Twin Cities campus
Twin Cities Campus

Climate Change and Health Minor

School of Public Health - Adm
School of Public Health
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
School of Public Health, MMC 819, A395 Mayo Memorial Building, 420 Delaware Street, Minneapolis, MN 55455 (612-626-3500 OR 1-800-774-8636)
  • Program Type: Graduate minor related to major
  • Requirements for this program are current for Spring 2022
  • Length of program in credits (master's): 8
  • Length of program in credits (doctoral): 12
  • This program does not require summer semesters for timely completion.
The main goal of the climate change and health (CCH) minor is to train students in the science of climate change and in the development and application of mitigation and adaptation strategies with which public health professionals can respond. There is a pressing need to develop a public health workforce that can navigate and adapt to climate change threats. The minor will provide students with a foundational understanding of the science of climate change, population social and health vulnerabilities, and practical skills in climate change modeling, surveillance, and programmatic and policy interventions at various levels (i.e., local, regional, state, national, global). The public approach is two-fold, with its focus on entire populations and on vulnerable populations (e.g., socially disenfranchised individuals who bear disproportionate climate-related health burdens). The School of Public Health is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH).
Program Delivery
  • completely online (all program coursework can be completed online)
  • partially online (between 50% to 80% of instruction is online)
Prerequisites for Admission
The preferred undergraduate GPA for admittance to the program is 3.00.
Other requirements to be completed before admission:
Special Application Requirements:
Students interested in the minor are strongly encouraged to confer with their major field advisor and director of graduate studies, and the Climate Change and Health director of graduate studies regarding feasibility and requirements.
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
Use of 4xxx courses toward program requirements is permitted under certain conditions with adviser approval.
Required minor field courses must be taken on the A-F grading basis, with a minimum grade of B- earned for each. Electives may be taken A-F or S/N. The minimum cumulative GPA required for the minor is 3.00.
Required Coursework (5 credits)
Take the following courses:
PUBH 6154 - Climate Change and Global Health (3.0 cr)
PUBH 6194 - Climate Change and Public Health: The Science and Public Health Responses (2.0 cr)
Electives (3 to 7 credits)
Master’s students select 3 credits, and doctoral students select 7 credits from the following in consultation with the Climate Change and Health director of graduate studies to meet minimum credit requirements:
EEB 5609 - Ecosystem Ecology (3.0 cr)
ESCI 5402 - Science and Politics of Global Warming (3.0 cr)
ESPM 5241 - Natural Resource and Environmental Policy (3.0 cr)
ESPM 5242 - Methods for Environmental and Natural Resource Policy Analysis (3.0 cr)
ESPM 5245 - Sustainable Land Use Planning and Policy (3.0 cr)
ESPM 5604 - Environmental Management Systems and Strategy (3.0 cr)
GCC 5005 - Innovation for Changemakers: Design for a Disrupted World [GP] (3.0 cr)
GCC 5008 - Policy and Science of Global Environmental Change [ENV] (3.0 cr)
GCC 5027 - Power Systems Journey: Making the Invisible Visible and Actionable [TS] (3.0 cr)
GCC 5031 - The Global Climate Challenge: Creating an Empowered Movement for Change [CIV] (3.0 cr)
GCC 5032 - Ecosystems Health: Leadership at the intersection of humans, animals and the environment [ENV] (3.0 cr)
GCC 5034 - How Can We Transition Minnesota to a Carbon-Free Economy? [TS] (3.0 cr)
GEOG 5401W - Geography of Environmental Systems and Global Change [ENV, WI] (3.0 cr)
HSCI 5244 - Nature's History: Science, Humans, and the Environment (3.0 cr)
LA 5003 - Climate Change Adaptation (3.0 cr)
LAAS 5050 - Integrated Topics in Land & Atmospheric Science (3.0 cr)
PA 5711 - Science, Technology & Environmental Policy (3.0 cr)
PA 5722 - Economics of Environmental Policy (3.0 cr)
PA 5724 - Climate Change Policy (3.0 cr)
PUBH 6528 - Climate Change and Healthcare Delivery Organizations: Considerations for Healthcare Leaders and Prof (1.0 cr)
VMED 5492 - Seminar: One Health and Infectious Diseases of Wildlife (2.0 cr)
Program Sub-plans
Students are required to complete one of the following sub-plans.
Students may not complete the program with more than one sub-plan.
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· Fall 2022

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PUBH 6154 - Climate Change and Global Health
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
Interconnected relationships between global climate change/human health. Develop computer models to predict climate change from natural/anthropogenic forces, predict human health outcomes as result of changing climate. prereq: Students must have elementary computer skills.
