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Undergraduate Courses

Rutgers Undergraduate Courses Related to Climate and Environmental Change

Journalism and Media Studies


04:567:474:01 Contemporary Issues in Media Studies IV: Science, Environment, & Media
This course will explore the media's role in how we understand and communicate about the most important science and environmental issues of our day. Students will critically analyze representations of science and environmental issues in journalism and popular culture; develop strategies for using media to effectively communicate about science and environmental topics; learn how the media influence what people know and think about science and environmental issues; and develop an understanding of the psychology and politics behind why it is so hard to change people's minds about controversial topics like climate change, GMOs, and childhood vaccinations.

Meteorology Program 

11:670:111-112 WEATHER, CLIMATE, AND TELEVISION I, II (1.5, 1.5)

Provides a theoretical foundation of television broadcasting and meteorology to supplement the hands-on television experience gained from the WeatherWatcher Living-Learning Community.  By examining the history and characteristics of television, critical analyses of news and weather-related programming, and special topics pertaining to meteorology, students will gain a rounded understanding of the medium and its impact on the field of meteorology and broadcasting.  This WeatherWatcher Living-Learning Community academic course is required of all first-year residents.

11:670:201 ELEMENTS OF METEOROLOGY (3) 
Overview of current weather maps; structure of the atmosphere and the role of moisture in the development of dew, clouds, and precipitation; air masses, fronts, cyclones, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Elements of weather forecasting, instrumentation and communication.

11:670:202 ELEMENTS OF CLIMATOLOGY (3) 
Major climatic controls; climatic classifications and comparisons of major climatic types; an overview of current climate issues such as global warming and El Niño; overview of the global climate.

11:670:414 HYDROLOGIC PROCESSES (3) 
Physical processes governing the occurrence and movement of water through the atmosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere. Techniques for collecting and analyzing hydrologic data and predicting the hydrologic states of particular systems. 

11:670:431 PHYSICAL METEOROLOGY (3) 
Atmospheric optics; atmospheric radiation and applications to climate; atmospheric convection; cloud and precipitation formation; turbulence and boundary layer processes; atmospheric electricity.

11:670:444 TROPICAL METEOROLOGY (3) 
The dynamics and thermodynamics of the tropics, including regional and large-scale tropical circulations and their role in the global general circulation, tropical wave dynamics, convection and convective systems, synoptic, intraseasonal, and seasonal variability; monsoons, the El Nino/Southern Oscillation, tropical cyclones and hurricanes.

11:670:451 REMOTE SENSING OF OCEANS AND ATMOSPHERE (3)
Methods, instruments, and their application to observations of ocean and atmosphere. Sensing of oceanic parameters such as temperature, salinity, currents, sea state, turbidity and pollutants.

11:670:461 CLIMATE DYNAMICS (3) 
The climate system and how it is changing due to natural and human causes, including past climate variations, El Nino, global warming, climate modeling, nuclear winter, mitigation options, and geoengineering.

Department of Environmental Sciences


11:375:322 ENERGY TECHNOLOGY AND ITS ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT (3)

The purpose of this course is to critically examine the technology of energy systems that will be acceptable in a world faced with global warming, environmental pollution, and declining supplies of oil. The course examines traditional (oil, natural gas, coal), renewable energy sources (solar, wind, biomass), and other non-carbon emitting sources (nuclear) and reduced carbon sources (co-generation, fuel cells). Both devices as well as overall systems will be analyzed.

11:375:346 INTRODUCTION TO ATMOSPHERIC CHEMISTRY (3) 

Principles of atmospheric chemistry. Issues include the Antarctic ozone hole, ozone smog, acid rain, air toxics, greenhouse gases, and aerosols. Environmental implications of changing atmospheric composition.

Marine & Coastal Sciences


11:628:204 THE WATER PLANET (3) 
Characteristics of water: hydrologic cycle; runoff and erosion; river systems; past and present climates. Environmental impact; resources of water; political and economic aspects of water.

11:628:451 PHYSICAL OCEANOGRAPHY (4) 
Physical and chemical properties of sea water. Sound and radiation in the oceans. Heat, water, and momentum exchange at air-sea interface. Tides, waves, and currents.

