ENTS Courses

  • ENTS 100: Science, Technology and Public Policy

    Science and technology have led to profound effects upon public life over the past century. This course will study the social and political impacts of scientific and technological developments on modern life. We will investigate particular cases drawn from across the sciences, such as genetics, energy production and consumption, nuclear weapons, and the information revolution. The relationship between government, the public, and the science/technology enterprise will be examined. What is, and what should be the role of the practitioners themselves?

    6 credit; Argument and Inquiry Seminar, Writing Requirement, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Fall 2013 · J. Weisberg
  • ENTS 120: Introduction to Geospatial Analysis

    Spatial data analysis using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing, global positioning, and related technologies are increasingly important for understanding and analyzing a wide range of biophysical, social, and economic phenomena. This course serves as an overview and introduction to the concepts, algorithms, issues, and methods in describing, analyzing, and modeling geospatial data over a range of application areas.

    6 credit; Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Social Inquiry, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Fall 2013 · T. Nega
  • ENTS 180: Basic Principles of Sustainable Design

    A holistic and integrated look at the fundamental and interdependent aspects of architecture and sustainable design, the impacts our buildings and choices have on the environment and ecology of the planet, and what we can do to mitigate those impacts. This course will provide students with a basic holistic knowledge of microclimate and siting, energy and resource efficiency, water, waste reduction, materials, and biological influences in sustainable design.

    6 credit; Does not fulfill a distribution requirement, Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; not offered 2013–2014
  • ENTS 200: Food and Agriculture

    The production and consumption of food is a seemingly mundane activity in our lives. Yet, how we respond to food and our consumptive practices mirror our sense of place, our capacity for self-control, our health, the ways in which we impact the world food production system, and the natural environment. In this course, students will study modern agro-food systems and their social and ecological impacts in Ethiopia. The group will visit various sites throughout the program, including large and small scale farms, agro-forestry systems, and examples of urban agriculture.

    6 credit; Social Sciences, Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; not offered 2013–2014
  • ENTS 209: Public Rhetoric and Environmental Science

    In this course, students will pursue projects based in environmental science and aimed at public audiences. Forms may include grant proposals, articles for the popular press, talks aimed at peer scientists, the general public, or school groups, and posters for various audiences. In all cases, purpose, audience, and form will be carefully considered for effective communication of science. Students can expect frequent revision, assiduous peer review responsibilities, and presentation of individual projects orally and in more than one form of writing.

    6 credit; Writing Requirement, Does not fulfill a distribution requirement, Writing Requirement, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; not offered 2013–2014
  • ENTS 215: Environmental Ethics

    This course is an introduction to the central ethical debates in environmental policy and practice, as well as some of the major traditions of environmental thought. It investigates such questions as whether we can have moral duties towards animals, ecosystems, or future generations; what is the ethical basis for wilderness preservation; and what is the relationship between environmentalism and social justice.

    6 credit; Does not fulfill a distribution requirement, Humanistic Inquiry; offered Fall 2013 · K. Smith
  • ENTS 232: Research Methods in Environmental Studies

    This course covers various methodologies that are used to prosecute interdisciplinary academic research relating to the environment. Among the topics covered are: identification of a research question, methods of analysis, hypothesis testing, and effective rhetorical methods, both oral and written.

    3 credit; Does not fulfill a distribution requirement, Formal or Statistical Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Spring 2014 · K. Smith
  • ENTS 244: Biodiversity Conservation and Development

    How can the need for intensive human social and economic development be reconciled with the conservation of biodiversity? This course explores the wide range of actions that people take at a local, national, and international level to address this question. We will use political ecology and conservation biology as theoretical frameworks to examine the role of traditional and indigenous approaches to biodiversity conservation as well as contemporary debates about integrated conservation development across a spectrum of cultures in North America, Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

    6 credit; Social Sciences, Social Inquiry, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, International Studies; offered Fall 2013 · T. Nega
  • ENTS 247: Agroforestry Systems: Local and Global Perspectives

    This course will examine the principles and practices of tropical and temperate agroforestry systems. Focus will be given to the ecological structure and function of agroforests, the economic costs and benefits of agroforests, and the social context in which agroforests operate. Specific topics include plant/soil relationships, competition and complementarity, biogeochemical cycling, design principles, and the synergies and tradeoffs among economic, social, and ecological management goals.

