State-specific Information for Online Programs
Note: Students should be aware of state-specific information for online programs. For more information, please contact an admissions representative.
420.301 - Quantitative Methods
This prerequisite course provides the necessary background in mathematics for students who do not have sufficient undergraduate course work in calculus and statistics. Students who receive a provisional admission because of math deficiency can opt to take the mathematics assessment test. If the student earns a score of 80% or better, then s/he is not required to take the course. In this course, students acquire quantitative skills and an understanding of mathematical principles fundamental to environmental sciences, and necessary for evaluating the implications of policy measures. Topics include probability and statistics, systems of equations, analytical geometry, and basic concepts of calculus. Problem sets, interpretation of data, and applications to everyday problems help students appreciate the usefulness of quantitative methods. Offered online twice a year.
420.302 - Chemistry of Natural Processes
This course provides students with a basic understanding of the fundamentals of chemistry, of Earths interrelated chemical systems, and of how to manipulate and interpret chemical data. Topics include molecules and chemical bonding, states of matter, thermodynamics, and kinetics. Through a series of exercises, students apply chemistry principles to solve real-world environmental problems. Prerequisite: Students are urged to take 420.301 Quantitative Methods for Environmental Sciences before enrolling in this course. Offered online only, one to two times annually.
420.601 - Geological Foundations of Environmental Science
This course provides an overview of Earths materials, processes, and resources for environmental scientists and policymakers. Topics include minerals, rocks, sediments, stratigraphy, structure, geomorphology, and geologic environments. Emphasis is placed on understanding geologic principles and methods as applied to environmental science, Earth resources, and public policy. Offered online or onsite, twice per year. Onsite version includes a required field trip.
420.604 - Hydrology & Water Resources
This course provides students with an introduction to the global hydrological cycle and the influence of climate, geology, and human activity. Students study the principles of precipitation, evaporation, and evapotranspiration; surface and groundwater flow; storage in natural and artificial reservoirs; water quality and pollution; and water resource management and regulation. Offered online or onsite, twice per year. Onsite version includes a required field trip.
420.608 - Oceanic & Atmospheric Processes
In this course, students study the oceans and the atmosphere as interrelated systems. The basic concepts of air masses, water masses, winds, currents, fronts, eddies, and storms are linked to permit a fundamental understanding of the similar nature of oceanic and atmospheric processes. Among the courses topics are weather forecasting, global climate change, marine pollution, and an introduction to applied oceanography. Offered online or onsite, at least twice per year. Onsite version may include a field trip.
420.611 - Principles & Methods of Ecology
This course examines the relationship between organisms and their biotic and abiotic environment at three levels of biological hierarchy: individual organism, population, and community. Population characteristics, models of population dynamics, and the effect of ecological interactions on population regulation are discussed in detail. The structure and function of natural and man-made communities and the impact disturbances have on community structure are also examined. Students are led to appreciate the importance of ecology in solving environmental problems. Offered online or onsite, at least twice per year. Onsite version includes required field trips.
420.614 - Environmental Policymaking and Policy Analysis
This course provides students with a broad introduction to U.S. environmental policymaking and policy analysis. Included are a historical perspective as well as an analysis of future policymaking strategies. Students examine the political and legal framework, become familiar with precedent-setting statutes such as NEPA , RCRA , and the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, and study models for environmental policy analysis. Cost benefit studies, the limits of science in policymaking, and the impact of environmental policies on society are important aspects of the course. A comparison of national and international policymaking is designed to provide students with the global perspective on environmental policy. Offered online or onsite, at least twice per year.
420.612 - Sustainability Science: Concepts and Challenges
Sustainability Science is an interdisciplinary field engaged with understanding the dynamics between natural and social systems and how those interactions challenge the notion of sustainability. This course will start by reviewing the history of the concept of sustainability and will then consider how it has been applied in the environmental sciences. Specifically the goal of the course is to provide a comprehensive, multidisciplinary perspective on this emerging field, understanding its theory, research horizons, and practical applications. Concepts to be reviewed include socio-environmental systems, complex adaptive systems, cross-scalar impacts, tipping points and regime shifts, vulnerability, resilience and adaptive capacity, equity, sustainable development, political ecology, governance, capital assets and livelihoods. In a seminar context this course will consider these and other concepts from a theoretical perspective but will focus on their application in solving real-world problems. Offered on-site, infrequently.
