Course Descriptions

State-specific Information for Online Programs

Note: We currently are not accepting applications to the online MS in Environmental Sciences in Policy from students who reside in Kansas. Students should be aware of additional state-specific information for online programs.

  • Prerequisite Courses

    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 Earth's 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. Offered online twice a year. Prerequisite: Students are urged to take 420.301 Quantitative Methods for Environmental Sciences before enrolling in this course.

  • Core Courses

    420.601 - Geological Foundations of Environmental Science

    (formerly Earth Resources and Their Waste Products) This course provides an overview of Earth's 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. Two field trips are part of the course for in-person sections. Offered onsite or online two to three times each year.

    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. One required field trip is included for in-person sections. Offered onsite or online two to three times each year.

    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 course's topics are weather forecasting, global climate change, marine pollution, and an introduction to applied oceanography. A field trip is included for in-person sections. Offered onsite or online two to three times each year.

    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. It is offered every year during a fall or spring 14-week semester. To meet the needs of distance students, it is also offered in an intensive, approximately three-week long version in May and sometimes July.

    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 onsite or online two to three times each year. Offered at Homewood Campus each spring term.

  • Elective Courses

    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 provides important long-term guidelines for restoration, mitigation and conservation measures. This 14-week course includes 5-6 required Saturday or Sunday field trips which will replace 4-5 Monday evening classes. The dates of the field trips will be determined during the first class to best fit with student and teacher schedules. Field trips include identification of plant indicator species, bird identification and introduction to transect and quadrat methods of vegetation analysis. Classroom sessions provide background on geology, paleoecology, historical impact, vegetation, bird population changes, and conservation and restoration approaches at the field sites. Students work with aerial photos, historic maps and documents, geologic maps, on-line sources, and paleo-ecological data derived from pollen, macrofossil, geochemical and geomorphic analyses. Offered infrequently.

    420.619 - Ecological Assessment

    This course introduces students to concepts and tools used in quantitative ecological assessment and demonstrates how they can be applied in managerial or regulatory contexts. The course covers assessment strategies, methodologies for ecological assessment, design of sampling programs, indicators of ecological integrity, bioassessment, and coping with uncertainty, ecological risk assessment, and adaptive environmental assessment and management. Students are introduced to approaches for population, ecosystem, community, watershed, and landscape-level assessment. Computer exercises reinforce concepts and familiarize students with a variety of assessment techniques. Offered every two years. Prerequisite: 420.611 Principles and Methods of Ecology, equivalent course, or experience.

    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

    420.622 - Ecotoxicology

    This course covers fundamental of ecotoxicology including chemical action on organisms, organ systems and cellular functions. Modeling is used to investigate fate and transport mechanisms, concentration effects and selective toxicity. Toxicity testing, risk assessment, toxics reduction and examples of bioremediation are also covered. Topics are covered in a framework of basic ecology including trophic structure, food-web dynamics, bioaccumulation, and effects of toxic materials on ecosystems and individuals. Offered infrequently. 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.

    420.624 - Contaminant Fate and Transport

    This course presents the basic principles underlying the movement of contaminants in the predominant environmental media: surface water, groundwater, and the atmosphere. These principles are combined with modeling of contaminant transport in the different media to design remediation programs, provide the technical foundation of policy decisions, and support the evaluation of risk to the environment and human health caused by pollutants. Students in the course develop the skills to ask the right questions of modelers; understand the implications and limitations of model results; and communicate effectively to the public and decision makers. Students should have strong mathematical reasoning skills. Offered onsite or online every other year. Prerequisites 420.604 Hydrology and Water Resources, equivalent course or experience.

    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 . In-person sections include required weekend field trips to Chesapeake Bay sites. Offered infrequently. 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 not offered online and fieldwork is 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 onsite or 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 - Outdoor Air Quality Management and Policy

    Understanding and mitigating air pollution, both indoor and outdoor, is of extreme importance to global health. Underscoring this, 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 a strong 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 quality with an emphasis on emerging international air quality issues, public health and environmental impacts of outdoor air pollution, and evolving ways to monitor air quality. 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 projectsions, and regulatory case studies will also be discussed. Prerequisite: 420.608 Oceanic and Atmospheric Processes, an equivalent course or experience, or approval of the instructor.

    420.634 - Bioremediation & Emerging Environmental Technologies

    (formerly Environmental Remediation 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. 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.

    420.637 - Conservation Biology and Wildlife 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 two weekend field trips to facilities where conservation biology will be interpreted. Offered onsite every two years. 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. One weekend field trip will be required. 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 or onsite every 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 online or onsite every year. Prerequisite: 420.614 Environmental Policymaking and Policy Analysis, equivalent course, or experience.

