Course Descriptions for Environmental Studies

ENST 100 Environment and Society (AV)
Exploration of the relationship between humankind and nature, designed to encourage critical thinking about the environmental predicaments of the twenty-first century, as well as to provide a theoretical foundation from which to evaluate the causes and possible solutions to these problems. Major theorists, ideas, and schools of thought that have influenced environmentalism are discussed. Required course for the major and the minor. Offered each fall.

ENST 110 Earth Systems Science (PSL)
The Earth is changing, and understanding this change requires an understanding of the interrelated systems of the Earth. This course investigates the systems (hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere, and lithosphere) and the complex cycles and interactions between them, both globally in the classroom and locally through a field/lab experience. Required course for the major and the minor. Offered every fall.

ENST 115/PHYS 120 Energy and Society (PSI)
This course will enable students to acquire a working knowledge ofthe fundamental science that underpins various energy technologies, and the manner in which these technologies interact with the environment. Students will conduct comparative analyses of the different energy choices that we might make, both as individuals and as a nation.

ENST/BIOL 120 Ecology and Environment Problems (LSI)
Examination of major environmental concepts, problems, and possible solutions. Basic ecological principles will serve as a foundation for discussion of such issues as human overpopulation, resource depletion, and pollution. Required course for the major and the minor. Offered each spring.

ENST/CHEM 130 Chemistry of the Environment (PSL)
A survey of chemistry principles with an emphasis on the application of these principles to environmental topics such as air and water pollution, global warming, and energy. Laboratory experiments may involve analysis of water from local stream and lakes and the analysis of vegetables for pesticide residue. Offered occasionally.

ENST Atmospheric Pollution (PSI)
Air quality is of extreme importance to both human health and environmental health. This course will include discussion of several atmospheric pollution issues, including pollution souces, reactions and transport in the atmosphere, pollution reduction efforts, and the energy needs that underlie many of the causes of the pollution. No prior knowledge of geology is needed, but a basic knowledge of chemistry will be assumed. Offered occasionally.

ENST/CHEM 135 Water Quality (PSL)
The definitions of water quality depend heavily on the intended uses of the water supply - for drinking, irrigation, recreation, or ecosystem support. We will take a hands-on approach in studying water quality issues, using local water resources as case studies. A major part of the course will be field trips to measure and monitor water quality in local rivers and lakes. Offered occasionally.

ENST/BIO 218 Field Ornithology (LSI)
A general introduction to the biology, ecology and behavior of birds. Students will spend time practicing bird identification and observing bird behavior in the field. Local and regional field trips will be made to observe migrating and resident birds. No previous experience with birds is expected. Prerequisite ENST/BIOL 120 (for ENST) or BIOL 101 & 102 (for BIOL). Offered alternate May Terms.

ENST/BIOL 220 Natural History of Illinois (LSL, W)
The study of natural history is an endeavor in understanding the myriad of parameters that contribute to the complexities of the natural world. This course is designed to explore, through lecture, laboratory, and field studies, the geological, climatic, biological, and ecological aspects of the environment of Illinois. Offered alternate fall semesters.

ENST 240 Health and the Environment (LSI, U)
Environmental factors are among the most important determinants of health status of individuals and communities. While great strides have been made in public health, new challenges have arise with industrial pollution, environmental degradation and climate change. This course explores connections between modern environmental factors and health issues, such as asthma, cancer, and emerging infectious diseases, including disparities among vulnerable groups. Offered occasionally.

ENST 241 War on Cancer: Does Environment Matter? (LSI)
Why is cancer epidemic in America? And what progress have decades of the War on Cancer brought us? This course looks at epidemiological and other evidence of changing cancer incidence and mortality. We investigate emerging research on cause of cancer, especially environmental triggers. Pathways to prevention are explored within a complex backdrop of politics, science, and culture. Offered occasionally.