420.613 - Forest Ecosystems: A Global Perspective
Forests are critical global ecosystems that provide not only timber and wood products, but an array of services including habitat for wildlife, water filtration, carbon storage, and recreational opportunities. Yet in many parts of the world they being impacted by deforestation, climate change, biotic homogenization, the spread of invasive species and a range of other natural and anthropogenic stressors. This class will explore the distribution, ecology and sustainability of forest ecosystems. It will examine factors and interactions that influence forest productivity and nutrient cycling as well the structure and composition of plant and animal communities, over time and across the landscape. Examples will be drawn from temperate, tropical and boreal ecosystems. The course will address the influence of disturbance (e.g. wind, insects, disease, fire) and forest fragmentation in shaping forest ecosystems and will provide a foundation in conventional and sustainable forest management practices. Emphasis will be placed on understanding why forests have particular characteristics and how they might change in an era of extensive management and rapid climate change. Offered on-site or online every two years. Prerequisites: Principles and Methods of Ecology
420.615 - Environmental Restoration
This is field-centered course focused on the prehistoric and land use histories of river, freshwater tidal wetland and serpentine environments that have been recently restored or with the potential to be restored in the Maryland and DC region. Knowledge of prehistoric ecological conditions and post-settlement impact along with modern ecological studies provide important long-term guidelines for restoration, mitigation and conservation measures. This 14-week course meets on Saturdays and includes 6-7 required field trips to sites that have been restored and/or which have a published site history. Field trips include identification of plant indicator species, bird identification, background on geology, paleoecology, historical impact, conservation and restoration approaches at the field sites. Students work with plant identification, aerial photos, historic maps and documents, geologic maps, on-line sources, and paleo-ecological data derived from pollen, macrofossil, geochemical and geomorphic analyses in classroom sessions.
420.616 - Environmental Consequences of Conventional Energy Generation
Environmental consequences of conventional energy generation will explore the energy resources that have driven and are projected to be the primary energy sources worldwide for the next several decades. Specifically, this course will focus on the historical and future role of conventional energy sources such as those derived from fossil fuels, focusing on their geologic genesis and the consequences of resource extraction which will invite comparisons to more recent trends in energy generation. Students will be exposed to the nexus of social, technical, engineering and environmental challenges of providing energy supplies to an increasingly urban and technologically connected global population. Topics include petroleum, traditional natural gas, coal, nuclear, hydroelectric, and geothermal supplies as well as recent trends in shale hydrologic fracturing methods of obtaining petroleum resources. Environmental impacts will focus on mining, resource extraction, soil and groundwater contamination as well as particulates, smog, acid rain, and global warming. Global production, distribution, usage and impacts of these resources will be considered. Offered online, annually. Prerequisites: none.
420.620 - Soils in Natural & Anthropogenic Ecosystems
This course introduces students to basic concepts of soil science and the soil's contribution to the functions of natural and anthropogenic ecosystems. It provides an overview of soil morphological, physical, chemical, and biological properties, and how these interact to form a soil with unique characteristics and ecosystem function. Students discuss soils of the world from the perspective of soil taxonomy, the processes that form these soils, and land use properties specific to each soil order. Students learn to read soil maps, to interpret and predict the quality and land use potential of soils, and to use available soil data. Current issues regarding the proper use and management of soils are investigated. In-person sections of the course include field trips. Offered onsite or online annually. Prerequisites: 420.601 Geological Foundations for Environmental Sciences; 420.611 - Principles & Methods of Ecology, or permission from the instructor.
