An interdepartmental program in Environmental Studies

Last updated: September 10, 2014 at 3:13 p.m.

Objectives

The environmental studies program prepares students to tackle the critical environmental issues that face our world today—from global warming and pandemics to toxic exposure and conflicts over shrinking natural resources—through a broad interdisciplinary approach that integrates course work across the natural and social sciences and humanities. Several of the courses offer extensive hands-on learning through fieldwork and direct involvement with communities in local and regional environmental issues. Individually tailored internships place students in an extensive network of government, public interest, and industry groups in the Boston area and beyond, working alongside environmental professionals in the field. Environmental studies majors also learn research, report writing, oral communication, advocacy, mapping, website development, and problem-solving skills that equip them for their later work and studies—whether or not they pursue a career in an environmental field.

In order to help students integrate their studies, we strongly recommend that students undertake one of the excellent approved environmental field study semester abroad programs, and/or also they take one of our distinctive Justice Brandeis Semester (JBS) programs, Environmental Health and Justice or the Environmental Field Semester. These are coherent, semester-long programs consisting of four or five integrated courses and include guided field research and work with local communities.

Learning Goals

Humankind faces numerous significant problems, many of which are environmental in nature: global climate change, habitat and biodiversity loss, air and water pollution, dwindling fossil fuel and mineral resources, and overpopulation. While these problems may appear very different at first glance, they are similar in that each one is extraordinarily complex and each requires a combination of natural science and social science responses. Our students will need a wide range of skills and knowledge to address these problems.

The other key fact is that new and different environmental problems are always arising. Since the mid-twentieth century, every generation has faced a new set of environmental problems, many of which were created by our responses to other problems. There was no problem of DDT poisoning our ecosystems and killing raptors until we invented pesticides to kill insect pests; and there was no hole in the ozone layer until we created chlorofluorocarbons for our refrigerators and aerosol cans. We know that tomorrow will bring new issues with which to wrestle, as well as new responses to today’s problems. As a result, it is essential that environmental studies students learn to be flexible and have the confidence and skills to master new environmental issues as they arise.

We want our students to be able to approach environmental issues from multiple perspectives. They need to recognize that environmental problems will not be solved with narrowly defined technical or societal responses, but will require interlocking responses from multiple disciplines. In addition, we want our students to understand that environmental solutions require inputs from a wide range of stakeholders. Our graduates should appreciate the diverse values, needs, and goals of all actors in environmentally difficult situations, recognizing that each party brings strengths and needs to the table that must be considered in proposed resolutions.

In the Environmental Studies Program we want to help our students gain confidence in their ability to analyze and address environmental problems, and we want to help them develop the personal strength to tackle these difficult and sometimes overwhelming issues. Our students will live in a world with at least eight or nine billion people – three times the population of the planet their parents were born into – and they will need to be flexible, smart, tough, and compassionate in their responses to the issues that continually arise.

Core Skills

Because environmental studies is interdisciplinary and draws from so many different fields, it requires a wide gamut of intellectual skills. With two notable additions, the Core Skills listed under the University Learning Goals give a good sense of the foundation needed by our students. Our students should acquire and hone these skills:

Communication skills:
Express facts, ideas, opinions and beliefs in a variety of written and oral formats.

Quantitative skills:
Collect, interpret and utilize numerical data and quantitative information; Use mathematical and other abstract models to express and understand causal relationships.

Critical thinking skills:
Analyze, interpret and synthesize information and ideas from diverse sources; Evaluate the relevance and validity of information, empirical evidence and theoretical arguments; Solve challenging problems and arrive at reasoned conclusions.

An essential skill that students must acquire is a grounding in Geographic Information Systems (computerized mapping and analysis). Environmental studies requires a strong understanding of the interactions between humans and the places they live, and GIS is the best tool for bringing together disparate types of information for analysis and communication of patterns. Finally, students must develop the capacity to frame insightful questions; when we ask the right questions about environmental problems, it is much easier to reach effective resolutions.

