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The Coastal Climate Risk & Resilience certificate is open to professional masters’ students as well as research-based Masters and Ph.D. students. This program focuses on the theories, methods, knowledge, and practical skills needed to work productively on hazard mitigation and climate change along the coast. This innovative and interdisciplinary program combines existing disciplinary coursework offered in several graduate programs. Students who complete this certificate will be well equipped to work on coastal risk and resilience issues within their own home disciplines.

Requirements: The Certificate requires six (6) 3-credit courses. These include three common core courses plus three distributed electives. If a course is not available in a particular year then a reasonable substitution is allowed.

Additional information on the course requirements:

Students must take one of two foundational transdisciplinary courses (Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Coastal Climate Risk and Resilience or Climate Change Risk Analysis). With permission from the certificate program’s faculty advisor, they may also substitute an extra elective course from outside their main focus area.

16:218:502 Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Coastal Climate Risk and Resilience (3). This course will explore issues related to coastal risk and resilience by integrating perspectives from climate science, geography, sociology, economics, urban planning, ecology, and civil & environmental engineering. Each class session will center on a discussion led by a member of the faculty or by an outside guest and will focus on transdisciplinary learning, new perspectives, and current issues within the context of more than one disciplines. This course will introduce students to a broad conceptual modeling framework and encourage critical questioning of disciplinary scopes, and biases. The goal of the course will be for students to connect new knowledge among the different disciplines and create a deeper understanding related to human experience with coastal adaptation and resilience.

16:460:571 Climate Change Risk Analysis (3). Science, economics and public policy of climate change risks. Extreme events, sea-level rise, agriculture, energy, health, labor, crime and violence, supply chain disruptions, ecosystem services, tipping points. Global and regional climate modeling, integrated assessment modeling, decision-making under uncertainty and with long time horizons. Climate change adaptation and resilience.

Students must also take both of the following core courses:

34:970:655 Communicating Science with Decision-Makers (3). This theory-and-practice course focuses on communicating science to policymakers, business leaders, and the general public. It emphasizes the interactive aspects of communication in which competency depends on both speaking and listening, and in which facts must be “constructed” according to contextual norms rather than merely transmitted. It will also include guest lectures by non-academic professionals on their career pathways and experiences. The course will be designed to introduce students to the latest research-based evidence about effective communication of risk, vulnerabilities and coastal science.

34:970:510/511 Studio on Coastal Climate Risk & Resilience (3). This studio or workshop pairs students with a client (such as a coastal community) to assess the risks posed to the client by climate change and strategies for managing that risk. This studio class helps integrate the disciplinary perspectives of participating graduate students and engage them in the development of land-use, capital improvements, or hazard-mitigation planning for a client, such as a coastal municipality. The studio experience exposes students to local lay knowledge, public decision-making procedures, and the challenges of contributing scientific information to contentious public policy debates.

In addition to these three core courses, certificate students are expected to take three 3-credit elective courses. Each student will be required to take at least one course covering (1) natural systems, (2) socio-economic systems, and (3) engineering systems of coastal resilience.


Sample courses for elective requirement: Choose one from each column.

Natural Systems

16:107:545 Physical Climatology

16:215:510 Conservation Ecology

16:215:587 Urban Ecology

16:215:520 Landscape Ecology

16:450:504 Coastal Geomorphology

16:460:528 Groundwater Modeling (alternate years)

16:460:571/16:107:571/34:970:663 Climate Change Risk Analysis

16:712:501 Physical Oceanography

16:712:503 Coastal Ocean Dynamics

16:712:526 Estuarine Ecology

Socio-Economic Systems

16:450:508 Environment and Development

16:450:510 Water Resources Management

16:460:571 Climate Change Risk Analysis

34:833:686 Climate Governance

34:970:618 Environmental Planning and Management

34:970:619 Environmental Economics and Policy

34:833:562 Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

34:970:523 Environmental Law and Policy

34:970:520 Planning and Land Use Administration

34:970:656 Urban Systems Seminar

Engineered Systems

16:180:563 Advanced Hydrology

16:180:565 Biogeochemical Engineering

16:180:566 Sediment Transport

16:180:556 Methods and Models for Resilient Building and Infrastructure Systems

16:180:575 Groundwater Engineering I

16:180:590 Coastal Engineering

16:180:591 Sustainable Environmental Biotechnology

16:180:592 Green Infrastructure for Water Management

16:375:504 Water and Wastewater Treatment

16:375:509 Groundwater Pollution

16:450:507 Applied Geomorphology