environmental studies courses

courses with an ES number (click on each course for a detailed description):

ES 101 Fundamentals of Environmental Science with Laboratory
ES 102 Environment and Society: Addressing Climate Change
ES 111/GEOS 111 The Yucca Mountain Problem: Where Should We Put Nuclear Waste?
ES 201/GEOS 201 Methods & Problems in Environmental Science with Laboratory
ES 203 Cultures of Environmentalism
ES 207 The Modern Environmental Imagination: Introduction to Environmental Literature
ES 210/GEOS 210 Hydrogeology- Water and Pollutants with Laboratory
ES 212/RAST 212 Lake Baikal: The Soul of Siberia
ES 214/POL2 214 Social Causes and Consequences of Environmental Problems
ES 215 Critical Theories of the Environment: Sustainability, Modernity, Democracy
ES 217/BISC 217 Field Botany with Laboratory
ES 220 Environmental Limits and Conservation with Laboratory
ES 222 Dynamic Modeling of Environmental Issues
ES 289 Environmental Mapping and Analysis
ES 299/HIST 299 United States Environmental History
ES 300 Environmental Decisionmaking
ES 306/CHEM 306 Seminar: Green Chemistry
ES 307/BISC 307 Advanced Topics in Ecology with Laboratory
ES 308/GEOS 308 Wetlands Science with Laboratory
ES 309 Our Food, the Food System, and the Environment
ES 312S/POL2 312S Seminar: Environmental Policy
ES 313 Environmental Impact Assessment
ES 315/GEOS 315 Environmental Geochemisty with Laboratory
ES 325/POL3 325 International Environmental Law
ES 327/BISC 327 Biodiversity Topics
ES 381/POL1 381 United States Environmental Politics
ES 383 The Science of Compliance: The Evolution of Technology to Meet the Goals of US Environmental Policy

Individual Study
ES 250GH Environmental Studies Reading Group
ES 250 Research or Individual Study
ES 250H Research or Individual Study
ES 350 Research or Individual Study
ES 350H Research or Individual Study
ES 360 Senior Thesis Research
ES 370 Senior Thesis

courses from other departments that count for the ES major or minor (click on each course for a detailed description):

AFR 226 Environmental Justice, Race, and Sustainable Development
BISC 106 Environmental Biology with Laboratory
BISC 108 Environmental Horticulture with Laboratory
BISC 201 Ecology with Laboratory
BISC 202 Evolution with Laboratory
BISC 210 Marine Biology with Laboratory
BISC 308 Tropical Ecology with Wintersession Laboratory
BISC 314 Environmental Microbiology with Laboratory
BISC 319 Population Genetics and Systematics with Laboratory
ECON 228 Environmental and Resource Economics
GEOS 101 Earth Processes and the Environment with Laboratory
GEOS 102 The Dynamic Earth with Laboratory
GEOS 110 The Coastal Zone: Intersection of Land, Sea, and Humanity with Lab
GEOS 208 Oceanography
GEOS 304 Sedimentology with Laboratory
GEOS 320 Isotope Geochemistry
PHIL 233 Environmental Ethics
POL3 332S People, Agriculture and the Environment

descriptions for courses with an ES course number: 

ES 101 Fundamentals of Environmental Science with Laboratory
| Griffith, Thomas (Biological Sciences) | Fall 2011 | 1.25 unit |
Explore the campus and beyond in an interdisciplinary manner. Topics include the movement of materials through the environment, sustainability, principles of resource management, and pollution control. Investigate timely environmental problems and work toward solutions using skills such as computer modeling, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, and spatial data analysis using GIS. A combination of field and laboratory work will be integrated with discussion and readings. Either 101 or 102 may be taken first.
Prereq: QR basic skills component. Open to first years and sophomores; juniors and seniors may only enroll with permission of the instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science. Fulfills the QR overlay requirement. -top-
 
ES 102 Environment and Society: Addressing Climate Change
| Barkin, Burkholder | Fall 2011, Spring 2012 | 1.0 unit |
This course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to environmental studies, with a focus on a climate change. Major concepts that will be examined include: the state of scientific research, the role of science, politics, and economics in environmental decisionmaking, and the importance of history, ethics and justice in approaching environmental issues. The central aim of the course is to help students develop the interdisciplinary research skills necessary to pose questions, investigate problems, and develop strategies that will help us address our relationship to the environment. Either 101 or 102 may be taken first.
Prereq: QR basic skills component.
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis -top-
 
ES 111/GEOS 111 The Yucca Mountain Problem: Where Should We Put Nuclear Waste?
| Besancon (Geosciences) | Fall 2011 | 1.0 unit |
Choices about disposal of radioactive materials will affect countless future generations. Focusing on the proposed storage facility at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, we will examine the important scientific questions that must be answered for long-term safety of a nuclear repository. Students will learn the scientific principles governing risk
assessment, groundwater movement, volcanism, earthquakes, and the groundwater properties of the repository rocks, and how each affects the safety of the proposed containment facility. We will also examine the evidence and methods used to predict how the waste and the containers designed to hold it will behave for long periods. Students will identify key issues and produce small group projects examining some of the scientific issues raised by this controversial proposal. Students may register for either ES 111 or GEOS 111 and credit will be granted accordingly.
Prereq: Open only to first-year students.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science -top-
 
