Preview of Courses
The following are courses that have been offered or are usually offered by the Program in Environmental Science and Environmental Studies. For a comprehensive list of courses, please refer to the current Schedule of Classes or Course Catalog.
Sample Core Courses
ENVS 100. Introduction to Environmental Science
An introduction to the field of environmental science, examined from multiple perspectives: biology, earth sciences, chemistry, and physics. The class focuses on the contributions these different disciplines make to the diagnosis and solution of environmental problems, with an emphasis on the interdisciplinary nature of these issues. Lecture, laboratory, and field trips. One semester, 4 credits.
ENVS 396. Integrated Research Methods
This course focuses on developing expertise in environmental sampling and analysis. Topics to be covered include basic surveying and mapping techniques, community sampling, air and water quality analysis, and basic statistical analysis of data. The course is topic based, and will investigate several problems over the course of the semester using field and laboratory instrumentation. This course is designed for sophomores or juniors. Lecture, Laboratory and Field Trips. Prerequisite: ENVS 100. One semester, 3 credits.
Sample Jan Term Courses
INTD 218. Insects and People
Insects are the most diverse group of living things on the planet and vastly outnumber, in species and individuals, any other taxonomic group. This course explores the interactions between humans and insects to appreciate the importance of insects in human well being. On the one hand insects provide people with valuable goods (e.g. food and clothing) and essential services (e.g. pollination and waste removal). But on the other hand, insects transmit deadly diseases among people and inflict immense economic losses as pests of our crops and our homes. Students learn basic insect ecology, morphology and physiology on the basis of which they are able to recognize the diverse insect orders and life cycles and their relatives. Consequently, students come to appreciate the capacity of insects to deliver ecosystem goods and services to human societies, but also to be pests and purveyors of pestilence to people and property. The culminating experience in the class is project that encourages students to explore the theme of insects and people as imaginatively as possible. The project could be a work of art (painting, a short play, even a song etc.) or it could be an ecological analysis (e.g. the diversity of insects on campus or in Puente Hills).
Sample Upper Division Environmental Science Courses
ENVS 320*. Environmental Chemistry
Atmospheric and condensed phase chemistry involved in modern environmental challenges including: global warming; energy supply; air, water and soil pollution; and ozone depletion. Prerequisite: CHEM 110A or instructor permission. One semester. Lectures and Laboratory. Cross listed with Chem 282. One semester. 4 credits
ENVS 352. Long Term Environmental Change
The Earth’s climate is experiencing unprecedented changes that will likely affect every form of life. Now scientists can rely on the study of past climate changes to better understand the mechanisms, triggers and environmental impacts behind abrupt past changes in climate and to make predictions about future climate.
ENVS 473*. The Southern California Flora: Ecology, Evolution and Taxonomy
Taxonomic and ecological study of native plants. Lectures, Laboratory, and Field Trips. This course involves lectures only and does not have a lab section. Through lectures, readings from book chapters and scientific papers students learn about the different drivers of climate change and related implications for life on Earth.
Sample Upper Division Environmental Studies Courses
ENST 323*. Environmental Anthropology
The changes that humans make in the natural environment are related to their world views and to their ideas about what the relationship between humans and nature should be. This course will explore these relationships cross-culturally through the readings of ethnographies and the viewing of films. Sophomore standing or above or the instructor's permission. One semester, 3 credits.
ENST 348. Food and Food Systems
This course approaches food–something Americans often take for granted–as a complex social system. We will investigate the social relationships and modes of organization that constitute the economic, political, environmental and social contexts for the development, production, distribution, promotion and consumption of food in contemporary society. Thus the course engages topics such as genetically modified food, the politics of food regulation, industrial agriculture, alternative agriculture and/or sustainable development. Cross listed with SOC 348. One semester, 3 credits.
ENST 350*. World Environmental History
An examination of the world’s environmental history from both local (e.g. California and the U.S.) and global perspectives (e.g. deforestation, species extinctions, climate change and global warming, nitrogen flows) designed to explore the interaction between humans and the natural environment, and to assess the extent of the human impact on natural environments over time.