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Courses & Requirements

Requirements for the Environmental and Sustainability Studies Minor

Minimum of 20 hours in core and elective courses.  At least two of the courses in the minor must be at the 200 level or above.  Courses taken from the Natural Science or Non-Science focused courses and not counted toward that requirement may be counted toward the Environmentally Related Courses requirement.

1. Core (one course)

ESS-101: Intro. to Environmental and Sustainability Studies (4.00)

Causes and effects of human incursion into natural systems. Examination of social, political, ethical and economic issues and theory in light of ecological and evolutionary principles, with a goal of developing sustainable programs.

2. Natural Science, Environmental Focus Courses (one course)

BIO-108: Environmental Biology/Lab (4.00)

An introduction to human effects on interactions among organisms and the environment. May not be used to fulfill the minimum requirements for the biology major. 3 LEC, 1 LAB.

BIO-215: Marine Biology (4.00)

The course takes an ecological approach to the study of marine organisms as exemplified in temperate, semitropical, and tropical environments. During the spring semester, students will attain an essential understanding of the principles of marine biology as it applies to a broad range of marine ecosystems, and learn field study techniques appropriate for comparative investigation of marine environments. This knowledge and these skills will be used during the field study part of the course in the summer where students will study temperate barrier island beach and salt march ecosystems on the Georgia coast, and tropical coral reefs, rocky intertidal, and mangrove ecosystems on Roatan Island, Bay Islands, Honduras. Special fees are required for the international travel component and for scuba diving at Roatan. Consult with the Center for Global Learning for the application process and timeline. Limited to 14 students. Prerequisite: One biology course and the instructor's permission.

Course requisites: One course in biology and permission of the instructor

BIO-308: Ecology/Lab (4.00)

Interactions of organisms with their abiotic and biotic environments. Populations, communities and ecosystems from ecological and environmental perspectives. Laboratory and field studies, environmental analysis. 3 LEC, 1 LAB.

Course requisites: BIO-110, 111 & one 200-level BIO course; BIO-108 is prereq for ESS minors; Mathematics 117, 118 or 119 recommended

3. Non-Science Environmentally Focused Courses (one course)

Topics in Global Environmental Challenges (ESS-395) may be taken twice if topic is different.

ESS-202: Environ and Public Health Communication (4.00)

Examines and develops communication practices associated with current issues and controversies. Focus on communication as related to public health, to the environment and sustainability, especially as directed to target populations and advocacy. Final project related to a student's academic interest. Cross-listed with PH-202.

Course requisites: Prereq: ENG-110

REL-210: Religion and Ecology (4.00)

Religion and Ecology is an interdisciplinary course that explores the relationship of world religions with nature, meaning, place, and ethics. Focus will be on notions of "the sacred earth," spiritual engagement with nature, approaches to environmental crises and climate change, interfaith collaborations, feminist ecotheologies, and areas of sustainability (food, soil, air, water, energy, lifestyle, technology, the future, etc.). This course is experiential and connected with the local environmental community through site visits and speakers. Cross-listed with WS-210.

ESS-295: Topics in Environmental Leadership (4.00)

TOPICS IN ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERSHIP--A study of environmental policies and the leadership skills necessary to effectively engage with the social and political aspects of the environmental challenges faced locally, nationally and globally.

ESS-315: Environmental Feminisms (4.00)

This course introduces students to the histories, central themes, theories, and debates in environmental feminisms, ecofeminism, and feminist political ecology. We will employ an intersectional lens to examine how racism, sexism, heterosexism, imperialism, ableism, and other forms of oppression have shaped and continue to shape environmental discourses. Possible topics include: histories and critiques of ecofeminism, black feminism and environmentalism, Anthropocene feminism, back-to-land movements, queer ecologies, and animal ethics. Cross-listed with WS-315.

Course requisites: WS-100 or ESS-101

ESS-395: Topics in Global Environmentl Challenges (4.00)

TOPICS IN GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES--Advanced topics in Environmental and Sustainability Studies, emphasizing the global aspects of such issues as population growth, availability of affordable clean water, food sources and distribution, loss of biodiversity, energy production and consumption, pollution, and climate change. May be repeated when topic changes and prerequisite/s vary. Description for "THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY: GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IN THE ANTHROPOCENE"--Humans' impact on the environment has become so significant that some scientists have proposed renaming our current geological period the Anthropocene, since anthropos- is Greek for human. This course uses a feminist lens to survey environmental issues around the globe, including food scarcity, climate change, and industrial pollution and the efforts being made to counteract these problems. Description for "FOOD PRODUCTION"--An examination of our current systems of food production including large scale agribusiness, small farmers, organic farming and the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers; economic issues such as processing, shipping, and marketing of food; as well as the health and sustainability of humans, animals and the natural environment.

Course requisites: ESS-101 or PH-101

PHI-109: Environmental Ethics (4.00)

An exploration of moral issues arising from relations among human beings, non-human animals, and the environment. Specific topics may include the value and moral standing of individuals, species, and ecosystems; biodiversity, development, and sustainability; and environmental justice and environmental racism.

