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Spring 2011

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Program Notes
Matthew Hurteau, PhD

New! The Master's in Climate Science and Solutions

“Climate change is the pre-eminent geopolitical and economic issue of the 21st century.
It rewrites the global equation for development, peace, and prosperity.”
– Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General 

Climate change and the associated impacts on both human and natural systems represent one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. The Climate Science and Solutions Professional Science Master’s program in the School of Earth Science and Environmental Sustainability offers a unique opportunity for students to develop the scientific and professional skills necessary for a career in climate change mitigation and adaptation. NAU is one of only a few universities in the country to offer an advanced degree in this field.

CSS Inaugural Cohort

Launched in 2010 with support from the National Science Foundation and President John Haeger’s Innovation Fund, the program admitted its first cohort of eight students last fall. With diverse backgrounds ranging from environmental consulting to information technology, members of the inaugural cohort came to NAU to build a skill-set that will power their success as they take on the climate challenge.

"As a professional science master’s (PSM) program, this degree is geared to train students in tangible skills for the work force," says student Matt Cohen. "I am excited not only by the opportunities that will be available to me when I graduate, but also by what I will be able to contribute to solving the global climate change crisis.”

Students complement an academic core in climate science, engineering, economics, and greenhouse gas management with a selection of coursework to aid them in achieving their individual career goals. Our current cohort has chosen to pursue further coursework in environmental regulation, geographic information systems, and statistics, among others. Central to the sixteen-month program is a summer internship working with climate change mitigation and adaptation professionals to gain hands-on experience and begin building a professional network. 

Climate Science and Solutions students don’t wait for graduation, or even their internship, to start having an impact through climate change mitigation activities. As part of the greenhouse gas management course and in partnership with the Northern Arizona Sustainable Economic Development Initiative’s Green Business Network, students are engaging with local businesses to help them quantify their greenhouse gas emissions. This baseline inventory will serve as a benchmark against which future emissions reductions are quantified. 

At the heart of this new program is interdisciplinary faculty involvement. Faculty members from engineering and the natural and social sciences bring their expertise in climate change mitigation and adaptation to program development and the classroom to provide a first-rate education. The program is also supported by contributions from an advisory board comprised of professionals from academia, industry, and non-profit and government sectors.

"The interdisciplinary nature of the Climate Science and Solutions program has given me a well-rounded understanding of the many facets of climate change," says student Annikki Chamberlain. "I have gained in-depth knowledge of climate change science, public policy, and the economics surrounding the pertinent issues. I’ll be entering the work force knowledgeable, skilled, and with a professional edge."

Contact climate@nau.edu for more information.


Matthew Hurteau, Visiting Assistant Professor and Graduate Coordinator, School of Earth Science and Environmental Sustainability