420.622 - Ecotoxicology
This course covers fundamental of ecotoxicology, including chemical action on plants, wildlife, and ecosystems. Coursework explores toxic effects of pollutants and other stressors at multiple levels of function ranging from cellular and organ systems to populations, communities, and ecosystem functions. Students will learn essential concepts governing fate, exposure, and toxic mechanisms of chemicals as well as basic mathematical models used to investigate biological uptake, bioaccumulation, and dose-response effects. Course includes lessons on application of ecotoxicology, including standard procedures for toxicity testing, risk assessment, and measuring exposures and impacts in the field. Topics are covered in a framework of basic biology and ecology, including cellular/organismal functions, trophic structure, food-web dynamics, population biology and community ecology. Offered online every two years. Prerequisite: 420.611 Principles and Methods of Ecology, equivalent course, or experience.
420.623 - Freshwater Ecology & Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems
This course focuses on the ecology, protection, and restoration of non-tidal waters. Students study the biological, chemical, and physical characteristics of the waters and riparian zones. There is also a focus on ecological responses to anthropogenic activity and approaches to protection and damage mitigation in freshwater ecosystems. Ongoing and planned protection and restoration activities in Maryland and elsewhere are presented. Students develop holistic restoration plans based on existing ecological data. Two weekend field trips are required parts of the course. Offered every two years. Prerequisite: 420.611 Principles and Methods of Ecology.
420.625 - Ecology and Ecosystem Management in Coastal and Estuarine Systems
This course examines the physical, chemical, and biological processes affecting coastal and estuarine ecosystems with special emphasis on the Chesapeake Bay as a model system. Human influences on such large and critical ecosystems and the policy decisions made to manage and minimize human impact are explored in lecture and seminar formats. Topics include the hydrodynamics of shallow tidal waters; energy and material flows and transformations; diversity and adaptation of plant, animal, and microbial communities; population and pollution ecology; and ecosystem management. Case histories illustrate problems in fisheries management and the eutrophication of the coastal and estuarine systems. Offered annually, on-site. Required weekend field trips are included. Prerequisite: 420.611 Principles and Methods of Ecology, equivalent course, or experience.
420.626 - Field Methods in Ecology
This course centers on practical field exercises to develop both technical proficiency and broader understanding of varied ecological systems. Field methods include quadrate, transect, and SAV sampling as well as multiple techniques for surveying animal communities and monitoring water quality. While analyzing their own data, students develop deeper understanding of fundamental concepts such as species-area curves, importance values, species diversity, and community similarity indices. Students also are introduced to paleoecological tools such as sediment coring. Several ecological processes including succession and the effect of disturbances on community structure are demonstrated. The significance, advantages, and disadvantages of various surveying methods are explored in classroom meetings, but for much of the course students conduct their studies in the forests, fields, and wetlands of the area. This course is offered onsite only with fieldwork scheduled for a succession of Saturdays; some sections may conduct field trips on one or two Fridays and/or Sundays. Offered most summers. Prerequisite: 420.611 Principles and Methods of Ecology, equivalent course, or experience
420.628 - Ecology and Management of Wetlands
This course explores the biological, physical, chemical, and ecological aspects of tidal and non-tidal wetland ecosystems. Topics include wetland classification, valuation, function and dynamics. Wetland modification and manipulation are analyzed through case studies of restoration, construction, and mitigation. The effects of federal and state laws, of various regulations, and of human perturbations are explored. In-person sections include field trips that provide hands-on experience and demonstrate the significance of wetland mitigation, restoration and construction projects. Offered onsite every two years. Prerequisite: 420.611 Principles and Methods of Ecology, equivalent course, or experience.
420.629 - Drinking Water,Sanitation & Health
In this course students examine scientific and public policy dilemmas related to the provision of safe drinking water and related protection of global human health. Course work emphasizes basic understanding of the fundamentals of water supply, treatment, regulation, and sanitation as well as providing a focus on unresolved issues confronting scientists, resource managers, and policymakers. Students work to develop recommendations for solutions to critical issues as controlling pathogens from urban and agricultural runoff, managing harmful by-products of the disinfection process, regulating arsenic in ground water, evaluating the risk posed by exposure to mixtures of contaminants, and confronting the threat of terrorist attacks on water supplies. Offered online, annually. Prerequisite: 420.604 Hydrology and Water Resources, equivalent course, or experience.
