Environment and Sustainability Courses

  • ENVS-001. Environmental Stewardship Practicum

    A learning experience in which students assume primary responsibility for the maintenance and stewardship activities associated with a campus or campus-related environmental project. Examples include maintenance or stewardship activities associated with the Whitaker Environmental Research Station or Hunsberger Woods. Prerequisites: ENVS-100 and one additional ENVS course at the 200-level or above; or permission of the department. This course may be repeated for credit. Students are limited to a total of eight practicum credits. Graded S/U. One semester hour.

    ENVS-002. Environmental Stewardship Practicum

    A learning experience in which students assume primary responsibility for the maintenance and stewardship activities associated with a campus or campus-related environmental project. Examples include maintenance or stewardship activities associated with the Whitaker Environmental Research Station or Hunsberger Woods. Prerequisites: ENVS-100 and one additional ENVS course at the 200-level or above; or permission of the department. This course may be repeated for credit. Students are limited to a total of eight practicum credits. Graded S/U. Two semester hours.

    ENVS-003. Environmental and Sustainability Outreach Practicum

    A learning experience in which students assume primary responsibility for the outreach and communication associated with a campus or campus-related environmental or sustainability field site or project. Examples include communication or educational activities associated with an ENVS-related project, such as composting at Wismer, or ongoing research findings from the Whitaker Environmental Research Station or stewardship activities at Hunsberger Woods. Prerequisites: ENVS-100 and one additional ENVS course at the 200-level or above; or permission of the department. This course may be repeated for credit. Students are limited to a total of eight practicum credits. Graded S/U. One semester hour.

    ENVS-004. Environmental and Sustainability Outreach Practicum

    A learning experience in which students assume primary responsibility for the outreach and communication associated with a campus or campus-related environmental or sustainability field site or project. Examples include communication or educational activities associated with an ENVS-related project, such as composting at Wismer, or ongoing research findings from the Whitaker Environmental Research Station or stewardship activities at Hunsberger Woods. Prerequisites: ENVS-100 and one additional ENVS course at the 200-level or above; or permission of the department. This course may be repeated for credit. Students are limited to a total of eight practicum credits. Graded S/U. Two semester hours.

    ENVS-005. Environmental and Sustainability Data Collection Practicum

    A learning experience in which students assume primary responsibility for the collection of data associated with a campus or campus-related environmental or sustainability field site or project. Examples include data collection activities associated with an ENVS-related project, such as composting at Wismer, or ongoing research from the Whitaker Environmental Research Station or reforestation activities at Hunsberger Woods. Prerequisites: ENVS-100 and one additional ENVS course at the 200-level or above; or permission of the department. This course may be repeated for credit. Students are limited to a total of eight practicum credits Graded S/U. One semester hour.

    ENVS-006. Environmental and Sustainability Data Collection Practicum

    A learning experience in which students assume primary responsibility for the collection of data associated with a campus or campus-related environmental or sustainability field site or project. Examples include data collection activities associated with an ENVS-related project, such as composting at Wismer, or ongoing research from the Whitaker Environmental Research Station or reforestation activities at Hunsberger Woods. Prerequisites: ENVS-100 and one additional ENVS course at the 200-level or above; or permission of the department. This course may be repeated for credit. Students are limited to a total of eight practicum credits Graded S/U. Two semester hours.

    ENVS-007. Environmental Leadership Practicum

    A learning experience in which students lead the organization, planning, and execution of stewardship, outreach efforts, or data collection associated with a campus or campus-related environmental or sustainability field site or project. Examples include data collection activities associated with an ENVS-related project, such as composting at Wismer, or ongoing research from the Whitaker Environmental Research Station or reforestation activities at Hunsberger Woods. Prerequisites: ENVS-100, one additional ENVS course at the 200-level or above, and at least two semesters of the corresponding practicum the student will be leading; or permission of the department. This course may be repeated for credit. Students are limited to a total of eight practicum credits, Graded S/U. One semester hour.

    ENVS-008. Environmental Leadership Practicum

    A learning experience in which students lead the organization, planning, and execution of stewardship, outreach efforts, or data collection associated with a campus or campus-related environmental or sustainability field site or project. Examples include data collection activities associated with an ENVS-related project, such as composting at Wismer, or ongoing research from the Whitaker Environmental Research Station or reforestation activities at Hunsberger Woods. Prerequisites: ENVS-100, one additional ENVS course at the 200-level or above, and at least two semesters of the corresponding practicum the student will be leading; or permission of the department. This course may be repeated for credit. Students are limited to a total of eight practicum credits, Graded S/U. Two semester hours.

    ENVS-100. Introduction to Environmental Studies and Sustainability 

    An introductory interdisciplinary course with readings and research on topics across key fields of environmental studies and sustainability. This course examines environmental issues through many lenses, including ecology, economics, ethics, policy analysis, and the arts. Issues explored include (but are not limited to) population, energy, biodiversity and ecosystem conservation, food and agriculture, global warming, ozone depletion, air pollution, water resources management, and solid waste. Student projects include investigations of local environmental and sustainability issues as well as applied problem-solving activities within the Ursinus and surrounding communities. Four hours per week. Four semester hours. (O.) 

