Environmental Studies Minor Requirements

2016 - 2017 Catalog

Environmental Studies minor

A minor in environmental studies requires completion of the following 25 or 26 credits. In meeting the requirements of this interdisciplinary minor, a student must use at least nine credits that are not also used to meet the requirements of any other major or minor. A student may not complete both a major and a minor in environmental studies.

  1. Required courses: ENV 110, 397
  2. Social Sciences: one course from each of the following two areas
    Group 1: ECON 101; POL 100, 105
    Group 2: ECON 255, 259; ENV 295; POL 233
  3. Natural and Physical Sciences: one course from each of the following two areas.
    Group 1: BIOL 101, 111; GEOL 100, 101,105
    Group 2: BIOL 217, 245, 322, 330, 332, 398; ENV 250, GEOL 141, 150
  4. Humanities: two courses chosen from BUS 335; ENGL 207; ENV 395; PHIL 150, 282; REL 207, 224 (SOAN 224); SOAN 286.

Most of these courses fulfill certain general education or foundation and distribution requirements and may be applicable to the majors in each of the departments.

  1. Required courses:
    • ENV 110 - Introduction to Environmental Studies

      FDR: SS5
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall, Winter

      An interdisciplinary introduction to environmental studies with an emphasis on how societies organize themselves through their social, political and economic institutions to respond to environmental problems. The course begins with a discussion of the development of environmental thought, focusing on the relationship between humans and the environment. Participants then discuss alternative criteria for environmental decision making, including sustainability, equity, ecological integrity, economic efficiency, and environmental justice. The course concludes with an examination of contemporary environmental issues, including global warming, invasive species, energy and the environment, tropical deforestation, and the relationship between the environment and economic development in developing countries.


    • ENV 397 - Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies

      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter

      An interdisciplinary capstone course intended for students in the environmental studies program. Students analyze a particular environmental issue and attempt to integrate scientific inquiry, political and economic analysis and ethical implications. The particular issue changes each year.


  2. Social Sciences:
  3. one course from each of the following two areas:

    • Group 1:
      • ECON 101 - Principles of Microeconomics

        FDR: SS1
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall, Winter

        Survey of economic principles and problems with emphasis on analysis of consumer behavior, firm behavior, market outcomes, market structure, and microeconomic policy. The first half of a two-term survey of economics. Should be followed by ECON 102.


      • POL 100 - American National Government

        FDR: SS2
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall, Winter

        A study of the constitutional origins and historical development of the national government with special attention to Congress, the presidency, the judiciary, and the role of political parties, interest groups, and the media in the policy process.


      • POL 105 - Introduction to Global Politics

        FDR: SS2
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall, Winter

        A survey of the comparative study of national and international politics and the interaction between the two. Topics may include power relations among and within states, changes in the conduct of international affairs and conflict resolution, contrasting ideas about democracy, economic development, justice, globalization, terrorism, causes and alternatives to war, social movements and the role of the nation-state.


    • Group 2:
      • ECON 255 - Environmental and Natural Resource Economics

        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Winter

        The course serves as an introduction to environmental and natural resource economics. Economic principles are used to evaluate public and private decision making involving the management and use of environmental and natural resources. Aspects pertaining to fisheries, forests, species diversity, agriculture, and various policies to reduce air, water and toxic pollution will be discussed. Lectures, reading assignments, discussions and exams will emphasize the use of microeconomic analysis for managing and dealing with environmental and natural resource problems and issues.


      • ECON 259 - Supervised Study Abroad: The Environment and Economic Development in Amazonas

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Spring. Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources exist

        Spring Term Abroad course. Amazonas is a huge Brazilian state of 1.5 million sq. kilometers which retains 94 percent of its original forest cover. This course examines the importance of the forest for economic development in both the formal and informal sectors of the economy, and how policies can be develop to promote both environmental protection and an increase in the quality life in both the urban and rural areas of Amazonas. The learning objectives of this course integrate those of the economics and environmental studies majors. Students are asked to use economic tools in an interdisciplinary context to understand the relationships among economic behavior, ecosystems and policy choices. Writing assignments focus on these relationships and look towards the development of executive summary writing skills.


      • ENV 295 - Special Topics in Environmental Studies

        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit

        This courses examines special topics in environmental studies, such as ecotourism, the environment and development, local environmental issues, values and the environment, global fisheries, global climate change, tropical deforestation and similar topics of importance, which could change from year to year. This is a research-intensive course where the student would be expected to write a significant paper, either individually or as part of a group, of sufficient quality to be made useful to the scholarly and policy communities. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

        Winter 2016, ENV 295: Special Topic: Ecology of Amazonia (3) . Second six weeks. Prerequisite: ENV 110 or BIOL 111. Origins of the Amazon Basin. The course covers geological and hydrological aspects of this huge basin, including basic concepts of biodiversity and its measures and concepts of "river continuum" and "flood pulse". We also cover the origins and key factors of aquatic biodiversity in the Amazon basin and the natural and human threats to Amazonian biodiversity. Freitas.