420.631 - Field Methods in Stream & Water Quality Assessment
This course provides an overview of field methods used to sample and assess various biological, physical, and chemical components in streams, rivers, and lakes. It allows students to determine the impact human activity has on aquatic environments. Students gain hands-on experience with standard sampling techniques, and with the detection, identification, and quantification of biological specimens and chemical pollutants in the aquatic environment. Students discuss water quality standards and federal regulations such as the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act. Also included are study design, gear selection, sample preservation, and safety. Basic approaches to analyze and report findings are covered, with emphasis on methods currently practiced by government resource agencies. Offered onsite every two years. Prerequisite: 420.611 Principles and Methods of Ecology, equivalent course, or experience.
420.632 - Air Quality Management and Policy
Understanding and mitigating air pollution, both indoor and outdoor, is of extreme importance to global health. In fact, the World Health Organization released a statement in 2014 that in 2012, approximately 7 million people died - one in eight of total global deaths around the world - as a result of air pollution exposure. Air pollution also has an impact on climate change, in terms of its abilities to both exacerbate and reduce global warming. This course provides an overview of the principles, effects, and policies regarding outdoor air pollution with an emphasis on emerging international air pollution issues, public health and environmental impacts of outdoor air pollution, and evolving ways to monitor air pollution, from low-cost sensors to satellite techniques. Course topics include: history of air pollution events and management; major air pollutants and sources; atmospheric chemistry, transport and dispersion; measurement and monitoring; control technology; effects on human health and climate; and regulatory requirements. The effectiveness of the Clean Air Act, approaches toward air quality management in other countries, international treaties, future air quality projections, and regulatory case studies will also be discussed. Offered online, infrequently. Prerequisite: 420.608 Oceanic and Atmospheric Processes, an equivalent course or experience, or approval of the instructor.
420.634 - Bioremediation & Emerging Environmental Technologies
This course presents details of environmental technologies for assessment and remediation of contaminated sites. The course includes a brief review of environmental policy related to impacts of hazardous chemicals and endocrine blockers, but focuses on remediation technologies available for reclaiming contaminated resources and reducing health risks. It covers the application of multiple physical and chemical technologies, but emphasizes use of biological systems for the cleanup of hazardous chemicals. In the course, students are introduced to the nature of hazardous waste, behavior of chemicals in the subsurface, biochemistry of microbial degradation and technology applications. Bioremediation technologies covered include bioventing, air sparging, monitored natural attenuation or intrinsic remediation, and chemical oxidation. Students learn to select appropriate technologies, design a monitoring program for assessing the applicability of bioremediation techniques, develop biological conceptual models for natural attenuation, and understand the key principles for design. Case studies and problem sets acquaint students with field applications and introduce modeling techniques for predicting performance. Offered onsite, infrequently. Prerequisites: 420.601 Geological Foundations of Environmental Science and 420.604 Hydrology and Water Resources, equivalent courses, or experience.
420.635 - Integrated Water Resources Management
Integrated water resources management provides coordinated, goal-oriented control for development of river, lake, ocean, wetland and other water assets. This course provides students with a broad introduction to U.S., EU and international perspectives. The evolution of basic concepts behind IWRM will be explored as well the limits of current practices and strategies. Students will examine several different conceptual frameworks, and become familiar with how various US water management agencies and international institutions such as the World Bank, USAID, UNDP and the EU apply the principles of IWRM in various settings. Associated concepts of river basin management, climate adaptation and sustainable development will be addressed within the context of IWRM. Case studies will be presented and evaluated by the students. Offered onsite, annually.
