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Climate Action - Education

How we're delivering education that empowers students to become future leaders and innovators in our response to the climate crisis.

How we are embedding climate change into education

As a University, we're educating our community to help them lead and innovate for a more sustainable future.

Graphic of a book with a forest emerging from the pages

We are on a journey to embed climate change across our education framework, with the aim of equipping our graduates with the knowledge, confidence, and skills to conserve and protect our planet, through learning, research and action projects.

Our approach to embedding has three distinct elements:

  • supporting students in understanding the basics of the climate emergency, mitigation and adaptation approaches, and through this considering the impact of their personal choices and behaviours through our Climate Literacy programme.
  • embedding relevant climate content in our courses through our Citizenship and Sustainability principle. We are currently exploring how we can best support staff with embedding, options include design review, staff training, sharing of best practice and the development of a resource hub.
  • Developing new programmes specifically focussed on sustainability and climate change. In particular, a new MSc Decarbonisation will welcome its first cohort of students in 2024. Other programmes in this space are anticipated.

Responsible Futures

The SU and Climate Action team have embarked on the SOS-UK supported initiative, Responsible Futures.

This is a structured framework of criteria to encourage action on embedding sustainability, inclusive of climate justice, into formal and informal learning. It maps out the organisational innovation and enhancement required, spanning top down, middle out and bottom-up level change, to achieve whole institution engagement with sustainability learning.

Climate Action in the Informal Curriculum

Alongside embedding climate change in the curriculum, we are creating innovative educational initiatives for students to engage with the climate agenda and further develop the skills and attributes they will need in a climate-changed world.

Climate Literacy for Students

In September 2021, Bath became the first University to include Carbon Literacy in induction for all new students.

Incoming students were given the opportunity to engage in carbon literacy as part of induction and then to complete follow-up training with the Carbon Literacy Project.

The idea came from the belief that every student coming to Bath should have a level of Carbon Literacy and that we wanted to weave that into the student experience and give everyone the chance to get involved. We know that this is an issue that students care about passionately and is something that will have a bearing on the rest of their lives. - Professor Steve Cayzer

Climate Leaders

The Climate Leaders programme is a voluntary project where a self-selected cohort of students are supported to achieve their own pathway to impact.

This programme is designed to take students beyond a simple understanding of climate change and the basic list of do’s and don’ts for an individual or organisation to be “green”. Instead it will help students to understand the difference between organisational activity that claims to be sustainable or green, and organisational activity which is genuinely aligned to a 1.5°C World. The difference is not always clear, or easy to discern.

Contact us if you would like to find out more and join this cohort.

Generally Available Units

Across the University, there is a wealth of expertise about sustainability, the science behind climate change and its impacts.

Some departments make their units available to all students, known as Generally Available Units. For example, Natural Sciences GAUs include:

Students can take GAUs either as a Director of Studies approved option within their programme of study or as an 'extra' unit which does not count towards a final award.

Explore the full list of GAUs

Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP)

VIPs are innovative research and applied learning projects that enable inter-disciplinary, multi-level teams of students to work with a member of academic staff on long-term real-world projects which address global challenges often with a local focus.

In academic year 2022/23 a number of these VIPS are climate focussed, including:

  • Creating carbon neutral communities (Farrington Gurney)
  • Decarbonising Heat
  • Students for Sustainable Food

We are currently undertaking a project, funded by the University’s Teaching Development Fund, to map VIPS to the UN SDGs and student skills to more deeply understand their breadth and impact.

Find out more about our VIPs

VIPs and Climate Action