    ENVS/CHEM-101Q. Introduction to Environmental Chemistry

    This course, intended for non-science majors, will examine selected topics in environmental chemistry through an understanding of basic chemical principles. Topics may include global warming, ozone depletion, pollution, and waste management. Three hours of lecture. Three semester hours. (S, if taken with CHEM-101LQ.)

    ENVS/GEOS-102Q. Geology: The Earth Around Us

    This course examines the current state of knowledge about the Earth and investigates the forces and processes that shape it. Topics include the formation of the Earth and solar system, the materials that comprise the Earth, the forces that currently act on, around, and within the planet, and the relationship of these forces to the processes and features we observe and/or experience at the Earth’s surface. To address complex and dynamic geologic processes, this course utilizes knowledge and methods from several disciplines in addition to geology, including biology, math, physics, and chemistry. This course does not count towards the ENVS major or minor. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. Four semester hours. (S.)

    ENVS-110. Special Topics in Environmental Studies and Sustainability: Social Science

    An introductory course with readings and research on environmental issues from the perspective of the social sciences. This course examines social dimensions of a selected environmental issue, drawing on disciplines including (but not limited to) economics, geography, policy analysis, and/or sociology. Issues that might be explored include (but are not limited to) biodiversity, cities, energy, food and agriculture, and climate change. Three hours per week, plus possible field trips or field work. Four semester hours. (SS.)

    ENVS-111. Special Topics in Environmental Studies and Sustainability: Humanities

    An introductory course with readings and research on environmental issues from the perspective of the humanities. This course examines dimensions of a selected environmental issue, drawing on disciplines including (but not limited to) English, history, modern languages, and philosophy. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H)

    ENVS-112. Special Topics in Environmental Studies and Sustainability: Natural Science

    An introductory course with readings and research on environmental issues from the perspective of the natural sciences. This course examines selected environmental issues, drawing on disciplines including (but not limited to) biology, chemistry, geology, oceanography, or other natural sciences. Issues that might be explored include (but are not limited to) energy, climate change, oceans, and/or waste. Three hours per week, possibly plus either field trips or three hours of laboratory, depending on the topic. Four semester hours. (S, if lab or appropriate fieldwork associated with course; Q if appropriate course work associated with course.) 

    ENVS-120. Introduction to Environmental Policy

    This course will explore the past, present, and future of environmental policy in the United States. Topics will include landmark environmental legislation at the federal scale, as well as selected policies from state and local scales as well. Students will critically analyze and evaluate the tradeoffs associated with environmental policy, and will learn how to advocate for environmental policy and systemic change. This course draws upon interdisciplinary understandings of policy, social change, and environmental issues to help students explore policy as a complex and constantly-evolving process. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)/p>

    ENVS/GEOS-142Q. Dynamic Earth – Geology, Landscape, and Environment

    The Earth fundamentally shapes aspects of landscapes, ecosystems, and everyday life — all organisms including people, other animals, and plants. This course focuses on the geologic mechanisms that drive these interactions at the Earth’s surface and the methods geologists use to understand these interactions. We will investigate geologic activity such as tectonics and crustal deformation, erosion and slope failure, glaciation, and stream, lake, and marine processes; both how they work and how they produce the present Earth surface (land and sea), which together influence the life on it. Three hours of lecture; three hours of laboratory per week. Four semester hours. (S.)

    ENVS-180Q. Drinking it Up: Water Resources on a Thirsty Planet

    Water is essential for life. But it is not always readily available in the amount or form desired. There are droughts, floods, lack of access, and various types of contamination (natural and human-caused). In order to help understand the science behind reducing the problems causing and caused by having too much, too little, or not clean enough water, this course will explore water as a natural resource, investigating its properties, the storage and movement of water above and below the ground surface, types of contamination and treatment options, and the accessibility of water resources for drinking, agriculture, and more. We will consider the links between these insights and the ways they inform social and ethical considerations. Three hours of lecture; three hours of laboratory per week. Four semester hours. (S.)

    ENVS/SOC-220. Environmental Justice

    This course explores the topic of environmental inequality. Focusing mostly on the United States, the course examines unequal exposure to pollution and other environmental health risks. The course also explores the environmental justice movement’s efforts to frame environmental inequality as a social problem. Prerequisite: ANTH-100, SOC-100, or permission of the instructor. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (DN, O, SS.)

    Students who have taken SOC-110 have fulfilled the prerequisite for this course.

    ENVS/ANTH-230. Food and Culture

    The human need for food is a biological fact. Yet humans have a relationship with food that is at once highly intimate—requiring its ingestion into their bodies—and utterly cultural—rooted in learned processes that make obtaining, preparing, and consuming food possible. Through the lens of anthropology, this course will examine a variety of issues inspired by this human–food relationship, including hunger, inequality, gender, morality, and nationalism. Prerequisite: SOC-100, ANTH-100, or permission of the instructor. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (GN, SS.)

