Study Climate at Emory

At Emory University, there are many opportunities for students to learn more about climate and climate change. Explore undergraduate and graduate courses, degree programs, and opportunities for studying climate abroad.  See tabs below for more information.

Please note that this information is subject to change. Please check the course atlas and the for the latest information.

Faculty -- have we missed or micharacterized a course?  Please email to let us know!

Spring 2021 courses that spend more than half of the semester on climate-related topics

EH 586: Adv. Sem in Climate Change and Health: Research and Policy

Instructor: Yang Liu 

Recommended prerequisite: EH 582/GH 582. Building on EH/GH 582, this course offers an advanced examination of climate and health research and solutions. On the research side, this course will use an in-depth climate health impact assessment study to demonstrate scientific premise, study design, data access and processing, research methodology, results visualization and interpretation. On the solutions side, we will unpack the history and current state of play of global and national climate policy while also diving deep into state and local efforts. In addition, we will pursue emerging topics related to climate change research and policy. Throughout the semester, students will work on a project that will contribute to the Georgia Climate Project, a multi-university consortium co-founded by Emory. Through this effort we will apply systems thinking tools to propose strategies and identify stakeholders important for implementing climate solutions.

EH 587 + 587L (optional): Intro. to Satellite Remote Sensing of the Environment and its Applications in PH

Instructor: Yang Liu 

Prerequisites: at least one GIS class (INFO 530) or equivalent. Geospatial information collected from satellite remote sensing has become a powerful tool in environmental and public health science and policy making. However, public health researchers usually lack training to benefit from this rapidly evolving technology. This computer lab-based course provides students with the theoretical basis and refined understanding of satellite remote sensing technologies, and tools for geospatial data analysis. Students will learn (1) the history, terminology and data structure of both land and atmospheric remote sensing such as those from MODIS and Landsat, and (2) the strategies and techniques to analyze geospatial data in advanced software packages. Various case studies and lab exercises help students overcome the initial hurdle to the effective use of satellite data in land use change and air pollution characterization, climate change and other areas related to public health. The final project allows the students to apply satellite data together with other information to solve a problem of their interest.

EH 590R: Environmental Health Seminar: Planetary Health

Instructor: Matthew Gribble

Human beings are profoundly altering the natural systems of the planet, resulting in a variety of unintended population health consequences. This course explores several of the mechanisms by which humans are influencing the physical, chemical, and ecological conditions on the planet, and some of the potential consequences of those ongoing changes in systems for human societies. Although all topics presented in this course are intersectional, the impacts can be broadly grouped into planetary health impacts of ecosystem changes (“biosphere”), and planetary health impacts of geological and atmospheric changes (“geosphere”). Successful completion of this course will refine skills in systems thinking and regard for planetary challenges.

EH 590R: Environmental Health Seminar: PH Communication Env. Justice

Instructor: Holly Patrick

Topic: Public Health Communication for Environmental Justice.

ENVS 342: Barrier Island

Instructor: Anthony Martin

Overview of barrier islands, integrates geology and ecology to understand barrier islands as places denoted by dramatic and rapid change. Includes human-related factors related to barrier islands and effects of climate change. Weekend field trip to Georgia barrier islands. Fulfills ENVS Elective.

LAW 624L: Climate Change Law

Instructor: Rebecca Purdom 

The purpose of this class is to prepare future practitioners to advise clients in all aspects of climate change law. The class will focus on federal law and rules, as well as regional, state and local greenhouse gas reduction programs, and how those programs intersect with the rapidly changing federal landscape under the Trump administration.

Fall 2020 courses that spend more than half of the semester on climate-related topics

ECAS | ENVS 190 Freshman Seminar: Natural Disasters

Instructor: Shaunna Donaher

The topics for freshman seminars are variable and change every semester. Past offerings include Climate Change, Global Earth Systems, Interpreting Behavior That You Can't See, Ecological Economics, Plants, People and Places and Ecological Restoration. 