ES 201/GEO 201 Methods & Problems in Environmental Science with Laboratory
| Brabander (Geosciences) | Not Offered in 2011-12. Offered in 2012-13 (SP)| 1.25 units |
Problems in environmental science are inherently multidisciplinary and often require a diverse skill set to analyze and solve. This course will focus on developing a toolbox of skills including field methods, geochemical analysis (natural waters, soils and other environmental materials), and modeling with a goal of being able to frame and solve environmental problems. Students will conduct semester-long research projects and will present their results in a final poster session. Students may register for either ES 201 or GEOS 201 and credit will be granted accordingly.
Prereq: One of the following: ES 101, GEOS 101, 102 or permission of the instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science -top-
 
ES 203 Cultures of Environmentalism
| Turner | Not Offered in 2011-12. Offered in 2012-13 (SP) | 1.0 unit |
What is environmentalism? This course explores how different communities of people have answered that question in the United States and abroad. It focuses on the mainstream environmental movement and other formulations of environmentalism, such as environmental justice, deep ecology, animal rights, and indigenous peoples’ concerns for the environment. This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to examining the role of culture in shaping how people have valued the environment and organized to protect it. What role do the arts, popular culture, and literature play in environmental activism? What are the ethical and philosophical foundations of modern environmental movements? How is environmental activism historically specific and shaped by particular constructions of race, gender, religion, and nature? The goal of this course is to consider how environmental activism and decision making can and must be sensitive to cultural context.
Prereq: ES 101, ES 102, or permission of the instructor.
Dist: Religion, Ethics, and Moral Philosophy. -top-
 

ES 207 The Modern Environmental Imagination: Introduction to Environmental Literature
| TBA | Not Offered in 2011-12 | 1.0 unit |
This seminar surveys works of environmental literature written in the last 150 years. Readings come from a wide range of literary genres, including travel writing, slave narrative, memoir, essays, poetry, and fiction, and are arranged somewhat chronologically to help us trace continuities and ruptures in environmental writing. As we cover a wide range of ecological themes------environmental justice, risk, postcolonialism, animal rights, the back-to-the-land movement, deep ecology, globalization, media, and race, class, and gender------attention will be paid to the role of ‘‘literariness’’ in these texts, i.e. the literary strategies used to imagine, construct, and narrate ecological issues. Students will acquire a rich eco-critical vocabulary that will include the basics of literary study as well as the tools required to discuss the modern environmental imagination across art, literature, and culture.
Prereq: WRIT 125 and one course in Environmental Studies or English, or permission of the instructor. (Note: this course will count toward the English major and for the ES humanities core)
Dist: Language and Literature. -top-

 
ES 210/GEOS 210 Hydrogeology- Water and Pollutants with Laboratory
| Besancon (Geosciences) | Not Offered in 2011-12 | 1.25 units |
Investigation of water supply and use. Principles of surface and groundwater movement and water chemistry are applied to the hydrologic cycle to understand sources of water for human use. Mathematical groundwater models are used to understand groundwater movement and pollutant plumes. Quantity and quality of water and the limitations they impose are considered. Normally offered in alternate years. Students may register for either ES 210 or GEOS 210 and credit will be granted accordingly.
Prereq: GEOS 101 or 102 or permission of instructor
Dist: Natural and Physical Science or Mathematical Modeling -top-
 

ES 212/RAST 212 Lake Baikal: The Soul of Siberia
| Moore (Biological Sciences), Hodge (Russian) | Not Offered in 2011-12. Offered in 2012-13 (SP) | 1.25 units |
The ecological and cultural values of Lake Baikal – the oldest, deepest, and most biotically rich lake on the planet – are examined. Lectures and discussion in spring prepare students for the three-week field laboratory taught at Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia in August. Lectures address the fundamentals of aquatic ecology and the role of Lake Baikal in Russian literature, history, art, music, and the country’s environmental movement. Laboratory work is conducted primarily out-of-doors and includes introductions to the flora and fauna, field tests of student-generated hypotheses, meetings with the lake’s stakeholders, and tours of ecological and cultural sites surrounding the lake. Students may register for either ES 212 or RAST 212 and credit will be granted accordingly. Not offered every year. Subject to Dean’s Office approval.
Prereq: ES 101 or BISC 111, RUSS 101, and permission of the instructors. Preference will be given to students who have also taken HIST 211. Application required.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science -top-

 
ES 214/POL2 214 Social Causes and Consequences of Environmental Problems
| DeSombre | Fall 2011 | 1.0 unit |
This course focuses on the social science explanations for why environmental problems are created, the impacts they have, the difficulties of addressing them, and the regulatory and other actions that succeed in mitigating them. Topics include: externalities and the politics of unpriced costs and benefits, collective action problems and interest group theory, time horizons in decision making, the politics of science, risk and uncertainty, comparative political structures, and cooperation theory. Also addressed are different strategies for changing environmental behavior, including command and control measures, taxes, fees, and other market instruments, and voluntary approaches. These will all be examined across multiple countries and levels of governance. Students may register for either ES 214 or POL2 214 and credit will be granted accordingly.
Prereq: ES 102, or one course in political science, or permission of instructor.
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis -top-
 