    ENVS/BIO-234. The Nature of Food

    The food we eat not only fuels our bodies, but also shapes the environment in which we live. This course introduces students to the biological and ecological principles that govern how food is produced and the impact food production has on air, water, soil, climate, and biodiversity. Students will gain knowledge of diverse approaches to food production (e.g., conventional, organic, biodynamic) through engagement with the scientific literature, popular media and field trips. In the laboratory students will research ecological approaches to food production in a class garden. Prerequisite: BIO-101 or permission of the instructor. Three hours of lecture; three hours of laboratory per week. Four semester hours.

    ENVS/GEOS-240Q. Earth and Life Through Time

    The Earth, and the life on it, has changed substantially throughout its history. In this course, we will examine not only the history of the Earth and the tools and techniques used in analyzing it, but also the intellectual breakthroughs that have allowed us to reach our present understanding. We will explore the history and evolution of the solid Earth, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere and apply those understandings in practical, hands-on ways. Throughout the semester we will remain mindful of the links - contemporary and evolutionary - between the active planet and the life on it. To address complex and dynamic geologic processes, this course utilizes knowledge and methods from several disciplines in addition to geology, including biology, math, physics, and chemistry. Prerequisite: ENVS/GEOS 102Q, 142Q, or ENVS-180Q, or permission of instructor. Three hours of lecture; three hours of laboratory per week, plus field work/field trips outside of scheduled class time may be required. Four semester hours. (S.)

    ENVS-242. Globalization and the Environment

    An examination of the cultural, political, and economic linkages that characterize globalization and the consequences these linkages (e.g. through consumption practices) have for specific places, diverse peoples and cultures, and the environments where they live. Students will examine specific cases from Africa, South America, East and Southeast Asia, and Australia. Prerequisite: ENVS-100 or permission of the instructor. Offered every other year. Three lecture hours per week. Four semester hours. (GN, O.)

    ENVS-243. Introduction to Food Systems

    The food we eat moves through complex global systems with impacts on people and the planet. This course will examine the interlinked social, economic, and environmental issues at play in food production, consumption, and disposal. Students will draw on interdisciplinary scholarship to better understand the labor dimensions of food production, how our food systems succeed and fail in ensuring human and environmental health and wellbeing, as well as the complex social and infrastructural processes for deciding how and whether to handle food as waste. While the course will focus primarily on the United States, global interlinkages will be explored. Field trips outside of class time may be required. Three hours per week. Four semester hours.

    ENVS-244. Environmental Applications of GIS

    GIS (Geographic Information System) is an overarching term for the systematic analysis of spatial data, ranging from the variation in elevation across the Earth’s surface to the demographic make-up of individual city blocks. GIS software is invaluable for recording, maintaining, and analyzing location-dependent types of physical and social data. This class will cover the basics of using GIS software for data collection, mapping, and analysis, then apply those skills to asking and answering questions related to environmental and sustainability problem-solving. Class meetings will be divided into time for lecture on GIS concepts and operation and time for student work on assignments. Prerequisites: ENVS-100 or an introductory lab science course; or permission of the instructor. Three hours per week plus one additional hour of practice. Four semester hours.

    ENVS/PHIL-248. Environmental Ethics

    The central issue in environmental ethics concerns what things in nature have moral standing and how conflicts of interest among them are to be resolved. After an introduction to ethical theory, topics to be covered include anthropocentrism, the moral status of non-human sentient beings, preservation of endangered species and the wilderness, holism versus individualism, and the land ethic. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H.)

    ENVS/HIST-254. Ecoambiguities: Environment and History in China and Japan

    How has China become known as one of the most polluted places on earth? What has been the fallout of the 3/11 Fukushima nuclear disaster, and what are its historical antecedents? This course examines the relationship between humans and the natural environment in China and Japan from the earliest histories of each nation to the present in order to answer these and other important questions. Course themes include human-animal relationships, exchange and exploitation of natural resources, the built environment, the environment in cultural representations, ecological disasters, and the emergence of modern policies and attitudes towards environmental exploitation. Students will be introduced to the field of environmental history, using recent developments in global environmental studies as a theoretical foundation. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (GN, H.)

    Note: Students who have completed HIST-244 may not register for ENVS/HIST-254.

    ENVS/PSYC-260. Environmental Psychology

    This course is an overview of approaches to understanding the psychological relationship between human beings and the natural world and to a lesser extent our built environment. Humans, based on our nature and behavior, have created problems in the natural environment. In this course we will examine environmentally problematic human behavior from the perspective of all major psychological disciplines (behavioral, developmental, cognitive, social, Gestalt, and more). We will explore how we might use psychological modifications, based on these psychological approaches, to change thinking and behavior and become better stewards of the environment. A working knowledge of psychological principles and their application to solving global environmental issues will be developed. Prerequisite: PSYC-100. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (SS.)