    420.642 - Public Lands-Private Interests:The Struggle for Common Ground

    This course prepares students to participate in the great debate over the use and protection of America 's federally owned forests, rangeland, parks, and sanctuaries. Students consider such questions as how much should be paid for grazing on federal lands; how to balance the demand for timber harvest with the need for watershed and wildlife management; who controls mineral and oil extraction on federal lands; and who has the rights to waters flowing through federal lands and stored behind federally funded dams. These and similar issues of today and tomorrow are studied in the context of history, statute and case law, and administrative regulations. Offered infrequently. Prerequisite: 420.614 Environmental Policymaking and Policy Analysis, equivalent course, or experience.

    420.644 - Sustainable Cities

    (formerly Cities, Urbanization, and the Environment) 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. Prerequisite: 420.614 Environmental Policymaking and Policy Analysis, equivalent course, or experience.

    420.645 - Environmental Challenges for Energy Policy

    The course examines energy supply and consumption, and how these activities impact the environment, with a focus on understanding the potential technology, market structure and policy implications for climate change and air quality. Particular emphasis is devoted to the electricity and transportation sectors, which combined represent over two thirds of U.S. energy production and use. Students will gain a solid understanding of the science, economics, environmental impact and potential policies associated with various electricity generation technologies, including renewable energy, such as wind and solar, conventional generation (existing and future), carbon storage and sequestration, and electricity storage. Transportation topics will address a variety of technologies, including hybrids and fuels cells, as well as the potential role for alternative fuels, including biofuels. The course will prepare the student for this rapidly expanding energy field by exploring the range of new technology and policy alternatives. Class discussions will include traditional command and control-style regulations, emissions trading (for both SO2 and carbon dioxide) and other market-based tools, portfolio standards, technology incentives and the potential role of publicly funded R&D.

    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 designs and land use patterns that promote “smart growth"—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 or onsite every year. Prerequisite: 420.614 Environmental Policymaking and Policy Analysis, equivalent course, or experience.

    420.649 - Strategic Mgmt For Sustainability

    This course examines the “greening of industry" trend, its causes, and its implications for public policy. The course first examines environmental behavior from the strategic perspective of firms and industry associations. From the old emphasis on legal compliance, leading firms now have turned to a much more strategic view, and many have adopted an explicit goal of promoting sustainability. We consider the causes of this behavior among leading firms and the many forms that it has taken, as well as the meanings of sustainability within the industrial sector. The course then turns to a consideration of how public policy has influenced this trend and to government's response to these changes within industry. The course concludes with an evaluation of these policy responses and likely trends in industry and government. 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. 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. 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. 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 online or onsite every year. 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.

    420.657 - Environmental Issues & Congressional Policymaking

    This course explores how Congress debates and passes environmental legislation, including the way in which scientific facts are introduced to nonscientists and scientific inquiry is used and misused by Congress. Students learn to appreciate the powerful influences of the media and of lobbyists in swaying congressional decision making. Case studies provide perspective into which environmental legislation has been effective and which has not and the reasons for success or failure. A field trip to Capitol Hill and classroom simulation of a congressional committee debate give students insight into the give and take of the process. Offered onsite infrequently. 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.

    420.660 - Strategies in Watershed Management

    This course provides an overview of natural resource management using the watershed as an example. It proposes that water resources are a primary indicator of environmental quality and that the watershed—of various dimensions—is an appropriate context for addressing resource management concerns. In addition to examining the theoretical framework for watershed management, the class will spend several weekends conducting extensive field research to produce a watershed quality management report. Fieldwork will include documenting land use practices, tributary flow rates and characteristics, and water quality measurements for unit loading estimations, sediment sampling and fish trawls. Some of this work will involve time on an EPA research vessel. Prerequisites: 420.611 Principles and Methods of Ecology, equivalent course, or experience.

    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. Note: This course counts toward residency requirement. Offered as intensive field course every January. 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 onsite every two years.

    420.668 - Sustainable Food Systems

    This course will consider 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. This course has no prerequisites. This course will be offered on an annual basis either in an online or onsite format.

    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. Two field trips are essential parts of the course. Offered as intensive field course every other summer.

    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.

    420.686 - 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.

    420.700 - Environmental Communication

    Communication drives both environmental science and policy with increasing importance. Modern media have substantially changed the level and focus of messaging and education about environmental issues. This course is centered on actual production of modern tools including a student run blog and podcast series. Students form the editorial board of the JHENS blog ( as well as planning, writing and managing content. Reviews of academic literature on environmental communication will be included in weekly discussions. Offered infrequently.

    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.