    6 credit; Social Sciences, Social Inquiry; not offered 2013–2014
  • ENTS 254: Topics in Landscape Ecology

    Landscape ecology is an interdisciplinary field that combines the spatial approach of the geographer with the functional approach of the ecologist to understand the ways in which landscape composition and structure affects ecological processes, species abundance, and distribution. Topics include collecting and referencing spatial data at broad scales, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), landscape metrics, simulating change in landscape pattern, landscape connectivity and meta-population dynamics, and reserve design.

    Prerequisites: Biology 125 and 126. 6 credit; Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Social Inquiry, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Winter 2014 · T. Nega
  • ENTS 260: Comparative Agroecology

    As the world human population continues to expand, while at the same time the arable land base and fossil fuel supply shrink, the need for a sustainable food system is imperative. This course explores factors influencing food production and distribution at both local and national levels, with an eye towards how these factors affect choices made by the ultimate stewards of the land--the farmers. While the course focuses on the scientific aspects of agroecosystem sustainability, comparisons will be made among various production models both in the U.S. and China, bringing in social, economic and policy issues.

    Prerequisites: Biology 125 or 126 or Chemistry 123 or 128 or Geology 110 or 120 and permission of the instructor. This course is part of the OCS winter break China program, involving two linked courses in fall and winter terms, this class is the first class in the seque 6 credit; Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Fall 2013 · D. Hougen-Eitzman
  • ENTS 261: Field Investigation in Comparative Agroecology

    This course is the second part of a two-term course sequence beginning with Environmental and Technology Studies 260. The course begins with a two-week visit in December to Beijing and Sichuan province. Field work will include visits to Chinese farms at the forefront of an incipient sustainable agriculture movement in China, as well as discussions with Chinese sustainable agriculture researchers. In regular weekly meetings during the winter term on campus, data will be analyzed and presented in oral and written reports.

    Prerequisites: Environmental and Technology Studies 260. 6 credit; Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Winter 2014 · D. Hougen-Eitzman
  • ENTS 262: Materials Science, Energy, and the Environment

    Drawing on chemistry and physics principles, this course will focus on the relationship between the structure and physical properties of materials, how materials science can address environmental and energy challenges, and the technological and societal impacts of materials development. Topics to be covered will vary from year to year, but may include material life cycle assessment, traditional plastics and biodegradable alternatives, materials and technologies for solar energy conversion, and the role of materials in developing energy efficient buildings. Students who have taken Physics 260 may not take Environmental and Technology Studies 262.

    Prerequisites: Physics 151, 152, 153, or 165 or Chemistry 123 or 128. 6 credit; Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Writing Requirement, Writing Requirement, Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; not offered 2013–2014
  • ENTS 264: Tanzania and Ethiopia Program: Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa

    Smallholder agriculture is the mainstay of livelihoods in much of Sub Saharan Africa. In east Africa, for example, smallholder farming accounts for about seventy-five percent of agricultural production and over seventy-five percent employment. Yet the productivity of the sector is very low to the point that famine is a recurrent phenomenon. In this course, students will study the structure of the smallholder farming communities, the economic and institutional constraints under which these farmers operate, and current efforts to address them. The group will explore these issues at various sites throughout the program.

    6 credit; Social Sciences, Social Inquiry, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, International Studies; not offered 2013–2014
  • ENTS 265: Modeling Environmental Systems

    Different scientific disciplines are good at characterizing environmental systems. In this class, biogeochemical cycles relating to the rates of transport of matter and energy among water, soil, and the atmosphere will be studied as one way to sort out major local, regional, and global environmental issues. However, complex interactions among components forbid a detailed understanding of systems as they change over time. Rate modeling activities will be used in order to develop a better sense of the ways that systems change over time.

