Graduate Students

You can find additional courses related to sustainability here, and courses related to environmental justice here.

If you are looking for courses on the UMN Duluth campus, you can find a list on this map.

*Please note: Any online course (denoted with asterisk) can be taken by students from all campuses system-wide through the Multi-Institution Enrollment process.


    Grand Challenge Curriculum courses immerse students in complex issues facing the world. Register for a GCC course and prepare to grapple with important societal challenges from multiple disciplinary perspectives.

    • GCC 5011: Pathways to Renewable Energy

      The course will closely examine the Realpolitik of energy and the technical, legal, regulatory, and policy underpinnings of renewable energy in the US and Minnesota.

    • GCC 5031: The Global Climate Challenge: Creating an Empowered Movement for Change

      The course will use a strategy of grassroots empowerment to help students connect to the heart of what they really value; to understand the threat of climate change; to examine how they feel in the light of that threat; and to take powerful action together. 

    • GCC 5032: Ecosystem Health Leadership at the Intersection of Humans, Animals, and the Environment

      This class 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.

    • GCC 5501: Knowledge to Impact: Creating Action with your Grand Challenge Project Idea

      This experiential course will help students learn the skills to develop solutions that address a specific problem that they have worked on in a previous GCC course or a similar project-based class. By the end of the course, students will create a design and implementation plan for a solution that could take many forms, depending on students’ interest and the nature of the problem.

    STEP courses combine skills in sustainability systems and social and policy processes with analytic methods to help students address public issues arising at the intersection of science, technology, environment, and society that shape human well-being, environmental sustainability, and social justice in a complex and diverse world.

    • PA 5715: Survey of Current Issues in Sci, Tech, & Environmental Policy

      The objective of this course is to explore current topics at the interface of public policy with science, technology, and the environment. You will gain an understanding of current “hot” topics in science, technology and environmental policy; further develop your critical thinking skills; develop discussion facilitation skills; and understand some of the social and historical contexts that have led to the current topics.

    • PA 5715 (002): Tribal Energy Transitions (Lecture Section 002)

      For tribal communities, clean energy creates opportunities to simultaneously advance local development, climate change mitigation, and tribal sovereignty. In this course, we will engage with tribal leaders across the continent that are leading local energy transitions in their communities. This class will explore the diversity of pathways to tribal energy transitions.

    • PA 5731: Emerging Sciences & Technologies: Policy, Ethics, & Law

      Innovations in emerging science & technology bring great benefits to human welfare, but also non-trivial risks to people and the environment. We’ll consider if green (new) deals make sense in terms of promoting innovation, how intellectual property rights are used to protect innovations, and if/how the process & products of innovation raise ethical challenges that disadvantage some.

    • PA 5741: Risk, Resilience, & Decision Making

      This course embraces how risk assessment informs policy development and decision-making in a cross-disciplinary way by addressing core natural science issues on technological impacts and core social science issues on public values and perceptions of risk. We will address scientific, technical, social, political, and ethical issues.

    • PA 5761: Environ. Systems Analysis at the Food-Energy-Water Nexus

      This course will explore contemporary issues at the nexus of food, energy, and water with a focus on Midwestern landscapes. Specific topics include farm policy, permitting of pipelines and energy production, mitigation of air and water pollution, and strategies to incentivize the conservation and restoration of landscapes.

    These are other courses taught by Institute affiliated faculty that welcome students from across the University.

    •  BIOL 5701: Science Communication; A Primer for Scientists

      Are you interested in honing your skills as a communicator? This class will help you improve your skills and gain confidence through practice and feedback. At the end of the course, you will have two finished pieces that you can use for fellowship applications or to publish

    •  CEGE 5180: Introduction to Circularity Systems (Lecture Section 002)

      Introduction to Circularity Systems is designed to provide students the fundamental knowledge and perspectives to develop sustainable solutions for water, energy, and materials use, re-use, and upcycling. The class will focus on creating a common vocabulary, grounding students in natural elemental cycles, differing perspectives on circularity and resource use, the importance of the co-creation of solutions.

