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.

    Summer 2020

    SUST 5480: COVID-19 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Resilience, Connections, and Threats

    How are sustainability & global pandemics connected?  Join us this summer to hear from interdisciplinary experts, explore systems thinking and plan for a more resilient future.

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

    In this course, students will study award-winning works of fiction and nonfiction across genres to understand how adolescent literature inspires activist positions vis a vis petronormative ideologies of power that are devastating the planet.

    Acara courses offer students the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge you need to be a changemaker, effectively addressing social and environmental issues. Students who take Acara courses are often successful in winning $5000 Acara fellowships to implement their ideas.

    • 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.

    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 5008: Policy and Science of Global Environmental Change

      Through readings, lectures, discussions, written assignments, and presentations, this course introduces the critical issues underpinning global change and its environmental and social implications.

    • GCC 5013: Making Sense of Climate Change: Science, Art, and Agency

      This course will examine climate change science, with a particular focus on how climate change is expected to affect key ecological systems such as forests and farms and resources for vital biodiversity such as pollinators.

    • 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 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 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.

    • 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 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 5711: Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy

      Students will study approaches from across the social sciences will cover how science and technology that 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 5721: Energy Systems and Policy

      This class will give a broad overview of energy systems in modern society, the social and environmental implications of current technology choices, and the market and policy structures that govern energy production and use. Topics will include state and federal regulatory jurisdictions, utility business models, oil and gas markets, local government policy, electrification, renewable and distributed energy, and consumer end-use trends.

    • 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 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: Advocacy Lab: Skills for Social Change

      This class will focus on the practical skills and applications of creating effective advocacy campaigns. The course will cover essential steps in designing and planning a campaign, including articulating a theory of change, creating a strong value proposition, targeting key audiences, mobilizing members, identifying tactics, raising funds, and evaluating success. Students will apply their knowledge to contemporary policy contexts and explore their own identity as an advocate.

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

    • COMM 4251/5251: 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    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 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 5043: Regenerative Game Studio: Playing for the Future

      In this course, students will design games where winning is achieving multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals, which prepares them to become system teachers, leveraging organizations and networks for change.

    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 5721: 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 5751: Addressing Climate & Energy Challenges at the Local Scale

      This course examines energy and climate innovations at community and local scales to prepare students for professional work on climate change and energy issues at local and community levels – key areas of activity for careers in sustainability, environmental policy, climate change, and resilience.

    • 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.