Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) Courses

110 Earth Systems​
GER: NWL (Empirical Study of the Natural World with laboratory)
An introduction to Earth as an evolving, integrated, and cyclic system. Examination of major surficial and internal Earth processes that shape the human environment and control the distribution of geologic resources such as water, fossil fuels, strategic minerals, and soils. Students may receive credit for only one of EES-110, 111, 113. 4 credits.

111 Earth and the Silver Screen
GER: NW (Empirical Study of the Natural World ) and NE (Humans and the Natural Environment)
Basic concepts of earth and environmental sciences by exploring the portrayal of these concepts in mainstream television and film. Students may receive credit for only one of EES-110, 111, 113. 4 credits.

112 Environmental Science
GER: NWL (Empirical Study of the Natural World with laboratory) and NE (Humans and the Natural Environment)
Study of human transformation of Earth as a trade-off for growth of the human enterprise. Topics include changes in population, land cover (agriculture, deforestation, urbanization), climate, nitrogen and phosphorous cycles, biodiversity; limits of water, soil, energy and mineral resources; and links between population and consumption patterns. 4 credits.

113 Natural Hazards and Natural Disasters
GER: NWL (Empirical Study of the Natural World with laboratory) and NE (Humans and the Natural Environment)
An introduction to the understanding of natural hazards and disasters (earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, etc) as violent and often destructive phenomena triggered by dynamic geological processes. Emphasis on the inter- relationship among hazards and human role in them. Students may receive credit for only one of EES-110, 111, 113. 4 credits.

201 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Introduction to use of geographic information system analysis to enhance geographic pattern and relationship recognition in geo-spatial data. Data collection and data quality. Data transformation and linkages. GIS modeling. 4 credits.

210 Surficial Processes
Prerequisite: EES-110, 111, 112, or 113
Introduction to the physical and chemical processes and their mechanics that operate within the Earth’s surficial systems to govern landform development. Includes quantitative analysis of geomorphic data in an interdisciplinary context, with emphasis on the interpretation of process. 4 credits.

218 Plate Tectonics and Earthquakes
Prerequisite: EES-110, 111, 112, or 113
History, theory, and application of the plate tectonic paradigm to ancient and modern earthquake activity and contemporaneous crustal instability. Case studies of modern earthquake activity, paleoseismicity, and prediction. 4 credits.

220 Mineralogy and Petrology I
Prerequisite: EES-110, 111, 112, 113 or 215
Introduction to minerals as basic Earth materials in terms of their physical and chemical properties, use, environmental importance and stability, including their identification in hand specimen. Investigation of mineral assemblages found in igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks in order to understand their origin, evolution and use. Field trips required. Should be enrolled with CHM-110. 4 credits.

221 Mineralogy and Petrology II
Prerequisite: EES-220
Advanced study of minerals with emphasis on the crystallography, crystal chemistry and optical properties of silicate minerals. Advanced study of igneous and metamorphic rocks with emphasis on the integration of field, geochemical and optical techniques to determine their conditions of formation and evolution. Field trips required. Should be enrolled with CHM-210. 4 credits.

230 Watershed Hydrology
Prerequisite: EES-110, 111, 112, 113, BIO-111, or CHM-110
Study of the basic hydrologic concepts, the role of energy and biology in the hydrologic cycle, climate and precipitation, natural and anthropogenic inputs to water quality, and the concept of the watershed with emphasis on morphology, management and watershed functions. 4 credits.

301 Remote Sensing of the Environment
The theory and application of remote sensing studies as a tool for environmental management. Topics include the fundamentals of electromagnetic radiation, different methods of remote sensing, platforms and sensor technology, visual image interpretation, and digital image processing. 4 credits.

310 Sedimentary Systems
Prerequisite: EES-220
Principles of sedimentology, sedimentary processes, and depositional environments. Description, classification, and interpretation of sedimentary rocks. 4 credits.

