Graduate education in climate change

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Global climate change is a grand challenge for society in the 21st century. The observed impacts and future risks of accelerating climate change demand determined climate action. With a growing number of countries and businesses declaring a climate emergency and pledging to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, demand continues to increase for ‘climate intelligence’ and professionals in all sectors to possess a holistic knowledge of climate change science, policy and management. The Department of Geography and Environmental Management offers two graduate programs that equip students with the specialized knowledge and skills necessary to assess and manage carbon and climate risk.The University of Waterloo has joined with thousands of global leaders and organizations around the world to declare a climate emergency. The full declaration can be found on the University of Waterloo Climate Emergency Declaration page. The University of Waterloo has been a pioneer in climate change higher education with Canada’s first Master of Climate Change and our declaration recognizes students as critical agents of change. Together with colleagues from across campus we will continue to pursue our mission of empowering learners to succeed in careers which will be impacted by climate change and actively contribute to the transformations required in business, government and civil society.

Program overviews

Two students in front of a weather station

Master of Climate Change (MCC)

Delivery mode, study option: On campus, coursework

  • On campus coursework can be completed in one term full-time.

Registration option(s): Full or part-time

The MCC program provides a unique educational experience for students looking for advanced training and expertise specific to climate change. Graduates will be part of the first generation of climate change professionals and able to pursue diverse career paths in all areas of government, civil society, and local/international development.

Students complete a Master's Research Paper or Graduate Studies Practicum, gaining valuable research or work experience within the program curriculum.

Students in the MCC program will:

  • Achieve systematic understanding of climate change science, policy and management

  • Interpret and evaluate climate change research and policy

  • Gain professional skills in research execution, collaborative problem solving, and effective written and oral communication.

Person on a computer

Graduate Diploma (GDip) in Climate Risk Management (CRM)

Delivery mode, study option: Online, coursework

Registration option(s): Part-time

The CRM diploma is for the early-to mid-career professionals who must integrate climate risk management into their regular professional duties. This part-time, entirely online program focuses on applied skills that are relevant across multiple disciplines and professions.

Professionals in the CRM diploma program will:

  • Develop competency in climate science, risk, and opportunities

  • Achieve in-depth knowledge in three of the following:

    • Accessing and interpreting climate change data

    • Incorporating climate change into business decisions

    • Managing climate change risk

    • Greenhouse gas accounting and management