420.637 - Conservation Biology and Wildlife Management
Management In this course students examine the meaning and implications of biodiversity with a focus on disciplines associated with conservation biology, wildlife conservation and wildlife management, including taxonomy, genetics, small population biology, chemical and restoration ecology, and marine biology. This includes exploring how conservation biology differs from other natural sciences in theory and in application. Students learn the major threats to biodiversity and what natural and social science methods and alternatives are used to mitigate, stop, or reverse these threats. The course also includes the economic and cultural tradeoffs associated with each conservation measure at the global, national, regional, and local levels. The course is taught in the seminar-style with field trips. Offered in-person in Washington D.C. or off-site annually. Prerequisite: 420.611 Principles and Methods of Ecology, equivalent course, or experience.
420.638 - Coastal Zone Processes and Policy
The course is designed to provide the student with knowledge to address modern coastal, environmental, geologic, and policy issues. The course will focus on the coasts, barrier-islands, major estuaries, and inner continental shelf areas of the United States. Fundamental coastal engineering principles will be described in order to address methods used for public works projects including hurricane protection, beach nourishment, and tidal inlet maintenance. The policies pertinent to management and use of coastal environments will be studied. Offered online every other year. Prerequisite: 420.601 Geological Foundations for Environmental Sciences, equivalent course, or experience.
420.639 - Landscape Ecology
Landscape ecology is a rapidly developing area of study that explicitly examines the effects of spatial pattern and scale on ecological processes that unfold over areas of several square kilometers or larger. Thus, landscape ecology provides many concepts, tools, and approaches that will enhance the effectiveness of endeavors such as watershed management, ecosystem management, design of conservation reserves and green infrastructure, and smart growth. The goal of this course is to give students a firm grasp of the concepts of landscape ecology and of how they can be applied to enhance the effectiveness of environmental policy, management, regulation, and assessment. Offered online at least every other year. Prerequisite: 420.611 Principles and Methods of Ecology, equivalent course, or experience.
420.641 - Natural Resources Law and Policy
This course introduces students to federal and state legislation and policies of critical importance in natural resource management. Students explore such issues as regulation of ocean fishing, coastal zone management, mineral exploitation and associated environmental impact, water allocation and quality, hazardous waste cleanup programs under the Superfund law, urban industrial infrastructure such as water and sewage systems, land use management, and water and air pollution control. Offered onsite of online every two years. Prerequisite: 420.614 Environmental Policymaking and Policy Analysis, equivalent course, or experience.
420.643 - U.S. Environmental History
Environmentalism is a multifaceted phenomenon infused with many different schools of thought about the nature of environmental problems as well as the most appropriate solutions for those problems. This course will examine the major historical influences on the varied approaches to environmentalism and environmental practice. Students will explore the influence of environmental ideas and actions in the US from the 19th century to the present. The goal is to deepen our understanding of contemporary environmental practice by others and ourselves by tracing the influence of these historical trends in current debates and actions. Topics include conservationism, preservationism, transcendentalism and green romanticism, toxic construct, the wilderness construct, and sustainability.
420.644 - Sustainable Cities
This course examines urbanization and its impacts on the environment. The goal of the course is to better understand how urbanization contributes to ecological damage as well as how cities can be constructed in ecologically healthy ways. Topics include land use planning transportation, waste, management, water quality, open space/greening, green building technology, urban design, and urban ecology. The course takes an international perspective by using case studies of cities in North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa. The case studies also include a wide range of cities with different populations, geographic scale, and growth rates. Final projects are an in-depth study of one particular city of the student's choice and its attempts to implement programs for sustainability. Offered online, annually. Prerequisite: 420.614 Environmental Policymaking and Policy Analysis, equivalent course, or experience.
420.646 - Transportation Policy and Smart Growth
This course examines how transportation policy and decisions can alleviate or prevent problems resulting from urban sprawl. How can transportation decisions and planning contribute to more livable urban design and land use patterns that promote smart growth that is environmentally and ecologically sustainable? Students discuss how different environmental media land, water, and air are affected by our transportation systems and resulting development patterns, and how the design of transportation systems the highways, roads, transit systems, and bike and walk paths can more closely harmonize with nature and provide communities with a better quality of life. A wide range of policy options is examined, from altering the structure of road pricing to redesigning neighborhoods and altering urban form. A number of case studies are examined to illuminate the issues and principles raised in the course. Offered online at least every other year. Prerequisite: 420.614 Environmental Policymaking and Policy Analysis, equivalent course, or experience.