PUBH 6194 - Climate Change and Public Health: The Science and Public Health Responses
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: OPT No Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Climate change presents an almost unimaginable crisis to our existence. Its profoundness is coupled with an urgency to find solutions that contribute to collective and transformative actions. There is scientific consensus that the existence of human beings (and many other species) on the planet is in danger because of fossil fuel emissions. Human activity has led to increasing greenhouse gases (especially carbon dioxide) and a warming planet. A warming planet has negative consequences in terms of environmental degradation, extreme weather events, and social disruption?all of which have health and economic consequences. While the basic problem is acknowledged by scientists in diverse fields, many of the proposed responses to the current and projected climate-related changes are contrary to powerful political, cultural, industrial, and economic interests. The challenges posed by these interests, as well as the complexity (and sometimes imprecision and uncertainty) of the science, make it difficult for individuals to clearly understand the threats and the opportunities that must be addressed in the next several decades if the earth is to remain habitable for almost 9 million species. Hearts and minds must change quickly. Public and professional educational efforts must be massive, with clear messages of hope, urgency, and direction. Local, national, and global adaptation and mitigation responses must thus be palatable and accessible to diverse communities as well as to powerful economic and political entities. Public health policies, programs, services, and educational efforts must necessarily be created by multidisciplinary teams using community-focused approaches. These efforts must reach all affected individuals and entities, especially those who are most vulnerable to the negative sequalae of climate change. They must also effectively address the many political, social, and cultural barriers to the kind of transformative actions that are necessary to maintain the habitability of the planet. The course will take a public health perspective to encourage students to learn and critically evaluate information about three major content areas: (1) the science of climate change and its public health contextualization; (2) the existing, and projected, consequences of climate change to the environment, to human health, and to institutions and infrastructures that affect public health; and (3) public health mitigation and adaptation responses for industries, governments, communities, and individuals. A special emphasis will be placed on public health communications of climate change science, risks, and public actions. Credit will not be granted if credit has been received for PubH 7200 Climate Change and Public Health
EEB 5609 - Ecosystem Ecology
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Regulation of energy and elements cycling through ecosystems. Dependence of cycles on kinds/numbers of species within ecosystems. Effects of human-induced global changes on functioning of ecosystems.
ESCI 5402 - Science and Politics of Global Warming
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: ESci 3402/ESci 5402
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
Detection/attribution of global warming using radiation, climate system, and carbon cycle. Effects on society/biodiversity. National/global efforts. Controversy over responses/consequences.
ESPM 5241 - Natural Resource and Environmental Policy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: ESPM 3241W/ESPM 5241
Typically offered: Every Spring
Political processes at play in management of environment and how disagreements are addressed by different stakeholders, private-sector interests, government agencies and institutions, communities, and nonprofit organizations. prereq: Grad student or instr consent
ESPM 5242 - Methods for Environmental and Natural Resource Policy Analysis
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: ESPM 4242/ESPM 5242
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Fall Even Year
Methods, formal and informal, for analyzing environmental and natural resource policies. How to critically evaluate policies, using economic and non-economic decision-making criteria. Application of policy analysis principles/concepts to environmental/natural resource problems. Recognizing politically-charged environment in which decisions over use, management, and protection of these resources often occur. prereq: grad student
ESPM 5245 - Sustainable Land Use Planning and Policy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: ESPM 3245/ESPM 5245
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Planning theories, concepts, and constructs. Policies, processes, and tools for sustainable land use planning. Scientific/technical literature related to land use planning. Skills needed to participate in sustainable land use planning.
ESPM 5604 - Environmental Management Systems and Strategy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: ESPM 3603/ESPM 5603
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Environmental problems such as climate change, ozone depletion, and loss of biodiversity.
GCC 5005 - Innovation for Changemakers: Design for a Disrupted World (GP)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: CEGE 5571/GCC 3005/GCC 5005
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Summer
Do you want to make a difference? We live at the intersection of COVID-19, racism, economic recession, and environmental collapse. Now is the time to make an impact. In this project-based course, you will develop effective and sustainable responses to current social and environmental problems. You'll learn about tools, mindsets, and skills that will help you to address any complex grand challenge. Your project may address food insecurity, unemployment, housing, environmental impacts, equity, or other issues. Proposed designs for how you might have a impact can take many forms (student group, program intervention with an existing organization, public policy strategy, or for-profit or non-profit venture) but must have ideas for how to be financially sustainable. A primary focus of the course is how to identify the ?right? problem to solve. You will use a discovery process, design thinking, and input from field research to addressing the challenge you choose. You will build a model around the community?s culture, needs, and wants. Community members, locally and globally, will serve as mentors and research consultants to teams. Weekly speakers will share their innovative efforts to serve the common good. The course will be primarily ?flipped? so that students will have time to work on their projects in class. Students enrolled in GCC 3005 will work in interdisciplinary teams on problems identified by community mentors, students in GCC 5005 can propose a problem to work on individually or choose to work in teams. After the class, there is an opportunity to compete for funding through the Acara program. By the end of the class, you will have a well-designed plan to turn your project into an actionable solution if that is of interest.
