Environment (ENVA)

Major Courses

ENVA A105 Foundations in Environmental Studies 3 crs.

Students explore the major questions of Environmental Studies through readings, class discussions, interaction with faculty and others working in the field, field observation, and through their own inquiry. This course is required of all Environmental Science and Environmental Studies majors.

ENVA A497 Internship 3 crs.

Students gain practical experience in environmental fields by conducting service learning projects or volunteer work at some community, government, tourism, or non-government organization. It is expected that students complete at least 120 hours of service. Internships typically require an off-campus director that oversees day-to-day activities and an on-campus faculty sponsor that acts as the liaison between the student, director and the Environment program. Prior to undertaking an internship, a proposal must be submitted for approval through an Environment program faculty member.

ENVA A498 Independent Research 3 crs.

Students work with a faculty advisor to conduct theoretical, field, and/or laboratory research in some aspect of Environmental Science or Environmental Studies. Typically, this involves identifying an original question in an environmental topic, collecting and analyzing data, and preparing a written report of the findings. Prior to undertaking independent research, a proposal must be submitted for approval through an Environment program faculty member.

ENVA A499 Independent Study 3 crs.

Students work with a faculty advisor to conduct formal supervised activities providing educational experiences focused on some aspect of Environmental Studies or Environmental Science. A variety of experiences are possible here, so the student must work closely with a faculty advisor to identify specific requirements for completion of this effort. Prior to undertaking independent study, a proposal must be submitted for approval through an Environment program faculty member.

The Environment Program is interdisciplinary. The following are courses within other departments which satisfy its requirements: 

BIOL A106 Cells and Heredity 3 crs.

This course emphasizes the principles and concepts of chemical, cellular, and genetic processes common to all life. Topics include the scientific method, basic chemical concepts, macromolecules, prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell structure, membrane structure, energy and metabolism, meiosis, mitosis, Mendelian inheritance, and the Central Dogma.

Prerequisite: Eligibility to enroll in MATH A257, completion of MATH A118, or prerequisite ACT/SAT test scores
Corequisite: BIOL A107

BIOL A107 Cells and Heredity Lab 1 cr.

Students investigate the scientific method, basic chemical concepts, prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell structure and function, Mendelian inheritance, and the structure, function, and technological uses of DNA. This laboratory course emphasizes student-designed experiments, data collection and analysis, oral and written presentation, and the use of the scientific literature. Lab fee $100.

Prerequisite: Eligibility to enroll in MATH A257, completion of MATH A118, or prerequisite ACT/SAT test scores
Corequisite: BIOL A106

BIOL A108 Biology of Organisms 3 crs.

This course compares the biology of microbes, plants, and animals focusing on morphology, physiology, reproduction, and natural history.

Prerequisites: BIOL A106, BIOL A107
Corequisite: BIOL A109

BIOL A109 Biology of Organisms Lab 1 cr.

This course examines the diversity of life through field trips, demonstrations, dissections, and experimental activities. Form and function of microbes, plants, and animals will be compared to demonstrate how organisms have adapted to their environments. Lab fee $100.

Prerequisite: BIOL A106
Corequisite: BIOL A108

BIOL A208 Ecology and Evolution 3 crs.

This course introduces current concepts and principles of ecology and evolution. Animal behavior, populations, communities, ecosystems, biogeography, natural selection, speciation, the history of life, human evolution, and other topics will be studied through lectures, readings, discussion, and a field trip.

Prerequisites: BIOL A106 — A109

BIOL A322 Population Genetics 3 crs.

This is an advanced course dealing with methods of measuring and expressing the genetic variation within and among natural populations. The course focuses on the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and how various factors modify it including selection, inbreeding, genetic drift, migration, and mutation.  

Prerequisites: biology core courses

BIOL A234 Evolutionary Biology 3 crs.  

This course for majors addresses topics in Darwinian evolution, mechanisms of evolutionary change and speciation, life history characters, and others. Emphasis is placed on an understanding of how evidence from various disciplines such as morphology, genetics, ecology, development, and geology supports the evolutionary synthesis.

Prerequisites: biology core courses

BIOL A328 Genetic Analysis 3 crs.

This course for majors addresses advanced topics in transmission genetics, cytogenetics, evolutionary genetics, and mutagenesis.  Emphasis is placed on development of quantitative skills and written and oral communication.

