Climate & Sustainability Course List

One of the best ways to get involved with the Duke Climate Commitment is to explore climate and sustainability connections in your coursework. Fortunately, there is no shortage of courses from which to choose!

From graduate engineering seminars to first-year writing courses, there is something for everyone. The climate crisis demands all skill-sets to research, communicate, design, and implement solutions. Whether you want to spend time in the lab building photovoltaics, in the field analyzing organisms affected by rising seas, or in the library writing about environmental policy, there’s an engaging course with climate connections waiting for you.

As you plan and refine your Fall 2023 schedule, download the Climate & Sustainability Course List for inspiration. Head on over to DukeHub for more details on courses and to register.

Below are just a small handful of the courses contained in the list.



AAAS 202, THEATRST 221, GSF 223: Manifesto Workshop: Climate Change, Afro/Solar-Punk, and Performance

Manifesto Workshop: Afro-/Solarpunk, Climate Change, and Performance is a performance-based workshop that seeks to explore radical, embodied storytelling through the lenses of several manifestos: Afrofuturism, Solarpunk, Environmental Justice, and Queer Utopias. Through creative research, embodied “in(queer)y,” and collaborative theater-making, the workshop will culminate in a public performance of original student work.

BIOLOGY 263: Biological Responses to Climate Change

Climate change is happening now. This course will focus on how organisms, populations, and biological communities are expected to respond to climate change. While reading the primary literature, we will discuss evidence for effects of climate change on organisms, how to experimentally test for potential effects of climate change, and the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that organisms have–or do not have–that enable them to respond to climate change. Non-W version of Biology 263. Not available to students who have taken Biology 263. Recommended prerequisite: Bio 202L or Bio 203L.

ECON 182FS, PUBPOL 171FS, ETHICS 182FS, HISTORY 170FS: Beyond Denial - A Thriving Future

Part of the Focus cluster “Regenerative Ethical Futures,” requires permission. What are the roots of the climate crisis or unparalleled inequality? This course explores big ideas that envision a radically different future, one that provides for the common good within our given biophysical limits, including discourses such as post-growth, wellbeing, and care economics; eco-feminism; eco-anarchism; decolonization; ecological justice; and commoning. A reading and discussion intensive course that uses an interdisciplinary approach and includes elements of research, individual and group presentations, as well as a writing requirement.

ME 461: Energy Engineering and the Environment

Efficiencies of both new and established energy sources and conversion methods. Evaluation of alternative energy technologies by statistical information and by modeling using principals of fluid mechanics, thermodynamics and heat transfer. Electricity generation by fossil fuels, nuclear, solar, wind and hydro. Space heating and cooling by traditional methods and by solar. Transportation energy in automobiles, mass transit and freight. Environmental consequences of energy choices on local, national and global scales, including toxic emissions, greenhouse gases and resource depletion. Prerequisite: Mechanical Engineering 331L Thermodynamics.

ENVIRON 89S: Climate Change

Climate change is one of the defining challenges facing humanity today. The goal of this first-year seminar is to develop a comprehensive and integrated view of contemporary climate change issues. We will discuss the latest understanding of the science of climate change, and explore the potential societal consequences of a changing climate. We will then examine global patterns of current energy production and consumption, and explore the potential of alternative low-carbon and carbon-free energy sources in the context of stabilizing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Finally, we will focus on the economic and policy aspects of mitigating climate change, and analyze progress towards a comprehensive international agreement to mitigate climate change.

Graduate and Professional

ENERGY 578, ECON 578: Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) Investing

Course addresses the challenges and opportunities in implementing an ESG investment strategy. Begins with a review of the history and definitions of ESG investing and highlights how financial institutions are increasingly building ESG products and practices. Course will emphasize applications in energy, environment, climate change, and social equity, and will include many guest speakers who are experts in the field. Students will enhance their understanding of impact investing, renewable energy, climate tech, corporate sustainability, venture capital, private equity, asset management, and equities research. Prereqs: Econ 205, Econ 372, Environ 796, Energy 620 or instructor consent.

ENVIRON 774, GLHTLH 573D, GLHLTH 771: One Health: From Philosophy to Practice

Interdisciplinary course introducing construct of One Health as increasingly important to a holistic understanding of prevention of disease and maintenance of health. Includes discussion of bidirectional impact of animal health on human health, impact of earth’s changing ecology on health. Learning objectives include 1) to describe how different disciplines contribute to the practice of One Health, 2) to creatively design interdisciplinary interventions to improve Global Health using a One Health model. Course will include weekly 2-hour multi-campus seminar off-site at NC Biotechnology Center with on-campus discussion section using case studies to supplement the seminar.

EOS 511, ECS 511: The Climate System

Components of the climate system: observed climate change, concept of energy balance, basic circulation of the atmosphere and ocean, introduction to climate models, sample applications of climate models, interactions between the atmosphere/ocean/ and biosphere, land surface, cryosphere (snow and ice), and chemistry of the atmosphere. Prerequisite: consent of instructor.

STRATEGY 627: Climate, Sustainability, and Corporate Governance

Global challenges such as urbanization, food security, water availability, inequality, natural resource degradation, and climate disruption increasingly put people and businesses at risk. Yet these same trends can create profitable opportunities for companies if innovation is harnessed to create products, processes and business models that provide solutions for growing global markets. As environmental and social challenges grow, companies are increasingly integrating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations into core strategies and investments. In particular, the scale and urgency of the climate crisis is creating a rapidly evolving range of new risks, requirements, opportunities, and expectations for companies to navigate.This course is designed for students who want to learn the relevance of social and environmental issues to their specific industry or function, understand the interaction of business, government, and civil society in addressing society’s challenges, and/or pursue ESG-related careers.

PREACHNG 775: Preaching Place: The Challenge and Promise of a Global Gospel

This course focuses on the insights and challenges that the global church is bringing to homiletics through its attentiveness to place. Global case studies will highlight the impact of land, cultural identity and displacement on proclamation, reflecting on competing claims of globalization and contextual particularity in formulating the gospel. In response, the class will provide strategies to de-center privileged preaching practices in local contexts and discern the gospel across borders of difference. Taking a practical turn, students will craft sermons that attend to the places they serve as sites of connection and transformational change. Prerequisite: Preaching 758 or Church Ministry 760