Environmental Studies Courses

ENV-151 Introduction to Human Geography3 credits

Human geography explores the ways in which human definitions of, attitudes towards, and behavior in space affect the distribution of our activities and our impact on the natural world-- as well as the ways in which that world shapes and constrains our definitions and behavior. The course introduces several kinds of geographic analysis such as classification of industrial and agricultural landscapes, urban structure, transportation patterns, migration, conceptions of political space (such as nation-states), and cultural/religious patterns. Local case studies as well as international examples will be discussed. In the final course project, students will use public data to evaluate the impact of climate change on the human geography of a chosen region.

ENV-160 Environmental Science I3 credits


This interdisciplinary course introduces physical principles as they apply to understanding environmental problems and issues. Topics include: human dependence on natural resources; energy; climate, nutrient cycles, and soils; chemistry of the atmosphere and air pollution; chemistry of water pollution; solid and hazardous wastes; and the power, limitations, and roles of science and technology in society.

ENV-160L Environmental Science I Laboratory1 credit


This is the laboratory course for ENV-160.

ENV-200 Nature and Culture: Introduction to Environmental Studies3 credits

Prerequisites:FYS-101 or FYS-110

An investigation of the relationships among nature, self, and community, with special emphasis given to the interdisciplinary nature of environmental studies. The course is writing-intensive and pursues analysis of environmental issues and concepts. Students interested in the Environmental Studies major should complete this course during their freshman or sophomore years.

ENV-260 Environmental Science II3 credits



This course explores biological and ecological principles as a means of understanding the behavior of complex environmental systems, including biotic communities, and ecosystems, such as forests, coral reefs, and agricultural ecosystems. We investigate human population dynamics and human impacts on these systems and consider issues in areas such as climatology, biodiversity, conservation biology, sustainable agriculture, toxicology, and risk assessment using various models, problem-solving approaches, and interdisciplinary perspectives.

ENV-260L Environmental Science II Laboratory1 credit



This is the laboratory course for ENV-260.

ENV-294 Independent Study1 - 3 credits

Prerequisites:Instructor permission

A special research project on a selected topic. Independent studies cannot substitute for specific course requirements in the major or minor. See independent study guidelines.

ENV-324 Environmental Studies Overseas Preparation1 credit

Prerequisites:Instructor permission

This course serves to prepare students for winter study abroad and provides an introduction to the cultural and natural history, ecology, and specific environmental concerns of the winter term trip destination.

ENV-326 Environmental Sustainability in the Tropics3 credits

Prerequisites:Instructor permission

In this course, students explore the difficulties and rewards of pursuing an environmentally sustainable culture, while focusing especially on two of Costa Rica's most pressing challenges: tourism and agriculture. Students will both be ecotourists by engaging in some of the typical tourist activities (e.g., zip-lining, rafting, canopy walks) and analyze the effects of their tourist activities. They will also explore the complexities of an economy and national identity based on ecotourism. In addition, students will observe and investigate the complexities of agriculture by studying both the implications of unchecked grazing and industrial agriculture, and the movement toward sustainable practices such as organic and polyculture farming. Students will complete a research project based on their studies.

ENV-327 Natural History of Belize4 credits

Prerequisites:Junior or Senior standing and Instructor permission

This course explores the natural habitats as well as the past and present cultures that make Belize unique. Through an intensive two-week expeditionary-oriented approach, students will study tropical marine biology, rainforest ecology, geography, ecotourism, and Mayan and Garifuna culture. Incorporating sea kayaking, snorkeling, river running, and backcountry travel, students will be immersed in the rich biodiversity of the region and encounter firsthand the threats to tropical ecosystems. This course is open to students in all majors who have completed one year of Natural Science courses and one year of Social Science courses. Students selected based upon a competitive application process.

ENV-350 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS)2 credits


A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer-based data processing tool used to manage and analyze spatial information. This course introduces students to the theory and techniques of GIS including spatial data acquisition and input, data management, data analysis, and map output. Students will gain hands-on experience with Geographic Information System software (ArcGIS) through laboratory activities. This course is especially useful for students pursuing majors in Environmental Studies, Biology, or Political Economy. Two hours lecture and four hours laboratory weekly.

ENV-350L Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Lab1 credit


This is the laboratory course for ENV-350.

ENV-399T.1 Slow Food in Italy1 credit


This course, to be offered for 10 to 12 days over an extended spring break, will take students to Italy for in-depth, hands-on study of the Slow Food Movement. The trip will entail visits to universities, farmers' fields, and agricultural centers. There is an application process for admission to the course. The class will meet several times before the study trip itself, and students will have assigned reading and writing assignments in conjunction with the course.

ENV-402 Senior Capstone3 credits

Prerequisites:Instructor permission

An integration and synthesis of different disciplinary perspectives as they relate to a specific local or regional environmental issue. Students will bring to the seminar their expertise from their disciplinary foci, pursue independent research, and collaborate on a formal written project.

ENV-494 Independent Study1 - 3 credits

Prerequisites:Instructor permission

A guided research project (library, field, or both) culminating in a research paper written according to program guidelines. May also result in a website, poster, audiovisual presentation, or other public report. See independent study guidelines.

ENV-497 Environmental Internship1 - 3 credits

Prerequisites:Instructor permission

Supervised work in an environmental field in an approved firm, agency, or office. A written summary or other product and an oral presentation are presented at the conclusion of the internship.