ENST 242 Toxic Threats to Reproduction and Child Development (LSI)
Humans and ecosystems in the United States and worldwide are regularly exposed to some 85,000 synthetic chemicals, most of which are poorly tested or untested for human health effects. This course will explore the effects of chemicals--such as heavy metals, pesticides, solvents, dioxins, PCBs, and endocrine disruptors--on reproduction and child development, and will look at intervention strategies to reduce toxic threats. Offered in alternate years, May Term.

ENST/HIST 248 American Environmental History (CH, U)
Overview of American environmental history from pre-colonial days to the present. This course examines the relationship between social and ecological change, focusing on the impact of native American societies, Western colonialism, and market forces on land-use patterns, biodiversity and the development of the contemporary environmental movement in the United States. Offered in alternative years, fall semester.

ENST 250 Directed Readings in Environmental Studies

ENST/PSCI 260 American Environmental Politics and Policy (SI, U)
Basic introduction to the institutional and legal framework of contemporary American environmental policy and to environmental politics in the United States. Policy issues explored include water and air pollution, solid and hazardous waste, endangered species and wilderness preservation, energy development, growth management, and environmental justice. Offered in alternate years, fall semester.

ENST 270 Special Topics

ENST/ANTH 270 Native Americans and the Environment
The diversity of Native North American peoples and the varying ways they have interacted and continue to interact with their environments provide case studies that shed light on issues such as sovereignty, resource management, and environmental justice. Students will study the relationship between Native American lifeways, religious thought, and socio-economic structures in historical and contemporary contexts with Native American scholars, spiritual leaders and cultural experts, and participate in hands-on, experiential learning activities throughout the term.

ENST/ANTH 274 Peoples and Cultures of East Africa (SI, G)
Survey of select east African societies whose cultural adaptations to varied ecosystems make interesting case studies for comparative analysis. Reveals the diversity and the congruity of human social systems. Offered in alternate years.

ENST/PSCI 275  Global Sustainability and Asian Development
Home to more than half the world’s population, with a range of political systems and the fastest rates of economic growth, Asia and its development are of immeasurable significance to global sustainability.  This course looks at economic growth and development strategies within several Asian countries and the trans-boundary implications of this development for the land and people both in neighboring states and beyond.  It demonstrates that economic growth in Asia’s prosperous countries is changing landscapes and, in doing so, changing tides for peoples and ecosystems far from the source. Offered occasionally.

ENST/BIO 275 Herpetology
This course will introduce students to the field of herpetology, the branch of zoology that emphasizes the study of amphibians and reptiles. The course has lecture, lab and field components. In lecture and lab, students will be introduced to the biology and morphological diversity of the amphibian and reptile orders. We will work with preserved specimens to observe important group characters and characters that are useful to identify species. In the field, students will be introduced to the methods of monitoring and catching amphibians and reptiles. We will observe, measure, and compare herpetofaunal diversity in habitats with different human impact. Field guides will be used for identification. Field trips will be local, except for a trip by train to the Field Museum in Chicago, where we visit the public exhibition and the closed herpetological research collection. Student evaluations are based on participation in the field, a seminar presentation with written summary, and a final exam. No previous experience with amphibians or reptiles is expected. Prerequisites: ENST/BIOL 120 (for ENST) or BIOL 101 & 102 (for BIOL). Offered in Mayterm.

ENST/ANTH 288 Consuming Passions: The Anthropology of Food (G)
Considers forms of human eating in historical and cross-cultural perspective. Examines various systems of subsistence, from hunting and gathering to horticulture to pastoralism, as well as the symbolic aspects of food choice. Offered annually, fall semester.

ENST/BIOL 302 Parasitology (W)
An in-depth study of the life histories of parasites and the medical, environmental, and economic impact of parasites to human and animal populations. Emphasis will be placed on evolution of parasite-host relationships and on the environmental consequences and cost of parasite treatment and control. Prerequisite: BIOL 101, 102, or 107 and 108 or permission of the instructor. Offered in alternate years, spring semester.

