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As the impacts of climate change are realized more each year, it becomes increasingly necessary to have ambitious, hopeful, and innovative professionals dedicated to helping mitigate these changes through current and future plans of action. Though climate change and its effects can seem overwhelming, the Climate Action Planning emphasis will equip you with the research, resources and policy development tactics you need to professionally guide both current and future generations toward a sustainable and healthy planet.

Program Overview

Advocate for a sustainable future locally, nationally and globally.

Through a dedication to sustainability and a commitment to positive change, the innovative and impactful Climate Action Planning emphasis teaches you how implement tactics to reduce climate change and its effects both now and in the future. In this program, you’ll start by building a comprehensive foundation of environment and sustainability principles from ecological and political perspectives. You’ll then apply this knowledge to understand the implications of climate change on both major and minor scales, learn how to create and implement policies, advocate for change, and help work toward environmental resilience.

Learn from experience

Through this emphasis, you’ll combine academic research with a variety of field practices to give you both a theoretical and practical understanding of how to implement policies for effective climate action.

Program Requirements

At Western, course rotations are crafted to encompass a variety of subject fields for a comprehensive education and versatile degree. For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

Program Requirements 

The Climate Action Planning emphasis will provide the essential tools for climate planning which include assessing vulnerability to climate change and preparing for the future. The emphasis prepares students to identify and prioritize specific implementation steps in the electricity, transportation, land use, and waste management sectors. This includes an understanding of policies designed to mitigate climate change or help communities adapt, as well as quantitative approaches to measuring vulnerability and evaluating various paths forward. 
A minimum of 61 credits is required for the Environment & Sustainability Comprehensive Major: Climate Action Planning Emphasis. 

BUAD 305Applied Energy Seminar3
ENVS 100Introduction to Environment and Sustainability (GT-SS2)3
ENVS 200Writing the Environment3
ENVS 210Introduction to Climate Policy3
ENVS 250Environmental Justice3
ENVS 301Science of Sustainability and Resilience3
ENVS 320Quantitative Skills for Climate Action Planning3
ENVS 350U.S. and Western Environmental Politics3
ENVS 380Advanced Climate Policy3
ENVS 390Environmental Monitoring4
ENVS 400Applied Sustainability3
ENVS 410Environmental Ethics3
ENVS 435Environmental Grant Writing1
ENVS 440Climate Action Planning3
ENVS 499Internship in Environmental Studies3
Required Supporting Courses
BIOL 130Environmental Biology (GT-SC2)3
BIOL 135Environmental Biology Laboratory (GT-SC1)1
ECON 215Environmental Economics3
PHYS 125Energy and the Environment (GT-SC2)3
Select one of the following:1
HWTR 200
This Is The Headwaters
HWTR 398
Headwaters Conference
Select one of the following:3
ECON 216
Statistics for Business and Economics
MATH 113
Statistical Thinking (GT-MA1)
MATH 213
Probability and Statistics
SOC 211
Quantitative Research Methods
Select one of the following:3
ANTH 230
Cultural Anthropology (with laboratory)
ANTH 320
Cultural Ecology
ENG 151
Borderlands: Representing Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality
POLS 250
Politics of the Environment
POLS 340
Politics of Social Movements
POLS 350
Human Rights
POLS 355
The Global South
POLS 370
Political Economy
PSY 308
Environmental Psychology
PSY 410
Multicultural Psychology
PSY 457
Social Psychology
SOC 150
Environmental Sociology
SOC 168
Social Problems
SOC 340
Social Movements
SOC 380
Social Inequalities
Total Credits61

Capstone Course Requirement

The following course in the Environment and Sustainability Major fulfills the capstone course requirement: ENVS 400 Applied Sustainability.

Graduation Requirements

Undergraduate programs require a minimum of 120 semester credits for graduation.  Of those 120 credits, 40 credits must be in upper-division courses (those marked 300 and above).  Fifteen of these 40 upper-division credits must be earned in courses that are part of the standard or comprehensive major program being pursued. 

