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FREC/PSCI/IS 4174: Climate Change and the International Policy Framework

This course explores the science, causes, and impacts of climate change. Students will examine the measures and policies developed to mitigate and/or adapt to climate change. They will discuss international climate change policy, paying special attention to the policy making process, including the role of the United Nations Framework Convention and Climate Change and climate negotiations. The course will also cover the importance of science and diplomacy in climate negotiations, and the ethical and social implications of climate change policies.

Why take it?

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. The impacts of climate change are recognized to be critical threats to sustainability and human well-being. This course provides students with the opportunity to explore and understand, not only the science and causes, but also the impacts of climate change, examining policy at the local, regional, and international levels from an inter-multidisciplinary perspective. This course will benefit students from various backgrounds and disciplines, including fields within science and politics.

FREC 4174 is the capstone course for the Climate and Society Pathways minor.


Prerequisite: FREC 2124 or GEOG 1524.

This course fulfills Pathways requirements in Advanced Discourse, Reasoning in the Social Sciences, and Ethical Reasoning.

"Climate Change and the International Policy Framework is a fascinating class that gives you a detailed breakdown of what exactly goes into international negotiations. From the specific language used in the Paris Agreement, to the organizations and countries involved, to first hand participation in mock debates based on current topics and country-specific beliefs, this class gives a comprehensive insight to how climate science and diplomacy interact in the real world to bring about change.”
- Mica Keck, Environmental Resource Management and Spanish, FREC. Class of 2020

Photo Gallery

This course also prepares and provides students with the opportunity to attend the COP, which next year will be in Glasgow (U.K.) from November 9-19, 2021, to experience first-hand the climate change negotiation process at the UNFCCC. Attendance to the COP depends on available slots (which are provided by the UNFCCC) and funding. The Study abroad to the COP is a separate 2-credit study abroad course. Below are photos of previous FREC 4174 students at the COP.