ES 215 Critical Theories of the Environment: Sustainability, Modernity, Democracy
| Crawford | Fall 2011 | 1.0 unit |
This course emphasizes the role of the humanities in imagining a just and sustainable planet. Through the study of literature, art, and critical/cultural theory, students examine the modernization processes that have revolutionized humanity's relationships to the earth, not only increasing the speed of natural-resource consumption but also reorganizing cultural ideologies, belief-systems, and patterns of thought. The central questions of ES 215 are: how have imperialism, industrialization, urbanization, globalization, democracy, science, and capitalism shaped our sense of place and environment, and how does this shift affect our imagination of ecological change? The syllabus puts classic and contemporary figures from the humanities into dialogue (for example, Karl Marx's critique of capitalism alongside Spike Lee's documentary on Hurricane Katrina) in order to explore the central ecological issues of our time, including social injustice, imperialism, the mechanization of everyday life, technological advancement, risk assessment, social Darwinism, eco-psychology, bioengineering, and the digital commons.
Prereq: One course in Environmental Studies or the Humanities, or permission of instructor.
Dist: Language and Literature -top-
 
ES 217/BISC 217 Field Botany with Laboratory
| Staff | Not Offered in 2011-12 | 1.25 unit |
Field Botany is a combination of "what's that wildflower?" and "why does it grow over there and not here?" The course merges aspects of plant systematics and identification (with an emphasis on learning the local flora and important plant families) and plant ecology (with an emphasis on ecological interactions and phenomena unique to plants). Laboratories will primarily be taught in the field and greenhouses and will include using dichotomous and web-based keys to identify plants, observational and experimental studies, and long-term study of forest patches on the Wellesley campus. Laboratories will also include experimental design and data analysis. The goal of Field Botany is not only to train students in the fields of botany and plant ecology, but to engage them in botany every time they step outside. Students may register for either ES 217 or BISC 217 and credit will be granted accordingly.
Prereq: ES 101 or BISC 108 or BISC 111/113 or permission of instructor
Dist: Natural and Physical Sciences -top-
 
ES 220 Environmental Limits and Conservation with Laboratory
| Griffith, Thomas (Biological Sciences) | Spring 2012 | 1.25 unit |
The growing use of global resources challenges our ability to conserve resources themselves, as well as species, ecosystems, and environmental quality. This brings up fundamental questions regarding limits to the sustainability of human and natural systems. This course investigates these far-reaching concepts by examining topics such as fundamentals and implications of thermodynamics, energy and material flow through human and natural systems, conservation of resources and biodiversity, and natural resource management. We will also explore the role of science and technology in surmounting previous limits (e.g. energy consumption and agricultural yields), as well as the implications of inherent limits that may never be broken. Laboratory work will focus on quantitative skills and tools used to assess the sustainability of different systems.
Prereq: One of the following: ES 101, GEOS 101 or 102, BISC 108 or permission of instructor
Dist: Natural and Physical Sciences -top-
 
ES 222 Dynamic Modeling of Environmental Issues
| Coleman (Chemistry) | Not Offered in 2011-12 | 1.0 unit |
A hands-on introduction to the application of systems dynamics to developing computer-based models for complex problems, with an emphasis on the environment. Starting with simple closed systems, students will develop models of increasing sophistication and complexity for issues such as population dynamics, air and water pollution, energy production and usage, waste management and sustainable development. Emphasis will be placed on the principles of problem solving and systems dynamics and on developing models that reflect, as closely as possible, real-world situations and the interrelatedness of various environmental concerns.
Prereq: ES 101 and completion of the QR requirement, or permission of the instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science or Mathematical Modeling -top-
 
ES 289 Environmental Mapping and Analysis
| Griffith, Ferwerda | Fall 2012 | 1.0 unit |
Today's maps are much more than a means to get from here to there - they are rich with information and have become vital tools for addressing some of the world's most pressing environmental problems. Modern spatial analysis and mapping methods, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS), have opened up new ways to discover, interpret, and predict complex spatial patterns and systems. This course offers students hands-on experience with state-of-the-art spatial tools, statistical analyses, and data visualization in order to study multidisciplinary topics such as environmental justice, natural resource management/economics, environmental pollution, and biodiversity conservation. The combined lecture/lab format of the course in addition to its two instructors provides a unique and practical immersion into an evolving and exciting field.
Prereq: ES 101 or ES 102 and completion of the QR requirement, or permission of the instructor.
Dist: None -top-
 
ES 299/HIST 299 United States Environmental History
| Turner | Not Offered in 2011-12. Offered in 2012-13 (SP) | 1.0 unit |
This course examines the relationship between nature and society in American history. The course will consider topics such as the decimation of the bison, the rise of Chicago, the history of natural disasters, and the environmental consequences of war. There are three goals for this course: First, we will examine how humans have interacted with nature over time and how nature, in turn, has shaped human society. Second, we will examine how attitudes toward nature have differed among peoples, places, and times and we will consider how the meanings people give to nature inform their cultural and political activities. Third, we will study how these historical forces have combined to shape the American landscape and the human and natural communities to which it is home. While this course focuses on the past, an important goal is to understand the ways in which history shapes how we understand and value the environment as we do today.
Prereq: ES 101 or 102 or an American history course, or permission of the instructor.
Dist: Historical Studies -top-
 