420.650 - International Environmental Policy
This course explores the methods and strategies for promoting solutions to global environmental problems. Through consideration of issues such as stratospheric ozone depletion, global climate change, tropical deforestation, loss of biodiversity, transnational pollution, and other threats to the international commons, students examine policymaking from the perspective of developed and developing countries, the United Nations system, international financial entities, and nongovernmental interest groups. By investigating important international agreements, students determine how far the international community has come in solving specific problems, what obstacles prevent effective international solutions, and what needs to be done to overcome barriers. Offered onsite or online, infrequently. Prerequisite: 420.614 Environmental Policymaking and Policy Analysis, equivalent course, or experience.
420.651 - Risk Assessment and Risk Management
Analysis of risk is becoming an increasingly important component of regulatory decision making. Based on the premise that risk assessment has no right" answers, this course explores what risk perception, risk management, and risk communication mean. Students are introduced to terminology and concepts necessary in risk communication. Case studies help to explain the complexities of risk assessment and management. Students learn how to balance the costs and benefits of risk reduction and how to account for the uncertainties in risk estimates. Offered online or onsite, annually. Prerequisite: 420.614 Environmental Policymaking and Policy Analysis, equivalent course, or experience.
420.652 - Environmental Justice
The field of environmental justice is riven with conflicts over the scope, measurement, evaluation, nature and seriousness of environmental problems. This course takes a seminar approach to develop options for resolving environmental justice problems using both practical and theoretical approaches for communication, understanding and analysis to bridge interests, reconcile differences, reduce confusions and improve environmental decision making. The course will investigate and evaluate the effectiveness and possibilities of policies that can highlight, educate and develop understanding among communities concerned with environmental issues. The course will focus on how communication can encourage discussion about potential causes and responses to environmental justice concerns. A primary area of the course will be to examine how disenfranchised groups understand environmental justice within a hierarchy of community concerns, accumulated experience and particular histories within communities. The course has an applied aspect and will look at a local manifestation of how environmental justice is inseparable from broader components of justice such as living and working conditions, violence, powerlessness, marginalization, and processes producing and reproducing inequities. Offered online, annually. Prerequisite: 420.614 Environmental Policymaking and Policy Analysis, equivalent course, or experience.
420.654 - Environmental & Natural Resource Economics
This course presents the fundamental concepts and applications of economic theory related to renewable and nonrenewable resources, and environmental protection. Topics covered include the economics of resource use and depletion, the relationship between the environment and the economy as a whole, the role of government in addressing market failure, concepts and methods for valuing of environmental benefits, cost-benefit analysis of regulatory policies, and how economic incentives can be used to protect the environment. Offered onsite, annually. Prerequisite: 420.614 Environmental Policymaking and Policy Analysis.
420.655 - Federal Environmental Compliance in Public Transit
This course provides a comprehensive investigation of public transit systems in the United States. We'll focus specifically on environmental compliance requirements that apply to various types of public transit infrastructure, with an emphasis on those that receive federal funds. Using extensive case studies of real projects, students will gain an applied understanding of environmental policy and the wide variety of environmental statutes and requirements that govern the planning and construction of public systems. This case study approach will include an exploration of the history and context of how public transit has developed over the centuries, along with the important changes in environmental statutes and regulations that have been applied to federally funded transit projects. In addition, the course will provide a look at recent policies enacted to expedite the environmental review of surface transportation projects, giving students the opportunity to assess those reforms and consider other policy options for reaching the same goals. Offered infrequently.