    ENVS/RELS-261. Religion and Environmental Justice

    This course posits that religion is a tool that is available in the cultural repertoire to support those who take up the protective work of repairing our world and responding to climate emergency. The course engages environmental justice through the lens of major religious traditions such as Buddhism, Catholicism, and indigenous traditions in Africa, Asia, and North America. The course addresses foundational issues of community, language, and movement building by spiritual and religious people involved in reparative ecology. By looking closely at how the climate crisis intersects with religious practice and spirituality, we can identify strategies through which people attempt to change their societies, their economies, and themselves. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (DN, GN, H, O.)

    ENVS/ENGL-262. The Environment in Literature

    Students in this course will study literature inspired by a variety of environments. Readings will range from classic essays “Nature” by Emerson and “Walking” by Thoreau to Terry Tempest Williams’ 1991 environmental/autobiographical study, “Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place.” Ecocriticism, the study of the relationship between literature and the physical environment will provide the theoretical framework for the course. Writing for the class will be half-analytical (critical responses to texts), and half-original, creative student writings about their own environments. Prerequisite: CIE-100. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (H, O.)

    ENVS-266. Natural and Environmental Hazards

    A hazard is something with the potential to cause harm. Every day, we make decisions that expose ourselves to some amount of risk from hazards. Some risks we are aware of, while others are hidden from us. Sometimes we actively choose our level of risk, while other times risks are, or we feel they are, imparted upon us without our explicit permission. This class will focus on the recognition and evaluation of environmental and geologic hazards, including those that occur naturally from living on a dynamic planet, such as landslides or flooding, as well as those that are human induced, such as pollution of our air, land, and water. We investigate the ways these hazards create (or do not create) specific risks for people and/or different aspects of the environment, and what can be done to assess, avoid, and/or mitigate those risks. Prerequisites: ENVS-100 or introductory lab science course; or permission of the instructor. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. Four semester hours. (S.)

    ENVS-268. Wetlands

    An exploration of the ecological, hydrological, and botanical features common to all wetlands, including the great variety of wetlands that exist due to differences in climate and geomorphology, and the many ways in which humans are connected to and modify wetlands. Weekend field trips to area wetlands will broaden our view of regional types and increase awareness and appreciation of the vital role wetlands play. Prerequisite: ENVS-100 or permission of the instructor. Offered every other year. Three hours of lecture per week plus three or four, one-day, weekend field trips. Four semester hours.

    ENVS-272. Marine Mammal Conservation and Management

    This course addresses historical and current issues concerning the conservation and management of marine mammals, their habitats, and related marine resources. It integrates the biological sciences, policy, law, economics, and humanities (in the form of ethics and values) in presenting and engaging the students in discussions about the history of human–marine mammal interactions, changes in human values and attitudes about the marine environment, the role of human–marine mammal interactions in societal changes, and the policy arena that has developed around marine mammals in the past century. Prerequisite: ENVS-100 or permission of instructor. Offered every other year. Three lecture hours per week. Four semester hours.

    ENVS/SOC-288. Animals and Society 

    An examination of the sociology of human-animal relationships. Focusing mainly on the United States, the course examines the various ways in which people think about and interact with other animals. Prerequisite: SOC-100, ANTH-100, or permission of the instructor. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (O, SS.)

    Students who have taken SOC-110 have fulfilled the prerequisite for this course.

    ENVS/SOC-290. Radical Environmentalism

    This course explores the radical environmental movement that emerged in the United States in the 1980s. The movement differs from other streams of environmentalism in its embrace of ecocentrism and in its willingness to engage in controversial tactics such as ecosabotage. Students will reflect on their obligations to nature and on the wisdom and morality of various tactics for protecting the environment. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (O, SS.)

    ENVS-299. Readings in Environmental Studies and Sustainability

    Individual study and directed reading of a particular topic or book within the discipline. Students will work closely with a member of the ENVS faculty in selecting, reading, and discussing the topic, and in determining a proper written assignment. This course may be repeated for credit. Prerequisites: ENVS-100 and permission of the instructor. One semester hour.

    ENVS/MSC-302. Climate and Communication

    In this interactive course, we study successful climate change communication strategies, practice how to effectively communicate about climate change to various constituencies, consider the relative strengths of a range of climate communication genres, and develop a deeper understanding of the complex dynamics between scientists, media industries, people, and politics impacting climate communication. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (O, SS.)

    ENVS/BIO-310. Biological Oceanography

    A study of the biological bases of ocean science. Topics discussed include: ocean basins, seawater physics and chemistry, currents, waves, tides, upwelling zones, tidal rhythms in organisms, ocean habitats/biota, marine virology, marine microbiology, plankton, trophic relationships, hydrothermal vent communities, coral reefs. Prerequisite: BIO-101Q or permission of the instructor. Three hours of lecture; three hours of laboratory per week. (Course may be conducted in part at a marine field station). Four semester hours. 

    Note: Students receiving credit for ENVS/BIO 310 may not receive credit for ENVS/BIO 270.