      • POL 233 - Environmental Policy and Law

        FDR: SS2
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Winter

        A study of major environmental laws and the history of their enactment and implementation. Discusses different theoretical approaches from law, ethics, politics, and economics. Reviews significant case law and the legal context. Emphasis is on domestic policy with some attention to international law and treaties.


  4. Natural and Physical Sciences:
  5. one course from each of the following two areas:

    • Group 1:
      • BIOL 101 - Environmental Biology: Endangered Plants of the Appalachians

        FDR: SL
        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Spring

        Using case studies in plant endangerment as a focal point for understanding ecological and evolutionary processes and the impact of human activities on biodiversity, students gain fundamental insight into their relationship with the living world and the importance of preserving biological diversity through a combination of targeted readings, intensive discussions, and basic research in the field, Field activities take place in regional hotspots of plant endemism and give students experience in applied conservation research. Field sites and subject species vary from year to year.


      • BIOL 111 - Fundamentals of Biology

        FDR: SL: BIOL 113 is a corequisite for students seeking laboratory science credits
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall, Winter

        An intensive investigation of scientific thought and communication applied to topics that vary among sections and terms. Specific subjects, chosen from within the scope of modern biological investigation according to the expertise of individual instructors, are examined in the context of major concepts such as evolution, regulation, growth, and metabolism. This course, and its companion laboratory, are prerequisites for all higher level biology courses.

        Fall 2016, BIOL 111-01: Fundamentals of Biology: Biological Clocks and Rhythms (3). Corequisite: BIOL 113. An intensive investigation of scientific thought and communication, examined in the context of major concepts such as evolution, regulation, growth, and metabolism. From cell division to bird migration, clock-like rhythms control the activities of every living organism. In this section we investigate recent advances in chronobiology, the area of biology that studies internal biological clocks. Our topics include the measurement of rhythmic activity, the molecular mechanisms underlying daily rhythms, and the integration of internal and environmental rhythms in complex physiological processes, such as the sleep and reproductive cycles. (SL: BIOL 113 is a co-requisite for students seeking laboratory science credits.) Toporikova.

        Fall 2016, BIOL 111-03: Fundamentals of Biology: Rapid Communication in Animals (3). Corequisite: BIOL 113. An intensive investigation of scientific thought and communication, examined in the context of major concepts such as evolution, regulation, growth, and metabolism. This section examines the structure and function of nerve cells with an emphasis on electrical excitability, synaptic transmission, and sensory transduction. As part of the background, we study the processes of replication, transcription, and translation. In addition, we study the anatomy of the brain and examine the cellular mechanisms underlying simple behaviors and the pathology of degenerative CNS diseases. (SL: BIOL 113 is a co-requisite for students seeking laboratory science credits.) Watson.

         


      • GEOL 100 - General Geology with Field Emphasis

        FDR: SL
        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Fall

        The study of our physical environment and the processes shaping it. The materials and structure of the Earth's crust, the origin of the landforms, the concept of geologic time, and the nature of the Earth's interior are considered, with special emphasis on field study in the region near Lexington. Laboratory course.


      • GEOL 101 - General Geology

        FDR: SL
        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Winter

        The study of our physical environment and the processes shaping it. The materials and structure of the Earth's crust, the origin of the landforms, the concept of geologic time, and the nature of the Earth's interior are considered. No credit for students who have completed GEOL 100. Laboratory course.


      • GEOL 105 - Earth Lab

        FDR: SL
        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Spring

        The emphasis and location of the study area differs from year to year. Most course activity involves outside field work with a series of multi-day to multi-week field trips. The primary goal of this course is an in-depth introduction to a particular region or field of geological study for introductory level science students. Information about the course is made available prior to the end of the fall term. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different but only four credits may be used toward major requirements.

        Spring 2016, GEOL 105-01: First-Year Seminar: Earth Lab: Introduction to the Geology of Hawaii (4). First-Year Seminar. Prerequisite: First-Year class standing. Instructor consent required. An introductory study of earth science and the geology of the Hawaiian Islands.  Its purpose is to provide an unparalleled opportunity to observe a wide variety of geologic processes in action.  This course entails close interaction with the faculty and intensive study amongst the students during the term. (SL) Knapp.

