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Environmental Studies

Course Descriptions

Environmental Studies and Supporting Courses:

ART 105 Art and Nature (4 SH). This course takes an in-depth look at the natural world through art. Students explore a variety of subjects from butterflies to birds; seedpods to sea shells; the microscopic to the expanse of landscapes. Content and themes ranging from more scientific to the artistic. Primary techniques are basic drawing and painting using simple and portable materials. The course revolves around the creation of a field journal/sketchbook. More involved projects spin off assignments from the sketchbook. Students can expect to work on location/campus and at the biology department’s Field Station and Nature Trail. Our studio is the great outdoors.

BIO 105 Pattern and Process in the Natural World (4 SH). This is a cluster course for the non-science major. Students will learn how scientific discoveries are made and they will use the scientific method to investigate biological systems. Ecological concepts will be used to illustrate biological patterns at the individual, population, and community level and to explain the importance of change in the natural world. A laboratory which emphasizes field work is included.

BIO 361 Biological Diversity (4 SH). An in-depth, cross-sectional study of the diversity of eukaryotic organisms. Pertinent to this course is the evolutionary process which is centered on adaptation, diversity, natural selection and speciation. Topics include paleontology, life histories, survival strategies in feeding and reproduction, biogeography and patterns of extinction. The social, ethical and political consequences of human activities will also be addressed. This course assumes reasonable knowledge of all major taxa and schemes of taxonomy. The laboratory component will consist primarily of field work. Prerequisite: C- or better in BIO 203. Offered every other Fall Semester.

CHE 375 Green Chemistry (4 SH). A study of the principles, concepts, and applications of green chemistry. Particular attention will be given to industrial processes, catalysis, waste management, and renewable resources. Discussions will focus on the current literature on green chemistry. While the course does not include a laboratory, students will participate in a project that applies the principles of green chemistry to a laboratory experiment used in the chemistry curriculum. This project will serve as the culminating experience for the course. Prerequisites: CHE 230 and CHE 261.

ENG 131 Nature Writing: Studies in Literature (4 SH). Studies in English, American, world or comparative literature, or in specific literary genres and themes. Individual sections experiment with different approaches and topics. The times and a brief description of each course is provided each semester. These courses are designed primarily for non-English majors. More than one ENG 101–199 may be taken for credit, as long as each course is different. Designated 101–199 courses receive Intellectual Perspective credit.

ENV 101 Environmental Literacy (4 SH). This course aims to teach students about a broad range of environmental issues, inviting them to investigate how the historical and cultural facets of those issues cast light upon certain environmental realities. Drawing from a range of artistic, economic, historical, literary, political, philosophical, and scientific approaches to key environmental concepts, this course invites you to investigate current debates about environmental issues.

ENV 401 Environmental Studies Seminar (4 SH). The Environmental Studies Seminar is an integrative experiential and project-based course that is a capstone experience for all ENV minors. Students are expected to bring their discipline-specific expertise to the group and collaborate on a class project that identifies a problem, examines it from a multidisciplinary perspective and provides practical solutions. Prerequisites: ENV 101 and at least one ENV Group I elective (ES 160 or PS 251) or approval by instructor.

ES 160 Concepts of Environmental Science (4 SH). An investigation of the effect of humans on the Earth’s environment and on the other species that inhabit our planet. The course will look at the impact that an increasing human population has on the resource utilization, pollution production, habitat degradation, and the extinction of species. It will include a brief look at the policies and laws that specifically relate to environmental problems.

ES 360 Ecology (4 SH). A study of the structure of ecological populations, communities, and ecosystems, and the processes that affect them. Topics include population growth, regulation, and dynamics, population interactions, food webs, species diversity, succession, biogeography,and energy flow and nutrient cycling. Laboratories stress experimental design and data analysis. Prerequisite: C- or better in BIO 203. (Also listed as BIO 360.)

PHI 230 Environmental Ethics. Beginning with an examination of the nature of ethics in general, this course will explore a variety of theoretical positions on subjects such as the philosophy of nature, animal rights, deep ecology, eco-feminism, and global justice. One guiding theme will be the difference between the "anthropocentric" and an "eco-centric" attitude.

PS 242 Environmental Policy and Politics (4 SH). This course explores "the environment" as a focus of public policy, an issue in political debate, and a basis for thinking about the purposes of political life. It reviews some of the classic readings in environmentalism, considers domestic and international policy approaches to major issues such as climate change, clean air and water, and sustainable development, and explores the ways in which thinking "environmentally" challenges our standard assumptions about policy-making and political life. Prerequisite: PS 101 or consent of instructor.


What can you do with a Environmental Studies degree?

Imagine yourself an environmental consultant, environmental writer, environmental lawyer, conservation proponent, or sustainability analyst.