Courses

See Also: Major Requirements.

  • ENTS 100: Mining and the Environment

    Diamond and copper--we use these mined resources in electronics, computers, homes, and cars every day. We will explore rich and intersecting issues that arise with this type of resource extraction in landscapes at risk, globally and in Minnesota. These perspectives include the environment, science, climate change, wilderness, water quality, social justice, employment, risk management, war and atrocity, history, politics, and culture. The course will include a required three-day field trip to Northern Minnesota to talk with parties connected to copper-nickel mines proposed by PolyMet and Twin Metals Minnesota near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

    6 credit; Argument and Inquiry Seminar, Writing Requirement; offered Fall 2017 · Trish Ferrett
  • ENTS 100: Science, Technology & 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; Writing Requirement, Argument and Inquiry Seminar, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Fall 2017 · Joel M Weisberg
  • ENTS 110: Environment and Society

    This course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to a number of the pressing environmental changes currently facing human societies around the world. We will seek to understand and integrate the social, economic, scientific and political dimensions of these challenges. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the complexity of environmental issues and the interdisciplinary nature of the search for appropriate solutions. Topics will include global warming, population pressures, energy use, industrial waste and pollution, biological diversity, and sustainable agriculture. 6 credit; Social Inquiry; offered Spring 2018 · Kimberly K Smith
  • 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; Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Social Inquiry; offered Winter 2018 · Papia F Rozario
  • 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; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement, Writing Requirement, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; not offered 2017–2018
  • ENTS 212: Global Food Systems

    The course offers a survey of the world's food systems--and its critics--from the initial domestication of plants and animals to our day. We will begin by examining the critical theoretical and foundational issues on the subject, and then turn to a series of case studies that illuminate major themes around the world. Topics will include land and animal husbandry, the problem of food security, food politics, the Green Revolution, biotechnology, and the implications of global climate change. Throughout the course, students will assess and seek to integrate differing disciplinary and methodological approaches. The class will include field experiences. 6 credit; Social Inquiry, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, International Studies; not offered 2017–2018
  • 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; Humanistic Inquiry; offered Fall 2017 · Kimberly 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; Formal or Statistical Reasoning; offered Spring 2018 · Kimberly K Smith
  • ENTS 238: Ethiopia and Tanzania Program: Energy and Society in Developing Countries

    This course will examine the determinants of household energy use in developing countries, with special emphasis in Ethiopia. Specifically, the course will examine the technical, economic, and cultural factors that affect energy choice and the ways in which these factors can be incorporated in the design of new improve cookstoves to increase their adaption. Students will explore these issues in Addis Ababa and Debre Berhan in Ethiopia. Through readings and discussions with local experts as well as fieldwork, they will develop a better understanding of the opportunities and obstacles towards designing improved cookstoves that are affordable, fuel efficient, and less polluting.

    Prerequisites: One of the following courses are highly recommended: Environmental and Technology Studies 244, 265, 271, 287 or Geology 258 6 credit; Social Inquiry, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, International Studies; not offered 2017–2018 · Tsegaye H Nega
  • ENTS 239: Ethiopia and Tanzania Program: Urban Agriculture

    In this course students learn about the role of urban agriculture in meeting the demand of urban population, explore its productivity, and evaluate the effect of biochar on urban agricultural productivity. Visiting and evaluating existing experiments on the effect of biochar on soil productivity will make up the core of the course. Through readings, conversations, and field research, students understand the possibilities for expanding urban agriculture.

    6 credit; Social Inquiry, International Studies; not offered 2017–2018 · Tsegaye H Nega
  • 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 Inquiry, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, International Studies; not offered 2017–2018 · Tsegaye H Nega
  • ENTS 248: Sustainable Development

    Sustainable development is the internationally and nationally recognized framework for reconciling development (economic development, social wellbeing, and peace and security) with environmental protection and restoration. This course will examine the historical origin of this framework, its meaning, the enormous environmental and poverty challenges that sustainable development is intended to overcome, and its actual and potential effect at the international, national, state, and local levels. It is designed to give students the ability to recognize and address sustainable development issues in any context. There are no prerequisites.

    6 credit; Social Inquiry; offered Spring 2018 · John C Dernbach
  • 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; Quantitative Reasoning Encounter, Social Inquiry, International Studies; not offered 2017–2018
  • 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. 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 sequence. 