ES 300 Environmental Decisionmaking
| DeSombre | Spring 2012 | 1.0 unit |
An interdisciplinary seminar in which students work together in small groups to understand and develop solutions for current environmental problems. Each year, we focus on a given environmental issue of concern to our community, e.g. environmental implications of building design, energy use, or water quality. In particular, we work to understand its scientific background, the political processes that lead to potential solutions, and the ethical and environmental justice implications. Student-led research provides the bulk of the information about the issue and its role in our local environment; lectures and readings provide supplementary information about the local situation and the global context.
Prereq: A declared major or minor in environmental studies, ES 101 or 102 and completion of the three breadth distribution requirements, or permission of the instructor. This course is only open to juniors and seniors.
Dist: None -top-
 
ES 306/CHEM 306 Seminar. Green Chemistry
| Coleman (Chemistry) | Not Offered in 2011-12. Offered in 2012-13 (SP) | 1.0 units |
A study of the impact of chemicals and the chemical industry, broadly defined, on the global environment, and on emerging approaches to reducing that impact. The major focus will be on the fundamentals of designing chemical processes that produce smaller amounts of harmful by-products, reduce the use of toxic solvents, exploit catalysis, and maximize the conversion of reactants to the desired product. We will also examine the economic and political issues that surround green chemistry. Students may register for either ES 306 or CHEM 306 and credit will be granted accordingly.
Prereq: CHEM 205 and CHEM 211, or CHEM 120 and CHEM 211, or permission of the instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science -top-
 
ES 307/BISC 307 Advanced Topics in Ecology with Laboratory
| Rodenhouse (Biological Sciences) | Not Offered in 2011-12 | 1.25 units |
Topic for 2010-11: Global Change Biology. Environmental conditions for nearly all life forms on Earth are changing at unprecedented rates largely due to human activities: agriculture, deforestation, urbanization, pollution, climate change, transplantation of species, hunting and harvesting. These causes of change and their consequences are not confined by national boundaries or even historical ecological boundaries. This course will examine critically the causes of change, how complex biological systems are studied, and the observed and projected biological consequences of environmental change. Labs will explore how relevant data are gathered and structured for analysis and modeling. Each student will complete an independent project of her choosing on a relevant topic. Students may register for either ES 307 or BISC 307 and credit will be granted accordingly.
Prereq: Two units in Biological Sciences at the 200-level or above, or permission of instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science -top-
 
ES 308/GEOS 308 Wetlands Science with Laboratory
| TBA |Not Offered in 2011-12 | 1.25 unit |
Wetlands are among the most important environments on Earth, yet are widely undervalued and misunderstood. Wetland science is an exciting, growing field, critical to addressing issues ranging from modern shoreline stabilization to fossil fuel extraction. This course will focus on sediment-water interactions that create and maintain saltwater and freshwater wetland environments, and on the roles played by organisms within the geologic framework. Field trips to nearby wetlands will provide opportunities to make observations, collect samples and develop research questions in consultation with scientists studying and managing wetlands. These will be complemented by laboratory sessions introducing techniques for sample analysis and by relevant readings. Final reports will be submitted to organizations like the National Park Service or National Estuarine Research Reserve System. Two weekend field trips required. Normally offered in alternate years. Students may register for either ES 308 or GEOS 308 and credit will be granted accordingly.
Prereq: ES 201/GEOS 201, GEOS 203, GEOS 208 or permission of the instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science -top-
 
ES 309 Our Food, the Food System, and the Environment
| TBA | Not Offered in 2011-12 | 1.0 unit |
The central aim of the course is to address the question of how we should think about what we eat, and how we grow it.  It applies the interdisciplinary skills of environmental studies to the study of our food system, and its relationship with both our natural and our social environments.  It looks at issues of industry and capitalism in how our food is grown, processed, and sold, and at particular questions such as the role of meat and of genetically modified organisms in our diet.  Finally, it looks at the aims and the potential of organic, local, and slow food movements.
Prereq: ES 214/POL2 214 or Econ 228, or permission of the instructor.
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis -top-
 

ES 312S/POL2 312S Seminar: Environmental Policy
| Barkin | Fall 2011 | 1.0 unit |
Note: For 2010 only, this course will not be cross-listed with political science. Focuses both on how to make and how to study environmental policy. Examines issues essential in understanding how environmental policy works and explores these topics in depth through case studies of current environmental policy issues. Students will also undertake an original research project and work in groups on influencing or creating local environmental policy.
Prereq: ES 214 or one 200 level unit in political science and permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to juniors and seniors; No application necessary for this year only.
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis -top-

