Course Descriptions

ENVR 105 Introduction to Environmental Science (1)

An introduction to environmental science designed to promote an understanding of the effect of human actions on the natural world. Topics include human impacts on atmospheric, aquatic, and terrestrial systems; human population dynamics; environmental perceptions and ethics; and the concept of sustainability. The course includes a service learning component. Lectures, discussion, films, readings.

  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Staff

ENVR 326 (TH) Environmental History (1)

This course will give students a general introduction to environmental history, using a wide range of sources including history textbooks, popular writing about nature and the environment, nature documentaries, and the landscape. The course will challenge students to think critically about the study of history, how history articulates ongoing human efforts to understand and control nature, and how history investigates current debates about the environment. Topics include: deforestation and the development of the agrarian landscape in Western Europe; European colonization and the effect of European contact on native populations in North America; industrialization and the use and development of natural resources; the definitions, planning, and management of public spaces such as national parks, game lands and zoos; establishment of environmental standards; the emergence of conservation ecology; "green" politics and ecofeminism.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Thinking Historically; Environmental Cluster
  • Prerequisite: Closed to freshmen
  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Bourque

ENVR 327W Water Resources (1)

This course examines water resources over short- and long-time perspectives and over small and large geographic areas. Emphasis is placed on evaluating water resources from a multidisciplinary perspective. Topics include: surface and groundwater hydrology; water quality; and the legal, political and environmental aspects of water use.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered
  • Prerequisite: Consent of instructor
  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Arabas

ENVR 332W Sustainable Agriculture for the 21st Century (1)

This course is designed to explore a diversity of topics relating to sustainable agriculture -- farming systems that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for people and communities. The course will be structured around five units. We will begin by defining the term sustainability and exploring its origins. The next three units will reflect the 'Es' of sustainability -- environment, economics, and equity - in relation to agriculture. The last unit will be project-based, requiring students to develop a plan for sustainable agriculture in a particular geographic region designated by the instructor. The goal of the final portion of the class is to explore a real life context what is meant by sustainable agriculture, the difficulties in achieving this, and the compromises that inevitably have to be made.

  • Prerequisites:  ENVR 105 or ERTH 230 or BIOL 110 or consent of instructor.
  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment:  Writing-centered
  • Offering: Alternate falls
  • Instructor: Staff

ENVR 333 Biogeography (1)

This course provides an introduction to the study of plant and animal distributions, both past and present. This is a broad field which overlaps several other disciplines, including biology, geography and geology. The study of plant distributions will be emphasized and approached from historical, cultural and ecological perspectives. Applications of biogeographic knowledge and theory to conservation problems will also be discussed. The lab component will address quantitative aspects of biogeographic research.

  • Prerequisite: ERTH 121/ERTH 112, BIOL 125, or consent of instructor
  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Arabas

ENVR 445 Forest Ecology and Policy (1)

A case study approach to forests integrating forest policy and ecology. Using class and field instruction, students will design research projects that will emphasize the science and social science issues related to forest management. Course includes a mandatory pre-semester field trip in mid-August.


ENVR 494 Environmental Science Internship (1)

Student participation off-campus with an agency, group or individual working on some aspect of the environment. The purpose is for the student to gain practical knowledge through involvement and for the student to provide research and other work capabilities; 10-12 hours per week.

  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Staff

ENVR 495W Senior Seminar in Environmental Science: Part I (.5)

Senior seminar: Part I begins the capstone experience for ES majors. Students design and begin to conduct their senior thesis, an original piece of interdisciplinary research related to human impact on nature. The thesis will demonstrate a familiarity with the literature and methods of analysis both within and across the relevant disciplines. In Part I students focus on proposal formulation, research design, and data collection, refining their work through peer and instructor review. Seminar discussion of relevant texts may be used to consider the complexities of the discipline of environmental science.

  • Mode of Inquiry: Writing-centered
  • Prerequisite: Senior majoring in Environmental Science
  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Staff

ENVR 496W Senior Seminar in Environmental Science: Part II (.5)

Senior seminar: Part II completes the capstone experience for ES majors. Students continue work on their thesis, focusing on data collection, analysis, and interpretation, refining their work through peer and instructor review. The final products of the seminar are the written thesis and a pubic presentation. Seminar discussion of relevant texts may be used to consider the complexities of the discipline of environmental science.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered
  • Prerequisite: Senior majoring in Environmental Science; ENVR 495W
  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Staff

ERTH 121 (NW, QA) Earth System Science (1)

This course provides an overview of the Earth and its history from a systems perspective. This integrated approach explores the connections among and co-evolution of the solid earth, atmosphere, oceans, and life. Students will practice observing and thinking like an Earth scientist in the lab and in the field. Topics will include: geologic time, tectonics, the climate system, the hydrologic cycle, biogeochemical cycles, and global change.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Understanding the Natural World, Quantitative and Analytical Reasoning (no star)
  • Prerequisite: First and second year students only
  • Offering: Every Semester
  • Instructor: Staff

ERTH 230 World Geography (1)

Survey of major patterns of physical features, culture and human - land relations by region in today's world. Examples show present and impending resource, environmental, social and political problems and explore basic solutions. Methods include lectures, films, student discussions and presentations, and text and outside readings.

  • Prerequisite: No seniors, except with permission
  • Offering: Annual
  • Instructor: Dimitrov

ERTH 333 (QA) Geographic Information Systems (1)

A comprehensive approach to cartography and spatial analysis, including the use of the global positioning system, computer-aided mapping and geographic information systems. Lecture, field and laboratory experience with an emphasis on class and individual projects.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Quantitative and Analytical Reasoning
  • Prerequisite: Environmental Science major or consent of instructor.
  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Eilers

ERTH 350W Environmental Geology (1)

This course applies principles and techniques learned in physical geology to such geologic hazards as vulcanism, seismicity, erosion, mass wasting and flooding and to mineral, fossil fuel and water resource development and their related environmental impacts. Laboratory required. Writing Centered.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered
  • Prerequisite: ERTH 121/ERTH 110
  • Offering: Odd numbered Springs
  • Instructor: Pike

ERTH 351W Archaeological Geology (1)

Archaeological geology applies methods and theories from the geologic sciences to archaeological problems. This course will cover the processes associated with sedimentation and stratigraphy at archaeological sites and the geological approaches used to uncover cultural traits associated with the deposits. Geomorphic processes that impact site selection, formation, preservation, and identification will be addressed, as will macroscopic, petrographic, geochemical and isotopic techniques for characterizing and provenancing archaeological material. Geophysical survey methods and theories will also be reviewed. Throughout the course, the theoretical foundation that underlies the union between geology and archaeology will be stressed. Writing Centered.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered
  • Prerequisite: ERTH 121/ERTH 110
  • Co-Requisite: Simultaneous enrollment in a lab section of ERTH 351W
  • Offering: Even numbered springs
  • Instructor: Pike

ERTH 490 Independent Study in Geography and Geology (.5 or 1)

Study of a specific aspect of geography or of a geographical problem, individually or in a group. May be taken for .5 or 1 credit

  • Prerequisite: Consent of instructor
  • Offering: On demand
  • Instructor: Arabas, Eilers, Pike