ENST/BIOL 321 Conservation Biology and Restoration Ecology
Ecological principles and conservation law and policy will serve as a basis to assess human impacts on biological diversity and to develop practical approaches to prevent species extinction. The course will include off campus lectures and field trips. The topics covered include extinction as an historical/contemporary process, invasive species, global climate change, endangered/threatened species conservation and watershed/ecosystem management. Prerequisites:  BIOL 101 & 102. Offered in alternate years, spring semester.

ENST/BIOL 350 Tropical Ecology (LSI, G)
Introduction to the ecosystems, animals, and plants of Costa Rica, including issues associated with the preservation of bio-diversity. Studies will be conducted both in the field and in the classroom. Prerequisite: Environmental Studies 120, declared minor in Environmental Studies, consent of instructor. Prerequisite for ENST 350 is ENST/BIOL 120; Prerequisites for BIOL 350 are BIOL 101 & 102. Offered in May Term.

ENST/PSCI 360 Comparative Environmental Politics (SI, G, W)
Examination of how different political-economic systems shape the environmental policy process and impact the environment. This course considers how party-structure, mode of interest articulation, economic system and level of development affect environmental policy. Countries studied include the United States, Germany, former Soviet Union/Russia, China, India, Brazil and Nigeria. Prerequisite: a course in either political science or environmental studies strongly recommended. Offered alternate years, spring semester.

ENST/PSCI 361 Globalization and the Environment (SI, G)
Introduction to the international politics behind efforts to deal with tropical deforestation, ozone depletion, global warming, loss of biodiversity and transnational transfer of hazardous wastes. Actors, conferences, and accords involved in the international environmental policy process are discussed, with particular attention to different positions of industrialized versus developing countries. Offered alternate years, spring semester.

ENST/PSCI 365 Ethical Dilemmas in Environmental Politics (AV)
When can non-human claims trump human interests? Does humanism provide a coherent lens for resolving environmental issues? How do answers to these questions influence our answers to dilemmas in environmental politics such as how to weigh the value of biodiversity and whether to use cost/benefit analysis to evaluate and determine regulatory policy? Utilitarian, Kantian, Social Context, and holistic theories are introduced as competing criteria for evaluating the risk of environmental harm caused by human development. Offered in alternate years.

ENST 375 Special Topics

ENST 397 Internship
Students may arrange an internship with an environmental-related agency. Prerequisites: Environmental Studies 100 and 110 or 120, declared major or minor in Environmental Studies, junior or senior standing, and consent of the Environmental Studies Director. Offered each semester.

ENST 450 Independent Study
Individual study in an area of interest relating to the environment. Students must devise a plan of study in cooperation with a supervising faculty member. Prerequisites: Environmental Studies 100 and 110 or ENST/BIOL 120, declared major or minor in Environmental Studies, junior or senior standing, and consent of the supervising faculty member and the Environmental Studies Director. Offered each semester.

ENST 451 Independent Research and Writing (W)
Individual study in an area of interest relating to the environment. In cooperation with a supervising faculty member, student must devise a plan of research which includes a significant writing project. Students must present this preliminary research proposal to a faculty member in writing, and receive the faculty member's approval of the topic and consent to provide instruction in writing appropriate to the subfield of Environmental Studies. Prerequisites: ENST 100 and either ENST 110 or ENST/BIOL 120, declared major in Environmental Studies, junior or senior standing, and consent of the supervising faculty member and the Environmental Studies Director. Offered each semester.

ENST 480 Senior Seminar: Creating a Sustainable Society (W)
An advanced analysis through a seminar format of a particular topic in Environmental Studies, selected in consultation with ES students in their junior year. Applying the subfield perspective they have acquired in earlier coursework, each student will research and write a substantial paper on the seminar topic and present his or her findings orally. Taken collectively, these individual works will provide a multidisciplinary analysis of the seminar topic. Prerequisite: Majors and minors with senior standing who have completed ENST 100, either ENST 110 or ENST/BIOL 120 and at least two ES-approved courses at the 300-level or above. Offered annually. See a sampling of select student research papers.

