New Degree: Climate Science and Policy
Published: July 27, 2012
Interested in a Climate Science degree? Apply to UW Bothell today!
This fall the University of Washington Bothell is launching a new interdisciplinary Bachelor of Science degree program in Climate Science and Policy. The program will bring together core courses in physical sciences, mathematics, thermodynamics, ecology and policy. “Most environmental science programs focus on things like contamination, remediation of contaminated sites, water quality, air quality or ecology,” says UW Bothell environmental science professor Dan Jaffe who will be the program coordinator. “This one is really focused on a much broader issue around climate, energy and policy.”
The program is science-based, but it also contains strong policy components. “Society is asking us as scientists to get more involved in critical decisions about the future,” says Jaffe. “A student coming out of this program will have a fundamental understanding of the scientific principles behind climate change and will be able to use that background if they get into a policy arena to have a strong science basis for their opinions.” The university will continue to offer a degree in Environmental Science that is geared towards ecology, plants and the biological aspects of environmental science.
The Climate Science and Policy degree will be part of the Science and Technology program at UW Bothell. It represents the first physical science degree on campus. “This was the degree we could offer with our existing resources and our existing laboratory space that would serve the needs of students who are interested in physical sciences,” says Jaffe. Students graduating with a degree in Climate Science and Policy will be well positioned for jobs in the public and private sector.
Nationwide, Washington State is considered a leader in climate policy. Likewise the city of Seattle and King County are also very strong in climate programs. At the state, city, and county levels offices employ a number of people that deal with climate issues. Local businesses such as Boeing and data server providers also employ experts on energy and policy to address issues of climate change and rising energy costs. “Lots of companies now are thinking ahead,” Jaffe says.
Jaffe is hoping to get the word out to UW Bothell students about this new degree. He knows it is a unique program that may take a few years to catch on. “In 20 years I bet this will be a very, very strong and popular degree because the issue of climate change is not going away and the need for people with this kind of expertise is just going to grow over the next decade.”