    ENVS/BIO-320. Biology of the Neotropics

    A field study of Costa Rican tropical habitats including rain forests, montane forests, seasonally dry forests, and wetlands conducted at research sites throughout the county. Topics include diversity and natural history of key plants and animals, ecological interactions and evolutionary processes, and conservation. May include side trips to cloud forests or coral reefs. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor and BIO-101Q. Field investigations accompanied by readings, lectures, and a directed research project. Course will meet 15 hours on campus and three weeks in Costa Rica between the Fall and Spring semesters. Four semester hours. (LINQ, XLP.)

    ENVS/BIO-325. Insect Biology

    This course will introduce students to the insects—the most diverse group of organisms on the planet. We will examine the physiology, development, behavior, ecology, and evolution of insects to better understand why they are so successful, and special emphasis will be placed on understanding the importance of insects to human welfare. Students will learn the taxonomy of local insects by completing an insect collection. The laboratory component of this course will include insect rearing, experiments, and field trips to collect insects from terrestrial and aquatic habitats. Prerequisite: BIO-101 and BIO-102; or permission of the instructor. Three hours of lecture; three hours of laboratory per week. Four semester hours.

    ENVS/BIO-330. Marine Biology

    This course will explore life in the seas by taking a look at the ecology, evolution, and human impacts the marine environment experiences. Topics will include behavioral, physiological, structural, ecological, and evolutionary perspectives. The course will be supplemented with discussions of primary literature, several written assignments, and a final project that aim to encourage deeper exploration of an ocean-related topic of your choice. Prerequisite: BIO-101 or permission of the instructor. Three hours of lecture per week Four semester hours.

    ENVS-332. Urbanization and the Environment

    An introduction to the diversity of environmental transformations that accompany the process of urbanization and their implications for urban sustainability through exploration of the historical, political, social, economic, and ecological dimensions of the human-environment interactions. Field trips to local neighborhoods, nearby towns, and sites in Metropolitan Philadelphia are required. Prerequisite: ENVS-100, ENVS-120 or permission of the instructor. Offered every other year. Four lecture hours per week. Four semester hours.

    ENVS/BIO-334. Plant Biology

    A survey of the morphology and evolution of the monophyletic green plant clade, including the principles, theory and methodology underlying modern taxonomic systems. Available field time centers upon the morphology and taxonomy of the local vascular flora. Prerequisite: BIO-201W; or permission of the instructor. Three hours of lecture; three hours of laboratory per week. Four semester hours.

    ENVS/BIO-336. Freshwater Biology

    Students in Freshwater Biology will study the chemical and physical properties of streams, lakes, rivers, wetlands, and groundwater. The communities of micro-organisms, algae, macrophytes, invertebrates, fish and other vertebrates that inhabit these environments will be studied. Unique environments such as mountain, desert, and island freshwater ecosystems will be included. The impact of humans on freshwater communities throughout the world will be considered. The laboratory will include field and laboratory investigations and culminate in individual investigations by students. Prerequisites: BIO-101 and BIO-102 or permission of the instructor. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. Four semester hours.

    ENVS-338. Forests and People

    An introduction to the diversity of human interactions and management issues associated with forests and their implications for ecological conservation, food systems, sustainable resource use, and climate change. Thematic emphases include changing ideas about forests and management, including timber extraction, forestry conflicts, ecosystem services, and climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as community forestry, non-timber forest products, agroforestry, and urban forestry. Readings will introduce students to human-environment dynamics in tropical, temperate, and boreal forest ecosystems. Prerequisite: ENVS-100, ENVS-120, or permission of the instructor. Offered every other year. Three lecture hours and three field and/or laboratory hours per week. Four semester hours.

    ENVS-340. Circular Economies

    Take, make, waste. That’s one way of describing a “linear economy.” A growing movement of activists, scholars, and policymakers have begun to advocate for the creation of more “circular economies” — economies that focus on reuse, repair, recycling and remanufacturing rather than wasting. This course will explore the social and environmental consequences of linear economies as well as the potential and pitfalls of more circular economic forms. Through readings, experiential learning, guest lectures, critical reflection, discussion, and engagement with campus and community partners, the class will examine how we can foster just and equitable local circular economies. Field trips outside of class time may be required. Prerequisite: ENVS-100, ENVS-120, or permission of the instructor. Four hours per week. Four semester hours.

    ENVS-350. Special Topics in Environmental Studies and Sustainability

    A study of a contemporary issue or specific subject area relating to the environment. Topics are often cross-disciplinary and vary according to the special interests of students and faculty. Potential topics include (but are not limited to): energy and the environment, environmental history, landscape ecology, natural hazards and vulnerability, and selected aspects of natural resource management. Prerequisite: as noted in special topics description. Independent written work required. Lab and field work required in some cases. Three hours of class per week, and in some cases three hours of laboratory, depending on the topic. Four semester hours. (O, if appropriate topic; S, if lab associated with science-related course; Q, if appropriate course work associated with course. Generally counts as advanced science or a corresponding advanced synthesis course as determined by chair. Occasionally, as appropriate, the course may fulfill the introductory natural science or introductory social science or humanities category for the ENVS major or minor.)

