Coastal Climate Risk and Resilience Certificate

Certificate Curriculum

An Overview of the Coastal Climate Risk and Resilience Certificate

EOAS offers graduate students a certificate in Coastal Climate Risk and Resilience (C2R2), designed to stimulate new collaborations between students and faculty from different disciplines that can lead to ground-breaking research and discoveries.

Coastal areas and their populations are extremely vulnerable to effects of climate change ranging from sea level rise to intensified storm events, and understanding both the risks and the adaptation opportunities requires knowledge from several disciplines. The proposed new graduate-level certificate program, titled Coastal Climate Risk & Resilience, focuses on the theories, methods, practical skills and contextual knowledge needed to work productively on this topic. This innovative and interdisciplinary program integrates existing coursework offered in several graduate programs with a few new courses. Students who complete this certificate will be well equipped to work on coastal risk and resilience issues within their own home disciplines.

The Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy (Bloustein), the Institute of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences (EOAS), the Department of Human Ecology (Human Ecology, and the Department of Civil Engineering (Civil Engineering) have developed this certificate in order to offer graduate students throughout Rutgers an unparalleled learning opportunity. This collaboration, these perspectives and these skills will be the focus of this certificate program.

C2R2 Curriculum by the Numbers

Six Total Courses

The certificate requires 6 courses: 3 common-core plus 3 distrubted electives. If a course is not available in a particular year, then a reasonable substitution is allowed

Two Foundational Transdiciplinary Courses

Students must take one of two foundational transdisciplinary courses (Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Coastal Climate Risk and Resilience or Climate Change Risk Analysis). With permission from the certificate program’s faculty advisor, they may also substitute an extra elective course from outside their main focus area.

Eighteen Course Credits

9 credits of common-core courses, 9 credits of distributed electives

What Should I Know About the C2R2 Certificate?

It’s available to graduate students.

Both M.S. and Ph.D. students, conducting research involving the Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.

It requires study outside the core curriculum.

The C2R2 curriculum includes 2 common-core courses specifically for students enrolled in the certificate program, 1 foundational transdisplinary course chosen by the student from the 2 that are presently offered, and 1 course from each of the 3 cores: Natural Systems, Socio-Economic Systems, and Engineered Systems. This is a total of 6 courses for 18 credits.

Course Options

Course Outline

This list contains the courses that a student may consider as part of their Coastal Climate Risk and Assessment Certificate. In order to complete the certificate, the student must take:

– ONE (1) course from the Foundational Transdiciplinary Section

– BOTH (2) courses from the Common-Core section

– ONE (1) course EACH from the Three (3) Core Sections: Natural Systems, Socio-Economic Systems, and Engineered Systems


Depending on availability, other courses may be available at the discussion of your adviser and of the individual departments.


Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Coastal Climate Risk and Resilience (3)

This course will explore issues related to coastal risk and resilience by integrating perspectives from climate science, geography, sociology, economics, urban planning, ecology, and civil & environmental engineering. Each class session will center on a discussion led by a member of the faculty or by an outside guest and will focus on transdisciplinary learning, new perspectives, and current issues within the context of more than one disciplines. This course will introduce students to a broad conceptual modeling framework and encourage critical questioning of disciplinary scopes, and biases. The goal of the course will be for students to connect new knowledge among the different disciplines and create a deeper understanding related to human experience with coastal adaptation and resilience.


Climate Change Risk Analysis (3)

Science, economics and public policy of climate change risks. Extreme events, sea-level rise, agriculture, energy, health, labor, crime and violence, supply chain disruptions, ecosystem services, tipping points. Global and regional climate modeling, integrated assessment modeling, decision-making under uncertainty and with long time horizons. Climate change adaptation and resilience.


Communicating Science to Decision-Makers (3)