Knowledge
Given the vast amounts of change that will occur in the environmental field in the future, our graduates will need to be conversant in a number of disciplines in the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. Ideally, they would have solid foundations in ecology, environmental chemistry, environmental economics, environmental ethics, environmental health, environmental history, environmental law and policy, geography, natural resource management, physics, political theory, and statistics – for starters. In practice, they will need to have a good grounding in several social science and natural science fields, and the ability to gain competence with key concepts from new fields as the need arises. Individual students may find themselves drawn toward either natural science or social science approaches to addressing environmental problems; while we want all of our graduates to gain skill in both social and natural sciences, the program is structured so that students can focus more heavily in one area or the other.

Environmental issues cover the complete range of geographical scales from the local to the regional to the global. Our graduates must learn how to address different problems at different scales, recognizing that the frameworks needed to solve problems will vary from place to place and that regional and global problems require additional skills.

Our students need to gain familiarity with numerous social science and natural science disciplines, along with the humility to know that they will need to collaborate with colleagues from many different fields in any attempt to address environmental problems.

Social Justice
Our students see themselves as being responsible for the well-being of human beings and natural environments around the globe, and this is a responsibility that they take to heart. They want to make a difference and to take an active part in Tikkun Olam, the “repairing of the world.” Our students recognize that their actions have implications both locally and across the globe, and most attempt to create sustainable lifestyles that lessen their impacts. Many of our students get involved in work with local and international environmental groups during their time at Brandeis and afterwards.

Action
Above all, we recognize that environmental learning is best done in practice, not merely in theory. Over the years we have found that students can become discouraged by the magnitude and complexity of environmental problems facing us, so our program emphasizes the ability of students to find challenges that they can reasonably begin addressing without despairing. One of the ways we give students confidence to tackle real-world problems is through our strong internship program. Nearly all of our students undertake an intensive internship in environmentally-focused organizations including governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations, environmental education programs, and environmentally responsible and forward-thinking businesses. Our students throw themselves into these internship experiences (many do multiple internships), which give them real-world skills to complement and enliven their classroom learning.

Finally, we want our students to find joy in the natural world, and not just see the Earth as a place full of environmental problems. Many of our courses emphasize the wonders of our planet and celebrate the people who are good stewards of the Earth’s lands and waters.

Upon Graduation: Environmental Studies graduates from Brandeis go on to a wide range of environmental careers and academic programs.

  • Governments such as the US Government, foreign governments, state and local governments; sample positions include environmental aide for a US senator; climate Change Coordinator, British Virgin Islands; Foreign Service Officer for the US Government; and Peace Corps Volunteers in Senegal and Madagascar to name just a few.
  • Non-Governmental Environmental Organizations for many US and international organizations; in fields such as climate change, deforestation, energy efficiency, and environmental law.
  • Ecology and Conservation Biology Field Work in the US and abroad, studying forest ecology, as well as the behavior and conservation of bird, whales, and sea turtles.
  • Educators including Environmental Educators in high school science courses and museums, environmental education positions at field stations and farms, and English as a Second Language programs.
  • Graduate Studies in Ph.D. programs in environmental policy, biology, geography, chemistry, communications, and environmental history; Master’s programs in environmental science, water policy, sustainability, forestry, environmental education, public policy, and landscape architecture. In addition, many of our graduates have gone on to study environmental law, while others have studied medicine or veterinary science.

It is very typical for our graduates to work for a few years after they finish at Brandeis before going on to further studies. During this time they explore different environmental fields, which helps them decide on the work they hope to do and the skills they need to learn. After this period, a high proportion go on to graduate school; in fact, many environmental graduate schools strongly recommend that applicants have work experience before they undertake their graduate studies.