 
ES 313 Environmental Impact Assessment
| Higgins | Spring 2012 | 1.0 unit |
Our environment is constantly changing as a result of anthropogenic events; we can apply scientific principles and assessment tools to reduce the adverse impacts that our actions have on the environment. Environmental impact assessment is the systematic identification and evaluation of the potential impacts or effects of proposed projects, products, and decisions relative to the current state of the total environment. This course teaches the scientific fundamentals of environmental impact assessment, along with the related approaches of environmental risk assessment, life cycle assessment and industrial ecology, that can help us make informed choices about how to minimize environmental harm and make informed choices about alternatives. These tools will be applied to case studies in class, and a semester-long team project.
Prereq: ES101 and 102 and one 200-level science course, or permission of the instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Sciences -top-
 
ES 315/GEOS 315 Environmental Geochemisty with Laboratory
| Brabander (Geosciences) | Spring 2012 | 1.25 units |
Accurately predicting the fate and transport of naturally occurring toxic elements and anthropogenic compounds in the environment requires a broad set of multidisciplinary skills. This course introduces geochemical approaches including mass balance, residence time, isotope fractionation, and thermodynamic and kinetic modeling necessary to fingerprint sources of pollutants and track them in water, soil, and plants. These fundamentals will be explored in several classic case studies and in semester-long geochemical research projects conducted by small groups. Laboratory. Normally offered in alternate years. Students may register for either ES 315 or GEOS 315 and credit will be granted accordingly.
Prereq: One course above the 100-level in two of the following disciplines: geosciences, chemistry, biological sciences or environmental studies, or permission of the instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science or Mathematical Modeling -top-
 
ES 325/POL3 325 International Environmental Law
| DeSombre | Not Offered in 2011-12 | 1.0 unit |
Examines the basic legal instruments and their historical development in addressing international environmental issues. Under what conditions have states been able to cooperate to improve the global environment? Negotiation of, compliance with, and effectiveness of international environmental law, and specific environmental issue areas in which international environmental law operates will be addressed. Students may register for either ES 325 or POL3 325 and credit will be granted accordingly.
Prereq: POL3 321 or ES 214/POL2 214 or permission of instructor.
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis -top-
 
ES 327/BISC 327 Biodiversity Topics
| Rodenhouse (Biological Sciences) | Spring 2012 | 1.0 unit |
Topic for 2011-12: Global Change Biology. We live on a new Earth, one in which natural ecosystems occur within and are strongly influenced by surrounding anthropogenic systems. Human activities: agriculture, deforestation, urbanization, pollution, climate change, transplantation of species, hunting and harvesting, now create the conditions in which all other organisms live; yet, these new systems are poorly known. This course will examine the causes of ongoing environmental change, how complex biological systems are studied, and the observed and projected biological consequences of environmental change. To gain in-depth knowledge, small groups of students will complete a research project on a relevant topic that they choose. Students may register for either ES 327 or BISC 327 and credit will be granted accordingly.
Prereq: Two units in Biological Sciences at the 200-level or above, or permission of instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Sciences -top-
 
ES 381/POL1 381 United States Environmental Politics
| Turner | Not Offered in 2011-12. Offered in 2012-13 (SP) | 1.0 unit |
This course examines the politics of environmental issues in the United States. The course has two primary goals: First, to introduce students to the institutions, stakeholders, and political processes important to debates over environmental policy at the federal level. Second, to develop and practice skills of analyzing and making decisions relevant to environmental politics and policy. Drawing on the literature of environmental politics and policy, this course will consider how environmental issues are framed in political discourse, various approaches to environmental advocacy and reform, and the contested role of science in environmental politics. The course will be organized around environmental case studies, including endangered species conservation, public lands management, air and water pollution, and toxics regulation. Students may register for either ES 381 or POL1 381 and credit will be granted accordingly.
Prereq: ES 102, ES 214, POL1 200, or permission of the instructor.
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis -top-
 
ES 383 The Science of Compliance: The Evolution of Technology to Meet the Goals of US Environmental Policy
| Higgins | Fall 2012 | 1.0 unit |
For more than forty years US environmental policies have been passed, amended and enforced with the purpose of protecting human health and preserving the environment. This course will examine the evolution of technologies to meet the goals of major US environmental policies including the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation, and Liability Act and the role that available technologies play in setting the enforceable standards within policies. We will learn fundamental scientific principles of water treatment, wastewater treatment, and air pollution control technologies and examine how scientists and engineers employ these technologies to meet policy goals. Students will further examine the relationship between a recent or future environmental policy and technological evolution.
Prereq: ES 102 or ES 102 or ES 220 or permission of the instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science -top-
 
Individual Study
ES 250 or 350 (Research or Individual Study) can be advised by any member of the advisory faculty in environmental studies. They may count towards the area of concentration. A half-unit course may only count as credit towards the major when combined with another half-unit course. Only two units of independent study may be counted towards the major. ES350 courses may not be used to fulfill the minimum requirement that two electives be at the 300-level. -top-
 
ES 250GH Environmental Studies Reading Group
| Fall | 0.5 unit |
The ES program runs a weekly reading group on changing topics. Readings will be chosen based on the interests of the participating students and faculty members. Students who enroll commit to coming to each week's discussion, preparing a set of responses to the week's reading, and, in collaboration with other group members, selecting some of the weekly topics and readings. Grading is mandatory Credit/No Credit.
Prereq: Permission of instructor, normally limited to students that have taken two courses in Environmental Studies.
Dist: None -top-
 