This theory-and-practice course will focus on communicating science to policymakers, business leaders, and the general public. It will emphasize the interactive aspects of communication in which competency depends on both speaking and listening, and in which facts must be “constructed” according to contextual norms rather than merely transmitted. It will also include guest lectures by non-academic professionals on their career pathways and experiences. The course will be designed to introduce students to the latest research-based evidence about effective communication of risk, vulnerabilities and coastal science. It will also provide students with a deep understanding of strategies to communicate and engage stakeholders in processes leading to assessment of coastal vulnerabilities and hazards and an appreciation of and support for coastal resilience planning and action. Targeted stakeholder communication will be outlined when engaging diverse audiences such as community leaders, residents, policy-makers and business decision-makers, especially small and midsize coastal businesses. The course will go beyond strategies that rely on “one way” communication and expand students’ capacity to lead and facilitate engaged processes that result in outcomes that enhance coastal resilience. Additionally, students will be involved in applied practice of effective communication and stakeholder engagement strategies. They will participate in “field” community engagement experiences, meet with small to mid-size coastal businesses to better understand how risk and vulnerability planning can be integrated into business operations, and prepare background briefings on pending and timely coastal and resilience policy issues. Additionally, students will learn applied strategies for survey research, and in particular, how to integrate public perceptions of risks and vulnerability into strategies to enhance resilience.


Studio on Coastal Climate Risk & Resilience (3)

This studio or workshop pairs students with a client (such as a coastal community) to assess the risks posed to the client by climate change and strategies for managing that risk. This studio class will help integrate the disciplinary perspectives of participating graduate students and engage them in the development of land-use, capital improvements, or hazard-mitigation planning for a client, such as a coastal municipality. The studio experience will expose students to local lay knowledge, public decision-making procedures, and the challenges of contributing scientific information to contentious public policy debates. The modeling approach introduced in the Perspectives course will be here linked to application-specific tools including benefit-cost analysis, financial analysis, risk assessment, and GIS.


Physical Climatology (3)

The climate system, surface-energy balance, past climate variations, climate-feedback mechanisms, climate modeling, causes of climate change, detection and attribution of anthropogenic climate change. Robock. Prerequisite: A basic course in meteorology or climatology.


Conservation Ecology (3)

Biological, social, and economic causes of the major threats to ecosystems and species. The role of universities and human communities. Changing worldviews and possibilities for constructive response. Ehrenfeld.

16:215:587 (S)

Urban Ecology (3)

Ecology in and of cities; responses of organisms to urbanization; socioecological linkages; urban planning and design as it relates to biodiversity. Aronson.


Landscape Ecology (3)

A comprehensive introduction and overview of the field of landscape ecology, coupling theory and concepts with illustrated applications in the computer lab to provide practical experience using state-of-the-art landscape analysis tools. Meixler.


Coastal Geomorphology (3)

Erosional and depositional processes in the coastal environment. Process-response models and problem-solving methods in coastal research. Prerequisite: 01:450:403 or 404 or equivalent.

16:460:528 (F)

Groundwater Modeling (4)

Modeling of groundwater flow and associated mass/energy transport. Real examples used to formulate correct mathematical statement of problem; numerical models applied for solution. Reinfelder. Prerequisite: 01:460:428 or equivalent.


Climate Change Risk Analysis (3)

Science, economics and public policy of climate change risks. Extreme events, sea-level rise, agriculture, energy, health, labor, crime and violence, supply chain disruptions, ecosystem services, tipping points. Global and regional climate modeling, integrated assessment modeling, decision-making under uncertainty and with long time horizons. Climate change adaptation and resilience. Kopp and Curchister

16:712:501 (F)

Physical Oceanography (3)

Physical properties and basic equations for describing waves, tides, currents, and the large-scale wind-driven and thermohaline circulation. Ekman, geostrophic, and inertial flows. Gulf Stream; air-sea interactions; El Niño. Chant, Miller, Haidvogel
Prerequisites: One year of college calculus and college physics.

16:712:503 (S)

Coastal Ocean Dynamics (3)

Observation basis and theoretical foundation of coastal ocean dynamics; tides; rotation; Kelvin and vorticity waves; fronts and plumes; upwelling; estuaries and buoyancy forcing; effects of boundaries and topography; and biogeochemical implications. Chant, Wilkin. Prerequisite: 16:712:501 or 502. Offered in alternate years.

16:712:526 (F)

Estuarine Ecology (3)

Focus on current scientific questions in the ecology of estuarine organisms, with an emphasis on student-based examination of data collection, techniques, analysis, and synthesis relative to the relevant literature. Able, Taghon. Prerequisite: Permission of instructors. Offered every fourth year; next offered fall 2018.


Environment and Development (3)

Relationship between environmental change and economic development; political and cultural ecology; environmental justice; and social theory and the environment. Critical analysis of environmental conservation methods and development planning initiatives.


Water Resources Management (3)

Problems in the management of water use in metropolitan environments. The effects of urbanization on the hydrologic regime. The influence of geohydrologic factors on water-use decisions.