ECAS | ENVS 326 / ENG 380-1 Climate Change and Society & ENVS 426 United Nations Climate Change Conference

Instructor: Eri Saikawa

This class draws upon the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as a way to explain interdisciplinary issues related to the science, policy, and business of climate change through multimedia. ENVS 426 is offered to students selected to participate in a one-week fieldwork trip to the U.N. Climate Change Negotiation as a part of Emory's delegation. The course explores interdisciplinary climate change issues from science, policy, and business perspectives.

ECAS | ENVS 229 Atmospheric Science with Lab

Instructor: Shaunna Donaher

Meteorology is the science of the atmosphere and the weather it produces. It seeks to understand the dynamics of the system in terms of available energy and how those dynamics produce the daily weather and long-term climate of the globe. This course will include a weekly lab.

ROLLINS | EH 543 Sustainability

 Instructor: Ciannat Howett

Students will explore principles, policies and practices related to sustainability. The course will cover the general approach to sustainability from environmental, social and economic perspectives. Lectures will also cover specific sustainability-related topics, including energy, water, waste, transportation, food, buildings, greenspace, land use, community revitalization, behavior change, purchasing, and curriculum development. The focus of our work together will be to analyze the role of the public health professional in shaping sustainability policy and furthering sustainability practices. This course has a satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading basis.

ROLLINS | EH 581 Public Health Consequences of Disasters 

Instructor: Judy Kruger

Considers health aspects of disaster preparedness and management of natural and man-made disasters. Topics include tornados, floods, nuclear accidents, etc. Explores lessons learned from the past and implications for current and future policies and disaster planning.

ROLLINS | EH 582 / GH 582: Global Climate Change: Health Impacts and Response

Instructors: Shubhayu Saha, Daniel Rochberg

This course will explore the public health effects of global climate change, epidemiologic and other methods for understanding and studying these effects, the public health adaptation response, and health impacts of potential mitigation efforts and activities. The public health response will be discussed with particular focus on global health issues. The course will emphasize a practical approach to vulnerability and risk assessment, and students will develop skills assessing the risks of particular climate-related health impacts.

Other Fall 2020 Courses that Cover Climate-Related Topics

 ECAS | ENVS 222 Evolution of the Earth with Lab

Instructor: Anthony Martin

History of earth in context of changing global environments. Emphasizes biological systems interacting with global processes: plate tectonics, climate change, sea level; lab exercises on minerals, rocks, fossils, geologic maps. Fulfills Intermediate Earth Science and upper-level lab for ENVS majors.

ECAS | ENVS 190 Natural Disasters

Instructor: Shaunna Donaher

Course description: This course will examine the science behind natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunami, meteorite impacts and more. We will critically evaluate Hollywood’s interpretation of these disasters in blockbuster films via student-led discussions and reports on historical events. The course will culminate in the development of an accurate film clip depicting a disaster. 

GOIZUETA | OAM 332 Business and Society

Instructor: Wesley Longhofer

This course surveys the complex and evolving relationship between corporations and society. As powerful social actors, corporations are increasingly held accountable to not just their shareholders but also a range of internal and external stakeholders. This course adopts a broad theoretical perspective on the challenges and opportunities that corporations confront in their interactions with society, such as struggles to maintain legitimacy, acquire resources, build partnerships, and solve complex global problems. Topics covered in the course include (but are not limited to) the following: The history of the corporation as a social, political, and legal actor; the participation of business in government, including lobbying and PACs; corporations, the environment, and human rights; ethical consumerism and cause-related marketing; fair trade and fair labor; corporations, NGOs, and social movements; and multilateral institutions that impact business, such as UNICEF and the UN Global Compact. A significant portion of the course will address the issue of corporate social responsibility and how companies are strategically addressing these challenges with business acumen.

