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Courses

Course offerings reflect the 2020-2021 Elmhurst University CatalogOne unit of credit equals four semester hours.

This course introduces students to an interdisciplinary academic field that focuses on the interrelationships and complexities of environmental processes and problems. The course combines ideas from many disciplines including physical and biological sciences; social sciences; and humanities (e.g. ecology, political science, ethics, biology, philosophy, economics, sociology) to better understand environmental affairs. Special attention is given to understanding how the student, his/her society, and humanity are connected to the environment. The environmental impact of people’s consumptive lifestyles will also be highlighted.

ES 200-201 provide an introduction to environmental science in an interdisciplinary context. This first course focuses on an introduction to the major components, processes and interactions of the four primary Earth systems (atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and geosphere). Geological processes such as the rock cycle and tectonics will be examined along with the ability for humans to alter those processes both intentionally and unintentionally. An examination of deep time and reconstruction of past climates provides context for our understanding of modern climate change. Students will learn about the structure of the atmosphere, chemical processes in the atmosphere, atmospheric cycling and the potential impact of changes to that cycle. The structure and processes of the oceans will be studied along with the implications of changing ocean currents and sea levels. The chronology of the Earth, along with the origin, chemical composition, and distribution of energy and mineral resources will be discussed. The chemistry of fossil fuels, nuclear power, renewable energy, greenhouse gases, ozone depletion, acid rain, air pollution, and the environmental consequences of energy and mineral extraction and use will be explored. Scientific methodology, ethics in scientific research, data analysis, and the evaluation of scientific claims are emphasized throughout. Includes laboratory.

ES 200- 201 provide an introduction to environmental science in an interdisciplinary context. This second course in the sequence will establish a foundational knowledge of the biosphere and its interactions with the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere. Students will gain the cellular, organismal, population, and evolutionary principles necessary to understand ecosystems on local, regional, and global scales. Students will learn how all species within the ecosystem are interrelated, with each relying on the others, and will examine human interactions with ecosystems and the impact of those interactions. Current environmental issues such as the transformation of ecosystems in response to climate change, overexploitation, and agriculture will be a focus. Topics will include: nutrient cycling, biodiversity, invasive species, extinction, pollution, habitat destruction, and conservation. Scientific methodology, ethics in scientific research, data analysis, evaluation of scientific claims, and an introduction to modelling tools will be included.

Includes laboratory. Prerequisite: ES 200

This course examines the social, economic, governmental, and environmental dimensions of sustainable urban development. Some of the major themes explored include indicators of sustainability, urban demographic trends, environmental justice, green building, urban sprawl, sustainable energy and transportation, and global climate change.

An opportunity for faculty and students to study topics of current and unique importance that are not contained in the general curriculum. Topics vary on the basis of interest expressed by students and faculty. Depending on the topic, consent of instructor may be required, and grading options will vary. May be repeated for credit.

The Environmental Studies Capstone course should be taken during the student’s junior year. BA and BS students will work together to gain valuable hands-on experience, explore career possibilities and build professional communication skills. Teams of students conduct original community-based research focused on a single, local environmental issue. Each team uses a different disciplinary perspective and approach to investigate the issue, and hence the class as a whole is immersed in an interdisciplinary exploration of environmental issues. The course culminates in the presentation of the research projects to faculty, students, and community members.

This course is an introduction and overview of major federal environmental statutes, emphasizing the legal framework for environmental protection as it has evolved in the United States. Overarching legal and policy concepts, such as federalism, administrative procedure, separation of powers, judicial review, and statutory interpretation are explored. Course will cover various topics that include, but not limited to, air and water pollution, toxic waste, endangered species, land use, and environmental justice.

Involves the student directly in environmental work. Classroom theory is tested when the student is exposed to a variety of opportunities to enhance professional development.

May be repeated for credit. Every term, as needed.

The primary purpose of this course is to give the student an opportunity to apply classroom learning to practical work experience. Academic credit for a term of employment at 15 to 20 hours per week. Internship possibilities include non-profit organizations, federal, state, and local governments, or other relevant environmental agency/office/business. Evaluation of employee by the employer and a research report by the student are required. Full-time summer study is possible.

May be repeated for credit. Every term, as needed.

An independent and concentrated reading/research course centering around a specific problem area, a single field of specialization or a concentration on the writings of major environmental thinkers.

May be repeated for credit. Written permission of the instructor is required. As requested.

All Environmental Studies majors are required to complete a senior seminar in Environmental Studies. This will include an intensive research project and formal presentation in a collaborative setting. This is an opportunity for students to draw on their classroom experiences to do research and develop a presentation on an environmental issue of particular interest. Students will develop their skills in research and oral and written communication as related to Environmental Studies. The course may include presentations and discussions by students and guest lecturers.

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