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Course Descriptions

ENVR_SCI 201 – Earth: A Habitable Planet

Overview of the physical processes governing environmental systems, from lithosphere to hydrosphere to atmosphere. Physical science perspectives on current debates such as those over water resources, energy, and climate change.

ENVR_SCI 202 – Health of the Biosphere

Dimensions of the ecological niche; growth and regulation of populations; interactions among populations; community structure and diversity; conservation.
Prerequisite: CHEM 132 (formerly CHEM 103) or equivalent.

ENVR_SCI 203 – Humans and the Environment

Environmental science is the interdisciplinary study of how humans interact with the living and nonliving parts of their environment. In this course, we will examine current environmental challenges, such as the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable production of energy, and the implications of human population growth. A case study approach will be used to emphasize the processes of scientific inquiry and discovery.

ENVR_SCI 390 – Special Topics in Environmental Sciences

Lecture course on environmental science topics of interest to students and faculty. May be repeated for credit with different topic.

ENVR_SCI 390-21 – Geographic Information Systems Level 1

This course offers an introduction to concepts underlying Geographic Information Systems (GIS), including practical methods for managing and processing geographic data. The course is designed for students who have little background but want to learn the fundamentals and applications of GIS. The course will expose students to theoretical knowledge and technical skills. Lab assignments and group project proposals will foster application of concepts and approaches for solving real-world problems.

ENVR_SCI 390-22 – R Data Science

As we are in the era of 'big data', the quantity and quality of data available for environmental, ecological and earth science research has exploded over the past few decades. The free and open-source R programming language has become a powerful tool in data analysis in scientific research. This course offers an introduction to the fundamentals of data science using the programming language, R. The course contents span from basic R programming skills to advanced skills including data management, visualization and analysis of spatial data such as weather and satellite imagery data. By conducting hands-on exercises and an extensive project, students will develop dynamic and reproducible outputs based on their own fields of interests. This course does not require prior coding experience.

envr-sci-390-plant-animal – Plant Animal Interactions

This course will explore the diversity of interactions between plants and animals, including antagonistic interactions (e.g., herbigory), mutualistic interactions (e.g., pollination, seed dispersal and ant-plant associations), and interactions involving multiple species and across trophic levels.

ENVR_SCI 390 – Geographic Information Systems Level 2

This course offers digital representation and analysis of geospatial phenomena and provides foundations in methods and algorithms used in GIS analysis. The course is designed for students who wants to get a comprehensive understanding of GIS and advanced spatial analyses. Each week we will focus on a specific topic and practice the skills in a mini-project. Course project will apply these skills in solving real-world problems based on students’ interest of topics.

ENVR_SCI 390 – Global Change Ecology

Global environmental change has significant impacts on social and ecological systems around the world.  Global Change Ecology is an emerging field that aims to understand the ecological implications of environmental change (especially anthropogenic climate change) and to assess risks under future global change. In this course, students will review the basics of the earth system and climate change before investigating how organisms in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems respond to climate change. Finally, we will consider the impacts of future climate change and the implications for conservation policy and adaptation management.

ENVR_SCI 399 – Independent Research

Special problems under direct supervision of a faculty advisor. Comprehensive report required. Open with consent of Program Director.

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