How to Become a Major or a Minor

Students can begin study in the environmental studies major or minor with virtually any course in the program (except ENVS 89a or ENVS 99d). We encourage students to take the interdisciplinary foundation course, ENVS2a (Fundamentals of Environmental Challenges), early in their first or second year. In order to declare the major or minor, students should meet with the environmental studies advising head. Any member of the environmental studies faculty can provide guidance on course selection and programs, and recommend an adviser.

Committee

Brian Donahue, Chair
(American Studies)

Richard Gaskins
(American Studies; Legal Studies)

Laura Goldin, Undergraduate Advising Head
(American Studies)

James Morris
(Biology)

Dan L. Perlman
(Biology)

Sara Shostak (on leave spring 2015)
(Sociology)

Affiliated Faculty (contributing to the curriculum, advising and administration of the department or program)
Caren Irr (English)
Adam Jaffe (Economics)
Kathleen Moran (Philosophy)
James Morris (Biology)
Sara Shostak (Sociology)
Carmen Sirianni (Sociology)

Requirements for the Minor

Students pursuing the environmental studies minor must successfully complete six required courses:

A. ENVS 2a (Fundamental of Environmental Challenges).

B. ENVS 89a  (Environmental Internship), ENVS 97a (Senior Essay), or an approved senior honors thesis ENVS 99a and b). The environmental internship is strongly recommended.

C. Two elective courses from the social sciences/humanities group.

D. Two elective courses from the natural sciences group.

Requirements for the Major

Students pursuing the major in environmental studies must successfully complete thirteen courses that allow for breadth, depth, and integration of their learning along with practical skills:

A. Core courses: ENVS 2a and two modules in geographic information systems (GIS): HS 297f (Introduction to GIS) and HS 263f (Applied GIS). Note that each module meets for one-half semester and yields half-course credit. - OR - ENVS 100e (offered only as part of the Environmental Field Semester)

B. One capstone experience: ENVS 89a (Environmental Internship) or ENVS 97a (Senior Essay) or ENVS 99a (Senior Research) and 99b (Senior Thesis). The environmental internship is strongly recommended.

C. Four courses from the environmental social sciences/humanities group electives.

D. Four courses from the environmental natural science group electives.

E. Two additional courses from either group of electives. Students participating in the Environmental Health and Justice JBS receive 3 elective course credits for completing AMST 102aj and BISC 6bj.

Special Notes Relating to Minors and Majors

Students may double-count no more than four courses used to fulfill the environmental studies major with another major or minor. 

No course, whether required or elective, for which a student receives a grade below C- may be counted toward the major or minor. 

No course taken to satisfy the major or minor may be taken on a pass/fail basis.

ENVS 89a, offered both fall and spring semesters, must be taken simultaneously with the internship in order to receive full course credit and meet the requirements of the Environmental Studies major and minor. This helps you make the most of your internship experience. Download the syllabus for ENVS 89 course.

Students who wish to earn course credit for summer placements must enroll in the fall ENVS 89a course and meet additional summer requirements, including participation in an online group forum throughout their internship experience, and submitting weekly structured writing in an ongoing journal. As for all interns, placement must be pre-approved to ensure quality and good fit for the individual student. Students interested in this option should review beforehand with Professor Goldin.

Off-Campus Study Opportunities

Courses from approved semester programs such as the School for Field Studies, SIT, and the Wood's Hole Semester in Environmental Science can be applied to electives for the major or minor with approval from the undergraduate advising head.

