Programmes and Courses

The Postgraduate Diploma in Climate Change

This programme consists of four courses at 400-level over 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time.

Core Courses:  EV414*, EV415* plus any two of :  SC400 (strongly recommended for students intending to pursue  Masters in Climate Change), EV402, EV405, EV424*, EV425*, EV426, BI442, EC415, DG422, LW452*, GE407, GE409, PH414.

Other relevant courses can be included with the approval of the PACE-SD Director. Courses marked with (*) are offered online.


Semester 1, 2012

EV414*: Climate Change: Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation

Outline: This postgraduate course examines the risks posed to Pacific Islands by Climate Change and reviews the adaptation strategies to deal with those risks, both at national and community levels. The course is intended for people in the Pacific islands involved with medium-to-long term planning for natural resources, economic and social development, and/or the natural environment, especially graduates working in governments or NGOs who are not yet familiar with climate related issues but need to be so. 

EV424: Disaster Risk Management (DRM) Assessment

Outline: This course is designed to familiarize the learners with a broad understanding of the causes and impacts of disasters in the context of PICs and provide comprehensive knowledge on disasters, disaster preparedness, mitigation and rehabilitation as well as to carry out risk assessment and vulnerability analysis. The course provides guidance on strengthening institutional mechanisms for community mobilization/participation in disaster management. Students will develop better communication skills for disaster preparedness and disaster response in emergency situations with tools for meeting emergency health/medical requirements and understand the importance of incorporating gender-sensitive DM approaches in capacity building & mainstreaming towards effective programme/project development.

Semester 2, 2012

EV415*: Climate Science

Outline: This course provides important insights into the rapidly developing and fast moving realm of climate science among the future climate leaders of the Pacific to understand the scientific basis of the threats of the impacts of CC to develop appropriate measures to address and manage the challenges of the adverse impacts. This course navigates through new scientific evidences on our current scientific understanding of the earth’s climate including those which point at important tipping points leading to perhaps irreversible changes in major systems and ecosystems. The course also provides adequate skill in climatology of the region and the tools/methodology applied in the analyses and is thus useful for those intending to work with national meteorological services or other government agencies.

EV425: Environmental Impact Assessment/Strategic Environment Assessment

Outline: The object of this course is to teach students how to effectively process Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of development proposals from strategic and project perspectives. A brief critical analysis of the social impact assessment process will be addressed and linked to the overall EIA/SEA process. It is adjunct to the specialist environmental skills developed in our undergraduate science, arts, business and law programs. Students will acquire a comprehensive knowledge of the best practice assessment process for achieving sustainable development whereby specialist skills can be effectively applied to ensure that development throughout the Pacific region is sustainable.

EV426: Pacific Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology in Relation to Climate Change

Outline: This course is designed to familiarize with the causes and effects of climate change on terrestrial and marine ecosystems in an island setting, the importance of the conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity and linkage to peoples’ livelihood, food security and health. The course will enable one to understand the inter-linkages between climate change and ecology and how to strengthen institutional mechanisms and systems for mobilisation and participation of all stakeholders at various levels on the role of ecosystems in climate change mitigation and adaptation management. This course will also equip with tools for ecosystem based adaptation for climate change and help understand the importance of incorporating traditional and cultural approaches.

Masters and PhD in Climate Change

An exciting opportunity for students to pursue research degrees in your chosen fields with access to research grants, staff expertise and student resources.

Masters/PhD Students will need to submit a thesis that will be marked by internal and external examiners.

Alternatively, master’s students can do two or three 400 level courses and a supervised research project.

Possible research topics in climate change may include (but not limited to): (a) Climatological analysis and interpretation of the observations or model generated data sets, (b) Scientific analysis of the impacts of likely climate change on a particular community or sector, (c) Developing a scientific or technical aspects of community adaptation project, (d) Evaluating the effectiveness of a particular community adaptation project, (e) Social or economic analysis of adaptation projects or policies, (f) Analysis of governance or social issues affecting vulnerability to, or measures to adapt to climate change, (g) Integration of climate change in education for sustainable development, (h) Evaluation of gender issues in climate change, (i) Evaluation of impacts of climate change on plants/animals, (j) Analysis of adaptation and mitigation measures for adaptive capacity development in a specific community or sector.

Applicants for a Masters degree should normally have completed a Postgraduate Diploma (or equivalent). The University recognises that there are special circumstances in which some applicants without these pre-requisites may be eligible for enrolment in these degree programmes. More details in the University Calendar at

You can find more information on postgraduate research at USP on You can also navigate through USP’s web pages to utilize all resources available to make your time with us more rewarding.


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