420.656 - Environmental Impact Assessment & Decision Methods
This course introduces the process of environmental impact assessment and policy decision making as required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the regulations of the Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ). Topics include identification of purpose and need for any actions affecting the environment, development of objectives and decision criteria, and various techniques for assessing impact and comparing alternatives for a given environmental intervention. The strengths and weaknesses of various approaches are evaluated with techniques that allow analysis of multiple objectives and conflicting uses of environmental resources. The importance of scientific credibility and public acceptance is demonstrated with actual cases. Offered onsite or online annually. Prerequisite: 420.614 Environmental Policymaking and Policy Analysis, equivalent course, or experience.
420.659 - Management for Environmental Results with Performance-based Measurement
At all levels of government and throughout private industry, performance-based initiatives now place unprecedented demands on environmental managers to achieve measurable environmental results. The goal of the various performance based initiatives is to give environmental managers a systematic understanding of the causes of environmental problems, both natural and anthropogenic, and their human, ecological and economic effects. It is also at the heart of sound environmental impact analysis, risk assessment, and benefit-cost analysis. In this course, students learn the foundations and applications of modern performance-based initiatives. Using case studies taken from a variety of environmental programs, students learn to use available scientific knowledge to uncover the likely keys to program success. Students learn why success has so often eluded environmental managers in the past. The goal of this class is for students to critically assess the design, performance measurement and management of environmental programs on all scales and to recommend effective improvements. Students will develop skills for implementing results oriented environmental management. Offered onsite or online, annually.
420.660 - Strategies in Watershed Management
Watersheds are often thought of as the basic organizing units for landscapes and the natural resources they support. As water is a fundamental resource that shapes landscapes, nourishes life, provides habitat and recreation, and transports sediments, nutrients, and wastes, prudent management of watersheds is critical for thriving ecosystems and human populations. The course comprises ten on-line modules students, each with topical content, web pages to visit, readings in the required text, and a quiz. Most modules also have discussions, and some have other assignments. The final discussion is a brief essay on a relevant topic of the student's choice. Students are introduced to definitions of watershed and watershed management in the context of natural resources science and policy. There is a brief review of basic hydrology, a look at the history of watershed management, and examination of the institutions and legislation that control activities affect watershed management. We discuss threats to watershed health, sources of information to guide watershed managers, and practices that can ameliorate the threats. Through case histories, the students are exposed to the collaborative process for assessing, protecting, and restoring watersheds. Offered online, annually.
420.662 - Coral Reefs and Caves: The Geology of the Bahamas
This course presents an opportunity to study the physical, chemical and biological processes that operate to produce carbonate platforms (e.g. tides, waves and the growth of corals), geomorphic processes that operate to further shape carbonate platforms (e.g. ground-water flow, cave development and soil development), and the environmental impacts of human activities on carbonate platforms. The course consists of two weeks of intensive, online study followed by a week of field study at the Forfar Field Station on Andros Island in the Bahamas. Offered only as a compressed field course every other January Intersession. Prerequisite: 420.601 Geological Foundations for Environmental Science.
420.665 - Climate Change on the Front Lines: The Study of Adaptation in Developing Countries
Poor and developing countries are predicted to bear the brunt of climate change. This course will focus on key sectors such as agriculture, forestry, biodiversity, water resources, human health, and tourism and the ways in which poorer and developing counties are impacted by and adapting to climate change. This course may focus on a region or a specific country depending on the instructor. Assessment and evaluation of demographic trends, environmental challenges such as retreating ice, potential flood hazards, ecosystem impacts, as well as health issues will be incorporated. International instruments such as adaptation funds, carbon funds, clean development mechanisms, and reduced deforestation/degradation strategies and policies will be investigated in a comparative analysis of impacts and adaptation responses of countries around the world. Offered online, annually.
420.668 - Sustainable Food Systems
This course considers the environmental and social challenges of providing a sustainable global food system. We will investigate the geographic patterns of agricultural and food production systems, emphasizing contemporary patterns and how these came to be. Attention will be given to agricultural systems from the local to the global scale and we will consider the global distribution of production and consumption of agricultural products. The impacts of global change issues such as climate change, energy crops, population growth, and urbanization on food production will be also be part of the course. Offered online or onsite, annually.
