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University College for Interdisciplinary Learning

Climate Change and Society

Course Unit Code

UCIL33201 (10 Credits)

UCIL33501 (20 Credits)

Course Unit Details

  • Level 3
  • Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine


In this interdisciplinary unit you will explore why climate change became the environmental and socio-economic problem of the century; why it took so long after the discovery of the greenhouse effect for decision makers to become aware of its cataclysmic potential; and who brought the issue to the policy arena.

The unit sets recent - and future - developments in the context of the historic background. Using the latest studies, we will explore and discuss the role of climate science, the function of politics, and the promise of industry in bringing the problem under control and to the fore of public policy. We will further explore how climate change features in the public sphere and whether the media works to be transparent in conveying scientific knowledge. Special emphasis will be on the place of GenZ in the constellation of powers shaping public policy.

The unit suits students of all academic backgrounds, including humanities students, who are keen to use creative approaches to think about today's environmental issues.


This unit explores why climate change has attracted so much attention during the last 50 years. Is climate change changing everything? Is it changing anything? The unit covers the issue from various perspectives: scientific, cultural, political, economic and media. The unit is suited to arts, humanities and science students interested in the scientific, social and policy aspects of climate change.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit you will be able to:

  • Describe the scientific, economic and cultural foundation and key concepts that underlie global climate change
  • Discuss methods that are used to study climate change from different historical, cultural and social perspectives
  • Identify how environmental issues emerge as social problems that require policy measures
  • Evaluate climate policy and the politics of climate negotiation with reference to a wide range of stakeholders

In addition, for 20 credits:

  • Research and write a literature-based review, integrating scientific, historical and social viewpoints


  • What is climate change?
  • What we know scientifically
  • The formation of a consensus
  • Politics of climate change
  • Ethics of climate change
  • Economics of climate change
  • Climate change and security
  • Climate Anxiety
  • Climate change in the media
  • Climate Apocalypse?


10 Credits

  1. 1500 word essay (50%)
  2. Expedition Photo Essay (1000 words plus images) (50%)

20 Credits

  1. 1500 word essay (25%)
  2. Expedition Photo Essay (1000 words plus images) (25%)
  3. 3500 word project report (50%)


UCIL units are designed to be accessible to undergraduate students from all disciplines.

UCIL units are credit-bearing and it is not possible to audit UCIL units or take them for additional/extra credits. You must enrol following the standard procedure for your School when adding units outside of your home School.

If you are not sure if you are able to enrol on UCIL units you should contact your School Undergraduate office. You may wish to contact your programme director if your programme does not currently allow you to take a UCIL unit.

You can also contact the UCIL office if you have any questions.

This unit is also available with a different course unit code. To take a UCIL unit you must choose the unit with a UCIL prefix.

Teaching Staff

Vladimir Jankovic

Teaching and Learning Methods

This unit offers face-to-face learning:

  • 11 x lectures
  • 11 x group debates
The Climate Change and Society course is particularly interesting because you get a bit of history, science, economics and ethics all pertaining to this topic. It's given me a much deeper understanding of the broader context of the issue which has encouraged me to apply for PhD's in climate science.Hermione Warr, Physics

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