GCC 5008 - Policy and Science of Global Environmental Change (ENV)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: EEB 5146/FNRM 5146/GCC 5008/P
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Through readings, lectures, discussions, written assignments, and presentations this course introduces the critical issues underpinning global change and its environmental and social implications. The course examines current literature in exploring evidence for human-induced global change and its potential effects on a wide range of biological processes and examines the social and economic drivers, social and economic consequences, and political processes at local, national, and international scales related to global change. This is a Grand Challenge Curriculum course.
GCC 5027 - Power Systems Journey: Making the Invisible Visible and Actionable (TS)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: GCC 3027/GCC 5027
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
An energy revolution is underway, and needs to accelerate to support climate and economic goals. But the general citizenry does not understand our current energy systems, particularly the seemingly invisible phenomena of electricity, and its generation, distribution, and use. Technical knowledge is only half the solution, however. It is through human decisions and behaviors that technical solutions get applied and adopted, and the importance of communication and storytelling is being recognized for its relevance to making change. How can science literacy and behavior-motivating engagement and storytelling be combined to help make systemic change? This course explores the integration of science-based environmental education, with art-led, place-based exploration of landscapes and creative map-making to address this challenge. How do we make electricity visible, understandable, and interesting--so we can engage citizens in energy conservation with basic literacy about the electric power system so that they can be informed voters, policy advocates, and consumers. In this class, you will take on this challenge, first learning about the electric power systems you use, their cultural and technical history, systems thinking, design thinking, and prior examples of communication and education efforts. With this foundation, you will then apply your learning to create a public education project delivered via online GIS Story maps that use a combination of data, art, and story to help others understand, and act on the power journey we are all on. All will share the common exploration of power systems through field trips, and contribute to a multi-faceted story of power, presented in a group map and individual GIS Story maps. No prior knowledge of GIS story maps or electricity issues is needed. The study of power systems can be a model for learning and communicating about other topics that explore the interaction of technology and society toward sustainability.
GCC 5031 - The Global Climate Challenge: Creating an Empowered Movement for Change (CIV)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: GCC 3031/GCC 5031
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Students will explore ecological and human health consequences of climate change, the psychology of climate inaction, and will be invited to join us in the radical work of discovering not only their own leadership potential but that of others. We will unpack the old story of domination and hierarchy and invite the class to become part of a vibrant new story of human partnership that will not only help humanity deal with the physical threat of climate change but will help us create a world where we have the necessary skills and attitudes to engage the many other grand challenges facing us. Using a strategy of grassroots empowerment, the course will be organized to help us connect to the heart of what we really value; to understand the threat of climate change; to examine how we feel in the light of that threat; and to take powerful action together. Students will work in groups throughout the course to assess the global ecological threat posed by climate change, and they will be part of designing and executing an activity where they empower a community to take action. This is a Grand Challenge Curriculum course. For: so, jr, sr, grad
GCC 5032 - Ecosystems Health: Leadership at the intersection of humans, animals and the environment (ENV)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: GCC 3032/GCC 5032
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
What are the effects of climate change, disease emergence, food and water security, gender, conflict and poverty, and sustainability of ecosystem services on health? Unfortunately, these large-scale problems often become overwhelming, making single solution-based progress seem daunting and difficult to implement in policy. Fortunately, the emerging discipline of ecosystem health provides an approach to these problems grounded in trans-disciplinary science. Ecosystem health recognizes the interdependence of human, animal and environmental health, and merges theories and methods of ecological, health and political sciences. It poses that health threats can be prevented, monitored and controlled via a variety of approaches and technologies that guide management action as well as policy. Thus, balancing human and animal health with management of our ecosystems. In this class, we will focus on the emerging discipline of ecosystem health, and how these theories, methods and computational technologies set the stage for solutions to grand challenges of health at the interface of humans, animals and the environment. We will focus not only on the creation and evaluation of solutions, but on their feasibility and implementation in the real world through policy and real time decision making. This will be taught in the active learning style classroom, requiring pre class readings to support didactic theory and case-based learning in class. Participation and both individual and group projects (written and oral presentation) will comprise most of the student evaluation. These projects may reflect innovative solutions, discoveries about unknowns, or development of methods useful for ecosystem health challenges. We envision that some of them will lead to peer-review publications, technical reports or other forms of publication. This is a Grand Challenge Curriculum course.
