The NRT Climate Resilience project includes coursework, internships, workshops, and a summer immersion experience to assist Trainees to meet the program learning outcomes below. All courses are available to all students at Auburn University.

NRT Climate Resilience Learning Outcomes

The Trainees will...

  1. ...recognize the interactions between natural-human systems and be skilled at critically analyzing the impacts of climate change and variability and the associated hazards on these systems.
  2. ...demonstrate the ability to address climate-hazard resilience in the southeast US.
  3. ...demonstrate proficient skills in communicating scientific information to a variety of stakeholders.
  4. ...recognize the interdisciplinary challenges of applying climate information to natural hazards, resilience, and decision making.
  5. ...recognize non-academic research applications and career opportunities, possessing the skills needed to succeed in an array of career types.


Table 1. Illustrative menu of core and elective courses to meet NRT coursework requirements

Courses/Electives Thematic Area Courses


9 Credits


6 Credits
Interdisciplinary Natural Hazard Risk and Disaster Resilience (3 credits)
Science Communication (3 credits)
Studio Course (2 Credits, MS Trainees Optional)
Internship (1 Credit, MS Trainees Optional)


6 Credits


3 Credits
Data Science One of the following: Intermediate Statistical Data Analysis; Digital Earth and Big Data; Earth System Observation and Analysis; GIS Modeling; Climate Modeling
Natural Systems
and Climate
One of the following: Land Processes and Climate Interactions; Ecosystem Responses to Climate Change; Climatology; Earth System Science and Global Change; Urban Climatology and Sustainability
Social Science One of the following: Sociology of Natural Resources and Environment; Climate Literacy and Communication; Human-Environment Interactions; Climate Change and Society; Environmental Justice

*One course in each of the theme areas should be taken. Substitutions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. For MS students, the area of elective should be outside of home discipline.

The below core courses will be offered as new offerings developed in result of the NRT Climate Resilience program. Trainees should take ESSI 7420 in their first semester in the NRT program (usually in Fall semester) and then complete ESSI 7150 (usually in the spring semester).  Before the end of their second year as a Trainee, students should consider completing ESSI 7200. Once ESSI 7200 is completed, Trainees can then complete ESSI 7920.

ESSI 7420 Natural Hazard Risk and Disaster Resilience (3 Credits)- The purpose of this course is to present students with an approach to understanding adverse natural hazard impacts and disasters grounded in the analysis of disaster risk, vulnerability, and resilience. The course will use a multidisciplinary perspective to examine factors and conditions that put people differentially at risk before, during, and following a disaster event. The course will also introduce students to the metrics, methodologies, and tools necessary for both quantitative and qualitative resilience assessments and benchmarking methods. Specific topics that are an integral part of the resilience concept will include: climate-related hazard risk assessment; disaster resilience assessment covering ecological, social, economic, infrastructural, and institutional components; community capital; hazard mitigation and planning for fostering resilient communities; social vulnerability, and recovery.  The course materials, lectures, and assignments will reflect the emerging emphasis on resilience to climate-induced natural hazards and disasters.

ESSI 7150 Science Communication (3 Credits)- This course will provide opportunities for STEM graduate students to practice communicating science to multiple audiences. Students will gain skills by communicating with both stakeholders and the public and presenting information, exploring public opinion on socio-political topics (such as climate change, resilience, and adaptation planning), and learning about appropriate framing and messaging techniques for target audiences. Guest speakers, reading discussions, practical tips, communication rubrics, and presentations to refine communication skills will be emphasized.

ESSI 7200 Studio Course (2 Credits, MS Trainees Optional) Description- This course will provide opportunities for interdisciplinary STEM graduate students to learn about structured decision-making and the coproduction of science, which aims to undertake in science that is actionable and useful to targeted stakeholder groups. Students will gain skills by communicating with stakeholders and develop a proposal to conduct research with a stakeholder group of their choice.  Ideally, students would then implement their research in the follow-on Internship course offered by the NRT project. Guest speakers, reading discussions, written communication, workshops, and meetings will stakeholders will included in the course. 

ESSI 7920 Climate Internship (1 Credit, MS Trainees Optional)- This course will provide graduate Trainees with an opportunity to gain knowledge and skills from a planned work experience in the area of resilience to climate-related natural hazards and disasters. In addition to meeting core learning objectives, jointly developed learning outcomes that are specific to each Trainee will be selected and evaluated by a faculty internship advisor, a stakeholder sponsor, and the Trainee. It is expected that the internship will afford Trainees the opportunity to: 1) explore career paths related to climate resilience outside of academia, 2) conduct research to solve real-world problems, and 3) to understand the research needs of stakeholders. The experience will also give students the opportunity to build professional networks.