Program Timeline

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Year 1: Fall Semester

  • Interdisciplinary Research Colloquium (CAS-6001-001)
  • Environmental Risks and Decision Making (CAS-6889)

Year 1: Spring Semester

  • Interdisciplinary Research Colloquium (CAS-6001-001)

Year 1: Summer Semester

  • Internship **Recommended during the summer, but can be done during the school year** (CAS-6004)
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Year 2: Fall Semester

  • Studio 1 (CAS-6002-001)

Year 2: Spring Semester

  • Studio 2 (CAS-6003-001)

Interdisciplinary Research Colloquium 

The Interdisciplinary Research Colloquium introduced trainees to the resources and expectations of the CAS program and immerses them in on-going research. Trainees work in interdisciplinary teams to formulate research proposals.

Communication Activities

Each trainee creates and completes a Communication Plan, which becomes part of the trainee’s graduate program of study, guides learning, and provides a framework for regular adaptive feedback. Through the plan, each trainee develops an individualized communication skill set. Minimally, students will gain competencies in: a) presenting research ideas and results effectively in writing, in oral presentation, and via one other medium (e.g., radio, internet, social media, or informal outreach venue); and b) distilling the societal relevance of research for conversations with a variety of audiences, including policy-makers, the general public, K-12 students and teachers, and specific stakeholder groups.


Each trainee interns with an agency, NGO, or industry partner. During this internship, trainees gain experience through work-place projects and activities, as directed by the host, and have opportunities to learn the culture, climate adaptation challenges, and science needs of the host.

Trainees have the option of returning to their internship host for a second workplace experience, though this second internship is optional, not credited, and not required. Each trainee will bring scientific results or tools from their Studio experience and aid in their employment by the host.

Studio 1 & 2 

Studio is a two-part sequence, beginning the fall following summer internships

Studio 1 emphasizes training in informatics, interdisciplinary research methods, risk assessment and decision-making, a variety of modeling and analytical approaches from climate, ecology, and social sciences, and project management. Trainees work in small interdisciplinary groups, and larger teams, to define and execute climate adaptation research on a topic that integrates the science needs of end-users and stakeholders. 

During Studio 2 learning is trainee-driven, and consists of group discussion and activities to complete interdisciplinary research projects, including written and oral presentations of results for scientist and non-scientist audiences.

Environmental Risks and Decision Making

Environmental Risks and Decision Making focuses on how people make decisions in the context of environmental risks, how our decisions affect the vulnerability of ecosystem and society to environmental change, and strategies for improving decision making in these contexts. 

This course is discussion-intensive and includes group activities and student presentations. Collaborative learning is a core component of this course, and oral and written communication skills are emphasized.