Climate Science Minor

News and opinions about earth’s climate and global climate change can be found everywhere in today’s media, but without a foundational knowledge of climate science, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. The Climate Science Minor aims to give students a strong interdisciplinary foundation in climate science with opportunities to explore policy, energy, and human dimensions of climate change.

All climate minors enroll in an integrative capstone seminar (ATMS/OCN/ESS 475—3 cr) where they participate in a weekly seminar series covering current research in climate science and a separate discussion section targeted for undergraduates. This seminar is a small class with lots of discussion.

See one climate minor student’s reflection on the climate minor and another’s on a study abroad to Greenland

Course requirements

Minimum of 25 credits

  • One of ESS 201, ATM S 211 or ATM S 321 (3-5 credits)
  • One of OCN/FISH 452, AMATH 301, Q SCI 381, or CSE 160 (4 credits)
  • Integrated Capstone Experience: ATM S/ESS/OCN 475 (3 credits)
  • Science Electives: At least one course from each of ATM S, ESS, and OCN. See checklist for the current list of approved science electives (minimum of 12 credits).
  • Application Elective: one social science, policy, and energy course may be used to reach 25 credits.

Additional Detail

  • Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA in courses applied to the minor.
  • Minimum 15 credits must be taken from the University of Washington.
  • Minimum 18 credits outside the student’s major.
  • Minimum of 15 credits must be upper division.

NOTE: Students are encouraged to take MATH 124, MATH 125, Math 126, PHYS 121, PHYS 122, and PHYS 123 or see adviser in order to complete the requirements for the minor.

Planning Worksheet (updated 5/26/20)

Contact PCC Academic Adviser Miriam Bertram at to discuss course selection.

Contact your major adviser to declare the minor and integrate the courses into your academic plan.

Subscribe to the climate minor mailman list to get notices about climate-related events, updates to the minor, and course offerings related to climate.

Additional information about general minors can be found here.

Advice for students interested in the Climate Science Minor:

Take either ESS 201 or ATM S 211 in your freshman or sophomore year; this will complete the prerequisite for the capstone course (OCN/ESS/ATM S 475) which you should take during winter quarter of your junior year.  THE CAPSTONE COURSE IS ONLY OFFERED ONCE A YEAR.

Do NOT wait until your senior year to take all the climate minor courses. Students that have tried to complete 3 or more of the climate minor courses in their last year can find that conflicts between climate minor options and their major requirements cannot be resolved, and the climate minor cannot be completed.


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