Courses of Instruction

(1-99) Primarily for Undergraduate Students

ENVS 2a Fundamentals of Environmental Challenges
[ sn ]
Provides a broad interdisciplinary introduction to environmental studies. Examines several key environmental challenges including climate change, biodiversity loss, sustainable agriculture, and pollutants through an array of lenses from the natural and social sciences. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Perlman

ENVS 10a Energy from the Big Bang to Global Warming
[ sn ]
Addresses questions such as: what is the role of energy in the universe, what are its sources on earth, what is the role in human society? Will waste from energy uses cause global warming and can we prevent it? Usually offered every year.
Mr. Tsipis

ENVS 15a Reason to Hope: Managing the Global Commons for Peace
[ sn ]
Explores global security arrangements that would tend toward peace within the objective constraints that delimit our options; the laws of physics, energy and food availability, human population, global wealth, geography, weather, and the presence of nuclear weapons. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Tsipis

ENVS 18b International Environmental Conflict and Collaboration
[ ss ]
Studies the development of international environmental law and policy through a historical lens. Examines how early diplomatic initiatives have--and importantly, have not--shaped the contemporary structure of international environmental relations. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Chester

ENVS 89a Environmental Internship
[ oc ]
The environmental studies internship provides the opportunity for students to experience firsthand actual environmental challenges in government, industry, public interest organizations, and scientific research institutions. Students tackle current environmental issues alongside professionals in the environmental field, experiencing the real-life context and application of their course work. Weekly discussion groups and assignments provide perspective and a substantive basis for the internship experience, and students present their work at the semi-annual Environmental Internship Symposium. Internship placements are individually tailored to support each student's academic goals and experience. Usually offered every semester.
Ms. Goldin

ENVS 97a Senior Essay
Usually offered every year.
Staff

ENVS 98a Independent Study
Usually offered every year.
Staff

ENVS 98b Independent Study
Usually offered every year.
Staff

ENVS 99a Senior Research
Usually offered every fall semester.
Staff

ENVS 99b Senior Thesis
Prerequisite: ENVS 99a.
Usually offered every spring semester.
Staff

FYS 43b JustBooks: Visions of the American Environment, Images to Action
[ hum ]
Explores the role of the natural environment in the North American vision through the lens of books and selected readings, films and art. We focus on the 1800's to present as we consider how these works reflect our relationship with the environment over time and shape our treatment of natural resources as we address daunting environmental challenges. As we examine a series of broad environmental themes and issues, including environmental justice concerns and the meaning of "place" and "home" in the American vision, our field trips and hands-on work with local groups help bring our studies to life and meaning. Offered as part of the JustBooks program.
Ms. Goldin (Environmental Studies)

(100-199) For Both Undergraduate and Graduate Students

ENVS 100ej GIS and Field Methods: The New England Landscape
[ ss ]
Open to students in the JBS Environmental Field Semester program only.
The skills, methods, and fieldwork component of the Environmental Field Semester. Trains students in geographic information systems (GIS), ecology, farm and forest work, and research into the ecology, history and stewardship of conservation land in New England. Offered as part of JBS program.
Mr. Donahue and Staff

ENVS 102aj Field Research and Study Methods: Environmental Health
[ ss ]
Comprises the skills and methods component of the four-course Environmental Health and Justice JBS. Students will be trained in environmental health study design, sampling methodology, field research and equipment techniques, data interpretation, statistical analysis, risk communication and presentation. The course will equip students to design and carry out a semester-long environmental health research study integral to the themes of Environmental Health and Justice JBS. Offered as part of JBS program.
Ms. Goldin and Mr. Stewart

ENVS 104aj Sustainability in the Suburbs
[ ss ]
Explores Weston and Waltham as case studies in exploring challenges suburbs face in becoming sustainable communities and ecosystems. Conflicts of private rights and economic vitality versus public interests and the environment will be discussed around issues including transportation, water use, waste and land use. Offered as part of JBS program.
Mr. Harrity

ENVS 106b Life on a Changing Planet
[ ss ]
What will climate mean for you and your life? How do we know? And what can we do? This course will examine the fundamentals of climate science, public policy around greenhouse gases, and options for response to climate change. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Lowenstein

ENVS 107b Atmospheric Civics & Diplomacy: World Politics of Air Pollution, Ozone Depletion, and Climate Change
Examines three principal threats to the atmosphere—air pollution, ozone depletion, and climate change—through the lens of international relations. The course primarily aims to answer the overarching question: What can international actors do to protect the atmosphere? Usually offered every year.
Mr. Chester

