CLIMATE 172 - Climate Change and Sustainability: Environmental Challenges of the 21st Century
Winter 2023, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Climate & Meteorology (CLIMATE)
Department: CoE Climate and Space
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Requirements & Distribution:
BS, ID, QR/2
Waitlist Capacity:
This course counts toward the 60 credits of math/science required for a Bachelor of Science degree.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 1/4/23 - 4/18/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


This is an introductory class aimed at introducing students to the complexity of our climate system and the challenges related to building a sustainable planet.

Increasingly, millions of human-initiated and natural activities are altering our planet. Over the past century, through our ever-increasing population and mastery of technology, we have been changing our planet’s environment at a pace unknown in Earth’s natural history. In 'Climate Change and Sustainability: Environmental Challenges of the 21st Century' students will begin to study the impacts of modern human society on land, ice, freshwater, ocean, atmosphere, ecosystems, resources, and human well-being. We will also consider practical, local, and every-day considerations relevant to a sustainable human future.

Group work will be an integral part of each lecture and most labs and therefore attendance is required.

In the lab portion of the course, small-group discussions and analysis of spatial data, utilizing ArcGIS software, are used to investigate the role and impacts of change, toward developing mitigation and adaptation strategies.

In addition, as part of the hands-on component of the course, students are asked to take a pledge throughout the semester that would make their lifestyle more sustainable. We will analyze the impact that each individual change could make in our journey toward sustainability and reflect on how to advocate for those changes to take place.


Course Requirements:

Grading will be done using GradeCraft and it will be based on three hour-long exams based on the lecture material (students can take a total of 4 exams), labs (some discussion based and some ArcGIS based), work on the sustainability pledge, and a series of weekly assignments including in-class group work.

Class attendance is required for both lecture and labs.

Intended Audience:

This course is intended for undergraduate students interested in beginning their exploration of Earth's climate and the issues and challenges related to creating a sustainable society and planet. Mostly this class is geared towards freshmen and sophomores.

Class Format:

The lecture portion of the class meets for 1.5 hours twice weekly. Labs meet weekly for 2 hours. GSIs teach the labs and assist in grading.


CLIMATE 172 - Climate Change and Sustainability: Environmental Challenges of the 21st Century
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
1/4/23 - 4/18/23
002 (LAB)
 In Person
Tu 9:00AM - 11:00AM
1/4/23 - 4/18/23
003 (LAB)
 In Person
Tu 11:00AM - 1:00PM
1/4/23 - 4/18/23
004 (LAB)
 In Person
Th 11:00AM - 1:00PM
1/4/23 - 4/18/23
006 (LAB)
 In Person
M 2:00PM - 4:00PM
1/4/23 - 4/18/23

Textbooks/Other Materials

The partner U-M / Barnes & Noble Education textbook website is the official way for U-M students to view their upcoming textbook or course material needs, whether they choose to buy from Barnes & Noble Education or not. Students also can view a customized list of their specific textbook needs by clicking a "View/Buy Textbooks" link in their course schedule in Wolverine Access.

Click the button below to view and buy textbooks for CLIMATE 172.001

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for CLIMATE 172 (UM login required)

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CourseProfile (Atlas)

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CourseProfile (Atlas)