World-first climate change degree launches

10 Nov 2021

The University of Waikato has achieved a world-first, with the launch of its Bachelor of Climate Change degree.

Waikato University Dean of Science, Professor Margaret Barbour

The new qualification, unique to Waikato University, builds on its long-standing reputation in environmental science and decades of research across a range of disciplines, from exploring the impacts of sea level rise and extreme weather events to examining political, social and economic systems that have contributed to climate change.

The new three-year cross-disciplinary undergraduate degree begins in 2022, and will create a cohort of graduates who can lead future climate change solutions nationally and globally.

The need for these graduates has never been more urgent, and the climate change crisis is currently being discussed by world leaders at COP26 in Glasgow.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) latest report in August 2021 said that climate change is “widespread, rapid and intensifying”, with scientific changes observed in the Earth’s climate in every region and across the entire climate system.

University of Waikato Dean of Science, Professor Margaret Barbour, says students with the new qualification will be in demand as we work towards the target of net zero emissions by 2050.

“The Bachelor of Climate Change brings together this collective expertise across all the disciplines creating a common language in the fight against the globe’s most pressing environmental issue,” says Professor Barbour.

The cross-disciplinary degree combines subjects including environmental science, economics, social science, psychology and politics, and also includes Māori and Pacific responses to climate change.

Indigenous perspectives are a unique and important part of the Waikato degree, woven throughout the programme.

The new Bachelor of Climate Change degree affirms the University of Waikato’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG 13 on Climate Action: the need to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.


During the United Nations COP26 climate change conference, the University of Waikato is hosting daily online reflections and panel discussions featuring local Indigenous and community leaders, academic researchers and other experts.

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