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Description of Core Courses

Please note that this list is NOT a list of the course requirements for the major. Please go to our "majoring in ENSP" page for full majors' requirements. What follows is a description of courses that we directly teach ourselves and are listed under the ENSP program. Not every course is available every semester, please check the course schedule for the most current listing of courses.” 

ENSP 101: Introduction to Environmental Science and Policy
Fall (3) Hicks, Kaste, Chambers, Kaup
This team-taught interdisciplinary course brings together perspectives and approaches to environmental problems from natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Examines key environmental concepts by exploring case studies such as pollution and contamination disputes, ecosystem management in the Chesapeake Bay, and biodiversity.

ENSP 201: Watershed Dynamics
Spring (4) Chambers, Hancock
This team-taught course will combine biologic and hydrologic approaches to explore the interactions between the physical, biological, and chemical processes active in watersheds. Emphasis will be placed on understanding how interactions between these processes control water quality and biologic diversity, and how anthropogenic activities modify these processes. Laboratory is required.

ENSP 202: Global Environmental Challenges: Climate Change
Fall or Spring (3) Roberts, Taylor
This course introduces students to the state of scientific knowledge about climate and climate change, including natural cycles and human-induced changes. It explores potential impacts of climate change, national policies, the Kyoto Protocol, and other global efforts to address the problem.

ENSP 203: Public Commons Workshop
Fall and Spring (1-3) Taylor
This workshop course will have students and faculty working as a team on community-based research, addressing important local and regional environmental issues in consultation with community organizations and local government agencies. Topics vary by semester and results are presented publicly.

ENSP 204: GIS in the Environmental Sciences
Fall and Spring (3) Hamilton
This course will provide an introduction to using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as a tool in environmental science and policy. Emphasis will be on hands-on application of GIS to create maps, to organize and visualize spatial data, and to query spatial data to elucidate answers to environmental questions.

ENSP 205: Marine and Environmental Science
Fall or Spring (3) Staff
This course introduces students to the science of marine and terrestrial environments. It ties marine science and policy to land use, watershed and coastal zone management, pollution, forests and agriculture, ocean fisheries, mineral resources, climate change, and biodiversity.

ENSP 249: Environmental Challenges: Topics
Fall or Spring (1-4) Staff
This course is an in-depth look at an important issue of environmental science and policy. The topics to be considered will be announced prior to the beginning of the semester. The course is primarily designed for sophomores and juniors who have taken Introduction to Environmental Science and Policy. Some topics will include a required weekly laboratory session.

ENSP 250: Seminar Topics in Environmental Science and Policy
Spring (1-3) Staff
Key environmental topics will be addressed by top national and international environmental experts in three lectures and informal discussion sessions with students. Small groups of students will meet with faculty to discuss readings and the lectures, and a written assignment will integrate the topic.

ENSP 302: Philosophic History of American Environmentalism
(GER4A, 7) Fall and Spring (3) Fowler
Examines basic ethical controversies surrounding modern American environmentalism with special focus on: 1) our moral place in Darwinian nature, 2) the wilderness ideal, 3) Native American ecology, land ethic and deep ecology, 4) preserving biodiversity, and 5) environmentalism as social (in?)justice.

ENSP 303: Issues in Environmental Ethics
(GER7) Fall and Spring (3) Fowler
This course reviews core issues in environmental ethics and then takes an in-depth look at one area of environmental ethics, such as the ethics of conserving biodiversity, Earth Rights, or key environmental cases which raise ethical concerns.

ENSP 440: Special Topics in Environmental Science and Policy (varies by year)
Fall or Spring (3-4) Staff
This course provides students a hands-on, in-depth look at an issue of environmental science and policy. The topics to be considered will be announced prior to the beginning of each semester. The course is primarily designed for senior concentrators or minors.

ENSP 460: Seminar in Environmental Issues
Fall or Spring (3) Staff
A topics course for seniors based on an extended review of an environmental issue by each student. In consultation with the professor, students will select a topic in advance of registration for the course, and will research the topic through all appropriate sources (literature, Internet, individuals, etc). An oral presentation and a paper are required.

ENSP 490 Independent Research
Fall and Spring (1-4) Staff
This course is designed to permit the environmental science/studies concentrator to engage in independent research in their Junior or Senior years. Working closely with a faculty member as an advisor, each student will be expected to conduct original research and prepare a substantial research paper. This course may be repeated for credit.

ENSP 495-496 Honors
Fall and Spring (3,3) Staff
Environmental Science and Policy Honors students must meet the College's provisions on admissions to the program, see page 72. These students enroll for both semesters of their senior year, defending an Honors Proposal at the end of the first semester, and completing an Honors research project or essay and defending it in an oral exam by April 15th.

ENSP 498-499 Internship
Fall and Spring (1-3) Staff
This course is designed to allow students to gain knowledge through experience in the environmental area, through work with government agencies, nonprofits, or companies. Students will be supervised by faculty members, and students must complete an agreed-upon list of readings and write a paper tying their experience to existing theory and research. Requires written permission from the Director and a faculty advisor.

Additional Courses for Major or Minor in Environmental Science and Policy

Following is a sample listing of courses that may be credited toward the major or minor. Not all of these courses are offered every semester, and additional courses may qualify for Environmental Science and Policy credit. Please consult with Prof. Roberts, Director of Environmental Science and Policy, for information.

  • Anth 315 Environmental Archaeology
  • Anth 420 Tropical Ecology
  • Apsc 492 Global Changes
  • Apsc 494 Climate: Science and Policy
  • Biol 105 Plants, People, and Agriculture
  • Biol 108 Introduction to Ecology and Environmental Science
  • Biol 109 Introduction to Ecology and Environmental Science Laboratory
  • Geol 305 Environmental Geology (can be substituted as ENSP249)
  • Geol 306 Marine Geology
  • Geol 316 Environmental Geochemistry
  • Geol 330 Introduction to Oceanography
  • Govt 381 Human Geography
  • Govt 384 The Geography of Latin America and the Caribbean
  • Law 424 Environmental Law
  • Law 425 Land Use Control
  • Relg 321 Ecology and Ethics