Environmental Studies Program

Environmental Studies Courses

All other courses required for the Environmental Studies major are described under the respective academic departments.

EVST 110 Introduction to Environmental Studies
An introduction to the study of environmental problems using an interdisciplinary approach with emphasis on the importance of sustainable solutions. The course combines scientific, economic, political, socio-cultural and ethical knowledge to examine selected topics such as human population, food, water, and energy.

EVST 275 American Literature and the Environment (LS, W1)
An examination of how American writers have depicted their culture's relationship to the environment, mostly through fictional representations (novels and short stories), but with some attention paid to nonfiction, poetry, and theoretical writing. The course examines how writers have imagined their environment and their place in it, though other aspects of the texts will also be studied (character, point of view, gender, race, or economics). Cross-listed as ENGL 275.

EVST 280 Environmental Analysis (NS-L)
Quantitative chemical analysis techniques and skills will be developed and applied to the analysis of environmental systems.  Methods of sample collection, preparation and data analysis will be learned in the classroom and in the laboratory.  Cross-listed as CHEM 280.  Prerequisite: CHEM 120 or CHEM 150 or consent of instructor. 

EVST 497 Senior Seminar (W2) [UR] 
A capstone experience involving common readings, research methods and both written and oral presentation of independent research. Oral presentation and defense of research functions as the senior comprehensive exam. Prerequisite: senior standing.

EVST 498 Environmental Internship
Provides opportunity for students to engage in an applied field experience. Focus of internship to be determined by the student’s Environmental Studies emphasis. Internship must be approved in advance by Environmental Studies faculty. Prerequisite: junior or senior standing.

BIOL 104 Environmental Biology (NS-L)
An introduction to principles of ecology as they relate to the human concerns of overpopulation, resource management, pollution, and environmental ethics. Laboratory course.

CHEM 101 Chemistry of the Environment (NS-L)
Environmental issues are used as a basis to introduce the theories, models, structures, and reactions of modern chemistry to the non-science major. The states of matter are studied in the contexts of air pollution, ozone depletion, global warming, acid rain, and energy sources and consumption. Mathematical problem solving in a chemical context is included. Includes laboratory.

ENGC 306 Exploring Nature Writing (EA) [AC]
Students are invited to explore what nature means as an idea and an experience, and to arrive at an enriched understanding of their own relationship to nature through creative writing. Readings include selected examples from literature (particularly creative nonfiction essays, with some fiction and poetry) and sociology. The primary emphasis of the course is on creative writing and attentiveness to form and purpose in an interdisciplinary context. Cross-listed as SOCI 306. Prerequisite: W1 and LS.

HIST 212 American Environmental History (HP, VA, CW)
This course examines the use and transformation of the American environment from the pre-Columbian era to the present. The course also considers the interpretations and perceptions of nature, wilderness, and the environment that various Americans held and developed over this period. By focusing on conceptions of nature as well as the physical interaction between people and their environment, this course challenges students to see the ways in which a cultural perspective is critical to understanding environmental issues.

 POLI 235 Public Policy (SB)
An introduction to the process of formulating, implementing, and evaluating public policy in the United States with particular attention to policy devoted to education, health care, and environmental policies.

POLI 315 Environmental Policy & Management (SB)
An examination of the evolution policy and management; the environmental policy process; environmental organizational structure and function in the federal system of government; the status of environmental policies and programs relating to various media (air quality, water quality and quantity, waste reduction and management, land use/sustainable growth and biodiversity); the role of various interests in dealing with ecological concerns; and alternative for addressing future environmental problems.

 PSYC 290 Statistics (QS)
Descriptive and inferential techniques for analyzing research data. Factorial analysis of variance, Chi square, nonparametrics, and experimental design.

BUSI 250 Principles of Statistics (QS)
A study of representations and interpretations of our contemporary world of data. Topics include descriptive statistics, graphical presentations, statistical estimation, hypothesis testing, and regression analysis. Emphasis is placed on applications to business data.

MATH 215 Statistical Analysis (QS)
An introduction to some of the mathematical and statistical methods used in the analysis of social and natural scientific phenomena with an emphasis on the interpretation of experimental and survey data. Topics include elementary and combinatorial designs, basic statistical methods, correlation and inference, and regression analysis. Applications to the students' major disciplines are included throughout the course as well as in a culminating project. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or higher. 

ANTH 335 Geographic Information Science (SB)
This course is designed to broaden the student’s awareness of spatial problems and strategies to address them using cartographic concepts. Students are introduced to geographic information system (GIS) software. They learn the basics of data input and analysis as well as techniques for importing GIS data from outside sources. Finally, they learn process modeling techniques in the analysis of social and ecological problems using GIS.

ECON 340 Environmental Economics (CW, SB)
Introduces students to the ways in which the tools of economic analysis can enable them to better evaluate environmental issues and policies. Topics covered include alternative governmental responses to externalities, the Coase Theorem, criteria for evaluating economic efficiency, measurement and discounting of environmental costs and benefits, exhaustible resources, energy resources, and sustainability.

 SOCI 375 Environmental Sociology (CW, SB)
A sociological approach to human-nature relationships, with a focus on social constructions of nature, major social groups that have a stake in defining environmental issues, environmental policy (local and global), the role of technology and of the scientific community in shaping environmental outcomes, the environmental movement and counter-movement, the evolving concept of “environmental justice,” and designs for sustainability.

ANTH 330 Human Impact on the Ancient Environments (CW, SB, W2)
An examination of the ways in which humans have interacted with their natural environment through time, with a primary focus on recurring patterns of human impact on the environment and consequent human responses to degraded environments that have shaped human history and cultural evolution. Discussion is centered on important implications for contemporary societies around the world.

RELI 270 Ecotheology (VA, EA)
In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries an important form of religious thinking is emerging called ecotheology. It involves exploring how spirituality is connected with an appreciation of the earth and its many forms of life and how the earth needs to be protected from excessive exploitation. There are Christian versions of ecotheology, Jewish versions, Buddhist versions, and many others, including feminist versions called ecofeminism. This course looks at a wide variety of forms of ecotheology. A component of the course focuses on human relations to animals, with attention to the animal rights movement and constructive religious responses to it.

PHIL 270 Environmental Philosophy (VA, EA)
Study of particular themes related to an understanding of the relation of humans to the environment. Some years focus on a particular area, such as environmental ethics, philosophies of technology, or philosophies of nature.

PHIL 315 Ethics and Relations to Friend, Kin, and Community (VA, EA, W2)
The philosophical analysis and evaluation of ethical issues pertinent to establishing and maintaining the goods of friendship, family, and community. This course examines such questions as these: What virtues make flourishing relationships possible? What vices make them impossible? When, if ever, is respecting one anothers’ rights not enough? Is “love” always enough? What are the ethical boundaries of different kinds of love? What moral obligations are entailed by our powers as sexual, procreative beings?