420.669 - Applied Sustainability
This course examines the history and current trends in the expanding field of sustainability. Students will be exposed to a wide range of case studies, local field visits and discussions with sustainability practitioners in Maryland to determine the current state of the science as well as impediments to progress. Additional work includes state-of-the-art sustainability leadership training, and practical application through development and implementation of a sustainability-related project. Offered only as a compressed field course every other summer.
420.670 - Sustainability Leadership
Using a highly interactive format, this course examines practical, state-of-the-art concepts in leadership, with a focus on the unique challenges of sustainability facing our world. Students will examine the essential components of leadership, including vision, communication, strategy, organization, synergy and strategy. Recognition of barriers and risks and how to work around them will be stressed, and the restricted conditions under which leadership is actually exercised will be revealed. Students will also practice self-reflection/assessment and become familiar with advanced tools to improve their leadership ability. Coursework will include frequent work in small groups, review of leadership case studies and a practical, real-world vision development project. Offered only as a compressed field course every other January intersession.
420.680 - Special Topics in Environmental Sciences & Policy
Important and timely topics related to environmental sciences and policy that are not part of the regular course offerings examined with particular emphasis on the applied and problem-solving aspects of the topics. Specific topics vary by semester and are listed in registration materials.
420.681 - Climate Change Adaptation and Development in Nepal
This is a field course that takes a firsthand look at the reality of climate change adaptation at various scales as it is experienced in in a developing country such as Nepal. Specifically it considers Nepals vulnerability and resilience to climate change at the national, district and community levels, and will review adaptation instruments and actions at all levels and the political context in which they are executed. Specific topics to be covered include climate change by sector, vulnerability at various scales, institutional and community-based plans for mitigation and adaptation, institutional and legal mechanisms that address climate change, extension efforts, climate change integration into development, and current effort by developing countries such as Nepal in carbon-financing and other topics. The course will also consider how funding to support climate change adaptation intersects and overlaps with development aid and planning. The course will start and end in Kathmandu, the capital city, where students will meet with policy makers, government officials and experts. We will also travel to communities in the three biophysical regions of Nepal, the highlands, the middle hills and the lowlands (Terai). In all locales students will interact with stakeholders all various kinds and be exposed to the great cultural, economic, political, and biophysical diversity of Nepal. Course prerequisite: 420.665.81, Climate Change on the Front Lines: The Study of Adaptation in Developing Countries, or permission of the instructor.
420.686 - Special Topics in Environmental Sciences and Policy
Important and timely topics related to environmental sciences and policy that are not part of the regular course offerings examined with particular emphasis on the applied and problem-solving aspects of the topics. Specific topics vary by semester and are listed in registration materials.
420.800 - Independent Research Project in Environmental Sciences and Policy
An Independent Research Project (IRP) is required for students electing the ESP MS degree with one of the concentrations. It is optional for students not electing a concentration. Students must have completed at least eight courses in the program before completing an IRP. The independent research project enables students to apply and synthesize the material learned in their courses, develop expertise on a specific environmental topic, work closely with an expert in the field, and improve their professional writing skills. Students who elect this option must identify a project topic and a Mentor who is both familiar with the chosen topic and willing to guide and oversee the project. The Mentor may be a faculty member teaching in the program or elsewhere at JHU, a qualified and appropriate person from the student's place of work, or any expert with appropriate credentials. A preliminary proposal must be approved by the Mentor and the Course Instructor prior to enrollment in the course. In order to enroll in the class, permission of instructor is required. Final proposals for the IRP must be approved by the Mentor and the Course Instructor at least two weeks prior to the start of the semester in which the IRP is to be completed. A Mentor Agreement form must be completed and returned at the beginning of the semester in which the student in take the I.R.P. course. This form is sent to the Mentor by the Course Instructor once the final proposal is approved. For more information please go to the ESP website => The Experience => IRP. Offered every term and scheduled as needed.
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