Required Core Course for the ENVS Major and Minor

ENVS 2a Fundamentals of Environmental Challenges
[ sn ]
Provides a broad interdisciplinary introduction to environmental studies. Examines several key environmental challenges including climate change, biodiversity loss, sustainable agriculture, and pollutants through an array of lenses from the natural and social sciences. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Perlman

Environmental Studies Electives: Social Science/Humanities Group

AMST 30b American Environmental History
[ ss wi ]
Provides an overview of the relationship between nature and culture in North America. Covers Native Americans, the European invasion, the development of a market system of resource extraction and consumption, the impact of industrialization, and environmentalist responses. Current environmental issues are placed in historical context. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Donahue

AMST 102aj Environment, Social Justice, and Empowerment
[ oc ss wi ]
Yields six semester-hour credits towards rate of work and graduation.
This community-engaged course involves students first-hand in the legal, policy, science, history and social impacts of current environmental health issues challenging individuals and families and communities today, with a particular focus on low-income, immigrant communities and the profound and unique roles played by women. Students will engage directly in the topics through field trips, visiting speakers and discussions with stakeholders themselves. They also will address the issues by assisting low income residents in Waltham at the Tenant Advocacy Clinic, and collaborating in projects with EPA, DEP and local organizations such as Healthy Waltham, the Waltham Family School, Waltham Family YMCA, Jewish Family and Children's Service, Joseph Smith Community Health Center and others. Offered as part of JBS program.
Ms. Goldin

AMST 104bj Boston and Its Suburbs: Environment and History
[ ss ]
Advanced seminar follows the development of the cultural landscape of Boston, Waltham and the western suburbs from glacial retreat to urban sprawl. Employs ecology and history to better understand and address contemporary environmental issues. Offered as part of JBS program.
Mr. Donahue

AMST 105a The Eastern Forest: Paleoecology to Policy
[ ss wi ]
Yields six semester-hour credits towards rate of work and graduation.
Can we make sustainable use of the Eastern Forest of North America while protecting biological diversity and ecological integrity? Explores the forest's ecological development, the impact of human cultures, attitudes toward the forest, and our mixed record of abuse and stewardship. Includes extensive fieldwork. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Donahue

AMST 106b Food and Farming in America
[ ss wi ]
Yields six semester-hour credits towards rate of work and graduation.
American food is abundant and cheap. Yet many eat poorly, and some argue that our agriculture may be unhealthy and unsustainable. Explores the history of American farming and diet and the prospects for a healthy food system. Includes extensive fieldwork. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Donahue

AMST 191b Greening the Ivory Tower: Improving Environmental Sustainability of Brandeis and Community
[ oc ss ]
Yields six semester-hour credits towards rate of work and graduation.
Get active, involved, and out of the classroom with this class! In this hands-on, field-based course we focus on the human impact on the world's natural resources, and explore strategies for creating healthy, resilient , environmentally sustainable communities in the face of increasingly daunting environmental challenges. Students also create projects that can change the face of Brandeis and the local community. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Goldin

ANTH 55a Anthropology of Development
[ nw ss ]
This course combines an examination of the historical development of "development" concepts and institutions with case studies of particular developmental projects in the United States and abroad. Throughout the course, we will sustain a dynamic interplay between development theory and practice. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Ferry

ANTH 151b Nature, Culture, Power: Anthropology of the Environment
[ ss ]
Examines the relationships among human and natural worlds. Topics include: the cultural production of 'wildness', the politics of conservation, indigeneity and the environment, colonialism and natural resource extraction. Ethnographies based on research in the United States, Africa and Asia will enable students to explore how anthropology offers insight into the pressing environmental issues of today. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Anjaria

