An interdisciplinary curriculum prepares students to work at the intersection of climate science and policy.


The Master of Advanced Studies in Climate Science & Policy (MAS CSP) Program provides professionals an unparalleled opportunity to be trained and mentored by a remarkable group of renowned faculty and key industry leaders in California, a state revolutionizing climate policy. 

The 11-month, full-time program begins with an 8-week summer course designed to provide students with an intensive immersion in the essential concepts in climate science. 
During the foundational summer course, students are introduced to over 40 diverse and prominent guest speakers from industry, academia and government, attend a professional conference on climate policy, and visit a number of research labs and study sites. Throughout the academic year, students complete an interdisciplinary series of core courses strategically designed to arm them with substantial and useable knowledge of climate science, policy and politics, economics and the communication of climate mitigation and adaptation solutions and strategies. Finally, each student selects three unique electives from over 250 course offerings at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and other top-ranked departments at UC San Diego, allowing for impressive customization of their degree. 

The MAS CSP Program partners closely with the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy, Rady School of Management, and other departments such as Economics, Communications, Ethnic Studies, and Urban Planning. Government agencies, corporate partners, business leaders and non-government agencies enhance the program by providing special lectures and discussion. This innovative model of interdisciplinary training prepares graduates to spearhead climate solutions in private industry, at non-governmental organizations, state, local or national level government.

Researchers on stern deck of ship

Photo: MacKenzie Elmer


In order to build on skills our students have already cultivated, the MAS CSP Program provides a high level of customization. Each student selects three (3) elective courses from any department at UC San Diego to deepen existing knowledge, fill gaps in their resume, acquire tangible skills for professional development, and establish a strong foundation of expertise for their Capstone Project and future careers.

Past electives have included:
Polar System Science; Physical Oceanography; Physics of Waves;  Sustainable Seafood; Satellite Remote Sensing; Cost Benefit Analysis; Strategy & Negotiation; Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility; Social Entrepreneurship; Climate Change and Global Health; Environmental Communication; Food Justice; Environmental Racism; Social Inequality & Public Policy; Political Economy of Development; Latin American Environmental and Energy Policy; Economics of Ocean Resources; Marine GIS; R Programming, and  many, many more!

Capstone Project

The key element of the MAS CSP Program is the Capstone project.  Each student will identify an important issue in climate science and/or policy that demands urgent attention, and then propose, design and complete a project that identifies strategies and solutions to help address this issue.  The Capstone Project allows students to directly apply knowledge gained in the program, expand upon specific elements of what they have learned, and to partner closely with experts in academia, non-profit organizations, and governmental agencies. The Capstone Project is conducted in collaboration with a Capstone committee: an interdisciplinary team of subject matter experts. Skills gained and enhanced during the Capstone experience can be leveraged into career advancement upon graduation. The interesting range of topics selected for Capstone Projects reflect the diverse personal and professional experiences represented in the cohort.  The Capstone project can take the form of film, mass media article, educational curriculum, quantitative analysis of climate data, business plan, economic or policy recommendation, or other meaningful deliverables.

Past Capstone Projects have addressed an impressive breadth of topics. See examples here.

Academic Year at a Glance


SIOC 290S - Climate Math and Science (6 units)
The course will introduce key physical and biogeochemical concepts needed to understand the Earth's climate system. The overview will provide a foundation for examining the physical evidence of climate change. Mathematical methods will be presented to reinforce the scientific concepts. 

SIOC 291S - Intro to Climate Policy (6 units)
This course will focus on policy solutions to climate change and introduce key topics in state, national, and international environmental law and policy. The energy system as well as energy policy will be examined, providing essential foundation for understanding California's renewable energy policy goals and how we may get there. Students will complete group papers, presentations and lead discussions, and will participate in a one-week field trip. 


SIO 117 - The Physical Basis of Global Warming (4 units)
Introduction to the processes behind global warming, including the physics of the greenhouse effect, controls on greenhouse gases, atmospheric and oceanic circulation, climate feedbacks, relationship to natural climate variability, and global environmental issues related to global warming. 

ECON 281 - Economics of the Environment (4 units)
Covers environmental issues from an economic perspective. Examines relation of the envionment to economic growth and management of natural resources, such as forest and fresh water. Policies on air, water, and toxic waste pollution are discussed, as well as international issues such as ozone depletion and sustainable development. 

SIOC 296 - Forum (1 unit)
Course will focus on the development of the MAS Capstone Project and discussions covering climate science and policy issues, including informal student presentations on political, economic, historical, educational, and natural science issues related to climate science and policy. 

Elective - (4 units)
Choose from over 250 elective options from any department at UC San Diego 


SIOC 293 - Ocean, Atmosphere, & Climate Variability (4 units)
Course will examine the general structure of the ocean and atmosphere and consider processes and interactions that contribute to climate variability. We will describe dominant climate models of variability, such as ENSO, and evaluate processes driving climate change on longer timescales, such as ice ages and delaciation. Finally, we will explore how climate system processes and feedbacks modulate the impacts of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, and how they may be impacted in a warming climate. 

GPCO 400 - Policy Making Processes (4 units)
This course is designed to teach students how to "read" a country's political and economic system. The course introduce the theories and concepts that help explain why and how societies create and implement public policies. We will discuss the issues generally and in a wide variety of national settings using both conceptual or theoretical reading and case study illustrations. 

SIOC 296 - Forum - (1 unit)
Course will focus on the development of the MAS Capstone Project and discussions covering climate science and policy issues, including informal student presentations on political, economic, historical, educational, and natural science issues related to climate science and policy. 

Elective - (4 units)
Choose from over 250 elective options from any department at UC San Diego 


SIOC 299 - MAS CSP Capstone Project (8 units)
Fall and Winter provide planning and momentum leading up to students' final Capstone Project in the Spring. 
Spring Quarter is highly-involved, and devoted entirely to the data collection, analysis, production and presentation of a successful, substantial project which is then presented at the Annual Symposium. 

Elective - (4 units)
Choose from over 250 elective options from any department at UC San Diego