    ENVS/POL-351. Politics of the End of the World

    When it seems like the world is about to end, what are your options, and what does politics have to do with it? In this course, we explore the role of the individual in a world of existential crises and seeming hopelessness. We consider this question in three global settings: climate change, repressive governments, and a highly unequal economy. As a core capstone course, the course entertains core questions about how we should live together, how we should consider the impact of our own actions on others, and how any knowledge we acquire (during college and beyond) should shape our behavior. As a political science course, it approaches these questions with a focus on strategic behavior, representation, and institutions. Offered every other year. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (CCAP, GN, SS.)

    ENVS/BIO-360. Marine Mammalogy

    Marine mammals have sparked human curiosity for millennia. Today, they serve as an alluring entry point for a range of important topics in the natural and social sciences. This interdisciplinary course leverages our inherent curiosity and integrates biological sciences and policy to examine the evolutionary diversity and ecological success of marine mammals and explore the historical and current issues concerning their conservation and management. Offered every other year. Four semester hours. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. Four semester hours. (S.)

    ENVS-361. Energy & Environment

    Energy, in its different forms, has been key in the development of human civilization. This course will explore broad questions relating to energy from a variety of perspectives and disciplinary approaches spanning the Sciences, Social Sciences, and Arts and Humanities, including: What is energy? How/why has it been influential throughout history? Have its costs and benefits been equally distributed? What are the challenges of modern energy systems? Starting with an introduction to foundational concepts, the history of energy, energy justice, and current topics and issues, students will develop, propose, refine, and critically analyze questions relating to energy and society. In the final portion of the course, students will develop a proposal for action addressing an energy-related challenge. 1 or 2 weekday or Saturday or Sunday field trips outside of class time may be required. 3 hours of class and 3 hours of lab per week. Four semester hours. (O.)

    ENVS-362. Social Life of Waste

    Waste is all around us, yet often nearly invisible. The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average American generates over four pounds of waste each day. This course will look carefully at our discards, bringing them into focus as a wicked sustainability challenge, a source of value, and a cultural product. Students will critically engage with efforts and infrastructures to manage and reduce waste in the state of Pennsylvania and beyond. This course moves beyond critique, however, to focus on potential solutions to the waste problem. Our focus will be, as James Ferguson suggests, to think through “real strategies and tactics that would enable one to mobilize around specific programs or initiatives that one might be for, not against.” Through readings, experiential learning, guest lectures, critical reflection, and discussions, students will explore (1) the scale and scope of the waste problem, (2) strategies for managing and reducing waste, and (3) the role of policy in addressing waste issues. Field trips outside of class time may be required. Prerequisite: ENVS-100, 120, or permission of the instructor. Four hours per week. Four semester hours.

    ENVS-364. Advanced Environmental Policy

    This course will explore the history and contemporary practice of U.S. environmental policy from an interdisciplinary perspective. Students will explore environmental policy as a complex process, and will learn to think critically about how environmental, social, and economic objectives are prioritized and articulated in a range of policies. Drawing on case studies from a rotating list of environmental issues, such as marine conservation policy, municipal plastic bag bans, and more, students will examine tensions and tradeoffs at play in environmental policy. The course will cover introductory policy theory, selected legislative and judicial histories, and contemporary case studies. Students will complete an applied policy project on an issue of local or regional interest. Field trips outside of class time may be required. Prerequisite: ENVS-100, ENVS-120, or permission of the instructor. Four hours per week. Four semester hours. (Possible LINQ.)

    ENVS/BIO-365. Ornithology

    A study of bird biology (anatomy, physiology, behavior, ecology, phylogeny, and evolution) and the conservation issues that surround these most visible of terrestrial vertebrates. Students will design a conservation proposal. Lab will include field studies and natural history of Northeastern birds. This will include a group field project focusing on the changing status of Pennsylvania bird species that result from anthropogenic disturbances, such as introduced species, climate change, etc. Readings will come primarily from primary and secondary literature, with an emphasis on basic scientific research and its application to conservation. Prerequisite: BIO-101. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. Four semester hours.

    ENVS-366. Ecological Change in Historical Perspective

    An introduction to longer-term perspectives on human-environment interactions, drawing on approaches found within environmental history, historical ecology, and historical geography. Particular emphasis is placed on case studies from North America and on regional ecosystems in the Eastern United States. Saturday or Sunday field trips to regional sites are required. Prerequisite: ENVS-100, ENVS-120 and an introductory ENVS natural science; or permission of the instructor. Offered every other year. Four lecture hours per week. Four semester hours.

    ENVS-370. Global Climate Change

    This course focuses on the science of climate, investigating what climate is and what factors determine and influence the climate of an area. Both the natural and anthropogenic (human) forces that may cause climate change are presented from a geological and historical perspective in addition to covering current climatic trends and predictions for future climate. Prerequisite: ENVS-100 and an ENVS introductory/intermediate environmental science or ecological science course; or permission of the instructor. Offered every other year. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. Four semester hours. (S.)

