fbpx Courses | Harvard Kennedy School

The following list of HKS degree program courses offer substantial climate-related content. Students interested in climate change issues are encouraged to explore other course offerings via the additional resources at right. We encourage students to look for course cross registration opportunities at other Harvard schools, MIT, and Tufts.

Click a course's number to view its full description.

Economics of Climate Change and Environmental Policy

Spring | 4 Credits

Provides a survey, from the perspective of economics, of global climate change and public policies to address it, including international, regional, national, and sub-national policies.  The political economy and politics of alternative policies are also covered.

Energy and Environmental Economics and Policy

Joseph Aldy| Spring | 4 Credits

This course applies economic tools to understand the rationale, design, and evaluation of public policies focused on energy and environmental problems. The course examines the efficacy, welfare, and distributional impacts of an array of policy approaches, including carbon pricing, subsidies for energy efficiency and renewable power, cap-and-trade programs for conventional air pollutants, fossil fuel subsidies, clean energy research and development, fuel economy standards, information programs, and multilateral climate and energy policy governance.

Managing Climate Change Risks: Information, Incentives, and Institutions

Joseph Aldy | Spring | 4 Credits

Decision-makers are undertaking an array of strategies to manage the risks posed by a changing climate. This course explores how information, incentives, and institutions influence the actions taken by decision-makers on (1) adaptation and resilience; (2) emission reductions; (3) carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere; and (4) solar geoengineering. Students will gain exposure to models drawing from decision science, economics, integrated assessment, political science, and statistics to evaluate risk management strategies. 

Seminar in Environmental Economics and Policy

Robert Stavins & James Stock | Year | 4 Credits

This is an advanced research seminar on selected topics in environmental and resource economics. Emphasizes theoretical models, quantitative empirical analysis, and public policy applications. Includes presentations by invited outside speakers. Students prepare critiques of presented papers and prepare a research paper of their own.

Management, Finance, and Regulation of Public Infrastructure in Developing Countries

Henry Lee | Spring | 4 Credits

This course explores efforts to manage, finance, and regulate the transportation, water, sanitation, and energy infrastructure systems in developing countries. Issues to be discussed include public-private partnerships (PPPs), the fundamentals of project finance, contract and discretionary regulation, corruption, stakeholder involvement, and managing the political and strategic context in which infrastructure decisions are made.


Natural Climate Solutions: Feasible or Fantasy?

Daniel Schrag | Spring

In this course, we will explore various dimensions of natural climate solutions, including reduced deforestation, reforestation, afforestation, wetlands restoration, biochar, no-till agriculture and other farming practices to increase carbon content of soils. We will examine the feasibility of each proposed action and also the potential limitations. We will also explore policy dimensions for encouraging such efforts, if desirable, through direct subsidies, regulation, or integration into carbon pricing regimes including carbon offsets. 

Confronting Climate Change: A Foundation in Science, Technology and Policy

Dan Schrag | Fall | 4 Credits 

This course will consider the challenge of climate change and what to do about it.  The course emphasizes the scientific and technological aspects of climate change (including the clean energy transition), but in the context of current issues in public policy, business, design and public health.

The Energy-Climate Challenge (NEW)

Henry Lee | Fall 2 | 2 Credits

This module will look at the challenges and opportunities of transitioning from a dependence on fossil fuels to an economy reliant on low carbon energy sources. We will focus on electricity systems, buildings, and transportation in the context of the United States, China, and India. Students will be asked to develop plans on what should be done between 2021 and 2030 to accelerate the deployment of low carbon energy options to meet the Paris targets.

Environmental Politics: Persuasion, Advocacy and Negotiation

Rand Wentworth | Spring | 4 Credits

Leadership is difficult in any enterprise, but it is especially difficult for environmental leaders who face opponents with vastly more power and money. In this course, students will learn three core skills to overcome power asymmetries: persuasion, advocacy, and negotation.


Science, Power, and Politics

Sheila Jasanoff | Fall | 4 Credits

This seminar introduces students to the major contributions of the field of science and technology studies (STS) to the analysis of politics and policymaking in democratic societies. The objective is to expand students' understanding of the ways in which science and technology participate in the creation of social and political order.

Analytical Methods for Complex Adaptive Systems

Afreen Siddiqi | Fall 1 | 2 Credits

This course introduces theory and methods for quantitative analysis of complex, sociotechnical systems. The course will introduce complex adaptive systems theory and approaches for ‘systems thinking’ for analyzing modern systems that embody technological and social elements and operate within a changing environment.

Policy and Social Innovations for the Changing Arctic

Halla Hrund-Logadottir | January | 2 Credits

Through the lens of the rapidly changing Arctic region, this module will give students an overarching understanding of these local and global challenges, as well as tools and experience in developing their own policy and social innovations to address complex issues in a sustainable way. It will also provide students with skills to communicate new policy ideas effectively to a global audience.

Greater Boston Applied Field Lab: Advanced Budgeting, Financial Management and Operations

Linda Bilmes | Spring | 4 Credits

This course is an experiential-learning lab that will enable students to work on financial and operational challenges with real-world clients. This semester, projects will focus on climate issues in Boston area watersheds and the communities in them. Additional course work includes training in advanced relevant analytical skills, such as GIS mapping and financial spreadsheet modelling. 

Additional Resources for Course Selection

Harvard Syllabus Explorer

Syllabus Explorer allows you to search more than 10,000 Harvard syllabi, to find classes, instructors, and course material relevant to your interests. It is a project developed in partnership by the Office of the Vice Provost for Advances and Learning and Harvard University IT.

Course Guide - Harvard University Center for the Environment

The Center for the Environment has compiled a list of Harvard courses most relevant to environmental studies. All attempts are made to ensure accuracy of listed course information; however, for up-to-date listings of Faculty of Arts and Sciences courses, visit My.Harvard. For a comprehensive list of courses offered at Harvard, visit the University's Course Catalog.

KNet Course List

Browse current HKS courses, view student evaluations, and explore the syllabus archive. HKS login required.

CSS - Do Not Delete

JavaScript - Do Not Delete