PH-331: Environmental Health (4.00)

An interdisciplinary, scientific survey of human interactions with the natural and built environments of the earth, and how anthropogenic stressors can ultimately influence public health and environmental quality. Physical and social environments are important determinants of the health of individuals and communities. Exposure to chemical, biological and physical agents can and do occur through the air, water and soil that comprise our physical environment. Particular emphasis in this course will be placed on describing (1) what pollution is and how/why it is harmful, (2) what the root sources and causes of pollution are, (3) what happens to pollutants when they enter the environment, and (4) how each pollutant class affects individual and community health over acute to chronic exposure periods. Cross-listed with ESS-331.

Course requisites: Take PH-101 or ESS-101 for Environmental Health topic

4. Environmentally Related Courses (two courses)

Courses taken from sections (2) and (3) and not counted toward that requirement may be counted towards this requirement.

BIO-201: Microbiology/Lab (4.00)

Cell biology, metabolism, genetics and phylogeny of bacteria and archaea. Introduction to eukaryotic microbes and viruses. Principles of pathogenesis, immunology and environmental microbiology. Applications in biotechnology, medicine and industry. Individual laboratory project and use of representative literature in the discipline. 3 LEC, 1 LAB.

Course requisites: BIO-110 and BIO-111

BIO-270: Invertebrate Biology/Lab (4.00)

Of the millions of living and extinct animal species, more than 95% are animals without backbones. These extraordinary animals encountered innumerable physical and physiological challenges as they evolved and colonized the air, land and aquatic environments. Their evolution produced many different body plans and, along the way, "invented" significant systems such as brains, skeletons, flight mechanisms, water balance and vascular systems and more. These evolutionary "inventions" led to the abundant diversity we have today. This course studies these beautiful and fascinating animals and the solutions that have evolved to allow life in diverse environments. It draws heavily on the themes of form, function and evolution, and illustrates the importance of these animals for environmental stability, as model organisms for biological research and as a resource for innovative solutions for problems faced by humans. 3 LEC, 1 LAB.

Course requisites: BIO-192 Prerequisite

CHE-270: Foundation Inorganic & Bioinorganic Chem (2.00)

This foundation course in inorganic chemistry examines the behavior of the elements in an effort to identify and explain patterns on the periodic table. The course focuses on the approximately 28 elements with known roles in biochemical systems including iron, copper, zinc, Na+/K+ , Mg+2, and Ca+2. Topics include the toxicity of environmental pollutants and the often surprising toxicity of nutritionally required elements such as iron and copper. Recent discoveries and case studies are used to explain biochemical selectivity in a wide variety of systems; plant, animal and archaea.

Course requisites: CHE-220 CHE-220L;

ECO-105: Introduction to Microeconomics (4.00)

Microeconomics studies how individuals and firms allocate scarce resources via markets. In addition to an introduction to microeconomics, this course examines topics such as monopoly and competition, taxes and government interventions in the economy, and international trade.

ESS-215: African Environmental History (4.00)

This course will survey the evolution of African environmental and ecological systems over the past 200 years. Subjects will include aspects of the physical environment visible through changes in climate and hydrology, as well as key issues of human/environmental interaction, such as agriculture, deforestation, conservation, famine, malaria, and the role of colonialism and economic development in environmental change. The course will also examine the ways in which outsiders have created myths about the African environment and how Africans have managed their natural resources over time. The course will examine the causes and social effects of famine, vector-borne disease and the impact of political ecology of globalization on African environmental management. Course assignments will cover most geographical regions of Africa, but with special attention to East Africa. Materials available to students will include readings and lectures, but will also include films and other visual resources. Cross-listed with AS/HIS-215.

HIS-240: A History of Native Americans (4.00)

An examination of beliefs, practices and social structures among native North American groups from the seventeenth century to the present. Themes include: cultural diversity; European-American imperialism; environmental impacts; the politics and processes of "removal"; identity and citizenship; reservation life; and resistance.

MAT-325: Mathematical Models and Applications (4.00)

Development of techniques of model building. Applications to illustrate the techniques drawn principally from the natural and social sciences. Offered alternate years.

Course requisites: 206 or 220 with a grade of C- or better

POL-103: Intro to World Politics (4.00)

INTRODUCTION TO WORLD POLITICS--Major developments in world politics since 1945; the Cold War, international political economy, challenges to state sovereignty, and environmental issues.

POL-207: Modern Political Thought (4.00)

An examination of major thinkers, such as Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Burke, Mill, and Marx, whose ideas have shaped the politics and ideologies of the modern world. We will also consider several contemporary political issues and commentators to illustrate the continuing influences of these modern theorists.

Internship or ESS-Related Research

An approved 4-credit internship (ESS-450 Internship) or ESS-related research (ESS-440 Directed Research) may be substituted for a course in category 3 or 4 above, depending on the subject and content of the internship or directed research. Please consult with the ESS program directors for planning and approval. Program Co-Directors: Dr. John Pilger (Biology) and Dr. Lauran Whitworth (Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies).

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