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Academic Programs

Many courses related to climate change and sustainability are currently available at UMass Lowell.

Are you a UMass Lowell student looking for ways to incorporate more climate change and sustainability courses into your spring semester? Spring 2021 course registration began November 2, 2020 and the CCI has made a list of its top sustainability-related courses for your academic interests!

Whether or not you are enrolled in a formal sustainability pathway, you should find courses across a variety of departments, including those that fullfil the core science elective requirement for the non-science major, and meet Core Curriculum Essential Learning Outcomes for Social Responsibility & Ethics (SRE), Diversity and Cultural, Awareness (DCA), and Critical Thinking/Problem Solving (CTPS).

The Physical Science of Climate Change - ATMO 1500

Due to the complexity of climate change, there are many important dimensions to the problem, including political, economic, social, and ethical. This course focuses on the physical science dimension of climate change: what are the key scientific principles needed to understand the causes and physical impacts of climate change, and to evaluate possible responses and their likely effectiveness. This class is offered for both science and non-science majors.

Introduction to Environmental Politics - POLI.1750

This course introduces major concepts in environmental politics to provide a comprehensive understanding of the formation of environmental policy in the United States. Throughout the course, particular attention is paid to the role of government and markets in creating environmental crises and shaping policy responses.

Plants and Human Society - LIFE.1250

This course is designed to introduce undergraduate students to the fascinating world of plants and their significance in our everyday world. The use of plants in medicine, agriculture, and industry and their importance to humans and our environment will be emphasized. This course is also designed to fulfill the core science elective requirement for the non-science major. Not suitable for credit towards any degree in the Division of Sciences.

Principles of Environmental Health Science - PUBH.2080

This is a survey course that provides an overview of the rapidly growing field of environmental health, through an introduction to the links between environmental stressors and impacts on public health. The course will explore human and industrial activities that impact on health such as overpopulation, food production, air and water pollution, waste, toxic substances, pests, and global climate change. The course will also examine the types of diseases and illnesses that result from environmental impacts. These impacts have multiple causes and understanding these can in turn provide clues as to the most effective prevention options. Students will explore topics of interest in greater detail through short writing assignments. Meets Core Curriculum Essential Learning Outcome for Social Responsibility & Ethics (SRE).

Global Environmental Policy - POLI.3580

This course explores contemporary international environmental issues from both theoretical and policy perspectives; consideration too of broader forces impacting international environmental politics.

Earth and Environmental Systems I - ENVI.2010

Earth Systems: Geosphere deals with the origin of the universe, solar systems and planet earth, the solid earth and processes at the earth's surface, geological hazards, coastal processes, deep sea sediments and the climate record, and contamination of water and soil.

Human Ecology - LIFE.2140

Designed to reveal and discuss the increasing problems of overpopulation in regard to environmental deterioration, living space, limits of natural resources and the adverse effects of human alteration on destruction of the natural ecosystem. The implications of current literature and news items will be emphasized. Not suitable for credit towards any degree in the Division of Sciences.

Evolution, Ecology and Conservation - BIOL.2400

Over 5 million species thrive in amazingly diverse habitats on Earth ranging from the extreme freezing cold of the poles to the lush warmth of the tropics. How did this fantastic diversity arise on our earth? How are these species intimately interconnected with one another, their communities and their ecosystem? How can we save this remarkable biodiversity from extinction? This course will address these key questions by examining the fundamental concepts of evolution, ecology and conservation biology. Students will be expected to attend a discussion section in which they will examine case studies and primary scientific literature.

Hydrogeology - GEOL.3140

This course investigates the science of water in a geologic setting with special emphasis on the distribution, movement, and chemistry of the water. The course will include the following topics: techniques for measuring elements in the hydrologic equation, accuracy of hydrologic measurement, statistical studies of floods, and study of groundwater for both steady-state and transient conditions.

Earth Materials II - GEOL.3080

Origin and properties of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. The rock cycle is used as a unifying concept. The role of rock properties in environmental, economic, and engineering applications is considered. Environmental, Earth and Atmospheric Science Majors only.

Green Energy Engineering - MECH.4260

Introduces a comprehensive range of green energy sources, and the tools and techniques to use that energy. A strong emphasis is given to residential applications, particularly those that are cost effective. Topics include solar energy, photovoltaic, water power, wind power, geothermal heating, and bio- fuel production and use. Course will also investigate architectural considerations essential to effective implementation of green energy. Course is open to Seniors in engineering and science and those with a solid knowledge of vector notations and college algebra. Familiarity with the MATLAB computing environment would be useful.

The Politics of Food - POLI.3320

The course will examine current debates in food politics over: regulatory politics and the appropriate reach of the state in food labeling, safety, and oversight; genetically modified food, organic and sustainable agriculture, the effects of economic globalization of the food supply chain and the future of the world food system.

Environmental Law - LGST.3670

This course examines the legal and administrative problems of protecting the quality of the human environment. Federal and state legislation on environmental policy is studied. Public interest litigation as a supplement to the enforcement of environmental law is discussed. The course also focuses on the practical problems of balancing the needs of business, the global competitiveness of the United States, the increasing demand for natural resources, and the need to protect, preserve, and restore the environment. The importance of sustainable development and environmental ethics are discussed.

Climate change and sustainability are transdisciplinary subjects with inextricable ties to course offerings across all six UMass Lowell colleges. Below you will find a collection of courses that may not center sustainability, but clear applications can be made.

The World of Things: Consumer Cultures in the Modern West - HIST.3010
Communicable Diseases and Environmental Health - PUBH.3100
Introduction to Public Health - PUBH.1021
International Law - LGST.3660
Community Psychology - PSYC.2550
Psychology of Decision-Making - PSYC.3680
Community Health Assessment - PUBH.3060
Environmental Engineering - CIVE.3620

CCI and Academics at UMass Lowell

Climate Change Initiative (CCI) Faculty engage undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral students through a diversity of course offerings, research opportunities, and community engagement. There are two CCI Faculty-led minors whose courses reach both undergraduate and graduate students: Environment and Society and Climate Change and Sustainability. In addition to the academic offerings directly related to CCI minors, CCI faculty also bring environmental sustainability content into their courses that contribute credit towards other majors and minors. Furthermore, one faculty member actively engages non-CCI faculty in the College of FAHSS to retrofit existing courses to explore environmental and climate themes. For these reasons, accurately quantifying the number of students directly or indirectly impacted by the CCI's work is a challenge, although it can be estimated that CCI faculty impact about one-third of UMass Lowell students annually.

In addition to the links below, explore CCI online resources, including curriculum information and modules, research and blog updates.

For the latest course information please visit the UMass Lowell online Academic Catalog.

Undergraduate Minors

  • Environment and Society (E&S), is an interdisciplinary minor that provides students with analytical and communication skills, as well as the scientific knowledge needed to succeed in environmental policy, sustainable development, environmental education, environmental advocacy, and related fields. E & S students explore public policy, climate change, sustainability, resource rights, law and regulation, and the role of environmental issues in domestic and international conflicts. E&S students also engage in environmental research and service projects in collaboration with government agencies, non-profit groups, local businesses, and state and national parks.
  • Climate Change and Sustainability , is an interdisciplinary minor, under the direction of the UMass Lowell Climate Change Initiative and housed in the Environmental, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department. A student enrolled in this minor will gain an understanding of the basic science behind climate change as well as the social and economic consequences of climate change. Strategies for sustainability and climate adaptation will be addressed. For more information you can contact Lori Weeden (Environmental, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)