325 Structural Geology
Prerequisite: EES-220
Origin and description of folds, faults, and fractures. Behavior of Earth materials under stress. Analysis of stress and strain. Modern structural concepts. Field trips required. 4 credits.

330 Hydrogeology
Prerequisite: EES-110, 111, 112, or 113
Study of the hydrologic cycle, groundwater system, principles of groundwater flow, groundwater quality, monitoring and management techniques, computer modeling techniques. 4 credits.

343 Environmental Systems
GER: NE (Humans and the Natural Environment)
Prerequisite: BIO-111, CHM-110, EES-110, EES-111, EES- 112 or EES-113
Same as BIO-343. Interdisciplinary examination of the physical, biological and chemical processes that control the flow of matter and energy in surface environments on planet Earth. Emphasis on the interactions between abiotic and biotic processes. Lab includes field studies and weekend trips. 4 credits.

345 Resilience and Adaptation
Prerequisite: EES-110, 111, 112, 113 or SUS-120
How social change shapes the environment and how environmental change shapes society. “Adaptation” and “vulnerability” concepts compared and contrasted through social-ecological resilience and political ecology approaches. Case studies from the developed and developing world will illustrate the utility of these concepts for pressing environmental issues such as global climate change. 4 credits.

350 Field Study of Regional Geology
Prerequisite: EES-325
Field examination of lithologic and structural relationships and ore deposits to demonstrate the geologic history of a specific region of North America. Normally offered as a summer session course, which includes a two- to three-week field trip to the region being studied. 4 credits.

351 Field Studies in Appalachian Geology
Field study of the geologic development of the Appalachian Mountains, from the viewpoint of Cenozoic geomorphology, Precambrian through Mesozoic stratigraphy, plutonism, metamorphism, and plate tectonic development. Field data collection and interpretation. May Experience ONLY. 2 credits.

352 Field Studies in Iceland
Field study of modern tectonic, volcanic and glacial processes in Iceland, an active part of the Atlantic mid- ocean ridge and hotspot system.. Consideration of impacts of climate change on glacial processes. May Experience ONLY. 2 credits.

353 Sustainable Fiji
Examining and exploring the environmental, social, and economic sustainability of eco-tourism in Fiji. Students will visit and assess numerous eco-tourist destinations within Fiji, with a particular emphasis on understanding the impact of humans and tourism on the local natural environment and culture. May Experience ONLY. 2 credits.

354 Field Studies in the Sierra Nevadas
A multi-disciplinary field study of the Sierra Nevada Mountains focusing on geology, ecology, conservation, the work and writings of John Muir, wilderness education and medicine, and human modification of the environment. Field data collection, interpretation, and reflection. May Experience ONLY. 2 credits.

355 Field Studies in the Tanzania
This field based course offers an interdisciplinary study of the interrelationships between people, geology, ecology, and natural resource management in Tanzania. Emphasis on issues related to livelihood security, economic development of wildlife, and coastal/marine conservation. May Experience ONLY. 2 credits.

360 Geology and Sustainability of India
GER: NW (Empirical Study of the Natural World) and NE (Humans and the Natural Environment)
Examining the interactions between climate, geology, and population of India from an Earth Systems approach. Emphasis on landscape changes, pressures on natural resources such as air, water, soil, forest ecosystems, population growth, natural hazards, and sustainability. 4 credits.

402 Geochemistry
Prerequisite: EES-220
Distribution of the elements and geochemical evolution of the earth and solar system. Isotope geochemistry. Chemical equilibrium in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary environments. Application of thermodynamics to geologic systems. 4 credits.

410 Atmosphere, Ocean, and Climate Dynamics
Prerequisites: EES-110, 111, 112, or 113
This course is an introduction to the understanding of physics that govern the large scale circulations of the ocean and the atmosphere and its connection to the global climate. Emphasis will be on ocean-atmosphere interaction, energy transfer, climate changes and human impacts. 4 credits.