    Prerequisites: One of the following: Chemistry 128, Biology 210, Biology 221, or another introductory science class with permission of the instructor. 6 credit; Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; not offered 2013–2014
  • ENTS 271: Environmental Economics and Policy

    This course will explore the economic and political institutions affecting the environment. The major questions of the course will be: When are individual economic incentives not aligned with society's environmental interests? How can policies and regulations be changed to best accomplish environmental goals? Will the economic development of economies like India and China lead to more or less environmental destruction? How can we best balance costs and benefits over long time horizons as we must in issues of non-renewable resource management and climate change? Topics to be discussed may include: climate change, agriculture, transportation, energy efficiency, population growth, and water.

    6 credit; Social Sciences, Social Inquiry, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Spring 2014 · A. Swoboda
  • ENTS 272: Remote Sensing of the Environment

    This course provides an introduction to the use of remotely sensed imagery and the application of remote sensing in environmental and natural resources management. Topics include raster-vector integration, geometric and atmospheric correction, spatial and spectral enhancement, image classification, change detection, and spatial modeling. This course will involve both lecture classes that will be used for presentation of fundamental topics and theory and sessions devoted to providing hands-on experience in the processing and interpretation of remotely sensed imagery.

    Prerequisites: Environmental Studies 120 is recommended but not required. 6 credit; Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Winter 2014 · M. Schmitt-Harsh
  • ENTS 275: Urban Ecology

    This course will examine the interdisciplinary field of urban ecology, seeking to address such questions as: How do cities function as social-ecological systems? What makes cities sustainable and resilient? How are urban dwellers implicated in the environmental processes around them? Topics include urban metabolism, cities as social-ecological systems, land use planning and design principles, and the hydrological, biogeochemical, and atmospheric processes of urban environments.

    6 credit; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Spring 2014 · M. Schmitt-Harsh
  • ENTS 280: Tanzania and Ethiopia Program: Research Projects on Conservation and Development

    The aim of this course is to equip students with the necessary research, evaluation and communication skills in order to carryout their research projects successfully. Topics covered includes understanding of the frameworks within which knowledge is communicated and gained as well as the particular skills and techniques that make that possible.

    4 credit; Does not fulfill a distribution requirement, Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; not offered 2013–2014
  • ENTS 284: Tanzania Program: Cultural Studies

    The course is intended to expose students to the cultural heritages of Tanzania and Ethiopia. Among the cultural activities involved in the course include visits to historical cultural sites and museums, guest lectures, and lessons in local cuisines.

    2 credit; S/CR/NC; Does not fulfill a distribution requirement, Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; not offered 2013–2014
  • ENTS 285: Tanzania and Ethiopia Program: Wildlife Conservation and Livelihoods

    This field seminar will explore the evolution of wildlife management in Tanzania and Ethiopia. At various sites along the program route students will examine the tension between wildlife conservation and people's livelihoods, discuss with local experts, and carry out a short research to develop a better understanding of the challenges/opportunities towards developing a sustainable land use system that meets the needs of the local people while sustaining the resilience of wildlife populations. Students will write a series of short papers that summarizes their understanding, focusing on how the sites visited fit into the larger debate on conservation and development.

    6 credit; Social Sciences, Social Inquiry, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, International Studies; not offered 2013–2014
  • ENTS 287: Climate Science

    In this course, we will explore the state of the science of the modern global climate. The course will include a discussion of the impact of greenhouse gases and aerosol particles on the global climate system, and attention will be paid to understanding global cycles as well as global climate models. In order to understand the underlying science, geoengineering schemes to "fix" the global climate system will be investigated. Throughout the course, our emphasis will be on a quantitative, scientifically rigorous understanding of the complex climate system.