    • CI 5442: Adolescent Literature, Youth Activism and Climate Change Literacy

      This course explores how contemporary adolescent literature engages with the developmental and identity challenges faced by a generation whose lives are framed by anthropogenic climate change, biodiversity loss, mass migrations, and other forms of slow violence inherent in the unsustainable carbon-intensive civilization.

      Online and open to all locations

    •  CSCI 8715: Spatial Data Science Research

      The main objectives of this class are to sample (a) what we know in spatial data science, (b) what we don’t know, and (c) scientific methods to advance knowledge frontier. Via homeworks and projects, this course helps students experience the scientific process and develop core research skills of literature analysis, innovation, evaluation of new ideas, and communication. Ph.D. students in this course may benefit from analyzing research papers and developing publishable ideas relevant to their projects.

    • FDSY 4101: Holistic Approaches to Improving Food Systems Sustainability

      Students in this capstone course address food system sustainability challenges both in the classroom and via service-learning, where they spend 45 hours engaged with a food justice-based community organization. Requires off-campus work at the community partner site.

    •  IDES 5617: Lighting Design Innovations and Technological Advances

      This course deepens students’ understanding of the relationship between interior and architectural lighting design issues, strategies, and methods in contemporary practice. It investigates an integrated approach to lighting design to consider lighting innovations and emerging trends in health and well-being, smart technologies, energy and performance, metrics and standards, and assessment processes and tools.

    • LAAS 5426: Atmospheric Radiation, Composition, and Climate

      Atmospheric radiation, composition/chemistry, climate change. Radiative transfer in Earth’s atmosphere. Changing chemical makeup of troposphere/stratosphere. Interplay between natural processes and human activities in air pollution, stratospheric ozone depletion, and chemical forcing of climate. Anthropogenic contribution to climate change/role of land-atmosphere feedbacks affecting atmosphere’s energy budget and cycling of greenhouse gases. Application to numerical modeling.

    • PMB 5802: Field Microbiology at Itasca Biological Station and Labs 

      Field Microbiology will be a three-week intensive course where students will be taught methods of environmental microbiology in both lecture and laboratory format. The goal is to not only quantify who is in a given sample but also to understand something about the conditions they live in (temperature, nutrient availability, etc.).


    EEB 5407: Ecology at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve – May Session 3 Week Course

    The goals of the course are to improve your ability to understand, apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate: biological population dynamics, community diversity, and ecosystem processes; theoretical, experimental, and observational approaches used in ecology; and many ways in which people influence and depend on biodiversity and ecosystems. Click here for more information.

    Grand Challenge Curriculum courses immerse students in complex issues facing the world. Register for a GCC course and prepare to grapple with important societal challenges from multiple disciplinary perspectives.

    • GCC 5003: Grand Challenge: Seeking Solutions to Global Health Issues

      In this course, students will work in teams to examine the fundamental challenges to addressing complex global health problems in East Africa and East African refugee communities here in the Twin Cities.

    • GCC 5005: Innovation for Changemakers: Design for a Disrupted World

      In this project-based course, students will work in interdisciplinary teams to develop entrepreneurial responses to current social and environmental problems.

    • GCC 5017: World Food Problems: Agronomics, Economics and Hunger

      This course provides a multi-disciplinary look at problems (and some of the possible solutions) affecting food production, distribution, and requirements for the seven plus billion inhabitants of this planet.

    • GCC 5027: Power Systems Journey: Making the Invisible Visible and Actionable

      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.

    • GCC 5041: Transition to a Sustainable World: Can Psychology Help Facilitate Global Sustainability?

      In this course, students will discuss the interaction between sustainability and behavioral psychology that will allow new approaches to achieve transition from unsustainability to sustainability worldwide.

    STEP courses combine skills in sustainability systems and social and policy processes with analytic methods to help students address public issues arising at the intersection of science, technology, environment, and society that shape human well-being, environmental sustainability, and social justice in a complex and diverse world.

