at the University of Michigan

.... is no longer offered.

"To become better equipped to contribute to the important debates concerning global environmental change, resource management and societal adaptation strategies ."


The academic minor in Global Change provides a broad understanding of the environmental challenges that humanity is facing today and our need to develop a sustainable relationship with our planet and its resources. The GC minor explores the history of global environmental change and the interconnected issues involved in modern global change and global sustainability, as well as exposes students to strategies for effective economic development and resource management. The three-semester, interdisciplinary course sequence “Introduction to Global Change” is an inquiry-based undergraduate curriculum that forms the core of the University of Michigan's Global Change minor.  Development of the program has benefited from the support of the Provost, various Deans, the Vice President for Research, the Whitaker Fund and CRLT, and from external funding from the National Science Foundation and the W&F Hewlett Foundation.  Recently it became part of the new Program in the Environment.


  • Highly interdisciplinary, seamlessly crossing NS and SS disciplinary boundaries.

  • Provide a broad understanding of the complex issues involving global change and global sustainability (Earth as a dynamic system). Enable students to use quantitative tools in approaching global change issues, including Stella (dynamic modeling), ArcView (spatial analysis), spreadsheets and interactive modules.

  • A “front-loaded” minor, to engage motivated students in their first years of study.

  • Program structure:
    I. Introduction to Global Change I (Environ110):  Physical Processes (4cr) (NS) and Introduction to Global Change II (Environ111):  Human Impacts (4cr) (SS) 
    II. One 200-level elective from Bio-, Geo- or Sociosphere (3-4 cr) 
    III. Two 300 or 400-level electives from Bio-, Geo-, Sociosphere (6-8 cr) 


The GCminor requires 17 credits (typically 5 classes, of which one may count toward both the GCminor and the major).  The Global Change minor has been approved in the following schools and colleges: the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, the College of Engineering, The Ross School of Business, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Natural Resources and Environment.  Contact academic advisors for degrees in other schools and colleges (e.g, the School of Music, the School of Architecture & UP, and the School of Art & Design).

General Academic Minor Information

LSA website

Global Change Minor - COURSES

GCminor Core

Environ 110 Global Change 1: Physical Processes (4cr; NS)
Environ 111 Global Change 2: Human Impacts (4cr; SS)

One from:
     ANTHRCUL/ENVIRON 256 - Culture, Adaptation and the Environment
     BIOLOGY/ENVIRON 281 - General Ecology
     ENVIRON 270 - Our Common Future
     GEOSCI/ENVIRON 284 - Geology, Environment and Society
300-level course

GCminor Electives

(Select 2 electives from 2 of the 3 categories Biosphere, Geosphere, Sociosphere)
The course list below is not complete and only shows the types of classes that meet the GCminor goals; many others are allowed.  Note that you must receive U-M credit and a letter grade for courses toward the minor. Contact the GCminor Program Director with your course suggestions by sending an email that includes the course descriptions and/or links to the classes' websites.  At any time you should feel free to arrange a meeting to discuss the GCminor and its requirements. Examples of suitable courses in each area are:


EEB 320, 381, 390, 436, 451, 455, 476, 481, 483, 498
ENVIRON 311, 381,  451, 453, 476
NRE 436, 451, 453, 476
Permission Director (300-level up)


AOSS 300, 304, 335, 432, 467, 475
CHEM 467
ENVIRON 325, 341, 380, 442, , 479
ENSCEN 304, 467, 475
GEOSCI 325, 341, 380, 442, 446, 465, 475, 477, 478
Permission Director (300-level up)


ARCH 423
ECON 471, 472
ENVIRON 312, 360, 361, 370, 391
NRE 571, 583
PSYCH 384, 385
SOC 305, 330
UP 423, 532
Permission Director (300-level up)

Additional Information

Many other courses, including field and overseas courses, can be used.
Contact Program Director Ben van der Pluijm for questions and/or permissions