Students are expected to review all graduation requirements, which can be found in the Western Undergraduate Catalog: Graduation Requirements

Degree Plan

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
FallCredits
BIOL 130 Environmental Biology (GT-SC2) 3
BIOL 135 Environmental Biology Laboratory (GT-SC1) 1
ENG 102 Academic Writing (GT-CO1) 3
ENVS 100 Introduction to Environment and Sustainability (GT-SS2) 3
Gen Ed General Education (Area I, II, or III) 3
HWTR 100 First Year Seminar 1
 Credits14
Spring
COM 202 Academic Writing and Inquiry (GT-CO2) 3
Elective Elective or minor course 3
Gen Ed General Education (Area I, II, or III) 3
MATH 113 Statistical Thinking (GT-MA1) 3
PHYS 125 Energy and the Environment (GT-SC2) 3
 Credits15
Year Two
Fall
Elective Elective or minor course 3
ENVS 200 Writing the Environment 3
ENVS 250 Environmental Justice 3
Gen Ed General Education (Area I, II, or III) 6
HWTR 398 Headwaters Conference 1
 Credits16
Spring
ECON 215 Environmental Economics 3
Elective Elective or minor course 3
ENVS 210 Introduction to Climate Policy 3
Gen Ed General Education (Area I or III) 6
 Credits15
Year Three
Fall
BUAD 305 Applied Energy Seminar 3
Elective Elective or minor course 3
Electivechosen from selection of classes on cultural, racial, ethnic, gender, sex, sexuality, and/or class contexts 3
ENVS 301 Science of Sustainability and Resilience 3
ENVS 350 U.S. and Western Environmental Politics 3
 Credits15
Spring
Elective Elective or minor course 9
ENVS 320 Quantitative Skills for Climate Action Planning 3
ENVS 390 Environmental Monitoring 4
 Credits16
Summer
ENVS 499 Internship in Environmental Studies (Recommended but optional) 3
 Credits3
Year Four
Fall
Elective Elective or minor course 7
ENVS 380 Advanced Climate Policy 3
ENVS 410 Environmental Ethics 3
ENVS 435 Environmental Grant Writing 1
 Credits14
Spring
Elective Elective or minor course 6
ENVS 400 Applied Sustainability 3
ENVS 430 Watersheds of the World 3
ENVS 499 Internship in Environmental Studies (if not taken over summer) 3
 Credits15
 Total Credits123

Careers

Career preparation starts your first year at Western and is the primary focus of every degree.

Visit Career Services in Library 120 or online to discover your interests, define your goals, and land the career of your dreams.

The data below is automatically collected by Burning Glass Technologies, a firm that sources job market data and provides analytics. The statistics illustrate general trends in U.S. careers, but do not precisely represent every job and salary.

Scholarships

Alumni Association Future Alumni Scholarship

The Alumni Association Scholarship is a one-time scholarship of $1,000 and is applicable for the student’s junior or senior year at Western.

Any child or grandchild of an alumni is eligible to receive the Future Alumni Scholarship.

  • This is a one-time non-renewable scholarship of $1,000.
  • Only one Future Alumni Scholarship will be awarded per academic year.
  • GPA must be 3.2 or above (college).

Due date has been extended to April 1 for 2022. An Alumni selection committee, appointed by the Alumni Advisory Council, will review applicants and select awardee by June 1.

Apply

Alumni Legacy Scholarship

The Alumni Legacy Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western (incoming freshman or new transfer students are eligible).

Do you have a son or daughter looking at college? Have they considered attending Western? As an alumni, your son, daughter and/or grandchildren are eligible for certain benefits distributed through this scholarship, as follows:

  • This is a one-time scholarship of $1,000.
  • Nominee must be an incoming first-year student or new transfer.
  • The cost of orientation is reduced by half (a $45 value).
  • The admission application fee is waived (a $30 value).
  • GPA must be 2.5 or above (high school or college of transfer).

The applicant must fill out the application form found below. Application forms are accepted year-round. If the applicant meets the GPA guidelines, the scholarship will be awarded.