        Spring 2016, GEOL 105-02: Earth Lab: Dinosaurs (4). Prerequisite: First-Year or sophomore standing only. A multidisciplinary investigation into the morphology, classification, and ecology of the dinosaurs and their close relatives; the environmental, climatic, and geographic conditions on earth during the time of the dinosaurs and how geologists make those paleo-environmental interpretations; and the biological principles involved in understanding the origin, evolution, and extinction of the dinosaurs. In addition, students discuss how scientific investigations proceed, how science is conveyed to a larger audience, and why dinosaurs in the media are often portrayed with so many scientific errors. (SL) Leonard-Pingel.


    • Group 2:
      • BIOL 217 - Aquatic Ecology

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Fall 2013 and alternate years

        This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the ecology of freshwater systems, with laboratory emphasis on streams and rivers in the local area. It includes a review of the physical and biological properties of freshwater ecosystems as well as current issues relating to their conservation. Laboratory activities focus around monitoring the impacts of current stream restoration efforts in local watersheds.


      • BIOL 245 - Ecology

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Fall

        An introduction to the study of interactions between organisms and their environments. Topics are arranged hierarchically: a) evolution and elementary population genetics; b) population dynamics and regulation; c) interspecific competition, predation, parasitism and symbiosis; d) community structure, energy and material flux in ecosystems. Laboratory is field oriented and investigative. Laboratory course.


      • BIOL 246 - Biological Diversity: Patterns and Processes

        FDR: SC
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Offered when interest if expressed and faculty resources permit

        How are plants and animals distributed on Earth, and how do important biogeographical patterns reflect ecological and evolutionary processes? The answers to these questions are crucial to conservation efforts and to predicting changes in "biodiversity" during a time of unprecedented, rapid global environmental change.


      • BIOL 322 - Conservation Genetics

        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Winter 2014 and alternate years

        A study of the central issues of population genetics and their application to species preservation and conservation. Topics include genetic surveys of rare or threatened species; population structure and dispersal; inferring population histories from genetic data; phylogenetics of threatened species' groups; hybridization between species; the use of genetic data in captive breeding programs and the prosecution of endangered species legislation; and the use of biotechnologies, such as cloning.


      • BIOL 330 - Experimental Botany: Global Climate Change

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Fall

        Lectures focus on the major impacts of global climate change (elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide and elevated temperatures) on plant function (photosynthesis and respiration) and plant communities. Additional topics include global carbon budgets, plant carbon sequestration, and agricultural impacts. Participants review the pertinent primary literature and conduct a term-long laboratory research project. Laboratory course.


      • BIOL 332 - Plant Functional Ecology

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Spring

        The emphasis and location of the study area differs from year to year. Information regarding the specific course topic and field trip schedule is made available in the fall. Through novel research projects in a variety of field settings (e.g., on-campus, Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains, The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem), this field-based laboratory course covers topics which investigate the vital roles that plants play in shaping Earth's ecosystems. Topics focus on the responses of native plants to environmental stresses, such as global climate change (elevated temperature and carbon dioxide and drought), herbivory, and invasive species. Field and laboratory exercises focus on testing hypotheses through experiments using a variety of species from intact plant communities. A review of the pertinent literature is used to develop and conduct a term research project. Laboratory course.


      • BIOL 398 - Selected Topics in Ecology and Evolution

        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Offered when interest is expressed and departmental resources permit

        Topics include ecology, behavior, evolution, and natural history of selected taxonomic groups. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.


      • ENV 250 - Ecology of Place

        Credits: 4
        Planned Offering: Spring 2013 and alternate years

        Think globally, study locally. This course explores globally significant environmental issues such as biodiversity conservation, sustainable delivery of ecosystem goods and services, and environmental justice, as they are manifested on a local/regional scale. We examine interactions among ethical, ecological, and economic concerns that shape these issues. Students are fully engaged in the development of policy recommendations that could guide relevant decision makers. The course incorporates readings, field trips, films, and discussions with invited experts.


      • GEOL 141 - Global Climate Change

        FDR: SC
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Winter

        A study of Earth's complex climate system and the impact of human activities on future climates. Through readings, discussions, data analyses and modeling exercises, the past and future changes in temperature, ocean circulation, rainfall, storminess, biogeochemistry, glacial ice extent and sea level are explored.


      • GEOL 150 - Water Resources

        FDR: SC
        Credits: 3
        Planned Offering: Fall 2016

        An examination of the quality and quantity of water resources as a limiting factor for life on earth. Issues include resource depletion, pollution, historical use and over-use, remediation, habitat maintenance, and water supply mechanisms. Resource constraints are analyzed from a scientific perspective in order to understand water resource problems and envision solutions.