 

Courses which receive credit in the Environmental Studies Program but are not cross-listed as ES courses

BIOL 164 The Marine Realm (LSI)
This course examines the inspiring diversity of marine life and investigates the interactions of humans with the marine environment. Credit will not be given toward the biology major or minor. Offered each spring.

BIOL 209 Biostatistics and Experimental Design
An introduction to statistical theories and tests applied in the analysis of biological data, and to the proper design of scientific experiments. Students will practice asking pertinent questions and critically reading scientific literature in preparing for research projects. Each student will orally review and critique published research articles. Prerequisites: 101 and 102. Offered each spring.

BIOL 217 Introductory Ecology  (W)
An introduction to the major concepts of ecology; the structure and function of ecosystems, population and community dynamics, and plant and animal adaptations. Four hours of lecture and four hours of laboratory/field work per week. Prerequisites: BIOL 101 and 102. Offered each fall.

BIOL 219 Invertebrate Zoology
This course is a comparative study of the functional morphology, behavior, and ecological and evolutionary relationships of invertebrate animals. Students work with live specimens whenever possible. Three hours of lecture and four hours of laboratory per week. Prerequisites: BIOL 101 and 102. Offered each fall.

BIOL 306 Plant and Fungal Diversity
An examination of the major groups of plants and fungi plus a consideration of their evolutionary origins and phylogenetic relationships. Four hours of lecture and five hours of laboratory per week. One field trip. Prerequisites: BIOL 101 and 102. Offered each fall.

BIOL 314 Microbiology
Study of microorganisms, emphasizing biology of bacteria and viruses and including basic study of immune responses to antigenic substances. Four hours of lecture and four hours of laboratory per week. Prerequisites: BIOL 101, 102 (306 recommended). Offered each fall.

BIOL 316 Evolution (LSI)
An examination of evolutionary theory, covering genetic and biochemical concepts of evolution; adaptation, selection, and the origin of diversity; biogeography; earth history; palaeontology; and systematics of plants and animals. Three hours of lecture and one hour of lab/discussion per week. Prerequisites: BIOL 101 and 102. Offered each fall.

BIOL 320 Marine Biology (G)
A survey of the tropical reef marine environment; the biology of marine plants and animals, ecological relationships and community dynamics. Studies will be conducted at a marine station on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Prerequisites: 101 and 102 and consent of instructor. Recommended: BIOL 217 or 219. No more than two travel courses may count toward 300-level courses in the department. Offered occasionally in mayterm.

BIOL 327 Experimental Ecology (W)
A detailed examination of selected topics in ecology, such as foraging strategies, life history strategies, and community organization. Three hours of discussion per week. Discussion will focus on critical examination of current literature pertinent to lecture topics. In addition, students will conduct research on a topic of their choice, and summarize their results in an oral presentation and a poster. Prerequisite: BIOL  101 and 102. Offered occasionally.

ECON 340 Environmental and Natural Resource Economics
The application of microeconomics to issues of the environment and natural resource use. Economic institutions are examined for their effects on the use of renewable and non-renewable resources. The economic causes of pollution and the available policy responses are explored. Prerequisite: ECON 100. Offered in alternate years.

ENGL 170 Radioactive: Writing in the Nuclear Age
In 1963, the last year the United States conducted atmospheric tests of the atom bomb, the poet Hayden Carruth declared that "the supreme political fact of our lives is the atomic bomb." In this course we'll consider American writers' responses to the development of the atom bomb and to bomb testing, to nuclear accidents like Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, and to the twin threats of nuclear contamination and annihilation.