Department of Ecology Evolution and Natural Resources


11:704:451. ECOSYSTEMS ECOLOGY AND GLOBAL CHANGE (3)  
Analysis of the major global changes based on principles of ecosystems ecology; carbon, nutrient, and pollution cycling mechanisms and budgets; the methods used to study these phenomena.


Department of Human Ecology 


11:374:102 GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE (3)
Scientific and policy dimensions of international environmental affairs; problems, response mechanisms, regional and national activities, and alternative strategies. 

11:374:225 ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH IN SOCIETY AND THE MASS MEDIA (3)

This course will provide an introduction to the social, mass media and social media presentation of environmental and health. Students will explore how knowledge, attitude, behaviors, and social structure influence public perceptions and opinions of environmental and health risk. We will focus on depictions of environment and health: what effects those depictions have in perceptions of these topics, the role of audience and source on communication, and the implications for those working to address environmental and health issues. 

11:374:279 POLITICS OF ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES (3)

The content and process of policy making concerning air and water quality, toxic wastes, energy, and other environmental issues.

11:374:313 US ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY (3)

Course objectives: To further develop your capacity to evaluate environmental policy issues, including: how policy issues rise to national action; the science and scientific controversies; major actors in U.S. environmental policy creation and their roles; the relationship between environmental policies and the context in which they operate; how budgets and public administration affect environmental policies; and how environmental policy issues reflect or do not reflect regional or factional differences. Given the enormous variety of environmental issues active at any one time, this course will focus on four high-profile issues as examples for learning about environmental policy development.

1:374:315 INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY (3) 
The creation of international institutions to deal with shared and global environmental problems, such as ocean use and population. Assessment of the effectiveness of existing/proposed regimes, using decision-making simulations. 

11:374:325 ENVIRONMENTAL COMMUNICATION (3) 

Effective communication can be as important to achieving environmental goals as good science. Because corporations, government agencies, and advocacy groups realize this, there are increasing numbers of jobs that require these skills; public information and communication positions are available in a variety of settings. These positions require not only effective oral and written communication skills, they also require an understanding of how to develop effective outreach plans.

School of Arts and Sciences


01:556:143 ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE (4)
Introduction to science and the scientific method within the context of humanity's need for energy and the resulting impact on climate. Climate, physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering as they relate to energy and sustainability from a global perspective. Survey of energy-related economics and policy options.

01:090:295:03 CLIMATE CHANGE, JUSTICE AND EQUALITY: FROM THE TROPICAL RAINFOREST TO THE JERSEY SHORE (3)
The initial premises of this course are that climate change poses a grave threat to humanity, and that those who have contributed least to generating the problem -- i.e., the global poor, future generations, and non-human species, are the most vulnerable to its impact. This interdisciplinary seminar will explore the implications this challenge raises for notions of justice and equity. We begin by examining the fundamental question, 'what is justice?' Our understanding shifts when we focus first on injustice and how it is produced and reproduced in social relationships. In what ways are inequities among nations and social classes related to the drivers of fossil fuel and forest combustion? How might inequity be exacerbated not only by the impacts of climate change, but by policies designed to combat or adapt to them? Our discussion will be focused by in-depth consideration of two major case studies. The first concerns the various paying-poor-people-not-to-cut-trees policies under the rubric of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (or REDD), and the second looks at Hurricane Sandy impacts and responses on the Jersey Shore. Finally, through the lens of literature and performance art we will examine how this crisis makes us feel, and the course as a whole will lead us to confront what we – as individuals and as Rutgers University, can do about it.

Earth and Planetary Sciences


01:460:102 INTRODUCTORY GEOLOGY II (3) 
Principles and concepts of plate tectonics and reconstructing past geography and environments; the history of Earth's climate, environments, biogeochemical cycles, and life through time.  Designed for majors and minors.

01:460:110 SEA CHANGE: THE RISE AND FALL OF SEA LEVEL AND THE JERSEY SHORE (3) 
History of climate and sea-level change over the past billion years.

01:460:202 ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY (3) 
Analyses of issues and case studies related to cleaning of the environment, finding and using resources, predicting and mitigating natural disasters, and understanding global change.