ES 250 Research or Individual Study
| Fall and Spring | 1.0 unit |
Prereq: Permission of instructor, ordinarily limited to students who have completed at least three units toward their major.
Dist: None -top-
 
ES 250H Research or Individual Study
| Fall and Spring | 0.5 unit |
Prereq: Permission of instructor, ordinarily limited to students who have completed at least three units toward their major.
Dist: None -top-
 
ES 350 Research or Individual Study
| Fall and Spring | 1.0 unit |
Prereq: Permission of instructor, ordinarily limited to students who have completed at least five units toward their major.
Dist: None -top-
 
ES 350H Research or Individual Study
| Fall and Spring | 0.5 unit |
Prereq: Permission of instructor, ordinarily limited to students who have completed at least five units toward their major.
Dist: None -top-
 
ES 360 Senior Thesis Research
| Fall and Spring | 1.0 unit |
Prereq: By permission of the advisory faculty. See Honors in Environmental Studies.
Dist: None -top-
 

ES 370 Senior Thesis
| Fall and Spring | 1.0 unit |
Prereq: ES 360 and permission of the department.
Dist: None -top-

descriptions for courses from other departments that count for the ES major or minor:

AFR 226 Environmental Justice, "Race", and Sustainable Development
| Steady | Fall 2011 | 1.0 unit |
An investigation of the extent to which the causes and consequences of environmental degradation are influenced by social inequality and the devaluation of indigenous peoples. The course will examine how the poor, indigenous peoples and people of color are subjected to environmental hazards. Topics include the link between negative environmental trends and social inequality; the social ecology of slums, ghettos and shanty towns; the disproportionate exposure of some groups to pollutants, toxic chemicals, and carcinogens; dumping of hazardous waste in Africa and other Third World countries; and industrial threats to the ecology of small island states in the Caribbean. The course will evaluate Agenda 21, the international program of action from the Earth Summit designed to halt environmental degradation and promote sustainable development.
Prereq: None
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis -top-
 
BISC 106 Environmental Biology with Laboratory
| Rodenhouse | Fall 2011 | 1.25 unit |
In this course we will take a “Google Earth” approach to understanding humanity’s role on our blue-green planet. We will zoom in from the Earth’s energy budget to the evolutionary effects of choices made by individual water striders on a New England stream; and, we will explore the theoretical and practical implications of our findings. Labs will be conducted primarily out-of-doors: in the snow, at the seashore, on rivers, in lakes, under the forest canopy and over a mountaintop. Emphases will be on keen observation, creative thinking, synthesis and extrapolation of ideas, exploration and discoveries large and small, intellectual and physical.
Prereq: Open to first-year students only. QR basic skills component.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science. -top-
 
BISC 108 Environmental Horticulture with Laboratory
| Jones, McDonough, Thomas | Spring 2012 | 1.25 unit |
This course will examine how plants function, both as individual organisms and as
critical members of ecological communities, with special emphasis on human uses of
plants. Topics will include plant adaptations, reproduction, environmentally sound
landscape practices, urban horticulture, and the use of medicinal plants. The laboratory
involves extensive use of the greenhouses, experimental design, data collection and
analysis, and field trips.
Prereq: QR basic skills component.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science. -top-
 
BISC 201 Ecology with Laboratory
| Rodenhouse | Fall 2011 | 1.25 unit |
An introduction to the scientific study of interactions between organisms and their environments. Topics include evolutionary adaptation in dynamic environments, behavioral ecology and life-history strategies, population growth and regulation, species interactions (competition, parasitism, mutualism, predation) and their consequences, and the structure and function of biological communities and ecosystems. Emphasis is placed on experimental ecology and its uses in addressing environmental issues such as biological control of pests, conservation of endangered species and global climate change. Laboratories occur primarily in the field where students explore and study local habitats, including meadows, forests, alpine tundra, bogs, dunes, marshes, lakes, and streams.
Prereq: BISC 108 or BISC 111/113 or ES 101, or by permission of the instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science. Fulfills QR overlay requirement. -top-
 
BISC 202 Evolution with Laboratory
| Buchholtz | Spring 2012 | 1.25 units |
Examination of evolution, the central paradigm of biology, at the level of populations, species, and lineages. Topics include the genetics of populations, the definition of species, the roles of natural selection and chance in evolution, the reconstruction of phylogeny using molecular and morphological evidence, and patterns in the origination, diversity, and extinction of species over time.
Prereq: BISC 110/112 and BISC 111/113
Dist: Natural and Physical Science -top-
 
BISC 210 Marine Biology with Laboratory
| Moore, Hughes | Fall 2011 | 1.25 units |
Oceans cover more than 70% of the earth’s surface and are our planet’s primary life support system. This course examines adaptations and interactions of plants, animals and their environments in marine habitats. Focal habitats include the photic zone of the open ocean, the deep-sea, subtidal and intertidal zones, estuaries, and coral reefs. Emphasis is placed on the dominant organisms, food webs, and experimental studies conducted within each habitat. Laboratories will emphasize primarily field work outdoors in marine habitats where students will gather data for the testing of student-originated hypotheses.
Prereq: BISC 111/113 or ES 101, or by permission of the instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science -top-
 
