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Top 10 universities to study climate change

Number 1 -  Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

MIT Campus, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States (Credit: Wikimedia)

First on our list probably won’t surprise any engineers.  MIT is an independent technology-focused university with the stated mission to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology and other areas of scholarship. It founded the Center for Global Change Science (CGCS) in January 1990 to address fundamental questions about climate processes with a multidisciplinary approach. In July 2006 the CGCS became an independent Center in the School of Science. The Center’s goal is to improve the ability to accurately predict changes in the global environment.  Its interdisciplinary work spans the MIT School of Science & the MIT School of Engineering. assets: 156

Recommended reading: Dive into this report on renewable electricity generation and storage technologies


Notable Universities

These universities didn't quite make our top ten list but all of them can be found on  We're adding new information every day so we could see this list change a lot in the near future!


The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign is a public research-intensive university in the United States. There are a variety of courses, programs and centres that deal with climate change and clean energy. The International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research (I2CNER) Center at the University is the satellite institute of the I2CNER located at Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan. The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center conducts environmental and energy research and innovates technological advances that protect natural resources and reduce wastes.
Yale University, is a private research university in Connecticut, United States.  The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication is a research center working to bridge the gap between society and climate.  The Yale Climate & Energy Institute conducts interdisciplinary teaching and research on Earth’s climate system and energy resources
Princeton University is a private research university in New Jersey, United States. Princeton has partnered with BP to form the Carbon Mitigation Initiative (CMI). The combined academic and corporate strengths of CMI are working towards compelling and sustainable solutions to carbon and climate change problems.  Princeton’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment supports research and teaching in the areas of sustainable energy development, energy conservation, and environmental protection and remediation related to energy. Research topics include renewable energy, energy efficiency, nuclear energy, and carbon capture & storage.


The National University of Singapore, commonly known as NUS, is the nation’s flagship tertiary institution.  NUS is actively researching decarbonisation technologies via the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS), and Energy Studies Institute. At the SERIS National Laboratory, multi-disciplinary research teams investigate solar energy to contribute towards global sustainable development. The Energy Studies Institute focuses on energy economics, energy and the environment, and energy security.

Kyoto University is a national university located Japan. The university is actively teaching and researching energy and the associated challenges of production and utilisation. The Graduate School of Energy Science facilitates studies into energy security and conservation. The Institute of Advanced Energy pursues research into new theories of energy and advanced energy technology.

The University of Tokyo – Utokyo - is a research university located in Japan. Researchers at the University of Tokyo strive to carry out world-class research in pursuit of academic excellence and to contribute to the accumulation and diversity of human knowledge.  The University’s Research Centre for Advanced Science and Technology includes energy and environmental topics in its research agenda.
Tsinghua University, often abbreviated to THU, is a research university located in Beijing, China.  The university’s key institutes conduct scientific and technological research and projects, including work on energy in international joint research centers and laboratories.


The University of Cambridge is a collegiate research university in the United Kingdom. Research across the University is tackling the need to reduce energy demand, maintain energy supply, increase the efficiency of energy-requiring processes, and develop policy and pricing strategies. The Energy @ Cambridge initiative was established in 2010 as a University-wide initiative bringing together the activities of over 250 academics working in energy-related research.

Cardiff University is a public research university located in Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom.  The Institute of Energy, based in the School of Engineering, is a research centre with a mission to advance energy technology and play a key role in addressing the increasing demand for sustainable and low carbon technologies. The Low Carbon Research Institute (LCRI), based at the Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University, is an initiative which is intended to develop capacity and facilities around the existing areas of low carbon and energy expertise in Wales.

Newcastle University is a public research university located in the North-East of England. The University is part of the N8 Research Partnership of universities in the north of England working on carbon capture and storage, providing a integrated system approach to research and development of CCS technologies, supported by strong industrial links with private companies.

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), is located in Trondheim and was founded in 1910. NTNU is the national provider of higher education in engineering and technology. Energy is one of the University’s thematic strategic areas.  Multi-disciplinary research centres include Centre for Energy and Society, Centre for Electric Energy and Energy Systems, Centre for Renewable Energy (with IFE as partner), Gas Technology Centre, and Petroleum Centre for Better Resource Utilization.

The University of Oxford, commonly known as Oxford, is a research university located in England. Interdisciplinary research into climate change solutions cuts across Oxford’s four divisions: humanities, mathematical, physical and life sciences, medical Sciences, and social sciences.  The Oxford Climate Research Network coordinates the University’s efforts to understand climate change and to innovate practical and policy-relevant solutions. The network seeds collaborative efforts and strategic partnerships across science, government and business communities.

Middle East and Africa

The University of Cape Town, often referred to as UCT, is a public research university located in South Africa.  UCT established the African Climate and Development Initiative (ACDI) to deliver cross-university teaching and research into the climatic and developmental challenges threatening Africa’s well-being.

Istanbul Technical University, often referred to as ITU, is a technical university located in Turkey.  The ITU Energy Institute conducts teaching and research into areas of energy including nuclear and renewable energy.
The University of Pretoria is a public research university in South Africa.  ‘Energy’ is included in the university’s set of Institutional Research Themes (IRT). Researchers at the 'IRT on Energy' search for solutions to South Africa’s energy problems - concentrating on research related to electricity generation, transmission and distribution. IRT on Energy research subthemes include energy production (with the emphasis on clean coal, nuclear and renewable energy) and energy distribution (smart grids and energy storage).

Qatar University is the national institution of higher education in Qatar, situated on the northern edge of Doha. Courses are taught in Arabic or English. The university invests and participates in scientific studies, establishing research units including The Environmental Studies Center, and the Gas Processing Center.


The Australian National University (ANU) is a university in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. ANU was established by an Act of the Federal Parliament in 1946, it is the only university to have been created by the Parliament of Australia. ANU have two institutes working in the climate space The Climate Change Institute and The Energy Change Institut

Curtin University has a global outlook with campuses in Singapore and Sarawak, Malaysia. Curtin's research partners include CSIRO, the Cancer Foundation, the Health Department of Western Australia, Woodside, and the Water Corporation.  The Faculty of Science and Engineering's industry partners include BHP Billiton, Alcoa, Western Power, Clough Engineering and Calibre. Curtin Business School's advisory board includes 60 industry leaders from prominent Australian and international companies and government departments. 

The University of Melbourne, often referred to as Melbourne University, is a public university in Victoria, Australia.  The university conducts research and research training via a series of cross-disciplinary research institutes, and affiliations with research centers and institutes.  The Melbourne Energy Institute (MEI) combines the university’s research strength with external stakeholders to seek innovative solutions to climate change, diminishing resources, and rising energy demand.  We are about to start a new collaborative effort with MEI on so we expect their numbers to go up quickly! 

The University of Western Australia hosts industry-based research centres and institutes, including the Centre for Energy. The UWA Centre for Energy offers courses and conducts research into fuels, energy and sustainable development. The Centre partners with industry and government to develop new knowledge and advanced technologies including clean coal and biofuel technology and greenhouse gas emission reductions.

Open Online Curriculums

Finally, there are some great courses you can take online (for free!) to learn more about climate change solutions.  Some of the courses even allow for certification for a small fee.
MIT’s OpenCourseWare has over 2200 materials on the web free of charge, including courses on climate change.
Climate Change in Four Dimensions from UC San Diego explains the subject from the perspective of natural sciences, technology, and the social sciences and humanities.
Climate Change from the University of Melbourne provides an interdisciplinary understanding of the social, political, economic and scientific perspectives on climate change.
Global Warming: the Science of Climate Change from the University of Chicago describes the science of global warming and the forecast for humans’ impact on Earth’s climate.
An Introduction to the Science of Climate and Climate Change from the University of Oxford provides an introduction to climate science and modelling and the current understanding of some of the issues surrounding the use of model projections of climate change.
Its worth noting these online courses focus more on the case for climate action than on specific solutions.  Hopefully we’ll see more on the solutions side in the future.  As we see a number of Universities evolve their business models for online education we expect you’ll soon be able to learn a whole lot more from anywhere in the world.


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