01:460:203 BUILDING AND MAINTAINING A HABITABLE PLANET (3) 
Understanding human-caused environmental changes in the context of Earth’s 4.6 billion year history. Geological and human timescales; planetary habitability; planetary, biological, and civilization flows of energy and entropy; feedbacks between life, the carbon cycle, and climate; the evolution of complex life; human alterations of the Earth system; intelligent life in the Universe.

01:460:208 THE LAST 11,000 YEARS (3) 
Geologic events since the last ice age. Sea-level changes, volcanism, earthquakes, climatic change, erosional and depositional effects. Ancient record of events, myths

01:460:212 EARTH AND LIFE THROUGH TIME (3) 
Relationships between the development of Earth and its continents and oceans, atmosphere and climate, and the evolution of life through time.  Designed for non-majors.

01:460:476 HISTORY OF THE EARTH SYSTEM (3) 
Integration of atmospheric, oceanographic,  geological and biological concepts with an historical perspective to introduce the major processes that have shaped Earth's environment; climatic processes on geological time scales; the evolution of organisms; the cycling of elements; the feedbacks between these processes. 

01:460:434 THE QUATERNARY PERIOD (3) 
Glaciology and glacial geology; study of erosion and deposition by glaciers; creation of landforms; effect of the glacial period on flora and fauna.

Department of Geography


01:450:101 EARTH SYSTEMS (3)
Systematic introduction to physical processes on earth; including earth-sun relations, weather and climate, the hydrologic cycle, earth materials, and landforms. Emphasis on interrelationships among these phenomena.

01:450:102 TRANSFORMING THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT (3)
Introduction to the role of humans as modifiers and transformers of the physical environment. Emphasis on current changes and contemporary public issues.

01:450:140 THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT (3)
Physical and chemical bases of the "greenhouse effect" and its global impact; biological, climatic, economic, and political. Reducing the emission of "greenhouse" gases; nuclear energy and other alternative energy sources. Lec. 2 hrs., lab. 1.5 hrs. For nonscience majors; not for major credit in science and engineering.

01:450:213 The Global Climate System (3)
Exploring the climate system from a geographic perspective. The Earth's energy budget, hydrologic cycle, and atmospheric circulation examined at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. Natural and human-associated aspects of climate variability and change investigated.

01:450:313 Climate Change (3)
Climate variability and change of the past, present and future are explored. Natural and anthropogenic dimensions of change across continents, ice sheets and oceans are studied using a systems approach.

01:450:370 GLOBAL AND REGIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE (3)

Physical aspects and societal implications of climate change. Means of predicting and detecting change. Impacts on physical and human systems. Climate in the political arena; planning for the future.

01:450:403,404 ADVANCED PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY (3)
Problems in the geography of landforms, climate, soils, and vegetation analyzed from the viewpoints of both pure and applied sciences.

01:450:413 CLIMATE SYSTEM AND GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE (3)
Exploring the climate system and climate change from a geographic perspective.  The earth's energy budget, hydrologic cycle, and atmospheric circulation will be examined at a variety of spatial and temporal scales.  Present climate events and aspects of climate change will also be covered, including anthropogenic impacts resulting from deforestation, atmospheric pollution, urbanization, etc.

01:450:417 COASTAL GEOMORPHOLOGY (3)
Processes of erosion and deposition in coastal environments. Process-response models and problem-solving methods in coastal research.

01:450:311 NATURAL HAZARDS AND DISASTERS (3)
Human dimensions of selected types of extreme natural events (e.g., windstorms, earthquakes, floods, and droughts) in developed and developing countries.

01:450:491 GEOGRAPHICAL PROBLEMS (The World in 2050) (3)
How will population increase, climate change, and resource needs change the world by 2050? Chances are you will be around to find out. If you were born in 1990, you will be 60 years old in 2050.


Department of Physics


01:750:140 THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT (3) 
Physical and chemical bases of the "greenhouse effect" and its global impact: biological, climatic, economic, and political. Reducing the emission of "greenhouse" gases; nuclear energy, and other alternative energy sources. For nonscience majors; may not be taken for major credit in science and engineering.

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