Flooding, melting icecaps and wildfires are some of the effects of climate change that grab headlines. If you’re more interested in doing something about it than watching the news, several post-secondary schools in Ontario are now offering climate-change-focused courses and programs.
Altaf Arain, director of McMaster University’s Centre for Climate Change, says that universities around the world are incorporating climate change across faculties, from master’s degrees to one-off continuing ed courses.
“Climate is a very multidisciplinary kind of issue, with environmental, social, health, engineering and conservation aspects,” he says. “Despite a lot of work [on climate], there is no centralized forum that can effectively convey the message to policy-makers, the public and the community. These centres and institutes serve to educate and highlight the issues so that more informed and rational decisions can be made.”
New development, research and technologies in climate studies have given rise to a these courses. For example, Arain teaches McMaster’s Advanced Physical Climatology course, in which students use the most advanced methodology of data collection to understand surface environmental processes. Potential grads can follow a range career paths into wind energy, conservation, insurance and government.
“We need educated and skilled people in the green economy and the green technologies,” he says.
Conestoga College (Kitchener)
Climate Change ($385.92/course)
This online continuing education course gives students a broad understanding of what climate change is and its impacts. Over 42 hours, it covers current certainties, historical issues, international agreements and ethics.
George Brown College (Toronto)
Climate Change ($433/course)
This online course covers a range of topics, including climate change adaptation, global and national political issues, international agreements, the greenhouse effect and climate history. It explores the relationship between science, technology and people while stressing the individual roles people can play in combatting the crisis.
Humber College (Toronto)
Fundamentals of Sustainability Certificate of Completion ($1,623/program)
Offered through the school’s Faculty of Applied Sciences & Technology, this online program comprises four courses. Topics covered include the Kyoto agreement and the ethical responsibilities of individuals, corporations and governments. The sustainable development course delves into how human’s need for energy, food and water resources has compromised the natural ecosystems and one on energy resources and environmental geology.
McMaster University (Hamilton)
Earth and Environmental Sciences Masters program ($2,102.40/year)
If you’re serious about a career focused on climate change, you can earn a Master of Science or Doctorate in Earth and Environmental Science at the Hamilton-based school. Students will research environment, water, climate, geochemistry and geology via the university’s Climate Change Centre. There are MA, MSc and PhD degrees, and undergrads who meet requirements can directly enter the PhD program.
Seneca College (Toronto)
Climate Change ($348.20/course)
This online continuing education course gives students a general overview of global warming. In addition to delving into climate change issues, you’ll develop skills in innovative thinking, research, political awareness and ethical reasoning. You’ll also have the opportunity to debate and gain oral and written communication skills.
University of Waterloo (Waterloo)
Climate Risk Management graduate diploma ($1,127/term plus fees)
The university offers an on-campus masters of climate change and an online graduate diploma in climate risk management (CRM). The diploma is part-time so that early-to-mid-career professionals can apply what they learn on the job. Topics covered include assessing and interpreting climate change data, incorporating climate change into business decisions and greenhouse gas accounting and management.
University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies
Climate Change Policy and Practice certificate ($3,600/program)
Students who complete this certificate will be able to apply greenhouse gas emission reduction strategies to their organizations. The program covers factors driving the price of carbon and cap-and-trade schemes. There’s an emphasis on how public and private corporations verify, validate and report emissions. Students will come away with the ability to prepare compliance documents.