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Climate and Society Minor

Climate change is a growing global threat with complex societal, environmental, and economic impacts. This minor provides students with the opportunity to explore and understand the science, causes, impacts, and policy of climate change at the local, regional, and international levels from different perspectives. The minor brings together coursework from the physical/natural sciences, environment and ecosystems, and human dimensions and policy, as well as the option to explore additional coursework on methodological approaches that will provide students with the capacity to understand and analyze climate change impacts on society and the environment.

Why do it?

This minor will equip students with the skills to identify, interpret, and critically analyze scientific information. Students will develop the skills and knowledge needed to not only understand the science, causes, and impacts of climate change, but also understand the actions needed to mitigate and/or adapt to climate change from both environmental and social perspectives.


The 18-hour minor in Climate and Society includes two 3-hour required introductory courses, 9 hours of electives, and a required 3-hour capstone course.

FREC 2124: Forest, Society, & Climate
GEOG 1524: Introduction to Earth’s Climate
FREC/PSCI/IS 4174: Climate Change and the International Policy Framework

Based on their majors, interests, and personal career goals, students select 9 credits hours of elective courses from across four areas: Physical/Natural Sciences, Environment & Ecosystems, Human Dimensions & Policy, and Methods. Students choose one course from three different areas for a total of 9 credit hours. One course must be at the 3000-level or higher. For a complete list of elective courses, consult the Registrar checksheet (follow this link, click on ‘checksheets,’ scroll down to Minors, and find the Climate and Society checksheet).

Who is it for?

The Climate and Society minor will interest students from a wide range of ­fields, including but not limited to: environmental resource management, environmental science, forestry, agricultural sciences, smart and sustainable cities, water resources, policy and management, meteorology, international public policy, human development, geography, civil and environmental engineering, and environmental conservation and society.

This minor is hosted by the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation in collaboration with other departments across Virginia Tech.

Pathways Concepts

Core Concepts*
1a - Advanced/Applied Discourse
2 - Critical Thinking in the Humanities
3-  Reasoning in the Social Sciences
4 - Reasoning in the Natural Sciences 
5f - Foundational Quantitative and Computational Thinking
5a - Advanced/Applied Quantitative and Computational Thinking
*Students are guaranteed to meet at least three of the core concepts listed

Integrative Concepts
Ethical Reasoning
Intercultural and Global Awareness