    ENVS-372. Environmental Issues in Oceanography

    An introduction to the basic scientific concepts of oceanography, focusing on the aspects of oceanography that affect and are affected by humans. Topics include plate tectonics, properties of seawater (chemical and physical), coastal processes (coastal erosion, tsunamis, hurricanes), the effects of/on the ocean in climate change, el Niño/la Niña, the ocean as a resource (fisheries, mining), and pollution of the ocean (ocean dumping, mercury, and oil spills). Saturday or Sunday fieldtrips may be required. Prerequisite: ENVS-100 and an ENVS introductory/ intermediate environmental science or ecological science; or permission of the instructor. Offered every other year. Three hours of lecture; three hours of laboratory per week. Four semester hours. (S.)

    ENVS/BIO-375. Marine Invertebrate Zoology

    This course introduces students to the diversity of marine invertebrates, their role in marine ecosystems, and how changing oceanic conditions impact these organisms. Students will examine taxonomy, physiology, ecology, and evolution of marine invertebrates, while developing skills in scientific writing and literacy. The lab component of this course will include hands-on experiences with organisms from different marine invertebrate phyla, short-term lab experiments, and discussions of current issues in marine zoology. Prerequisite: BIO-101 or permission of the instructor. Three hours of lecture per week and three hours of laboratory per week. Four semester hours. (LINQ.)

    ENVS-381. Internship

    An academic/work experience under the supervision of a faculty internship advisor and an on-site supervisor. Students must have completed 12 semester hours of environmental studies and sustainability courses including ENVS-100 and have permission of the supervising faculty member to be eligible for an internship. Students must document their experience according to the requirements delineated in the College catalogue section on Internships. Open to juniors and seniors. The term during which the internship work is performed will be noted by one of the following letters, to be added immediately after the internship course number: A (fall), B (winter), C (spring), or D (summer). Internships undertaken abroad will be so indicated by the letter I. The intern must complete a minimum of 120 hours of work. Graded S/U. Three semester hours. (XLP.)

    ENVS-382. Internship

    An academic/work experience under the supervision of a faculty internship advisor and an on-site supervisor. Students must have completed 12 semester hours of environmental studies and sustainability courses including ENVS-100 and have permission of the supervising faculty member to be eligible for an internship. Students must document their experience according to the requirements delineated in the College catalogue section on Internships. Open to juniors and seniors. The term during which the internship work is performed will be noted by one of the following letters, to be added immediately after the internship course number: A (fall), B (winter), C (spring), or D (summer). Internships undertaken abroad will be so indicated by the letter I. The intern must complete a minimum of 160 hours of work. Graded S/U. Four semester hours. (XLP.)

    ENVS-391. Directed Research

    Laboratory and/or field experiences under the direction of a faculty member and designed to introduce students to fundamental research procedures and data manipulation in the context of an original research project. This course can be taken more than once. Prerequisite: permission of a participating faculty member. Three hours of laboratory, field, or other data collection and/or analysis work per week. Graded S/U. One semester hour. 

    ENVS-392. Directed Research

    Laboratory and/or field experiences under the direction of a faculty member and designed to introduce students to fundamental research procedures and data manipulation in the context of an original research project. This course can be taken more than once. Prerequisite: permission of a participating faculty member. Six hours of laboratory, field, or other data collection and/or analysis work per week. Graded S/U. Two semester hours. 

    ENVS/BIO-415W. Ecology

    Studies of the interrelationships between organisms and their environments that determine their distribution and abundance in natural systems. Aspects of energy flow, biotic and abiotic limits, population growth and community organization are considered in the context of the ecosystem. Laboratories include local field work and emphasize techniques for collecting and analyzing data. Prerequisites: BIO-101Q and 102Q and 201W, or permission of the instructor. This course does not fulfill the ENVS capstone requirement. Three hours of lecture, three hours of laboratory per week. Four semester hours. (O.)

    ENVS/BIO-419W. Climate Change Biology

    The climate is changing. Higher average temperatures, increasing weather extremes, and altered patterns of precipitation are already here, and further change is forecasted. Students in Climate Change Biology will learn how ecosystem processes and human activities impact Earth’s climate system, and they will examine the physiological, behavioral, ecological, and evolutionary processes that underly organismal responses to climate change. Climate change ethics, solutions to the climate change problem, and our obligations to enact these solutions will be explored. Students will participate in an original research project investigating organismal responses to climate change. This is a writing-intensive Biology capstone course. Prerequisite: BIO-101 or permission from the instructor. Three hours per week. Four semester hours. (O.)

    ENVS-428W. Political Ecology

    An introduction to an interdisciplinary field of inquiry concerned with the ecological and social drivers of environmental change and their politicization. Students will explore cases representing a diversity of ecosystems at local, regional, and national scales. Depending on the semester, students may focus either on cases specifically from North America or from a diversity of locations across the globe, including in Africa, Europe, South America, the Indo-Pacific, and Southeast Asia. Prerequisite: ENVS-100, ENVS-120, an introductory synthesis course, and junior standing, or permission of the instructor. Offered every other year. Three lecture hours per week. Four semester hours.