BISC 308 Tropical Ecology with Wintersession Laboratory
| Koniger, Helluy | Not Offered in 2011-12 | 1.25 unit |
Tropical rain forests and coral reefs seem to invite superlatives. They are among the most fascinating, diverse, productive, but also most endangered ecosystems on earth. These topics are addressed during the fall lectures in preparation for the laboratory part of the course which takes place in Central America during wintersession. We first travel to a small island part of an atoll bordering the world's second longest barrier reef off the coast of Belize. In the second half of the field course we explore an intact lowland rain forest in Costa Rica. Laboratory work is carried out primarily outdoors and includes introductions to flora and fauna, and implementation of research projects designed during the fall. Normally offered in alternate years. Subject to Dean’s Office approval.
Prereq: BISC 201, 207, or 210, and permission of instructor. Application required.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science -top-
 
BISC 314 Environmental Microbiology with Laboratory
| Staff | Not Offered in 2011-12 | 1.25 unit |
A field-based exploration of the microbial world centered on distinct microbial habitats visited locally. Short lectures and readings from primary literature will be combined with trips to visit a diverse set of microbial environments where students will collect samples for microbial isolation as well as culture-independent community assessment. In the laboratory, students will learn how to identify and design media for selective isolation of microbes involved in processes such as: methanotrophy, sulfur oxidation, nitrogen fixation, syntrophism and symbiosis, fermentation of ethanol and aging of cheese. Student participation and discussion of original scientific literature will be emphasized.
Prereq: CHEM 211 plus any of the following: BISC 201, 202, 209, 210, 219 or 220 or permission of instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science -top-
 
BISC 319 Population Genetics and Systematics with Laboratory
| Sequeira | Spring 2012 | 1.25 Units |
In this course we will focus on patterns of population differentiation and speciation in oceanic islands. Little is known about the ecological and historical forces responsible for speciation although these are key for the generation of biological diversity. By looking at relationships between organisms, populations and species, we can interpret how historical processes can leave evolutionary footprints on the geographic distribution of traits. After a series of introductory lectures, the course will involve student presentations and discussion of primary literature examining cases in archipelagos (Hawaii, Canaries and Galapagos). In the laboratory we will explore computational biology tools for analysis of DNA sequences, and apply methods of phylogeny, phylogeography reconstruction and population demographics. We will also explore the growing field of molecular dating of evolutionary events.
Prereq: BISC 201 or 202 or 210 or 219 or by permission of the instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science -top-
 
ECON 228 Environmental and Resource Economics
| Keskin (Economics) | Spring 2012 | 1.0 unit |
This course considers the economic aspects of resource and environmental issues. After examining the concepts of externalities, public goods, and common property resources, we will discuss how to measure the cost and benefits of environmental policy, in order to estimate the socially optimal level of the environmental good. Applications of these tools will be made to air and water pollution, renewable and nonrenewable resources, and global climate. In addressing each of these problems we will compare various public policy responses such as regulation, marketable permits and tax incentives.
Prereq: ECON 101
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis -top-
 
GEOS 101 Earth Processes and the Environment with Laboratory
| Brabander | Fall 2011 | 1.25 unit |
The Earth is home to more than six billion people and millions of kinds of animals and plants. Geologic processes both rapid (earthquakes and landslides) and slow (mountain building and sea level rise) are intimately linked with sustaining this diversity of life. This course will examine these and other processes in which the atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere are linked via the flow of energy and mass. Laboratory and field trips will introduce skills needed to observe and document processes shaping our environment. Problem solving in small groups during class time will foster critical thinking, and classroom debates between larger teams will focus research and communications skills on current issues in geosciences such as building and removing dams, and the science surrounding global climate change.
Prereq: Fulfillment of the basic skills component of the Quantitative Reasoning requirement. Not open to students who have taken 102.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science. Fulfills the QR overlay requirement. -top-
 
GEOS 102 The Dynamic Earth with Laboratory
| Katrin | Spring 2012 | 1.25 unit |
As introduction to the physical Earth, the processes that operate within and on the surface of Earth, and the interactions between the solid earth, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere and the biosphere that produce our global climate. Topics covered include the origin and age of the earth, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanism, geologic time, earth history, weathering and erosion, hydrology, landscape evolution, and global climate. Laboratory exercises and local field trips provide hands-on opportunities to develop key concepts and hone observational and analytical skills. This course is designed as an introductory course in the geosciences for both science and non-science majors.
Laboratory and field trips.
Prereq: QR basics skills. Not open to students who have taken GEOS 101.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science. Fulfills QR overlay requirement. -top-
 