ROLLINS | EH 500 Perspectives on Environmental Health

Instructor: William Michael Caudle

Students enrolled in EH 500 will focus on both domestic and global environmental and occupational health problems. Presents the ecological paradigm as applied to public health. Introduces the core areas of environmental health -- human toxicology, environmental epidemiology and exposure science ¿ and how they help us understand environmental influences of disease, exposure pathways, regulatory efforts, and the health impacts of various environmental exposures. Discusses various aspects of environmental health, including environmental contamination, food safety, occupational health, chemical and physical hazards, injuries, vector control, global climate change and rapid industrialization, and developing nations' perspectives.

Though Climate@Emory is a non-degree granting organization, Emory University offers several programs within which students may pursue climate change-related course tracks. Potential doctoral students might consider Emory's graduate programs in Population Biology, Ecology and EvolutionEnvironmental Health SciencesPhysics or other related fields.  Prospective masters students might consider the Masters of Public Health (MPH) program in the Rollins School of Public Health, the Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) program, or the Masters of Science in Environmental Sciences. Prospective undergraduate students might also consider a major or minor in Environmental Sciences.

Research opportunities on a wide range of topics related to climate change are available across the Emory campus, and are open to qualified and energetic junior researchers from many backgrounds. Prospective graduate or undergraduate students should read recent research manuscripts and theses from Emory faculty and students to become familiar with the diverse research being conducted on campus.  

Research Opportunities

  • Undergraduate students are able to conduct research through the Scholarly Inquiry and Research at Emory (SIRE)program.  Students interested in conducting research for a full academic year are eligible to apply and they will be matched with a faculty member, if successful.  SIRE students can either apply a work-study fellowship or gain course credits.  All students present their year-long research at a formal research symposium in April.
  • Undergraduate students interested in conducting research during the summer are encouraged to apply for the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience.  SURE students conduct guided research over the summer and participate in a formal research symposium at the end of the program.

Global Field Experiences

  • The Rollins School of Public Health offers Masters of Public Health (MPH) students opportunities to conduct a Global Field Experience.  See descriptions of past student experiences in this program.

Emory provides opportunities for conducting climate-related coursework in international settings through its Center for International Programs Abroad.  See below to find out about study abroad locations with an emphasis on climate change.

University of Freiburg

The University of Freiburg, an academic center long associated with the environmental movement in Europe, offers undergraduates semester-long opportunities to study climate change under its Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources. Emory students participate through IES Abroad, an education non-profit based in Chicago that has a designated Environmental Studies and Sustainability program at Freiburg (see IES Freiburg—Environmental Studies and Sustainability). Students take 5-6 courses per semester. (In the last two years, six Emory students have participated in the program.) Among the course offerings are:

  • Renewable Energies in a World of Transition: a course predominantly about climate change;
  • Green City: Economic Aspects of Environmental Change: one-third of the classes focus on climate-related issues;
  • EU Environmental Policies: On the Road to Sustainability: one-third of the classes are devoted to climate change;
  • Environmental Policies and Green Business in Freiburg: two out of 22 classes are about climate change.

School of Geography, Queen Mary College, University of London

Queen Mary College of the University of London, home to one of the leading geography departments in the United Kingdom, offers courses on climate through its School of Geography. Students are able to study at the college on a semester basis. Among the courses that principally or partially cover climate change topics are:

  • The Science and Politics of Climate Change: devotes a full semester to exploring climate-related topics;
  • Global Environmental Change: more than half of the classes cover climate issues;
  • Earth Surface Science: one-third of the classes involve climate issues;
  • Global Environmental Issues: about one-fourth of the classes are devoted to climate change.

Department of Geography, University College London

The University College Geography Department has a strong climate focus. Two of its six designated research clusters focus on climate change: Past Climates and Recent Environmental Change and Biodiversity, which is part of the Environmental Change Research Center. Undergraduates are able to study for a semester and take climate-related courses under the department's environmental geography program.