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Humans and the Global Environment

Administrative Unit:Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
College/School: Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
Minors and Certificates:Ph.D. Minor, Graduate Certificate


Problems of global environmental sustainability and vulnerability have caught the attention of policymakers, the media, and citizens across the planet. There is an ever-increasing demand for researchers and professionals who can work on these topics. To become effective agents of environmental progress, students need interdisciplinary skills; training that incorporates humanistic, natural science, and social science perspectives and which can be applied to problems from the local to the global scale.

Assisted by funding from the National Science Foundation, the Nelson Institute has created a Certificate on Humans and the Global Environment (CHANGE) to aid in training graduate students to understand these complex issues. To accomplish this goal the CHANGE program involves faculty members in programs such as atmospheric and oceanic sciences, sociology, history of science, geography, environmental studies, veterinary medicine, and population health.

CHANGE welcomes applications from students in any graduate degree program at UW–Madison. The program does not have course prerequisites, but prospective students should note it is a cohort-based certificate. Therefore, class size is limited and admission is competitive. The certificate consists of a three-semester curriculum that prepares students to effectively devise solutions to interdisciplinary environmental problems. The CHANGE course sequence should be completed in three consecutive semesters.

The 12-credit curriculum is unique because it trains students in professional communication and knowledge-management skills while exposing them to cutting-edge understandings of how human and nonhuman environmental systems operate. Master's degree students who complete the program receive a certificate in CHANGE to supplement their graduate degree. Doctoral degree students can complete CHANGE as a certificate and/or as an external minor. CHANGE is not available as a stand-alone graduate degree.

For more information: Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Academic Programs Office, 70 Science Hall, 550 N Park St, Madison WI 53706-1491; 608-262-7996; fax 608-262-2273; grad@nelson.wisc.edu; nelson.wisc.edu/graduate/change/index.php