ECON 57a Environmental Economics
[ ss ]
Prerequisite: ECON 2a or 10a.
Investigates the theoretical and policy problems posed by the use of renewable and nonrenewable resources. Theoretical topics include the optimal pricing of resources, the optimal use of standards and taxes to correct pollution problems under uncertainty, and the measurement of costs and benefits. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Bui

ECON 175a Introduction to the Economics of Development
[ ss ]
Prerequisite: ECON 2a or 10a or permission of the instructor. Does not count toward the upper-level elective requirement for the major in economics.
An introduction to various models of economic growth and development and evaluation of these perspectives from the experience of developing and industrial countries. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Menon

ENG 28a Nature Writing
[ hum ]
Explores literary responses to the natural environment from Thoreau to the present. Several genres of creative nonfiction will be discussed, such as memoir, manifesto, science writing, natural history, exploration narratives, and disaster stories. Usually offered every fourth year.
Ms. Irr

ENVS 18b International Environmental Conflict and Collaboration
[ ss ]
Studies the development of international environmental law and policy through a historical lens. Examines how early diplomatic initiatives have--and importantly, have not--shaped the contemporary structure of international environmental relations. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Chester

ENVS 102aj Field Research and Study Methods: Environmental Health
[ ss ]
Comprises the skills and methods component of the four-course Environmental Health and Justice JBS. Students will be trained in environmental health study design, sampling methodology, field research and equipment techniques, data interpretation, statistical analysis, risk communication and presentation. The course will equip students to design and carry out a semester-long environmental health research study integral to the themes of Environmental Health and Justice JBS. Offered as part of JBS program.
Ms. Goldin and Mr. Stewart

ENVS 104aj Sustainability in the Suburbs
[ ss ]
Explores Weston and Waltham as case studies in exploring challenges suburbs face in becoming sustainable communities and ecosystems. Conflicts of private rights and economic vitality versus public interests and the environment will be discussed around issues including transportation, water use, waste and land use. Offered as part of JBS program.
Mr. Harrity

ENVS 107b Atmospheric Civics & Diplomacy: World Politics of Air Pollution, Ozone Depletion, and Climate Change
Examines three principal threats to the atmosphere—air pollution, ozone depletion, and climate change—through the lens of international relations. The course primarily aims to answer the overarching question: What can international actors do to protect the atmosphere? Usually offered every year.
Mr. Chester

FYS 43b JustBooks: Visions of the American Environment, Images to Action
[ hum ]
Explores the role of the natural environment in the North American vision through the lens of books and selected readings, films and art. We focus on the 1800's to present as we consider how these works reflect our relationship with the environment over time and shape our treatment of natural resources as we address daunting environmental challenges. As we examine a series of broad environmental themes and issues, including environmental justice concerns and the meaning of "place" and "home" in the American vision, our field trips and hands-on work with local groups help bring our studies to life and meaning. Offered as part of the JustBooks program.
Ms. Goldin (Environmental Studies)

GECS 188b Human/Nature: European Perspectives on Climate Change
[ hum ]
Investigates the role of ethics and aesthetics in European climate change discourses from its beginnings in European Romanticism through a look at global connections to contemporary science fiction and computer games. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. von Mering

HS 263f Applied Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Meets for one-half semester and yields half-course credit. Prerequisite: HS 297f or permission of the instructor.
Designed for students wishing to receive advanced training in GIS. Instruction includes geospatial data management and archiving, raster and vector analysis techniques, and basic GPS instruction. Emphasis is on 'hands-on' training using ARCView GIS software; qualitative skills in data gathering, analysis, and presentation; and understanding the potential of GIS as a tool for planning and evaluating development projects. Includes a computer lab. Usually offered every year.
Staff

HS 297f Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Meets for one-half semester and yields half-course credit.
A primer for non-specialists on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and its capabilities as a tool for planning and monitoring. Students learn how to determine an organization’s GIS requirements, focus on those requirements during planning, and apply the requirements to assess the size and scope of the system needed. Includes a computer lab. Usually offered every semester.
Staff

