Undergraduate Program Climate Change Science and Adaptation Minor

Students doing research in Antarctica

Climate Change Science and Adaptation Minor Overview

Climate change is one of the most critical issues facing the world today. Become better informed and engaged on this pressing issue with PSU's Climate Change Science and Adaptation minor.

You'll gain a broad understanding of the physical science underlying human-caused climate change, what those changes mean for society and the environment, and how society can best manage these changes.

You'll graduate with a strong foundation in an important and relevant topic, and give yourself a competitive edge in the job market where employers are increasingly looking for employees with knowledge of the impacts of climate change.

Degree Details

  • m
    Delivery Method
    On campus
    Total Credits
    Start Term

Learn more about PSU’s academic program delivery methods.

Climate Change Science and Adaptation Minor: Why PSU?

At PSU, you'll gain a unique understanding of climate change in a city that has been addressing the issue for nearly 25 years.

Our program provides you with a solid and fundamental understanding of the physical science basis behind climate change, how it differs from and influences weather, and how physical scientists study the climate system. You'll learn the core risks and vulnerabilities associated with climate change and various spatial and temporal scales.

You'll learn about different approaches to addressing climate change, from the local to international levels, including the United Nations Framework on Climate Change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Paris Accord, cap and trade, and climate action and adaptation plans.

You'll be exposed to and gain experience with climate research methods and climate adaptation planning processes.

At PSU, we have faculty from a wide range of disciplines who focus on various aspects of climate science and management and bring their expertise to the classroom. Many are also working on applied projects with local, state, and federal agencies.

In addition to a core set of classes, the minor offers two tracks: management and policy, and physical science. You can choose courses from nine different disciplines across PSU: geography, environmental science, and management, physics, philosophy, sociology, economics, urban studies and planning, environmental engineering and systems science.

What can I do with a Minor in Climate Change Science and Adaptation?

A working understanding of climate change and climate change adaptation can open doors to a variety of job opportunities, including city and county bureaus that are involved with implementing climate action plans; public utilities; and state government, especially in a state like Oregon that is considering carbon cap and trade legislation and a carbon tax. Companies in the private sector are also increasingly concerned with the ongoing and impending impacts of climate change and the need to address future regulations.

You can pair the Climate Change Science and Adaptation minor with any major, and no matter what career you choose, it'll give you a significant advantage.

Featured Courses

  • GEOG 310U/Sci 333U Climate and Water Resources
  • GEOG 311U Climatology
  • GEOG 312U/Sci 334U Climate Variability and Change
  • GEOG 314U Severe Weather
  • GEOG 412 Global Climate Change Science and Socio-environmental Impact Assessment
  • ESM 464 Climate Adaptation: Managing Environmental Risks and Vulnerabilities
  • PH 375U Climate Change and Human Life
  • PH 471/ESM 471 Physical and Human Dimensions of Climate Change


  • EC 430 Resource and Environmental Economics
  • ESM 462 Climate Change Impacts, Adaptations and Responses: Geosphere and Anthrosphere
  • PHL 449 Philosophy of Sustainability
  • SOC 465 Environmental Sociology
  • USP 313U Urban Environmental Issues
  • ESM 460/CE 488 Air Quality
  • ESM 471/Ph 471 Atmospheric Physics
  • GEOG 414 Hydrology
  • CE 489 Introduction to Advanced Environmental Fluid Mechanics


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).