Program Description

The Climate Adaptation Science program closely integrates research, instruction, work-place experience, and collaborations among scientists, federal, state, and local land and resource managers, policy-makers, trainees, and citizen stakeholders. The program emphasizes interdisciplinary research and includes training in informatics, modeling, communication, leadership, project management, risk assessment, decision-making under uncertainty, and interdisciplinary teamwork.

Trainees acquire primary disciplinary expertise in their departmental major degree fields. All trainees acquire facility in working on problems that span and in teams that include the full range of climate-adaptation-related disciplines.

Trainees complete a 9-credit specialization that includes two experiential elements. The required courses are two Interdisciplinary Research Colloquia (1 credit each) and the two-semester Studio course (5 credits), accompanied by 1 credit of short course electives. Trainees complete an internship (1 credit) with a government, industry, or NGO partner that precedes the year-long research studio with the opportunity for second internship the following summer. Each trainee also designs and completes an Individual Communication Plan , with Capstone. Details are given below in the Program Timetable.

Please note, all Utah State University graduate students in participating programs are eligible for consideration for the traineeship program, but only U.S. citizens, nationals, and permanent residents are eligible for fellowships.


The Climate Adaptation Sciences specialization prepares trainees for research-based careers that will integrate science, management, and policy to understand and adapt to a changing climate. The program includes interdisciplinary training in data management, informatics and modeling, communication, project management, and leadership skills.

Faculty Involvement

We encourage faculty to join our education and research activities. Faculty are encouraged to discuss their research and serve as mentors for trainee research groups in the Interdisciplinary Research Colloquium and Studio, to suggest new internship partners and opportunities, to join with other faculty to develop new integrative Climate Adaptation research, and to enhance the curriculum by offering short-courses that are of interest to trainees as well as other USU graduate students. The Climate Adaptation Science program uses short courses (especially 0.25-, 0.5-, and 1-credit courses or workshops) to make the curriculum more flexible and readily individualized. We suggest faculty consider using this approach in their teaching, where appropriate, including conversion of 3- or 4-credit courses to modular sets of 1-credit units that can be elected separately by students and increase flexibility for both students and faculty.

If you are interested in joining the CAS program faculty, contact Thad Nicholls at

Program Timeline