Prerequisites: biology core courses

BIOL A330 Ecology 3 crs.

Basic ecological principles and concepts are considered including the nature of the ecosystem, energy flow, biogeochemical cycles, and the ecology of populations and communities.

Prerequisites: biology core courses
Corequisite: BIOL A331

BIOL A331 Ecology Lab 1 cr.

This laboratory meets four to five hours per week in conjunction with BIOL A330 and provides students with skills needed to quantify ecological interactions of plants and animals.  Course requires student participation in multiple fieldtrips.  Lab fee $100.

Prerequisite: biology core courses
Corequisite: BIOL A330

BIOL A334 Biology of Fishes 3 crs.

This course examines phylogenetic relationships, functional morphology, physiology, sensory biology, reproduction, behavior, ecology, biogeography, and conservation of fishes.

Prerequisites: biology core courses
Corequisite: BIOL A335

BIOL A335 Biology of Fishes Lab 1 cr.

This laboratory meets three hours per week in conjunction with BIOL A334 and provides students with skills needd to understand phylogeny, form, function and natural history of fishes.  Course requires student participation in multiple fieldtrips.  Lab fee $100.

Prerequisites: biology core courses
Corequisite: BIOL A334

BIOL A336 Animal Behavior 3 crs.

This course examines behavioral adaptations of animals and critically evaluates hypotheses to account for the evolution of these adaptions.  Student activities emphasize field observation of animal behavior, experimental design, and scientific communication.

Prerequisites: biology core courses

BIOL A338 Plant Ecology 3 crs

An introduction to the quantitative study of plants and their environment.  Emphasis will be placed on understanding the functional ecology of individual plants and vegetation in terrestrial ecosystems.

Prerequisites: biology core courses
Corequisite BIOL A339

BIOL A339 Plant Ecology Lab 1 cr

Laboratory course accompanying BIOL A338, will expose students to modern field and laboratory techniques in plant physiological ecology.  Lab fee $100.

Prerequisites: biology core courses
Corequisite BIOL A338

BIOL A355 Conservation Biology 3 crs.

The study of the conservation of biodiversity based in the principles of ecology, evolution, and genetics. The primary goal is to understand natural ecological systems in the context of a human dominated world to learn to best maintain biological diversity in concert with an exploding human population. This is accomplished through lecture, socratic discussion, and videos.

Prerequisites: biology core courses

BIOL A356 Aquatic Microbiology 3 crs.

An introduction to the study of prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbes as well as viruses in the aquatic environment. The course emphasizes the functional role of microbes in aquatic habitats, the relationship of microbial biodiversity to environmental gradients and the interaction of aquatic microbes with human affairs.

Prerequisites: biology core courses
Corequisite: BIOL A357

BIOL A357 Aquatic Microbiology Lab 1 cr.

Field and laboratory experience that meets three hours per week in conjunction with BIOL A356. Students are exposed to modern field and laboratory techniques used with prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbes from aquatic habitats. Field trips will emphasize local freshwater and estuarine environments.  Lab fee $100.

Prerequisites: biology core courses
Corequisite: BIOL A356

CHEM A105 General Chemistry I Lecture 3 crs.

This course is the first half of a one-year course in the fundamental principles of general chemistry. This is the first chemistry course for all science majors and includes the development of modern atomic theory, chemical bonding and structure, and the nature of matter and physical states. Included is an introduction to thermodynamics and kinetics with a more thorough development of equilibria concepts. Descriptive chemistry is liberally sprinkled throughout the course.

Prerequisite: eligibility to take MATH A257
Corequisite: CHEM A107

CHEM A106 General Chemistry II Lecture 3 crs.

This is a continuation of CHEM A105.

Prerequisites: CHEM A105, CHEM A107
Corequisite: CHEM A108

CHEM A107 General Chemistry I Laboratory 1 cr.

This lab involves experiments to accompany General Chemistry Lecture. One three-hour laboratory period per week. Lab fee $100.

Prerequisite: CHEM A105 or co-registration in CHEM A105

CHEM A108 General Chemistry II Laboratory 1 cr.

Same description as CHEM A107. Also includes qualitative analysis. Lab fee $100.

Prerequisites: CHEM A106, CHEM A107, or co-registration in CHEM A106

CHEM A300 Organic Chemistry I Lecture 3 crs.

In this first semester organic course, students learn the concepts and skills necessary to have a strong foundation in organic chemistry. This course includes: drawing, visualizing, and describing in words the bonding motifs and interactions in organic chemistry; showing how acid base chemistry relates to structure and reactions; applying kinetics and thermodynamics to reactions; showing the mechanistic path for reactions; applying these concepts to functional groups.

Prerequisites: CHEM A105 — A108 or permission of department chair

CHEM A302 Organic Chemistry I Laboratory for Chemistry Majors 2 crs.

This two-credit-hour laboratory course for chemistry majors accompanies CHEM A300. We combine knowledge with practical skills in this course as we purify, synthesize, and identify organic compounds. Techniques include: acid/base extraction, recrystallization, distillation, organic reactions, IR spectroscopy, refractive index, melting point and NMR. Students learn to keep a lab notebook and to write a formal lab write-up. There are two, three-hour laboratory periods per week.  The lab fee is $100.

Corequisite: CHEM A300 

CMMN A475 Environmental Communications 3 crs.

Presents an overview of how environmental information is expressed in mass communications and associated theory of the field. Important environmental theory and issues will be discussed. Students use and sharpen their writing skills, learn how to evaluate scientific information, and study issues with conflicting data.

Prerequisite: Sophomore standing

ENGL A352 Literature and Environment 3 crs.

Literature and Environment explores shifting definitions and concepts of nature, environment, and ecology in a range of literary texts across different time periods, forms, and modes of aesthetic experimentation.

Prerequisite: ENGL T122 or A205; sophomore standing

MATH A241 Introduction to Probability and Statistics I 3 crs.

This course introduces statistical concepts and applications in the natural and social sciences that are related to environmental issues.  Topics include methods of data analysis, normal distributions, statistical inference, special distributions, regression, and analysis of variance.

MATH A260 Statistical Inference for Scientists 3 crs.

This is a first course in statistical methods for science students. Emphasis centers on the practical application of statistical inference and estimation in the quest for scientific knowledge. Topics include exploratory data analysis, techniques for data collection, summarization, and presentation, graphical techniques and numerical measures, the role of the Normal distribution, regression and correlation analysis, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, the analysis of variance, and distribution-free methods.

Prerequisite: MATH A257 or equivalent

RELS A368 Christianity and the Environment 3 crs.

This course will involve participants in an investigation of the developing understanding of the universe and Earth as divine manifestation. We focus particularly on the Creation-affirming tradition within the Christian tradition and discern its capacity to inform contemporary scientific perspectives and interpretations with an appreciation and articulation of their sacred dimension.

RELS A470 The Spirituality of the Nature Writers 3 crs

This course utilizes an interpretive methodology to probe the deeper spiritual meaning, significance, and relevance of the nature writers as spiritual guides who immerse themselves in the mysteries of Creation and share their experience through words, films, music, and other art forms.

Prerequisite: RELS T122, RELST124, or RELS H295

SOCI A285 Sociology of Disaster 3 crs.

This course offers a critical introduction to the field of disaster research, with a particular emphasis on the differential risks and socio-environmental impacts associated with various natural and technological disasters today. Traumatic responses to hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and tsunamis are examined, as well as oil spills, rig blowouts, levee failures, toxic contamination, nuclear plant accidents, and other catastrophes of the modern age. Special attention is paid to recent events such as The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, Hurricane Katrina, and the BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf.

SOCI A355 Environmental Sociology 3 crs.

Environmental Sociology is concerned with the scientific study of the interactions between human society and the natural environment, as well as how social systems and ecosystems impact each other. All environmental problems, by their causes and consequences, are inherently social problems, with deeper roots in the dominant economic and political structures, cultural values, resource use patterns, technologies, and systems of inequality. Through the readings, films, lectures, and discussions, students learn to think critically and theoretically about environmental issues, problems, and controversies, as well as how to evaluate different claims about the environment with credible scientific evidence. Emphasis is also placed on developing a system of values and a sense of responsibility that will allow students to contribute to the future sustainability of the planet.

Advanced Common Curriculum

BIOL Z230 Human Ecology 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Natural Science in Context

This course is a study of the ‘human condition’ with a focus on ecology and evolutionary biology. The course explores the thesis that humans have caused an ecological crisis that is manifested in the principal topics of climate change, biodiversity loss, habitat destruction, and overpopulation.

Prerequisite: SCIE T129

BIOL Z236 Evolution 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Natural Sciences in Context

Evolution is the unifying concept in biology and this course uses lectures, readings, discussions, and exercises to explore the processes, mechanisms, and patterns of biological evolution. Human evolution and the impact of humans on biodiversity and ecosystems are examined in detail.

Prerequisite: SCIE T129

BIOL Z237  Marine Biology & Conservation   3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Natural Sciences in Context

This course examines diversity, physiology, ecology, and conservation of microbes, plants, and animals that live in the marine environment. Emphasis is placed on how marine organisms have adapted to living in their environment and how humans depend upon and affect marine ecosystems.

Prerequisite: SCIE T129

BIOL Z240 Plant Natural History 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Natural Science in Context

This course explores the world of microscopic and macroscopic plants, with special emphasis on their anatomy, reproduction, nutrition, biological diversity, and cultural and economic importance.

Prerequisite: SCIE T129

BIOL Z244 Mississippi River Delta Ecology 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Natural Science in Context

This course is a study of the ecology of the Mississippi River deltaic plain. Emphasis is on the importance of coastal erosion, accompanied by study of the physical and biological aspects of the Mississippi River, its delta, estuaries, and their habitats and flora and fauna, and relevant environmental and human issues.

Prerequisite: SCIE T129

BIOL Z250 Tropical Ecology 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Natural Sciences in Context

This course examines biology, ecology, and conservation of flora and fauna of tropical ecosystems.

Prerequisite: Completion of SCIE T129

BIOL Z251 Tropical Ecology Fieldtrip 1 cr.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Natural Science in Context

This laboratory is a required study-abroad fieldtrip to a country such as Belize, Ecuador, or Panama to experience first-hand the unique natural history and unparalleled biodiversity of tropical ecosystems.

Prerequisite: Completion of SCIE T129
Corequisite: BIOL Z250

BIOL Z264 Global Ecology 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Natural Science in Context

This course is a consideration of the basic concepts of ecology, including the nature of ecosystems, energy flow, biogeochemical cycles, and characteristics of populations and communities of organisms. The role of humans in the ecosphere will be emphasized, with particular attention to human population problems, food production, and pollution problems.

Prerequisite: SCIE T129

HIST X234 Technology, Nature, and the West 3 crs.

Advance Common Curriculum: History II

This course will explore various scholarly explanations for why and how industrialization  first appeared in the West, with particular emphasis placed on role of technology in the utilization of natural resources and its attendant ecological effects.

PHIL V243 Environmental Philosophy 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Foundations of Knowledge

This course offers an overview of the environmental crisis and evaluates the leading contemporary philosophical accounts of both the origins of the crisis and the ethical orientations needed for its resolution.

Prerequisite: PHIL T122

PHIL V245 Environmental Ethics 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Foundations of Knowledge

This course examines our moral responsibilities to the beings in the natural world.  Among the topics discussed are environmental justice, biodiversity loss, animal welfare, wilderness preservation, world population, global climate change, toxics and pollution, duties to future generations, and the meaning of sustainability.  Students learn to analyze various positions in evironmental ethics, including anthropocentrism, biocentrism, and ecocentrism, and various theories, including ecofeminism, the land ethic, and deep ecology.

Prerequisite: PHIL T122

PHIL V267 Technology and Human Values 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Humanities/Arts Modern

A study of the relationships among technology, social change, and human values, this course includes analyses of several visions of the promises and threats of technology and a survey of the history of technology. Other topics include human nature, freedom, the impact of technology upon nature, and alternative technologies.

Prerequisite: PHIL T122

This course satisfies a Common Curriculum Humanities/Arts Modern requirement for students who began their program of study before fall semester 2013.  This course does not satisfy requiremements for the 2013-2014 Common Curriculum.

SOCI X236 Global Environmental Crisis 3 crs.

Advanced Common Curriculum: Social Sciences

This course is a general exploration and analysis of the biophysical, cultural, and socio-political roots of our global environmental crisis.  Emphasis is placed on the three core issues driving most of the earth's ecological problems today: human population growth, resource consumption, and energy use/climate change.  The course also highlights how development and globalization processes contribute to a range of socio-environmental problems for impoverished, underdeveloped nations in the periphery.  The readings, films, lectures, and discussion challenge students to become more environmentally informed and critical thinkers about the planet, its current trends, and what can be done to create a more socially just and sustainable future.