Climate Science and Solutions, Master of Science

School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability

College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Sciences

The Climate Science and Solutions (CSS) Professional Science Master’s (PSM) program is designed to train students in the scientific basis of global climate change while also helping students to develop highly valued industry-relevant skills. This 36-credit hour (18 month) non-thesis based masters program has been developed in consultation with an advisory board of professionals to ensure the program meets current and anticipated workforce needs.

  • To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.

    You must additionally complete:

    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
    • All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
    • All work toward the master degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.

    Read the full policy here.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Minimum Units for Completion 36
Additional Admission Requirements

Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

Fieldwork Experience/Internship Required
Additional Fees/Program Fees Required
Progression Plan Link View Program of Study
Student Learning Outcomes

Overall Climate Science and Solutions Program Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand and explain the physical nature of global climate change;
  • Apply national and international standards to conduct professional entity-level and or project-based greenhouse gas inventories;
  • Evaluate the social and economic externalities of climate change;
  • Describe the ethical, scientific, and policy strengths and weaknesses of current and proposed mitigation and adaptation strategies; and
  • Identify, analyze, synthesize, and communicate scientific information and uncertainties for public and professional audiences.
Specific Climate Science and Solutions Program Learning Outcomes:
Physical science:
  • Explain what a greenhouse gas is and how it operates in the Earth system;
  • Describe and quantify the role of greenhouse gases in Earth’s energy budget and climate system;
  • Describe past, present, and projected changes to the major stocks and fluxes of carbon in the global carbon cycle;
  • Quantitatively compare natural and anthropogenic sources and sinks of carbon;
  • Describe feedbacks in Earth’s climate system and their potential role in past, present, and future climatic conditions;
  • Recognize and explain how climate change projections vary by geographic region;
  • Explain key uncertainties associated with climate projections;
  • Ability to communicate effectively about climate change to diverse audiences with diverse perspectives; and
  • Describe the current state of climate science in terms of projected changes in Earth’s temperature under contrasting emissions scenarios.
Climate change mitigation and adaptation:
  • Explain economics of climate change and the policy tools available to address economic externalities;
  • Describe the strengths and weaknesses of existing and potential climate-related policies and the political forces influencing proposed changes;
  • Describe the strengths and weaknesses of different energy resources, technologies, and policies;
  • Quantify energy yield per mass of carbon emitted for major energy resources;
  • Identify the benefits and challenges of developing renewable energy resources and new energy paradigms;
  • Describe the potential climate implications of different mitigation strategies;
  • Recognize the ethical and social justice implications of different climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies;
  • Describe how social conflicts arise surrounding proposed adaptation and mitigation strategies;
  • Identify inconsistencies in social and ethical arguments for various adaptation and mitigation strategies; and
  • Effectively facilitate public discussions focused on climate mitigation and adaptation topics.
Greenhouse gas accounting:
  • Identify, extract, and process relevant data and information for greenhouse gas accounting;
  • Apply appropriate national and international standards to track and report greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Categorize emissions according to their activity type within an organization;
  • Quantify emission factors for a particular activity, and recognize and apply appropriate published emission factors by activity;
  • Identify and explain key uncertainties in greenhouse gas inventories;
  • Develop a comprehensive emission reduction plan for a project or organization;
  • Verify greenhouse gas emissions reported by others;
  • Advise a client on the information and data management needs for robust greenhouse gas inventories; and
  • Communicate professionally (in written and oral form) the results of a greenhouse gas inventory project to a client;
Professional Development:
  • Identify your career and learning goals, learning needs, and learning style preferences;
  • Develop a personal career development plan based on your strengths and goals;
  • Effectively represent your experience, skills and competencies through written (resume, cover letter, social media, application materials) and verbal (interview skills, presentation skills, etc.) communication;
  • Build on your strengths in working with others on team projects;
  • Develop your project management skills;
  • Establish, maintain, and grow your professional network; and
Increase your experience and marketability, as well as your level of knowledge about career opportunities, through a summer internship.


Additional Admission Requirements
  • Individual program admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.

  • The NAU graduate online application is required for all programs. Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.

    Admission requirements include the following:

    • Transcripts.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale ("A" = 4.0), or the equivalent.

    Visit the NAU Graduate Admissions website for additional information about graduate school application deadlines, eligibility for study, and admissions policies.

    Ready to apply? Begin your application now.

    International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy.

    • Three letters of recommendation
    • Personal statement or essay
    • Resume or curriculum vitae
Master's Requirements
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.