421 Ore Deposits
Prerequisite: EES-220
Mineralogy, geochemistry and geologic associations of ore deposits. Geochemical and geophysical methods of exploration. Ore minerals in hand specimen and polished section. Several field trips. 4 credits.

425 Regional Tectonics
Prerequisite: EES-325
Emphasis on the history of the tectonic development of North America as demonstrated by structure and stratigraphy. 4 credits.

430 Engineering Geology
Prerequisite: EES-325
Theory and applied aspects of engineering geology; rock strength, soil mechanics, and slope stability studies; geophysical methods and remote sensing techniques as applied to problems in geological engineering. 4 credits.

472 Research and Analysis
Prerequisites: EES-110, 111, 112, or 113
Analysis of data, reading of scientific literature relevant to individual research, and writing of a thesis based on the results of an independent research project. Students must also present results at a professional meeting and to the department. 4 credits.

475 Seminar in Earth and Environmental Sciences
4 credits.

502 Independent Research
Original field and/or laboratory research focusing on a topic selected by the student in collaboration with a faculty member. Results of research are reposted in a paper written according to the style and format of professional publications in the Earth and Environmental Sciences. The grade will depend largely on the initiative of the student. Variable credit.

504 Directed Independent Study
A topic of special interest selected by the student and a faculty member with whom the student chooses to work. The study is done mostly with geologic literature. Results of the investigation are reported in a paper written according to the style and format of professional geologic publications. The grade will depend largely on the initiative of the student. Variable credit.

Sustainability Science (SUS) Courses

​120 Principles of Sustainability Science GER: NWL (Empirical Study of the Natural World with laboratory) and NE (Humans and the Natural Environment) 
Introduction to the concepts of sustainability science and the complex problems associated with sustainability. In particular, students will examine the challenge of supporting nine billion people without destroying the planetary resource base, social cohesion, and integrity of the individual. Labs will cover introduction to methods in sustainability. 4 credits.

240 Human Systems
Prerequisite: SUS-120
Exploration of the effects of human activities, consumption patterns and the complexity of human behavior on sustainable development. Application of the science of human behavior to complex problems such as sustainable consumption, human health, poverty, equity, and food security. 4 credits.

241 Social Systems
Prerequisite: SUS-120
An overview of how comparative cultures conceptualize sustainability and the ways in which the actors, institutions, and policies at all scales (e.g., local, regional, national) shape societal well-being. Connections to the global environmental and human systems are emphasized and explored. 4 credits.

242 Dynamic Systems Modeling
Prerequisite: EES-110, 112, 113, or SUS-120
An introduction to systems thinking and modeling of the human-environment relationship. Stocks, flows, feedback loops, homeostasis, and cyclic processes will be considered. Problems in sustainability such as climate change, population growth, and energy consumption will be modeled. 4 credits

472 Research and Analysis
Same as EES-472. Analysis of data, reading of scientific literature relevant to individual research, and writing of a thesis based on the results of an independent research project. Students must also present results at a professional meeting and to the department. 4 credits. 

473 Sustainability Science Practicum
Capstone experience in the major emphasizing solution-based research. Students will have the opportunity to conduct rigorous, applied research and further develop critical analysis skills. Research analysis will be conducted at the local level in partnership with local organizations (nonprofit, public, or private), addressing a pre-determined research question. Exploring topics that allow students to grapple with how to reduce environmental impact and increase social welfare, designed to encourage “engaged scholarship” to prepare students for interdisciplinary team-based research in their careers. 4 credits.

502 Independent Research
Original field and/or laboratory research focusing on a topic selected by the student in collaboration with a faculty member. Results of research are reposted in a paper written according to the style and format of professional publications in the Earth and Environmental Sciences. The grade will depend largely on the initiative of the student. Variable credit.

504 Directed Independent Study
A topic of special interest selected by the student and a faculty member with whom the student chooses to work. The study is done mostly with sustainability science literature. Results of the investigation are reported in a paper written according to the style and format of professional sustainability science publications. The grade will depend largely on the initiative of the student. Variable credit.​
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