Apply

Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship

The Mountaineer Alumni Recommendation Scholarship is a one-time non-renewable scholarship and is only applicable for the student’s first year at Western. This scholarship is not available to midyear transfers or students beginning in the spring semester.

Are you an alumni or employee of Western and know a prospective (or incoming) student who would be a great fit at Western? A recommendation from alumni and employees can support any new student and provide them a $500 scholarship their first year. (Western employees may not recommend a spouse or dependent receiving tuition benefits).

  • Any Western alumni/employee may nominate only one student per academic year to receive the $500 scholarship (distributed $250 per semester).
  • The scholarship is good for the first year only and is non-renewable.
  • The recommended student must be a full-time undergraduate student, attending Western for the first time.

The applicant must fill out the application form found here. The nominating alumni/employee must fill out the application form and submit the required documents by June 1. The recommended student must meet university admissions acceptance standards and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The Presidential Promise is guaranteed to students who have received a scholarship through the Denver Scholarship Foundation (DSF) and/or GearUp—and are eligible for a Pell Grant.

For students who meet these criteria, Western will cover the cost of tuition and fees through the combination of federal, state and institutional aid. For more information on the Presidential Promise, visit our scholarships page.

Description

The Western Presidential Honors Scholarships, established by the Jack and Marilyn MacAllister Foundation shall be an elite class of scholarships awarded to Western’s highest achieving and most deserving students, celebrating the ideals of academic excellence and service to the campus and community. Recipients of the Scholarships will be members of the Western Colorado University Honors Program.

There are eight Presidential Honors Scholarships of $2500 each. Each year two new Presidential Honors Scholarships will be awarded to two incoming first-year students.

Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) or Central Plains (CP) tuition represents a substantial savings relative to normal, out-of-state tuition. Students eligible for the WUE or CP program will be charged 150% of Western’s total in-state tuition. For 2018-19, total in-state tuition was $8,934. WUE/CP tuition was $13,401. The WUE/CP discount is valued at $4,695.

For more information about the WUE and CP geography-based programs, visit Western’s Tuition Discount Programs Page.

Immediately upon acceptance at Western, every student is considered for a merit scholarship worth between $2,500-$4,500 per year for in-state students and $8,000-$10,000 for out-of-state students. The amount is based on the student’s GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Visit our Net Price Calculator at western.edu/cost to determine whether you qualify for a merit scholarship.

For more information about merit scholarships at Western, visit our scholarships page.

Get Involved

Apply your education to the real world.

Get hands-on experience, create lasting connections, enhance your knowledge, and prepare yourself for a fulfilling career aimed toward restoring the planet.

  • Clubs & Organizations: Join the Organics Guild, Western Solar Society, Equitable Solar Solutions, Sustainability Coalition, or the Wildlife Society.
  • Coldharbour Institute: Experiment with sustainable building design, resilient food systems, or community organizing in the Gunnison Valley.
  • Conferences: Attend the Headwaters Conference, the Colorado Water Workshop, and Sage Grouse Spring Symposium.
  • Earthship Academy: Learn how to construct a self-sustaining building capable of producing food and saving energy.
  • High Country News: Check out the independent news source’s new satellite office located in Kelley Hall.
  • Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory: Find a research assistantship at one of the premier biological research stations in the world.
  • Solar Energy International: Engage in the local, regional, or global conversation about the renewable energy era.

A lasting impact

The Climate Action Planning emphasis prepares you to take on a variety of professional roles that will help you make a long-lasting, positive impact on individual communities as well as the planet as a whole.

News & Research

Equitable Solar Solutions students

Western Graduates Named to Forbes 30 Under 30

Read More about Western Graduates Named to Forbes 30 Under 30
Mountaineers Solar Panels

Mountaineers Recycle Solar Panels to Save Money, Expand Access

Read More about Mountaineers Recycle Solar Panels to Save Money, Expand Access

Dean

John C. Hausdoerffer, Ph.D.

Dean, Clark Family School of Environment & Sustainability

Program Facilitator

Lindsay Dolezal

Program Facilitator - Clark Family School

Contact Information

970.943.2248

ses@western.edu

Campus Location

1 Western Way
Gunnison, CO 81230

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