Climate Change

BAAS Course Block in Climate Change

About the Climate Change course block

Climate change represents one of the most controversial and least understood threats to human, economic and environmental well-being on a global scale. The study of climate change offers an opportunity to develop the skills and effective policies to reduce risk and better adapt to a changing environment. In this course block, you gain an understanding of the Earth’s climate system and how and why it has changed over time. Within the disciplines of oceanic and atmospheric science, you focus on the mechanisms that drive climate change, both natural and the result of human actions. You also develop the communication skills to more effectively share an understanding of climate change and its relevant policy implications with a broad audience.

Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree courses in the Climate Change course block are offered on an accelerated (8-week) schedule. Courses in the block are largely asynchronous with some optional synchronous sessions to be scheduled by the instructors.

All Penn LPS Online courses offer academic credit.*

*Academic credit is defined by the University of Pennsylvania as a course unit (c.u.). A course unit (c.u.) is a general measure of academic work over a period of time, typically a term (semester or summer). A c.u. (or a fraction of a c.u.) represents different types of academic work across different types of academic programs and is the basic unit of progress toward a degree. One c.u. is usually converted to a four-semester-hour course.

The Climate Change course block prepares you to:

  • Reconstruct the history and scales of climate changes
  • Learn basic atmospheric and ocean dynamics to understand fundamental climatic processes and future changes
  • Examine the mechanisms that act to drive climate change
  • Analyze long-term natural climate variability on a global and regional scale
  • Understand the importance of natural environmental change as a benchmark against which to assess human impacts, recent climate change, and future environmental change
  • Deepen insights into methods of scientific inquiry
  • Refine communication skills to effectively share an understanding of climate change, with a focus on both science and policy implications

Meet the Faculty

Maria-Antonia Andrews
  • Associate Director, Undergraduate Programs in Earth and Environmental Science
Online Certificate in Climate Change instructor
  • Director, Professional Master's Programs in Earth and Environmental Science
Jane Dmochowski, PhD
  • Senior lecturer, Earth and Environmental Science
Zephi Francis
  • Lecturer, Penn’s College of Liberal and Professional Studies
Elizabeth C. Scheyder
  • Senior Instructional Technology Project Leader, School of Arts & Sciences Computing and Lecturer in SAS and LPS


Students must complete CLCH 1600: Oceanography plus any three additional climate change courses from the list below to earn a Certificate in Climate Change. Although it is recommended that students take CLCH 1600: Oceanography first, students can start with any course and take them in any order.

Courses are subject to change.

Related concentrations