Study plan - Master in Climate Change Management
Society faces numerous challenges in the coming years stemming from climate change. Minimizing the risks and costs incurred to society through solving such problems can only be achieved through state of the art scientific knowledge, multidisciplinary cooperation, and the implementation of effective strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change both at home and abroad. The study admits students with different basic knowledge that will strengthen discussions and output in multidisciplinary teams and set climate challenges within an all-encompassing context (both natural and social sciences). The study will give candidates a broad understanding of the challenges society faces with climate change and the competence to generate knowledge across traditional scientific disciplines. The candidate will have a solid academic foundation to evaluate, plan, and advise how different societal sectors can implement strategies and action plans to reduce emissions of climate gases and adapt our society to climate change. Students and faculty with international backgrounds will contribute with their knowledge and experiences about climate related problems, and thus such challenges will be seen in a truly global context.
The student has:
- knowledge of climate models and climate projections, and how they can be used to analyse and assess possible future scenarios in Norway and globally.
- Advanced knowledge about national and international climate policy, and how this policy is applied.
- knowledge about how climate change affects species, societies and ecosystems, and the consequences these changes can have on natural systems that support human activities and agriculture, nationally and globally.
- knowledge of how the society can transform energy production and use in a more environmentally friendly direction.
- knowledge about how to include evaluations of natural hazards and water management in planning processes.
- advanced knowledge of strategies, actions and tools for adapting to climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, nationally and globally.
The student is able to:
- critically assess different sources of information, and use them to structure and develop an academic argument.
- work independently and in interdisciplinary teams with practical and theoretical problem solving.
- use relevant methods and computer software and methods to evaluate collected data and interpret results.
- conduct an independent research project or planning assignment, under the guidance of a supervisor and in accordance with existing norms for research ethics.
- create a research question, gather and analyze data, and share their findings academically and in lay terms.
- conduct and lead planning processes in conjunction with the establishment of local energy and climate plans.
- develop strategies for adapting to climate change.
- plan measures for mitigating effects of climate change, especially in relation to avalanches, landslides, flooding and rising sea levels.
The student can:
- identify and critically evaluate relevant literature.
- apply knowledge and skills to carry out advanced tasks, and research and planning projects related to climate change management.
- work in interdisciplinary teams and integrate knowledge from different fields.
- share his/her work and have proficiency in relevant terminology.
- communicate research, analyses and conclusions clearly in writing and orally.
- contribute to finding new solutions and innovations for shifting energy production and consumption from fossil resources to sustainable sources.
- contribute to developing strategies and measures for a more sustainable society.
Content / structure
The master program is comprised of 9 courses each worth 10 credits and a master's thesis worth 30 credits. In semesters one and two (courses 1, 3, 5, 6) the student gains knowledge about natural and human induced climate change, climate politics nationally and internationally, and how climate works as an important driver in natural processes. This knowledge is used as a basis for courses in semesters two and three, where student gains competence to drive multidisciplinary teamwork and develop strategies and measures to restructure energy production and consumption systems in a more environmentally friendly direction (course 4). In courses 7 and 8, the student obtains knowledge about how we need to act to adapt to climate change and improve climate transformation. Written and oral presentations, as methods for practice, are central components of the combined learning objectives for the program. Scientific methods and writing are introduced and developed (courses 2 and 9) as a basis for the final independent research project (master's thesis), focusing on either research or applied management, where the student demonstrates that (s)he has achieved the defined learning outcomes for the master program.
Teaching and learning methods
The program utilizes varied teaching and learning methods. Emphasis is placed upon the development of capabilities through case-based project assignments, where the student works with problem solving in multidisciplinary teams. Further emphasis is placed up the ability to communicate results, both written and orally. In several courses, the student gains experience in searching for, evaluating, and presenting the contents of relevant scientific articles. The teaching combines lectures, excursions and fieldwork, exercises, case studies, and other multidisciplinary work in groups, with results presented in seminar fashion (oral discussion and written feedback analysis). In addition to the planned group work, the student will be able to choose their individual specialization through different types of independent work assignments. The teachers' roles consist of lecturing, correcting and providing feedback on written assignments, supervising group work, facilitating seminars and leading discussions. In each course, students complete one or more work requirements, which are tailored to the final evaluation and learning outcomes of that course. The master's thesis will be conducted individually or in groups of two, under supervision by at least one department staff member. As preparation for the thesis, the student develops his/her capabilities in acquiring, analyzing and interpreting empirical data. Before thesis work commences, the student will strengthen his/her capabilities by searching for and acquiring scientific knowledge relevant for his/her thesis, and conveying state-of-the-art scientific knowledge in a written essay connected to their research question. Thus, the student will be theoretically informed and in a good position, within his/her chosen field of study, to complete the master's thesis in the final semester.
See course descriptions
In semester 2, the student can choose to study abroad or in Svalbard, and focus on a subject area with relevance for the master program. In the final semester, the student can choose to write his/her thesis at a university abroad at one of the institutions where the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences is a partner in ongoing research projects. The students should have an internal supervisor from Western Norway University of Applied Sciences and one external supervisor from the collaborating institution abroad.