Humans and the Global Environment

Contacts: Jonathan Patz (Professor and Chair); Robert Beattie (Program Coordinator); Jim Miller (Graduate Advisor), (608) 263-4373

The Certificate on Humans and the Global Environment (CHANGE) trains graduate students to work effectively in interdisciplinary environmental research settings. CHANGE is a 12-credit graduate certificate program and Ph.D. minor that can supplement any graduate degree program on campus. It is not available as a stand-alone graduate degree.

Problems of global environmental sustainability and vulnerability have many interconnected components. To become effective agents of environmental progress, professionals and academics working on these issues must be able to communicate across disciplinary boundaries. CHANGE provides interdisciplinary training that helps students truly integrate humanistic, natural science, and social science perspectives on environmental sustainability. The CHANGE program recognizes that meaningful interdisciplinary collaboration does not happen simply because students have been exposed to multiple perspectives. It is a skill that must be learned and practiced.

The unique three-semester CHANGE curriculum trains students in professional communication and knowledge-management skills while exposing them to cutting-edge understandings of how human and non-human environmental systems operate. The cohort-based CHANGE training concludes with an interdisciplinary capstone course in which you and your peers join together in teams to tackle a real-world environmental problem for a private, government, or academic client.

CHANGE was developed by faculty affiliated with the Nelson Institute's Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment as the training component of the CHANGE-IGERT Program, a graduate funding opportunity that was supported jointly by the National Science Foundation and the Graduate School at UW-Madison.

Eligibility and Prerequisites

Admission to the CHANGE program is open to all UW graduate students, but because it is a cohort-based certificate, class size is limited and admission to the certificate is competitive. The program has no prerequisites, but the course sequence is meant to be completed in three consecutive semesters. Review the program requirements, and if you think CHANGE fits well with your graduate goals, use the online form to apply.