GEOS 110 The Coastal Zone: Intersection of Land, Sea, and Humanity with Lab
| Staff | Not offered in 2011-12 | 1.25 unit |
This first year course focuses on physical processes that frame ecological and human interactions within the dynamic coastal environment. At local field sites, students will observe, sample, and measure coastal processes in action to answer such questions as: Why do some beaches lose sand, where does it go, and what should we do about it? What are coastal wetlands, and how do they form and function? Field trips will be supplemented by information drawn from popular and scientific literature and media. Students will participate in on-going research to learn how scientific data is generated, analyzed, and applied. Final project involves field and laboratory research on a local coastal issue, including management implications. Weekend field trip required.
Prereq: Open to first-year students only. Preference will be given to students considering science majors. By permission of the instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science -top-
 
GEOS 208 Oceanography
| Staff | Not Offered in 2011-12 | 1.0 unit |
Covering 71% of the Earth’s surface and encompassing 98% of Earth’s water, the oceans are perhaps the most distinctive feature of our planet. Why does Earth have water? Why are the oceans salty? And what should every Congresswoman know about the largest habitat on Earth? Oceans impact humanity in countless ways, by controlling climate, navigation, and food and mineral resources. Topics include tides, waves, ocean currents, submarine volcanism, tsunamis, ocean basin sediments, marine geology, el niño events, coral reefs,shoreline processes, coastal engineering, and more.
Prereq: One of the following: GEOS 101, GEOS 102, ES 101, CHEM 105, CHEM 120, PHYS 103, PHYS 104, PHYS 107, ASTR 100 or permission of the instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science -top-
 
GEOS 304 Sedimentology with Laboratory
| Staff | Not Offered in 2011-12 | 1.25 units |
Sedimentary rocks cover most of the Earth’s present surface. Sedimentology encompasses the study of the origin, transport, deposition and lithification of sedimentary rocks, and is critical to accurate interpretation of the geologic rock record. Observations of modern sedimentary processes illuminate past environments; sedimentary strata record evidence of sea level change, glacial advances and paleoclimate cycles, and preserve the fossil record. Natural resources including groundwater, coal and petroleum are found in sedimentary rocks. Society is impacted by sedimentary processes in popular human habitats including coastlines and flood plains. Discussions, readings and projects build students' familiarity with topics including sediment transport, data collection, analysis and interpretation. Normally offered in alternate years.
Prereq: GEOS 200, GEOS 203, GEOS 206 or permission of the instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science -top-
 
GEOS 320 Isotope Geochemistry
| Brabander | Not Offered in 2011-12. Offered in 2012-13 | 1.0 unit |
This seminar-style course will use the primary literature to study state-of-the-art techniques in isotope geochemistry. Radiogenic, cosmogenic, and stable isotope systematics will be explored with applications ranging from geochronology, tectonics, fate and transport of pollutants, and the use of isotopes to trace biogeochemical processes. Field trips to Boston area isotope labs and opportunities for collaborative research projects will complement the seminar. Normally offered in alternate years.
Prereq: ES 201/GEOS 201 and CHEM 205; or ES 315/GEOS 315 or permission of the instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science -top-
 

PHIL 233 Environmental Ethics
| de Bres, Deen (SP) | Spring 2012 | 1.0 unit |
Do non-human animals, plants, species, ecosystems or wilderness have moral value beyond their relation to human interests? Do we have moral duties to refrain from harming the natural world or to preserve it for future generations? How should we weigh up environmental concerns against other concerns (such as the elimination of poverty or economic growth) in cases where they come into conflict? How should the benefits of the environment, and the burdens of conserving it, be shared across individuals or countries? Does recognition of the importance of the environment call for a brand new kind of moral philosophy or merely a more sophisticated application of an old one? This course will examine a variety of philosophical answers to these questions and apply those answers to a set of pressing current issues, including global climate change; population policy and reproductive freedom; the local food movement; and the use of non-human animals for food, research and entertainment.
Prereq: One course in philosophy or environmental studies, or permission of the instructor
Dist: Religion, Ethics, and Moral Philosophy -top-

 
POL3 332S People, Agriculture and the Environment
| Paarlberg | Spring 2012 | 1.0 unit |
An examination of linkages between agricultural production, population growth, and environmental degradation, especially in the countries of the developing world. Political explanations will be sought for deforestation, desertification, habitat destruction, species loss, water pollution, flooding, salinization, chemical poisoning, and soil erosion – all of which are products of agriculture. These political explanations will include past and present interactions with rich countries, as well as factors currently internal to poor countries. Attention will be paid to the local, national, and international options currently available to remedy the destruction of rural environments in the developing world. This course may qualify as either a comparative politics or an international relations unit for the political science major, depending upon the student’s choice of research paper topic.
Prereq: POL2 204 or POL3 323. Enrollment limited; interested students must fill out a seminar application available in the political science department office or on the department website.
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis -top-
 

SUST 201: Introduction to Sustainability
| DeSombre (Wellesley), Linder and Stolk (Olin), George (Babson) | Fall 2011 | 1.0 unit |
This case‐based course introduces students to the basic concepts and tools that business, engineering, and the liberal arts (science, social science, and the humanities) bring to a consideration of sustainability. It is team‐taught by three faculty members, one from each institution, with coursework fully integrated across the three approaches. The course will draw empirical material from, and apply concepts and tools to the sustainability of a city block.
Prereq: None; Registration by permission only (contact Beth DeSombre (edesombr@wellesley.edu); Not open to seniors.
Dist: None

 

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