GCC 5034 - How Can We Transition Minnesota to a Carbon-Free Economy? (TS)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
The science is clear that we need to decarbonize the economy on a global scale as soon as possible to prevent catastrophic effects of climate change on human health and the environment. What does it mean to develop a prosperous carbon-neutral economy, while also improving people?s lives and the environment? How can this transition happen to make the benefits of societal wealth more equitable, and while protecting vulnerable populations? Will a transition to a carbon-free economy force us to change our quality of life? Together we will seek practical solutions to address these complex challenges. While there isn?t a single ?right? solution to grand challenges, progress can be made through an interdisciplinary perspective. This course will attempt to answer these questions through: A series of primers?lectures and discussions on key topics?to build your understanding of key topics for creating a carbon neutral economy Explore the conflicts that exist between solutions to rapidly reduce carbon emissions and create a clean energy future, through a deep case study of Minnesota ?Knowledge to Impact? workshops that introduce key skills and capacities for addressing any complex challenge Working in interdisciplinary teams to build upon lectures, discussions, and workshops to propose a well-developed solution to a problem related to the course?s grand challenge.
GEOG 5401W - Geography of Environmental Systems and Global Change (ENV, WI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Geog 3401W/5401W
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Geographic patterns, dynamics, and interactions of atmospheric, hydrospheric, geomorphic, pedologic, and biologic systems as context for human population, development, and resource use patterns. prereq: grad student or instr consent
HSCI 5244 - Nature's History: Science, Humans, and the Environment
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: HSci 3244/5244
Typically offered: Every Fall
We examine environmental ideas, sustainability, conservation history; critique of the human impact on nature; empire and power in the Anthropocene; how the science of ecology has developed; and modern environmental movements around the globe. Case studies include repatriation of endangered species; ecology and evolutionary theory; ecology of disease; and climate change.
LA 5003 - Climate Change Adaptation
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: LA 3003/LA 5003
Typically offered: Every Fall
This course will study nations, regions, cities, and communities that have adapted or are undergoing adaptation to climate change. The course will examine different approaches in planning, policy, economics, infrastructure, and building design that increase the adaptive capacity of human settlements. These approaches will vary in scale from the construction of new neighborhoods to the implementation of storm water gardens. The course will emphasize multi-functional strategies which couple climate change adaptation with other urban improvements. Learning Objectives: • To understand role of climate adaptation in the reconfiguration of human settlements. • To apply design thinking to the issue of climate adaptation in the context of an urban society. • To apply knowledge to challenge-based coursework on managing climate risk, decreasing climate vulnerability, and building resilience to climate change.
LAAS 5050 - Integrated Topics in Land & Atmospheric Science
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall
Earth system science. Interactions between the land and atmosphere. Biogeochemistry, human-environment interactions, environmental biophysics, and global environmental change.
PA 5711 - Science, Technology & Environmental Policy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Interplay of science, technology, the environment, and society. Approaches from across the social sciences will cover how science and technology can create new environmental pressures as well as policy challenges in a range of spheres from climate change to systems of intellectual property and international development.
PA 5722 - Economics of Environmental Policy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Introduction to economic principles and methods as they apply to environmental issues such as climate change, biodiversity conservation, and water quality. Course will cover benefit-cost analysis, methods of environmental valuation, as well as critiques of market-based solutions to environmental challenges.
PA 5724 - Climate Change Policy
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Existing and proposed approaches to mitigate and adapt to climate change through policies that cross scales of governance (from local to global) and impact a wide range of sectors. Exploration of climate change policy from a variety of disciplinary approaches and perspectives, emphasizing economic logic, ethical principles, and institutional feasibility. How policy can be shaped in the face of a variety of competing interests to achieve commonly desired outcomes. Students develop a deep knowledge of climate change in particular countries through a team final project. prereq: Intro microecon (such as Econ 1101 or equiv)
PUBH 6528 - Climate Change and Healthcare Delivery Organizations: Considerations for Healthcare Leaders and Prof
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
Climate change has been named the number one public health issue of the 21st century. Understanding the connection between climate and health is essential for healthcare organizations to successfully plan for future needs and scenarios. As the largest sector of our economy, health care organizations have an obligation to take action to adapt to climate-related changes and to mitigate its effects. This course will cover key topics associated with climate change that will have a direct effect on healthcare delivery organizations and their leaders and professionals. This includes the impact of climate change on underserved populations, changes in disease burden, disaster planning, environmental sustainability, and the general role of healthcare organizations and professionals as educators and advocates on this topic. Guest speakers will include remarkable leaders that are actively addressing these topics within the industry and within their organizations.
VMED 5492 - Seminar: One Health and Infectious Diseases of Wildlife
Credits: 2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: S-N only
Typically offered: Every Fall
The course will explore the applied concept of One Health and infectious diseases of wildlife in weekly case studies. In each case study, students will gain an understanding of system dynamics, infer the interplay between humans, animals and the environment in the context of a given wildlife disease, and confront current disease management practices and challenges for successfully mediating transmission and spread.