Climate Change Risk Analysis (3)

Science, economics and public policy of climate change risks. Extreme events, sea-level rise, agriculture, energy, health, labor, crime and violence, supply chain disruptions, ecosystem services, tipping points. Global and regional climate modeling, integrated assessment modeling, decision-making under uncertainty and with long time horizons. Climate change adaptation and resilience. Kopp and Curchister


Climate Governance (3)

Climate governance is a sweeping term for measures aimed at providing tolerable climate conditions for life on earth as we know it. It raises classic issues of distributional justice, law and science, risk, uncertainty and precaution, technology policy, and international relations. Students will leave this course with an understanding of the sources and impacts of climate change, the key state, national and international policies, and the role of law. Payne


Environmental Planning and Management (3)

Institutional, technical, procedural, and normative factors that influence environmental planning and policy. Topics include environmental decision making, stakeholders, methods, process issues, and decision criteria. Case studies and in-class exercises put topics into context.


Environmental Economics and Policy (3)

The role of economics in environmental issues and, especially, in the formation of environmental policy including environmental problems in air, water, land use, and natural environments.


Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (3)

Description coming soon!


Planning and Land Use Administration (3)

Practice-oriented course on state and local growth management, local planning and land-use administration, local affordable housing programs, and related topics. Meck


Environmental Law and Policy (3)

Legal principles involved in protecting the environment, including air, water, and noise pollution; control of population growth and distribution; and ecological aspects of land-use control.


Advanced Hydrology (3)

Hydrologic processes and modeling evapotranspiration, infiltration, precipitation and snow melt, overland flow subsurface and surface flow relations, channel and watershed routing hydraulic flood routing, numerical methods; watershed modeling; stochastic processes in hydrology; flood and drought risks, flood plain analysis and management.


Biogeochemical Engineering (3)

Transformation of organic chemicals in sediments (marine, estua-rine) and freshwater environments; roles of microorganisms highlighted in examples of biogeochemical processes occurring in environmental matrices. Chemical processes and physical environment in natural (unperturbed) and polluted systems along with the degradation of biogenic and anthropogenic organic compounds. Molecular tracers specific to biogeochemical process as part of contemporary case studies. Prerequisites: 01:160:159-160, 161-162.


Sediment Transport (3)

Erosion, transport, and deposition of sediment within a watershed and, especially, the fluvial network; flow resistance in natural channels; suspended load, bed load, and total load; noncohesive vs. cohesive sediment; sedimentation; sediment transport as an index of pollutant movement; numerical modeling and field monitoring. Guo


Methods and Models for Resilient Building and Infrastructure Systems (3)

Description coming soon!


Groundwater Engineering I (3)

Porous media; fundamental equations of groundwater flow; confined flow; unconfined flow; hydraulics of wells; numerical methods; groundwater contamination; investigation; remediation and clean-up; monitoring computer applications.


Coastal Engineering

Generation and propagation of tides; salinity intrusion, pollutant flushing, and sedimentation in estuaries; circulation in the coastal ocean; coastal water quality modeling; coastal wetlands; gravity waves; coastal erosion; coastal structure design. Guo


Sustainable Environmental Biotechnology

Application of fundamental principles of environmental microbiology to bio-electrochemical systems, nutrient removal and recovery, biogas production, biofiltration, disinfection, and microbially influenced corrosion. Fahrenfeld


Green Infrastructure for Water Management (3)

Green infrastructure using both natural and engineered systems to sustain ecological health, minimize environmental impacts, reduce energy consumption, and conserve resources for future sustainable water supply, minimizing disruption of the environment by built structures, and harnessing energy from existing water infrastructure. Guo


Water and Wastewater Treatment (3)

Chemical, physical, and biological factors affecting development of water supplies; water quality; municipal and industrial water treatment processes consisting of removal of particulate matter, softening, disinfection, corrosion control, iron and manganese removal, aeration, deaeration, and taste and odor removal.


Groundwater Pollution (3)

Principles of groundwater hydrology and pollution. Development of mathematical formulations for describing pollutant movement in groundwater systems. Examination of control measures. Discussion of case studies.  Uchrin. 
Prerequisites: 16:375:504 and 541, or permission of instructor


Applied Geomorphology (3)

Applications of modern geomorphological research to environmental management, including geomorphological constraints to human activity and human effects on landform processes.
Prerequisite: 01:450:403 or 404 or equivalent.