Iowa State University

Iowa State University

2007-2009 Courses and Programs

Iowa State University Catalog

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Environmental Studies (Env S)

200 |300 |400 |

(Interdepartmental Undergraduate Program)

William G. Crumpton: Coordinator

The Environmental Studies Program deals with the relationship between humans and nature, or between humans and natural systems. The curriculum is designed to give students an understanding of regional and global environmental issues and an appreciation of different perspectives regarding these issues. Courses are provided for students pursuing careers related to the environment and for others who simply want to know more about environmental issues. In addition, students in any college may elect to take a secondary major or minor in Environmental Studies.

Secondary Major

The Environmental Studies secondary major is taken in addition to one's first major and provides the breadth of preparation and integrated perspective necessary to understand environmental issues. Students seeking a major in Environmental Studies complete 24 credits of Env S coursework including (1) at least one general survey course chosen from Env S 101, 120, 173, and 201, (2) at least one integrative/issues course chosen from Env S 204, 324, 342, 404, 424, and 450, and (3) at least two human/societal perspectives courses chosen from Env S 320, 334, 345, 355, 380, 382, 384, 442, 472, 482, 484, and 491. Beyond these three requirements, any Environmental Studies course and up to six credits of approved departmental coursework may be applied toward the 24 credit total for the major. Regardless of their home college, Environmental Studies majors must complete 12 credits of approved coursework in natural science including coursework from life sciences and physical sciences. Unless prohibited by program or college rules, courses used in the major may also be used to satisfy general education and other requirements of departments and colleges. A combined average grade of C or higher is required in courses applied to the major.

Regardless of their primary major, Environmental Studies graduates have a broad foundation in science and humanities, an understanding of major regional and global environmental issues, and an appreciation of the varied and sometimes opposing perspectives regarding these issues.


Students seeking a minor in Environmental Studies complete 15 credits in Environmental Studies courses including (1) at least one general survey course chosen from Env S 101, 120, 173, and 201, (2) at least one integrative/ issues course chosen from Env S 204, 324, 342, 404, 424, and 450, and (3) at least two human/societal perspectives courses chosen from Env S 293, 334, 345, 355, 380, 382, 384, 442, 472, 482, 484, and 491. Beyond these three requirements, any Environmental Studies course may be applied toward the 15 credit total for the minor. A combined average grade of C or higher is required in courses applied to the minor, and the minor must include at least 9 credits that are not used to meet any other department, college, or university requirement.

Courses open for nonmajor graduate credit: 334, 342, 355, 381, 384, 404, 460, 461I, 472, 480I,482.

Courses primarily for undergraduate students

Env S 101. Environmental Geology: Earth in Crisis. (Cross-listed with Geol). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.S. An introduction to geologic processes and the consequences of human activity from local to global scales. Discussion of human population growth, resource depletion, pollution and waste disposal, global warming and ozone depletion, desertification, and geologic hazards such as earthquakes, landslides, flooding, and volcanism.

Env S 108. Introduction to Oceanography. (Cross-listed with Geol). (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Introduction to study of the oceans. Ocean exploration. Waves and currents. Shape, structure, and origin of the ocean basins. Sedimentary record of oceanic life. Composition of seawater and its significance for life. Ocean circulation and its influence on climate. Life of the oceans, including coral reefs. Use and misuse of ocean resources. Anthropogenic impacts on the oceanic environment.

Env S 120. Introduction to Renewable Resources. (Cross-listed with Agron, NREM). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.S. Overview of soil, water, plants, and animals as renewable natural resources in an ecosystem context. History and organization of resource management. Concepts of integrated resource management.

Env S 130. Natural Resources and Agriculture. (Cross-listed with NREM). (3-0) Cr. 3. S. Survey of the ecology and management of fish, forest, and wildlife resources in areas of intensive agriculture, with emphasis on Iowa. Conservation and management practices for private agricultural lands. Designed for nonmajors.

Env S 173. Environmental Biology. (Cross-listed with Biol). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.S. An introduction to the structure and function of natural systems at scales from the individual to the biosphere and the complex interactions between humans and their environment. Discussions of human population growth, biodiversity, sustainability, resource use, and pollution.