IGS 145a Poverty, Inequalities, and the Environment
[ ss ]
Provides an overview of the measurement, consequences and global and national policy responses to poverty and inequality in the context of sustainable development. It also introduces students to sustainable development theory and practice. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Simon

PHIL 21a Environmental Ethics
[ hum ]
Explores the ethical dimensions of human relationships to the natural world. Looks at environmental ethical theories such as deep ecology and eco-feminism and discusses the ethics of specific environmental issues such as wilderness preservation and climate change. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Moran

SOC 175b Environmental Movements: Organizations, Networks, and Partnerships
[ oc ss ]
Studies environmental movement organizations and field strategies, national advocacy organizations, as well as community-based and civic approaches to environmental problem solving. Case studies draw from sustainable and climate resilient cities, watersheds, coastal adaptation, forests, ecosystem restoration, environmental justice, renewable energy, and the greening of industry. May be combined with internships and action research. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Sirianni

SOC 193a Environment, Health, and Society
[ ss ]
This course draws on sociological perspectives to examine two key questions: (1) How does social organization enter into the production of environmental health and illness? and (2) How do scientists, regulators, social movement activists, and people affected by illness seek to understand, regulate, and intervene in relationships between the environment and human health? Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Shostak

Environmental Studies Electives: Natural Sciences Group

Please note that some courses in this group have multiple prerequisites.

AMST 105a The Eastern Forest: Paleoecology to Policy
[ ss wi ]
Yields six semester-hour credits towards rate of work and graduation.
Can we make sustainable use of the Eastern Forest of North America while protecting biological diversity and ecological integrity? Explores the forest's ecological development, the impact of human cultures, attitudes toward the forest, and our mixed record of abuse and stewardship. Includes extensive fieldwork. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Donahue

BIOL 16a Evolution and Biodiversity
[ qr sn ]
May not be taken for credit by students who took BIOL 60b in prior years.
"Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution," Dobzhansky said famously. Evolution is the unifying theory of biology because it explains both the unity and diversity of life. This course examines processes and patterns of evolution, including the sources and fate of variation, natural selection and genetic drift, the species concept and the origin of species, species interactions and the evolution of sociality, biogeography, and the history and diversity of life on Earth. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Morris

BIOL 17b Conservation Biology
[ sn ]
No longer writing intensive beginning spring 2013.
Considers the current worldwide loss of biological diversity, causes of this loss, and methods for protecting and conserving biodiversity. Explores biological and social aspects of the problems and their solutions. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Hitchcock

BIOL 23a Ecology
[ sn ]
Prerequisites: BIOL 16a or 60b, or a score of 5 on the AP Biology Exam, or permission of the instructor.
Studies organisms and the environments in which they live. Focuses on the physical factors and intra- and interspecies interactions that explain the distribution and abundance of individual species from an evolutionary perspective. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Hitchcock

BIOL 32a Field Biology
[ sn ]
Introduces students to the biodiversity of southern New England, emphasizing woody plants. Course work primarily takes place on field trips to various terrestrial and aquatic habitats. Usually offered every year.
Staff

BIOL 32aj Field Biology
[ sn ]
Introduces students to the biodiversity of southern New England, emphasizing woody plants. Course work primarily takes place on field trips to various terrestrial and aquatic habitats. Offered as part of JBS program.
Staff

BIOL 50b Animal Behavior
[ sn ]
Prerequisites: BIOL 23a or BIOL 16a or BIOL 60b.
Examines a wide range of animal behavior, including mating and reproductive tactics, territoriality, and social behaviors. The course employs an ecological framework to understand the evolution of behavior. Usually offered every second year.
Staff

