Climate Adaptation


Graduate Certificate | Climate Adaptation

Program Format:   
Entrance Exam: Not required


The Graduate Certificate in Climate Adaptation is designed to give students an appropriate background in climate change science and its implications for society to support the development of informed policy and business decisions. The certificate combines climate change science with broad knowledge of climate-sensitive sectors to support the development of effective adaptation and mitigation strategies. This program supports the goals of students interested in careers in climate change adaptation and current professionals in climate-sensitive sectors who are concerned with the aspects of planning or setting policies affected by global climate change.

The program's 12 credit hours (four courses) can be completed online. It provides a comprehensive graduate-level credential for students who want to maximize their flexibility. Students may choose to complete the certificate online or in person. The certificate is the ideal choice for professionals who need a versatile option to further develop their knowledge of climate adaptation. Additionally, professionals who are located internationally can complete all of the coursework online from their home countries. Certificate students seeking further professional growth in the area of climate adaptation may, during the course of instruction, choose to apply for the on-campus Climate Change & Society master's degree.


Applicants must meet one of the three following requirements:

  • be a graduate of an accredited four-year college or university and have a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4-point scale in the last 60 credit hours of undergraduate study;
  • have a master’s degree;
  • be a degree student in good standing in an NC State University graduate program.

You may submit your graduate application for the Graduate Certificate in Climate Adaptation on the Graduate School website. You can check the status of your application at any time. International students must include complete transcripts, a degree statement and TOEFL or IELTS scores. Applicants should have a minimum 3.0 grade point average.


This 12-credit graduate program includes four 3-credit graduate courses. At 2019-20 tuition rates, the cost of these courses is $462 per credit for North Carolina residents and $1,311 per credit for non-residents. Thus, the total estimated cost for the program is $5,544 for North Carolina residents and $15,732 for non-residents. See Online and Distance Education Tuition and Fees for cost details.

Career Prosjects

The emerging demand for climate adaptation expertise crosses multiple sectors. New opportunities in climate change careers are increasing; we can help students reach their goals. The coursework is innovative, professional, and practical. Designed to provide critical skills and knowledge expertise in climate science and adaptation, this certificate program will equip students to make meaningful contributions to a variety of sectors.

The Graduate Certificate in Climate Adaptation requires completion of 12 credit hours. Students are responsible for verifying the prerequisites for any given course. Required courses are:

MEA 517 - Fundamentals of Climate Change Science

Units: 3

This course will present the basic science of climate change, including chemical and physical systems and processes. The students will be introduced to how the climate system works and the role of greenhouse gases in the climate system. Students will learn about climatological data, climate models and how predictions/projections are made. Emphasis will be placed upon relating predicted/projected changes to manifestations such as sea level rise and changes in the distribution and character of precipitation. Topics include the primary climate components, ocean-atmospheric teleconnections, decadal and multi-decadal climate indices, natural and anthropogenic climate variability, and climate model projections.

Offered in Fall Only

Find this course:

2019 Fall Term

MEA 518 - Climate Risk Analysis

Units: 3

Applying methods of risk analysis to evaluate options for dealing with climate change, this course will introduce appropriate statistical methods and develop applications to climate-change related issues. This course provides practical hands-on experience for professionals in analyzing climate risks and developing adaptation strategies in climate sensitive sectors. The specific content will rely heavily on case studies in hydrology, health, energy, and transportation sectors.

Offered in Spring Only

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2019 Spring Term

MEA 519 - Barriers to Climate Change Literacy

Units: 3

Investigates the discipline-based geoscience education lenses of the cognitive, affective, and behavioral barriers to climate literacy and the practical interventions for addressing them. Critically analyzes key aspects of climate science, common misconceptions, mental models, cultural influences, and risk perceptions about climate change. Students engage with the public and design projects for overcoming barriers to climate change literacy. The course features relevant readings, classroom discussions, student peer-review, and summative and formative course feedback though course assignments and exams. Minimum of 50% seats reserved for Climate Change and Society Certificate program students.

Offered in Spring Only

Find this course:

2019 Spring Term

GIS 510 - Fundamentals of Geospatial Information Science and Technology

Units: 3

This course provides an advanced overview of how geographic information systems [GIS] facilitate data analysis and communication to address common geographic problems. Students improve spatial reasoning and problem definition expertise while emphasizing geographic data models and structures, data manipulation and storage, customization through programming, and the integration of geospatial analysis and modeling into project-based problem solving applicable to a variety of disciplines. Skilled application of both desktop and cloud-based GIS software supports these areas. Extensive independent learning and computer experiences include virtual laboratory sessions, alongside optional online or in-person weekly help sessions to facilitate student learning.

Offered in Fall and Spring

Find this course:

2019 Spring Term 2019 Fall Term

Entry Semester Application Deadlines and Details
FallFall Application Deadline: August 1st
SpringSpring Application Deadline: December 15th

Dr. Roberto Mera

Program Coordinator, Graduate Certificate in Climate Adaptation

College of Sciences