Picture of a hurricane in the south Atlantic ocean in between the United States and South America
  • Blue solar panels
  • newspapers

    Contribute to societal adaptation to global environmental change.

  • Chalkboard

    Study at a climate leadership award-winning University.

  • Graphic of eco-friendly icons: leaves, planets, trees, apples, light bulbs, the sun, etc.

Climate change is the most significant challenge facing the human race. The climate change studies minor at Western Michigan University is an interdisciplinary and integrative program involving expert faculty and courses from intersecting disciplines. This minor provides you with the necessary science-based background and a broad understanding of the human relationship to climate change, including the social and environmental causes, challenges, and opportunities for mitigation and adaptation.

Printable program brochure


This minor is intended for undergraduates in any major and will prepare you for a variety of 21st century professional fields.

Why study climate change?

Climate change is recognized as one of the critical challenges to the sustainability of human society and the environment. This program develops informed and engaged citizens who can use information from multiple disciplines to draw appropriate conclusions and constructively contribute to societal adaptation to global environmental change. Interacting with research faculty from more than 10 departments will prepare you to address the concerns and consequences of climate change in any number of professional settings as well as be directly significant to your life.

Connect the sciences to the human experience by:

  • Understanding the science of past, present and future climate change.
  • Identifying and understand the range of individual and collective human actions contributing to climate change.
  • Identifying and understand the consequences of contemporary climate change with particular attention to vulnerable populations.
  • Critically examining and effectively communicate a range of response strategies for the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change.
  • Critically examining how humans experience climate change through politics, social organization and the arts.


This minor is an interdisciplinary and integrative program of study involving expert faculty and key courses from intersecting disciplines. The curriculum includes introductory courses and more advanced courses in science, social sciences and humanities.

Introductory Courses (6-7 hours)

ENVS 1000 - Climate Challenges and Solutions
  AND one of the following courses:
ENVS 2150 - Environmental Systems and Cycles
GEOG 1050 - Physical Geography
GEOS 1000 - Dynamic Earth
GEOS 2320 - Integrated Earth System Studies

Climate Change Science (6-7 hours)

BIOS 3010 – Ecology
BIOS 3200 - Climate Change Biology
BIOS 5440 - Global Change Ecology
GEOG 2250 - Introduction to Meteorology and Climatology
GEOG 3060 - Climate Change: Past, Present, and Future
GEOG 4240 - Biogeography
GEOG 4250 - Climatology
GEOG 4300 - Climate and Geographical Change
GEOS 3220 – Ocean Systems
PHYS 1020 - Energy and the Environment

Climate Change and Society (6-7 hours)

ANTH 3450 – Topics: Anthropology of Climate Change
BUS 4500 – Business Ethics & Sustainability
ECON 2190 –Economic Principles of Sustainability, the Environment, and Natural Resources
ENGL 3110 - Our Place In Nature
ENVS 3200 –Major Environmental Writings
ENVS 3300 - Climate Change and the Literary Arts
ENVS 4110/SOC 4110 - Climate Change and Society
ENVS 4120/ENGL 4120 - Climate Change and Culture
GEOG 1000 - Global Environmental Issues
GEOG 3070 - Extreme Weather under Changing Climate
GEOG 4260 –Disasters & Risk Management
FCS 1090 - Envision a Sustainable Life: Food, Shelter, Clothing, and Relationships
FCS 5820 – Food, Nutrition, & Climate Change
HIST 3180 –American Environmental History
PSY 3456 –Behavioral Approaches to Sustainability
SWRK 4560 –Indigenous Perspectives on Environmental Justice & Climate Activism


Climate Change Capstone (1 hours)



Contact Lisa DeChano-Cook, associate professor of geography, for more information.

To explore this minor further, contact one of the advisory members:


To study at WMU, a climate leadership award-winning University, complete the application.



The Climate Change Research Graduate Scholarship supports the rapidly growing market for professional trained in climate change. Scholarships of up to $1,500 are awarded to support graduate students engaged in outstanding independent scholarly research related to climate change.