    • PA 5243: Environmental Justice in Urban Planning & Public Policy

      Central to this course is the understanding that structural racism, in the form of social, political, and economic forces, has denied Black, Indigenous and other people of color (BIPoC) individuals and communities their rights to live in clean environments and access natural resources that allow communities to build and maintain their physical, mental, emotional, and fiscal health.

    • PA 5715: Deliberating Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy

      Forms of Resilience: Community to Climate Resilience: This is a 1.5 credit discussion-based seminar that will cover different disciplinary and practice-based applications of resilience (with a focus on climate and environmental topics).

    • PA 5711: Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy

      This course focuses on the 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 Natural Resource & Environmental Policy

      Students will learn core concepts in economics that underlie policy and decision-making related to environmental policy, conservation, and natural resource management. The course will explore and debate real-world applications of economic principles, as well as critiques of key assumptions in economic models and frontiers in behavioral economics, ecological economics, and issues of power, justice, and equity.

    • PA 5771: Change Leadership for Environmental, Social and Governance Action

      This course aims to give you a hands-on experience with a project investigating, designing, advocating for and implementing an environmental, social and governance (ESG) improvement in an existing or new organization. Non-degree-seeking students possessing a bachelor’s degree are encouraged to contact the instructor for permission to register. This is a core introductory course in Sustainability Leadership for professionals and graduate students, being developed by a collaboration among the Institute on the Environment, Humphrey School and Carlson School.

    • PA 5724: Climate Change Policy

      As policies to mitigate and adapt to climate change continue to take shape, what do decision makers, advocates, and analysts need to know to take effective action? This course will investigate climate change policy from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, emphasizing economic logic, ethical principles, and institutional feasibility.

    • PA 5920: Tribal-State Relations Workshop

      Minnesota is home to 11 sovereign Indian nations and about 120,000 American Indian people. Tribes are among the top 20 employers in the state, and tribal jurisdiction impacts thousands of acres of land in Minnesota both within and beyond reservation boundaries. This workshop will focus on public policy and planning skills, with an emphasis on tribal relations.

    These are other courses taught by Institute affiliated faculty that welcome students from across the University.

    • COMM 4251: Environmental Communication

      In this course, students will understand environmental communication as well as develop communication strategies that lead to more sustainable social practices, institutions, and systems. Please email the instructor,, if you are interested in taking the graduate level course.

    • CSCI 5715: From GPS, Google Maps, and Uber to Spatial Data Science

      This course introduces the fundamental ideas underlying the geo-spatial services (e.g. Uber, Google Maps, Doordash), systems (e.g., GPS, Spatial Database Management System), and sciences (e.g., Spatial Data Science).

    • CSPH 5000: Explorations in Integrative Therapies and Healing Practices

      This course will introduce students to research related to ways in which nature experiences replenish the body (physical and mental), improve the mind (concentration, creativity, mood) and restore the spirit (decrease stress and anxiety). This course is open to junior and senior undergraduate students as well as graduate students.

    • DSSC 8310: Environmental Justice Worldmaking (B-term)

      In Environmental Justice Worldmaking, learn about decolonization and education in transnational contexts.

    • HSCI 5244: Nature’s History: Science, Humans, and the Environment

      Students will 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

    • HORT 5131: Student Organic Farm Planning, Growing, and Marketing

      Organic fruit and vegetable production has been one of the fastest growing segments of the US economy for almost two decades, stimulating an overwhelming number of biological and ecological innovations to produce food using organic approaches. This course aims to increase student’s knowledge of ecological concepts as applied to managing organic systems, with an emphasis on soil nutrient cycles and plant-soil-microbe interactions that serve as the cornerstone of organic systems.

    • MDP 5001: Ways of Knowing for Sustainable Development

      Students will explore complexities of interdisciplinary study of development and a range of ways of knowing the field of development studies and sustainability. Including approaches practiced by physical, biological, social science, and humanities scholars.

    • SSM 5612: Systems Approach to Building Science and Construction

      This course will focus on the dynamic/interrelated issues of energy, moisture control and indoor air quality in residential buildings. It will also focus on design, construction, and operational aspects for energy efficient, durable structured/healthy living environment.