Env S 201. Introduction to Environmental Issues. Cr. 2. Prereq: Sophomore classification. Ecological and human/societal dimensions of environmental issues; how humans and their institutions interact with and affect the environment; how societies are affected by environmental change. Selected issues such as human population growth, loss of biodiversity, and effects of agriculture on the environment.

Env S 204. Biodiversity. (Cross-listed with Biol). (4-0) Cr. 2. S. Prereq: One course in life sciences. Survey of the major groups of organisms and biological systems. Definition, measurements, and patterns of distribution of organisms. Sources of information about biodiversity. Not intended for major credit in the biological sciences. Half semester course.

Env S 260. Soils and Environmental Quality. (Cross-listed with Agron). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.S. Burras. Role of soils in environmental quality and natural resources management. Emphasis on soil erosion and conservation, water quality, and environmental planning. Saturday field trip.

Env S 293. Environmental Planning. (Cross-listed with C R P, Dsn S). (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. F., offered 2007. Prereq: Sophomore classification. Comprehensive overview of the field of environmental relationships and the efforts being made to organize, control, and coordinate environmental, aesthetic, and cultural characteristics of land, air, and water.

Env S 320. Ecofeminism. (Cross-listed with W S). (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. F., offered 2007. Prereq: W S 201 or 3 credits in W S at the 300 level or above. Women's relationships with the earth, non-human nature, and other humans. The course explores the connections between the mastery of women and the mastery of nature; origins of ecofeminism and its relation to the science of ecology and to other branches of feminist philosophies. Critique of modern science, technology, political systems as well as solutions will be included.

Env S 324. Energy and the Environment. (Cross-listed with Geol, Mteor). (3-0) Cr. 3. S. Renewable and non-renewable energy resources. Origin, occurance, and extraction of fossil fuels. Nuclear, wind, and solar energy. Energy efficiency. Environmental effects of energy production and use, including air pollution, acid precipitation, groundwater contamination, and nuclear waste disposal, and global climate change.

Env S 334. Environmental Ethics. (Cross-listed with Phil). (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: Three credits in philosophy or junior classification. Thorough study of some of the central moral issues arising in connection with human impact on the environment, e.g., human overpopulation, species extinction, forest and wilderness management, pollution. Several world views of the proper relationship between human beings and nature will be explored. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Env S 342. World Food Issues: Past and Present. (Cross-listed with Agron, FS HN, T SC, U St). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.S. Prereq: Junior classification. World hunger and malnutrition in social, ethical, historical, and environmental context. Emphasis on the origins and effects of global inequity on population trends, socioeconomic policies, and food systems in the developing world. Exploration of directions and improvements for the future. Team projects. Nonmajor graduate credit.
H. Honors Section. (For students in the University Honors Program only.)

Env S 345. Population and Society. (Cross-listed with Soc). (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: Soc 130 or 134. Human population growth and structure; impact on food, environment, and resources; gender issues; trends of births, deaths, and migration; projecting future population; population policies and laws; comparison of the United States with other societies throughout the world.

Env S 355. Literature and the Environment. (Cross-listed with Engl). (3-0) Cr. 3. Prereq: Engl 250. Study of literary texts that address the following topics, among others: the relationship between people and natural/urban environments, ecocriticism, and the importance of place in the literary imagination. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Env S 380. Environmental and Resource Economics. (Cross-listed with Econ). (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: Econ 101. Natural resource availability, use, conservation, and government policy, including energy issues. Environmental quality and pollution control policies.

Env S 381. Environmental Systems. (Cross-listed with Biol, EnSci, Micro). (2-4) Cr. 4. F. Prereq: Soc 130, 134 or 3 credits of Env S. Dynamics of natural environmental systems. Systems approach to the analysis of material and energy flows and to understanding major physical, chemical, and biological processes in environmental systems. Laboratory emphasizes mass balance analysis and environmental simulation modeling. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Env S 382. Environmental Sociology. (Cross-listed with Soc). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.S. Prereq: Soc 130, 134, or 3 credits of Env S. Environment-society relations; social construction of nature and the environment; social and environmental impacts of resource extraction, production, and consumption; environmental inequality; environmental mobilization and movements; U.S. and international examples.

Env S 384. Religion and Ecology. (Cross-listed with Relig). (3-0) Cr. 3. Introduction to concepts of religion and ecology as they appear in different religious traditions, from both a historical and contemporary perspective. Special attention to religious response to contemporary environment issues. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Env S 390. Internship in Environmental Studies. Cr. arr. Repeatable. F.S.SS. Prereq: Approval of the Environmental Studies Coordinator. Practical experience with nature centers, government agencies, schools, private conservation groups, and other organizations. Satisfactory-fail only.