    ENVS/BIO-442W. Mammalogy

    A study of vertebrate biology using the mammalian class as the case study. The course includes evolutionary history, phylogeny, diversity, structure and function, behavior and ecological aspects of mammals. Prerequisites: BIO-201W; or permission of the instructor. Three hours of lecture; three hours of laboratory and field investigations per week Four semester hours. (CCAP, O.)

    ENVS-450W. Talkin’ Trash: Waste in America

    If nothing ever really “goes away,” as Barry Commoner discussed in 1971, then what happens to our waste once we dispose of it? This course will investigate aspects of the methods, pathways, and impacts of disposal and (re-)processing of waste as well as some of the social facets in the decision-making surrounding waste disposal, particularly in considering solid waste. Laboratories include site visits, fieldwork, and hands-on application of course material. In the process, students will be asked to reflect regularly on how these experiences relate to the development of their personal, professional, and academic goals within the Ursinus Quest. This course fulfills the ENV capstone requirement and contains significant writing, oral, and experiential elements, including a group project. Prerequisites: ENVS-100, 120, at least one intermediate synthesis course or an advanced science course, and junior or senior standing, or permission of the instructor. Three lecture hours and three field and/or laboratory hours per week. Four semester hours. (CCAP.)

    ENVS-452W. Climate Action

    Predictions about the influence of increased greenhouse gases in our atmosphere were published before the year 1900 and impacts are apparent in areas around the world today. There is both national and international pressure to reduce the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere in order to mitigate the negative effects of climate change and to put in systems in place to help humans adapt to the changes that have already, or will, happen. This course will consider Earth’s complex climate system and, in particular, the ways that human actions have had, and can have, an influence. We will discuss and engage with scientific and technical aspects, while also considering and working with social systems that have an influence on mitigation and adaptation. Laboratories include site visits, lab and/or fieldwork, and hands-on application of course material. Fieldwork outside of class time may be required. In the process, students will be asked to reflect regularly on how these experiences relate to the development of their personal, professional, and academic goals within the Ursinus Quest. This course fulfills the ENVS capstone requirement and contains significant writing, oral, and experiential elements, including a group project. Prerequisites: ENVS-100, 120, at least one intermediate synthesis course or an advanced science course, and junior or senior standing, or permission of the instructor. Three lecture hours and three field and/or laboratory hours per weekFour semester hours.

    ENVS-454W. Sustainability in the Suburbs

    This course explores the theory and practice of emerging sustainability interventions in suburban areas. Emphasizing the role that alternative land management activities play in mitigating the impacts of human–environment interactions in suburbia, this course seeks to examine how new forms of environmental management can improve ecosystem service provision in the Collegeville area. Drawing on land-use management, agro-ecology, and ecosystem services literatures, this capstone course is designed to illuminate the importance of interdisciplinary analysis for implementing emerging strategies to improve ecosystem health in suburban yards, communities, and landscapes. Written and oral communication of critical thinking is emphasized. Laboratories include field work at the Ursinus Food Forest (Whittaker Environmental Research Station), experience with planning and design approaches and analytical techniques, and field trips in the Collegeville region. In the process, students will be asked to reflect regularly on how these experiences relate to the development of their personal, professional, and academic goals within the Ursinus Quest. This course fulfills the ENVS capstone requirement and significant writing, oral, and experiential elements, including extensive group work. Prerequisites: ENVS-100, at least one intermediate synthesis or an advanced science course, and junior or senior standing; or permission of the instructor. Three lecture hours and three field and/or laboratory hours per week. Four semester hours. (CCAP.)

    ENVS/BIO-455W. Conservation Biology

    Students in Conservation Biology will learn about the causes and the consequences of species extinctions and best management practices for conserving biodiversity. Concepts from genetics, ecology, and evolution will be applied to conservation, and the role of scientific research in conservation practice will be emphasized. Case studies in conservation will come from a variety of species and ecosystems, and special emphasis will be placed on conservation in human-dominated landscapes, such as the suburban landscape within which Ursinus College is situated. Prerequisite: BIO-101 or permission of the instructor. Three hours of lecture per week. Four semester hours.

    ENVS-481W. Research/Independent Work

    An independent project conducted using research methods in environmental studies and sustainability, and including original work in the field, laboratory, or other scholarly forum. Students must have completed 12 semester hours of environmental studies and sustainability courses including ENVS-100 or have permission of their adviser to be eligible for independent research. Four semester hours. (XLP.)

    ENVS-482W. Research/Independent Work

    See course description for ENVS-481W. Four semester hours. (XLP.)

    ENVS-491W. Research/Independent Work

    Students who are eligible for departmental honors can complete independent research work in this course. Work should be comprised of an independent project conducted using research methods in environmental studies and sustainability, and including original work in the field, laboratory, or other scholarly forum. Students must have completed 12 semester hours of environmental studies courses including ENVS-100 or have permission of their adviser to be eligible for independent research. Four semester hours. (XLP.)

    ENVS-492W. Research/Independent Work

    See course description for ENVS-491W. Four semester hours. (XLP.)