BIOL 134b Topics in Ecology
[ oc sn ]
Prerequisites: BIOL17b, BIOL23a, or BIOL 32a, or permission of the instructor. Topics may vary from year to year. Please consult the Course Schedule for topic and description. Course may be repeated once for credit with permission of the instructor.
Annually, a different aspect of the global biosphere is selected for analysis. In any year the focus may be on specific ecosystems (e.g., terrestrial, aquatic, tropical, arctic), populations, system modeling, restoration ecology, or other aspects of ecology. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Hitchcock

BIOL 159a Project Laboratory in Microbiology
[ sn ]
Prerequisites: BIOL 18a and b. Laboratory fee: $150 per semester.
A discovery-based laboratory to study the diversity of microorganisms in particular environments. We will isolate microbes with ability to metabolize complex compounds from special environments, characterize their properties and identify them by DNA sequence analysis. This course will teach the fundamentals of microbiology through hands-on activities. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Cooper

BISC 6bj Environmental Health
[ sn ]
Yields six semester-hour credits towards rate of work and graduation. Does not meet the requirements for the major in Biology.
An introduction to the science and tools of environmental health, giving students hands-on skills to explore directly current issues experienced by local communities. Students will become familiar with the environmental health paradigm, the conceptual model of the field, including underlying principles of hazard identification, exposure assessment, toxicology, risk assessment, and characterization and interpretation of epidemiological studies. Offered as part of JBS program.
Ms. Goldin and Mr. Stewart

CHEM 33a Environmental Chemistry
[ sn ]
Prerequisite: A satisfactory grade (C- or higher) in CHEM 11b or 15b or the equivalent.
The course surveys the important chemical principles and reactions that determine the balance of the molecular species in the environment and how human activity affects this balance. The class evaluates current issues of environmental concern such as ozone depletion, global warming, sustainable energy, toxic chemicals, water pollution, and green chemistry. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Peavey

CHSC 3b Solving Environmental Challenges: The Role of Chemistry
[ sn ]
Does not meet the requirements for the major in chemistry.
Provides a basic understanding of the chemistry of natural environmental cycles, and how these cycles are adversely affected by society. Student teams develop case studies on "hot topics" such as mercury, brominated flame retardants, MBTE, perchlorate, dioxin, and others. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Peavey

CHSC 4b Understanding the Chemistry of Sustainability
[ sn ]
Prerequisites: High school-level chemistry or environmental science/studies is required. Students missing this background may petition the instructor for permission to enroll. Does NOT meet requirements for the major in chemistry.
An exploration of the role of green chemistry, nanotechnology, bioengineering, innovative design, and greater reliance on renewable resources in achieving environmental sustainability. Topics include sustainable energy, recognized green sector industries, green chemicals, environmentally preferable products, and sustainable manufacturing. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Peavey

ENVS 10a Energy from the Big Bang to Global Warming
[ sn ]
Addresses questions such as: what is the role of energy in the universe, what are its sources on earth, what is the role in human society? Will waste from energy uses cause global warming and can we prevent it? Usually offered every year.
Mr. Tsipis

ENVS 15a Reason to Hope: Managing the Global Commons for Peace
[ sn ]
Explores global security arrangements that would tend toward peace within the objective constraints that delimit our options; the laws of physics, energy and food availability, human population, global wealth, geography, weather, and the presence of nuclear weapons. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Tsipis

ENVS 102aj Field Research and Study Methods: Environmental Health
[ ss ]
Comprises the skills and methods component of the four-course Environmental Health and Justice JBS. Students will be trained in environmental health study design, sampling methodology, field research and equipment techniques, data interpretation, statistical analysis, risk communication and presentation. The course will equip students to design and carry out a semester-long environmental health research study integral to the themes of Environmental Health and Justice JBS. Offered as part of JBS program.
Ms. Goldin and Mr. Stewart

ENVS 106b Life on a Changing Planet
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What will climate mean for you and your life? How do we know? And what can we do? This course will examine the fundamentals of climate science, public policy around greenhouse gases, and options for response to climate change. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Lowenstein