  6. Humanities:
  7. two courses chosen from:

    • BUS 335 - Ethics of Globalization

      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Fall or Winter

      This seminar examines a number of ethical issues raised by the phenomenon of globalization. Though globalization is not new, recent business, technological, and policy developments have made the world more integrated and interdependent than ever before. Increasing economic, cultural, and political interconnections have created a host of new questions about how to conceive of the moral rights and responsibilities of individuals, multi-national corporations, nation-states, and global institutions within this new global framework. This course identifies and clarifies some of these questions, and considers how they have been addressed from a variety of different disciplinary perspectives. Questions concerning the ethics of globalization are approached through an analysis of a few specific topics, such as immigration, humanitarian intervention, and global poverty and inequality. Because the issues raised by the phenomenon of globalization cross disciplinary boundaries, readings are drawn from a wide variety of fields, including philosophy, business, economics, political science, and anthropology.


    • ENGL 207 - Eco-Writing

      FDR: HA
      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Spring 2016 and alternate years

      An expeditionary course in environmental creative writing. Readings include canonical writers such as Frost, Emerson, Auden, Rumi, and Muir, as well as contemporary writers such as W.S. Merwin, Mary Oliver, Janice Ray, Gary Snyder, Annie Dillard, Tich Nhat Hanh, Wendell Berry, and Robert Hass. We take weekly "expeditions" including creative writing hikes, a landscape painting exhibit, and a Buddhist monastery. "Expeditionary courses" sometimes involve moderate to challenging hiking. We research the science and social science of the ecosystems explored, as well as the language of those ecosystems. The course has two primary aspects: (1) reading and literary analysis of eco-literature (fiction, non-fiction, and poetry) and (2) developing skill and craft in creating eco-writing through the act of writing in these genres and through participation in weekly "writing workshop."

       


    • ENV 395 - Special Topics in Environmental Ethics

      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter, Spring

      This course explores areas of topical concern within the field of environmental ethics. The issues explored may vary from year to year. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

      Fall 2016, ENV 395A-01: Advanced Seminar: Environmentalism in the Anthropocene (3). Many people believe we have entered a new geological epoch: The Anthropocene, or Age of Human Domination. Some of the central questions explored in this seminar include: What does it mean to be an environmentalist in the Anthropocene? Are the traditional goals of wilderness preservation and conservation of biodiversity still appropriate? Should conservation biology shift its goals in the direction of conserving valuable ecosystem goods and services? Should our attitudes towards introduced and/or invasive species be transformed?  Should we assist the migration of species that are unable to respond on their own to the habitat shifts that will result from global warming? Has the planet become, in effect, one large human garden to be managed as best we can?  (HU) Cooper.


    • PHIL 150 - Ethics and the Environment

      FDR: HU
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Yearly

      This course is a philosophical exploration of one's responsibilities to the natural world. It has three main objectives: first, to provide an understanding of different dominant ethical theories and their application to animals, plants, and ecosystems; second, to provide an understanding of major environmental issues in current political debates, such as climate change, species preservation, and sustainable development; and third, to facilitate the development of a student's own ethic towards the environment.


    • PHIL 282 - Philosophy of Biology

      FDR: HU
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Yearly

      An examination of philosophical issues raised by biology, with an emphasis on current evolutionary theory. Topics include the structure of the theory of evolution by natural selection, an examination of the concepts of fitness and adaptation, the role of teleological explanation in biology, reductionism, the nature of biological species, individuality, levels of selection, and sociobiology.


    • REL 207 - Nature and Place

      FDR: HU
      Credits: 3

      Through a consideration of work drawn from diverse disciplines including philosophy, religious studies, literature, art, and anthropology, this course explores a variety of ideas about and experiences of nature and place.


    • REL 224 - American Indian Religions, Landscapes, and Identities (SOAN 224)

      FDR: HU
      Credits: 3
      Planned Offering: Winter 2016 and alternate years

      Drawing on a combination of scholarly essays, native accounts, videos, guest lectures, and student presentations, this seminar examines the religious assumptions and practices that bind American Indian communities to their traditional homelands. The seminar elucidates and illustrates those principles concerning human environmental interactions common to most Indian tribes; focuses on the traditional beliefs and practices of a particular Indian community that reflected and reinforced the community understanding of the relationship to be maintained with the land and its creatures; and examines the moral and legal disputes that have arisen out of the very different presuppositions which Indians and non- Indians hold regarding the environment.


    • SOAN 286 - Land in American Indian Culture, Religion, and History

      Credits: 4
      Planned Offering: Spring 2018 and alternate years

      This class focuses on the religious, cultural, and historical dimensions of a selected American Indian nation and ties to its lands as they found expression in the beliefs and practices of its pre- and post-reservation communities. The specific themes that the seminar will address are: 1) Lands, Culture, and Cosmology; 2) Lands, Subsistence, and Ceremony; and 3) Land in the Nation's History; and 4) Sacred Landscape and Contestation.  The course may cover the Lakota Sioux, Cherokee, or other Indian nation. Topic for 2014: