Introduction to Environmental Studies

Fall 2013 and Winter 2014 quarters

Taught by

ecology, vertebrate biology
political science and economics

This program is designed to serve as a foundation for advanced programs in Environmental Studies. It will survey a range of disciplines and skills essential for environmental problem solving from both a scientific and social science perspective. Specifically, we will study ecological principles and methods, aquatic ecology, methods of analysis in environmental studies, the political and economic history of environmental policy making in the United States, micro-economics and political science. This information will be used to analyze current issues and topics in environmental studies.

In fall quarter, we will study ecology with a focus on aquatic systems. We will examine the major physical and chemical characteristics of aquatic environments, the organisms that live in these environments and the factors controlling the species diversity, distribution and growth of aquatic and terrestrial organisms. These scientific issues will be grounded in the context of politics, economics and public policy. During fall quarter we will examine, from the founding era to the present, how the values of democracy and capitalism influence resource management, the scope and limitations of governmental policymaking, regulatory agencies and environmental law. Understanding the different levels (federal, state, local) of governmental responsibility for environmental protection will be explored in depth. Field trips and case studies will offer opportunities to see how science and policy interact in environmental issues. During fall quarter, we will develop an introduction to research design, quantitative reasoning and statistics.

In winter, the focus will shift to a more global scale. We will examine in depth several major challenges for the early 21st century; forest and fish resources, global warming and marine pollution. These are three related topics that require an understanding of the science, politics and economics of each issue and how they interact with one another. Globalism, political and economic development and political unrest and uncertainty will be discussed within each topic as well as how these macro-level problems overlap one another. During winter quarter, micro-economics will be studied as a problem solving tool for environmental issues as well as an introduction to environmental economic analysis.

The material will be presented through lectures, seminars, labs, field trips/field work and quantitative methods (statistics) and economics workshops. Labs and field trips will examine the organisms that live in aquatic systems, measure water quality and study local terrestrial habitats. Quantitative methods workshops will present the use of computers to organize and analyze data. Microeconomic principles and methods will provide the foundation for environmental economic analysis.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

environmental studies, environmental regulation, ecology, natural resource management and public policy.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


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Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning

More information about online learning.

Required Fees

$25 per quarter for entrance fees.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Fall); 16 (Winter)

Class standing: Freshmen–Sophomore; 50% of the seats are reserved for freshmen

Maximum enrollment: 40


Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16 credits): 10076
So (16 credits): 10077

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Accepting New Students

Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16 credits): 20060
So (16 credits): 20061
Fr - So (1-16 credits): 20419

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