    Prerequisites: Biology 125 or 126 or Chemistry 123 or 128 or Geology 110 or 120 and instructor permission 6 credit; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Fall 2017 · David 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; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement, International Studies; offered Winter 2018 · David 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: Two five-week or one ten-week Physics course numbered 151-165 or Chemistry 123 or 128 6 credit; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement, Writing Requirement; not offered 2017–2018
  • ENTS 265: The Science of the Earth System

    An interdisciplinary approach will be employed to understand the science behind major environmental issues such as pollution and climate change. The initial focus of the class will be to develop a good general understanding of the movement of energy and matter among the global biogeochemical cycles. Case studies will draw from recent literature.

    Prerequisites: One introductory course in Biology (125 or 126), Chemistry 123 or 128 or any 100-level Geology or Physics (two five-week courses or one ten week course from 131 through 165) or instructor's permission. 6 credit; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; not offered 2017–2018
  • 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 not required 6 credit; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; not offered 2017–2018
  • ENTS 280: Ethiopia and Tanzania Program: Research Projects on Conservation and Development

    This course will cover basic research methods in the social and natural sciences including how to collect, analyze, integrate, and report social and ecological data. We will give a particular attention to the role of Requirement Analysis in designing and introducing new technologies, with particular emphasis to improved cookstoves. Requirement Analysis involves understanding both functional and non-functional requirements that are key for product success. Students will work in small groups to develop and execute research projects, which will be conducted in both countries in consultation with local faculty.

    4 credit; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; not offered 2017–2018 · Tsegaye H Nega
  • ENTS 284: Ethiopia and 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 curricular exploration requirement; not offered 2017–2018 · Tsegaye H Nega
  • ENTS 286: Cameroon Program: Theoretical and Practical Approaches to Globalization and Development

    This course provides students with foundational knowledge of globalization and development issues while surveying a variety of local approaches to sustainable development as responses to the effects of globalization in Cameroon. Through lectures, seminars, and site visits, students will gain an understanding of the historical foundations of contemporary approaches to development, the nature and breadth of sustainable development, and the controversies surrounding development, including the universality of human rights, ethnocentrism, neocolonialism, corruption, and economic dependence.

    7-8 credit; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Fall 2017 · Nick Hockin
  • 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, Chemistry 123 or 128 or any 100-level Geology, or Physics (two five-week courses or one ten week course from 131 through 165) 6 credit; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement, Writing Requirement, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; not offered 2017–2018
  • ENTS 289: Climate Change and Human Health

    This course will offer a survey of the relationship between climate change and human health. The course will begin by developing an understanding of climate science, and then turn to explore a series of topics that illuminate the intimate relationship between climate change and human health. Topics that will receive sustained attention include short-lived climate forcers and the climate and health impact of mitigation measures, extreme heat/drought, mosquito-borne diseases, indoor air pollution/biomass combustion/cookstoves, and biodiversity conservation. The class will provide opportunities for students to engage in hands-on projects to help them better understand the topics covered in class.

    Prerequisites: One introductory course in Biology 125 or 126, Chemistry 123 or 128, any 100-level Geology, 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; Social Inquiry, Quantitative Reasoning Encounter; offered Spring 2018 · Deborah S Gross
  • ENTS 291: Cameroon Program: NGO Internship/Independent Project

    This course consists of two interrelated streams: the internship and the independent project. During the internship, students study and work with an established NGO, offering students practical hands-on experience in service-learning while fostering the development of one-on-one relationships with local activists across cultural and linguistic barriers. Students document and critically analyze their involvement in a pre-existing local sustainable development initiative and/or creative input into the emergence of a new initiative under the guidance of the NGO staff mentor and the supervision of the Program Director. The independent project is accompanied by a final paper.

    8 credit; Does not fulfill a curricular exploration requirement; offered Fall 2017 · Nick Hockin
  • 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; Social Inquiry; offered Spring 2018 · John C Dernbach
  • 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 Environmental and Technology Studies core courses except comps 3 credit; Social Inquiry; offered Fall 2017 · Aaron M Swoboda
  • 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. 1-6 credit; S/NC; offered Winter 2018