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Course Descriptions

EVS 501 Principles of Environmental Sustainability

This seminar is designed to provide overarching context for students in the Environmental Sustainability Program. The underlying philosophies, theoretical perspectives, and contemporary practices and challenges pertaining to sustainability are discussed. Among other topics, the course focuses on sustainability’s emphasis on identifying and understanding the complex interconnections between environmental, economic, and social systems. It also explores the methods of inquiry and analysis that social and physical scientists employ in their work on sustainability and the importance of striving for synthesis among these respective approaches. The course guides students to an understanding of sustainability’s multiple dimensions and prepares them to approach remaining program coursework with an eye toward synthesis and integration.
Requisite: must be taken early in the program.
Fall, 3 credits

EVS 520: Sustainable Land Use and Transportation

Metropolitan regions are home to over 80 percent of the country’s population and consume comparable levels of resources. Building sustainable cities will require redesigning buildings, neighborhoods, and entire metropolitan landscapes – but pricing signals must support these goals. This course reviews and evaluates the tools and criteria that urban professionals use to incrementally shift urban investments toward humane and sustainable systems. Specific topics include suburbanization and sprawl, smart growth, transit oriented development, political ecology, and case studies from the New York metropolitan region and other cities.
Alternate Years, 3 credits

EVS 530: Sustainable Energy Systems

This course examines solar, wind, conservation, and efficiency from regional, national, and international perspectives – with an emphasis on electric systems. What are the strengths and weaknesses of different state and national frameworks for developing an economically successful electric energy system?  What cultural contexts, administrative actions, legislation, and/or coalitions contribute to these successes?  What scientific principles enable technological innovations in wind, solar, and other renewable energy systems?
Alternate Years, 3 credits

EVS 575: Special Topics in Environmental Sustainability

Students are required to attend all lectures, complete all assigned readings and projects. Students will be expected to analyze problems relating to environmental sustainability. By working with regional professionals (guest lecturers), students will explore a variety of research and management situations they are Prerequisite or Co-requisite: EVS 501
On Occasion, 3 credits

EVS 610: Material and Energy Flow

Modern society draws enormous quantities of resources, uses them, and ultimately disposes of the wastes. This interdisciplinary course explores the flow of materials and energy from their sources, through the urban/suburban environment, to the resultant wastes. Topics will include conventional energy resources (coal, oil, natural gas, and uranium), building materials (cement, asphalt, iron and other metals), food resources, and wastes (municipal waste disposal, industrial waste, mine waste, air pollution). Lectures will present the science of the acquisition, processing, usage, and disposal of each resource, followed by analyses of the economic (and, where relevant, political) dynamics of these geographic processes. Students will contrast existing resource flows with more sustainable alternatives. These analyses will provide a methodological framework for evaluating regional practices and policies.
Alternate Years, 3 credits

EVS 620: Environmental Sustainability Seminar

This end-of-program capstone course focuses on practical problem solving for environmental sustainability with an emphasis on the New York/Long Island metropolitan region. Coursework involves the selection of specific issues and problems of concern to the region and the development of strategic approaches to manage, mitigate, and address them. Students are guided in the formulation of solutions that incorporate an interdisciplinary problem solving approach and that demonstrate an understanding of the complex multidimensional issues related to the specific problems under investigation.
Prerequisites: Completion of 24 credit hours in the Environmental Sustainability program.
Spring, 3 credits

EVS 701: Internship

The internship will provide a professional training experience in advancing practices of environmental sustainability. The student will be directed by a competent professional in a national, state or local government agency or private organization. The faculty advisor will work with the student and the workplace supervisor to ensure that the work is academically rigorous, of sufficient duration, and advances the student’s understanding and application of environmental sustainability principles and practices.
Prerequisites: Completion of 15 credit hours in the Environmental Sustainability program.
On Occasion, 3 credits

ERS 501 Mapping Environmental Data with GIS

This is a hands-on, introductory geographic information system (GIS) course on managing spatial data using a computer. The course is based on the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis introductory curriculum using ArcView software. The course addresses GIS principles, creating and querying spatial views and themes, importing and exporting data, map projections, geocoding, attribute tabular data, charts, layouts and applications. The course is lecture and laboratory and is designed for the practitioner and as an introduction to practical GIS applications.
Same as GGR 501
Annually, 3 credits

ERS 502 GIS Applications

This course explores technical issues in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and the application of GIS in addressing environmental problems. GIS applications for environmental science and management decision support may include forest resource inventory, water resources and modeling, coastal evolution and sediment budget analysis, and urban planning and zoning.
Same as GGR 502
Prerequisite: ERS 501, equivalent, or instructor’s permission
Alternate Years, 3 credits

GGR 518 Topics in Applied Conservation

The application of geographic principles to the problems of environmental conservation is discussed. The course will include detailed studies of selected aspects of resource conservation. Students must demonstrate an ability to explain the various ways in which geographers and other environmental scientists organize knowledge and communicate the results of their research in their disciplines.
Alternate Years, 3 credits

GLY 510 Oceans, Coasts, Sustainability

This course explores the ocean in the Earth system with special emphasis on: the flow and transformation of water and energy into and out of the ocean, chemical and physical properties of seawater, ocean circulation, geologic processes and the dynamic coast, marine life, its habitats and adaptations, interactions between the ocean and other components of the Earth system, the human/societal impacts on and response to those interactions.  Students must demonstrate an understanding of the development and organization of the discipline as well as an ability to communicate this understanding through the discursive conventions of the sciences.
Prerequisite: Permission of department
Annually, 3 credits

GLY 518 Groundwater Geology

This course considers the factors controlling the occurrence and movement of groundwater, the hydrologic cycle, groundwater regimes, theories and models of groundwater flow and storage, porosity and permeability, the geologic work of groundwater, exploration for groundwater, problems of groundwater quality and contamination, and groundwater management techniques.
Prerequisite: GLY 1 or ERS 2
Alternate Years, 3 credits

GLY 523 Environmental Geochemistry

Study of the chemistry of the Earth with emphasis on the surficial geologic environment and human-environment interactions. Topics include the distribution of elements in the Earth, basic chemical principles applied to the surface geologic environment, the chemistry of natural waters and of soils, isotope geochemistry as a tracer of environmental and climate processes, natural bedrock-related hazards such as radon, and environmental pollution issues such as mine wastes, nuclear energy and radioactive waste, solid waste disposal, and challenges to ocean chemistry.
Prerequisite: CHM 3 and either GLY 1 or ERS 2
On Occasion, 3 credits

GLY 529 Global Climate Change

This course will explore the issue of global climate change from the deep past through to the present and near future. Topics will include an introduction to the Earth’s climate system, study of records of climate variations in the ancient past, more recent past, and ongoing natural variations, examination of the evidence as to whether humans may be inducing global warming today, projections for the amount of future temperature rise, and consequences of higher temperatures such as rising sea level and more intense tropical storms.
Same as ERS 529
Prerequisite: ERS 513 and 514
Alternate Years, 3 credits

GLY 550 Environmental Geology

This course studies the geological foundations of environmental science. It examines natural geologic systems in relation to human concerns, with special attention paid to issues of relevance to Long Island and the New York metropolitan area. Topics include a detailed study of soil properties and soil mechanics, mass wasting, fundamental groundwater hydrology, analysis of stream flooding, earthquake seismology and risk assessment.
Prerequisite: GLY 1 or ERS 2
Alternate Years, 3 credits