ENGL 220 American Ground Zero

ENGL 220 Thinking like a Mountain: Literature and Environmental Consciousness
From Aldo Leopold's attempt to think "like a mountain" to Gary Snyder's challenge to bring "the wild" into our lives no matter where we live, writers and poets have played an important part in the forging of a contemporary environmental consciousness. Readings will include the classic and the contemporary, the pragmatic and the visionary. Although the course is writing based and writing intensive, assignments will also take you outside of the classroom to engage more directly the natural world.

HIST 360 Modern Brazil, 1825-Present
An in-depth study of Brazilian history and culture from the independence period to the present. Brazil is the most populous Latin American nation with the world's eighth largest economy and fifth largest area. Offered in alternate years.

MATH 300 Mathematical Modeling
This course demonstrates the applicability of mathe- matics in the formulation and analysis of mathematical models used to solve real world problems. Students are expected to write the results of the models obtained in technical reports and to give oral presentations. This course is taught with the aid of a computer lab. Prerequisite: one of the courses 263 or 166, 215, and at least one additional mathematics course at the 200-level or 300-level. Offered every other year.

PHIL 302 Ethics and the Environment
An examination of different ethical theories to see which provide an adequate basis for an environmental ethics—a basis for deciding whether and how we ought morally to treat non-human entities, including non-human animals and “nature.” We will consider the answers they provide to fundamental ethical questions concerning the environment. The specific normative issues we examine will vary from year to year but they will include issues such as factory farming, genetically engineered crops, air quality, and the preservation of endangered species. Offered in alternate years, spring semester.

PHYS 239 Problems of Nuclear Disarmament (PSI, G)
An examination of reasons for the continual existence of nuclear weapons. Elementary atomic and nuclear physics, the physics of nuclear weapons and the results of their use. Consideration of possible approaches to nuclear disarmament and the responsibility of scientists with respect to disarmament. Literature and film, exploring the effect of nuclear warfare on life and culture in Japan. Offered annually.

PSCI 201 State and Local Government
Analysis of the different structures and political cultures of state and local governments in the United States. Focus is on institutional structures, behavioral patterns and trends, public policies, and on the interplay of levels of government in a Federal system. Prerequisite: PSCI 101 or consent of instructor. Offered in alternate years.

PSCI 341 Congress and the Legislative Process
This course introduces students to the contemporary U.S.Congress. Topics include explanations of how Congress organizes itself and the implications of those perspectives, and how Congress relates to the executive branch and the courts. Individual research projects allow examination of a topic of particular interest to a student. Prerequisite: PSCI 101. Offered in alternate years.

PSCI/SOC 395 Action Research Seminar
This seminar bridges theory and applied research in community action. The course introduces the student as scholar-citizen to the multiple ways of seeking information on communities and examining community issues.On teams with community partners and faculty, students develop action plans and implement research projects. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Offered each fall.

PSCI 398 Grant Writing
Grants are a funding challenge and opportunity for non-profits. Successful grants must construct a compelling argument and align with funder priorities. Students partner with community leaders to complete applications in support of actual programs. This course is designed for upper level students and does not count toward the major or minor in Sociology or Political Science. Offered by arrangement.

PSYC 355 Psychology and the Environment
In this course, you will be challenged to apply psychological science to better understand how people interact with the natural environment. For example, we will explore (a) how human behavior impacts the natural environment and (b) how the natural environment influences human well-being. Students will also learn about current environmental threats and efforts to promote environmental sustainability.  Learning will occur through a variety of activities: readings, discussion, videos, guest speakers, and, most important, a hands-on laboratory experience in which you will design and conduct your own original research studies. Prerequisite: Completed or concurrently enrolled in Psyc 300 or Psyc 202 or consent of instructor.

SOC 344 Population and Environment
Studies the causes and consequences of population change. Topics include the principle of demography, the processes of fertility, mortality and migration, and the impact of population and technology on the natural environment. Offered in alternate years.