Env S 404. Global Change. (Cross-listed with Agron, EnSci, Mteor). (3-0) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: Four courses in physical or biological sciences or engineering; junior standing. Recent changes in global biogeochemical cycles and climate; models of future changes in the climate system; impacts of global change on agriculture, water resources and human health; ethical issues of global environmental change. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Env S 407. Watershed Management. (Cross-listed with EnSci, NREM). (3-3) Cr. 4. S. Prereq: A course in general biology. Managing human impacts on the hydrologic cycle. Field and watershed level best management practices for modifying the impacts on water quality, quantity and timing are discussed. Field project includes developing a management plan using landscape buffers.

Env S 424. Sustainable and Environmental Horticulture Systems. (Cross-listed with Hort). (2-0) Cr. 2. F. Inquiry into ethical issues and environmental consequences of horticultural cropping systems and production practices. Emphasis on production systems that are resource efficient, environmentally sound, socially acceptable, and profitable.

Env S 442. The Policy and Politics of Coastal Areas. (Cross-listed with Pol S). (3-0) Cr. 3. SS. Exploration of political implications of coastal policy. Issues include: "Carrying capacity," zoning, regulation of human development activities, trade-offs between conservation and jobs, the quality of coastal lifestyle, ways in which citizens participate in policy for coastal areas.

Env S 450. Issues in Sustainable Agriculture. (Cross-listed with Agron). (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Zdorkowski. Agricultural science as a human activity; contemporary agricultural issues from agroecological perspective. Comparative analysis of intended and actual consequences of development of industrial agricultural practices.

Env S 460. Controversies in Natural Resource Management. (Cross-listed with NREM). (3-0) Cr. 3. F.S. Prereq: 120, and A Ecl 312 or NREM 301, and Junior classification. Analysis of controversial natural resource issues using a case approach that considers uncertainty and adequacy of information and scientific understanding. Ecological, social, political, economic, and ethical implications of issues will be analyzed. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Env S 461I. Introduction to GIS. (Cross-listed with EnSci, L A, Ia LL). Cr. 4. SS. Descriptive and predictive GIS modeling techniques, spatial statistics, and map algebra. Application of GIS modeling techniques to environmental planning and resource management. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Env S 472. U. S. Environmental History. (Cross-listed with Hist). (3-0) Cr. 3. Prereq: Sophomore classification. Survey of the interactions of human communities with the North American environment. Focus on the period from presettlement to the present, with a particular concentration on natural resources, disease, settlement patterns, land use, and conservation policies. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Env S 480I. Introduction to Environmental Planning. (Cross-listed with Ia LL, L A). Cr. 4. Alt. SS., offered 2008. Introduction to environmental planning theories and methods, emphasis on environmental planning using GIS modeling approaches and public participation in the planning process. Students should have basic familiarity with ArcView and database programs. Individual or group environmental planning projects. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Env S 482. Environmental Politics and Policies. (Cross-listed with Pol S). (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: Three credits in Political Science or 3 credits in Environmental Studies; Junior classification. Major ideologies relation to conservation and ecology. Processes, participants, and institutions involved in state, national, and global environmental policymaking. Case studies of environmental controversies and proposals for policy reform. Nonmajor graduate credit.

Env S 484. Sustainable Communities. (Cross-listed with C R P, Dsn S). (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered 2009. Prereq: Senior classification. The theory and application of sustainability to the physical and social planning of communities. Environmental ethics as a basis for sustainability, the history of the idea itself and the movement toward indicators as outcome measurements both in the U.S. and internationally. Applications in international and domestic communities.

Env S 490. Independent Study. Cr. arr. Repeatable. F.S.SS. Prereq: Permission of instructor and approval of Environmental Studies coordinator. Satisfactory-fail only.

Env S 491. Environmental Law and Planning. (Cross-listed with C R P, Dsn S). (3-0) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: Six credits in natural sciences. Environmental law and policy as applied in planning at the local and state levels. Brownfields, environmental justice, water quality, air quality, wetland and floodplain management, and local government involvement in ecological protection through land use planning and other programs.