    Prerequisites: One introductory course in Biology (125 or 126), Chemistry (123 or 128), Geology (110 or 120), or Physics (two five-week courses or one ten-week course from 131-165) and Math 111 or 215, or consent of the instructor. 6 credit; Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Winter 2014 · D. Gross
  • ENTS 288: Abrupt Climate Change

    The field of abrupt climate change seeks to understand very fast changes, or "tipping points," in historical climate records. Course topics include interpretation of historical climate data, methods of measuring abrupt changes in ancient climates, theories for abrupt change, the role of complex earth systems, and the connection to trends in global climate change. The course will directly address our future vulnerability to abrupt climate change through cases studies of past human civilizations. Includes a term-long multimedia team project, with an academic civic engagement component, at the intersection of abrupt climate change and an issue of human concern.

    Prerequisites: One introductory course in Biology (125 or 126) or Chemistry (123 or 128) or Geology (115 or 120) or Physics (two five-week courses or one ten week course from 131 through 165). 6 credit; Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Writing Requirement, Writing Requirement, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; not offered 2013–2014
  • ENTS 301: Science and Society

    Science today is hardwired into virtually every aspect of our lives and the world we inhabit so much so that there is no 'space' outside science. Our societies can equally well die of the production of science (e.g., global warming, species extinction) or safeguard itself from them. In such a context, how we understand science and with what tools is a key question. The aim of this course is to explore major approaches for understanding and explaining scientific knowledge and the implications of these approaches for understanding the place and importance of science in an age of global environmentalism.

    Prerequisites: Sociology/Anthropology 110, 111, or permission of instructor 6 credit; Does not fulfill a distribution requirement, Social Inquiry; offered Spring 2014 · T. Nega
  • ENTS 310: Topics in Environmental Law and Policy

    This seminar will examine topical issues in domestic and international environmental law and policy. We will aim to understand how environmental laws work to achieve policy objectives, with attention also to debates about the role of markets and community-based environmental management. The specific topics may change from year to year, but may include approaches to sustainable development, sustainable agriculture, protection of endangered species, and conservation and management of water resources. This course has no prerequisites and is suitable for students of environmental studies, political science, international relations and political economy.

    6 credit; Does not fulfill a distribution requirement, Social Inquiry; offered Winter 2014 · K. Smith
  • ENTS 372: Coffee Ecologies and Livelihoods

    This course presents an overview of the environmental, social and economic dimensions of coffee production, commercialization and consumption. Specifically, we will cover the following topics: 1) How coffee is produced and the challenges and opportunities that affect the livelihoods of coffee producers; 2) How coffee is marketed in the global economy, including a comparison of conventional and alternative markets (fair trade, organic, shade grown, etc.); 3) The opportunities and challenges to integrate coffee production with environmental conservation initiatives. The course will be run as a seminar with regular discussions and presentations by students.

    6 credit; Writing Requirement, Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Spring 2014 · M. Schmitt-Harsh
  • ENTS 395: Senior Seminar

    This seminar will focus on preparing Environmental Studies majors to undertake the senior comprehensive exercise. The seminar will be organized around a topic to-be-determined and will involve intensive discussion and the preparation of a detailed research proposal for the comps experience. The course is required for all Environmental Studies majors choosing the group comps option.

    Prerequisites: Completion of all other ENTS core courses except comps. 3 credit; Does not fulfill a distribution requirement, Social Inquiry; offered Fall 2013 · K. Smith
  • ENTS 400: Integrative Exercise

    In this course, ENTS majors complete a group-based comprehensive exercise. Each group is expected to research and execute a group project on the topic chosen by the group, under the guidance of an ENTS faculty member. Toward the end of winter term, all groups present their research at a symposium sponsored by ENTS. Prerequisite: Environmental and Technology Studies 395.

    6 credit; S/NC; Does not fulfill a distribution requirement, Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Winter 2014 · Staff