Environmental Studies Courses

ENVS 112 Energy and the Physical World

4 hours

The unifying theme of energy molds the physical concepts of motion, gravitation, electromagnetism, heat, radiation, and nuclear physics. Solar, wind, nuclear, tidal, hydroelectric, and thermal electric energy conversion processes are also included. This course is intended for the general student with no special background in mathematics or science. (Same as PHYS 112 and SCI 112.) (NWL)

ENVS 130 Environmental Forays

4 hours

In this course students will explore the relationship between humans and the physical environment by 1) reading seminal texts that address this relationship, such as A Sand County Almanac and Silent Spring, 2) studying basic ideas and concepts central to environmental studies, and 3) using the prairie-forest border region of Northeast Iowa as a laboratory for investigating how humans interact with the natural world. (NWNL)

ENVS 133 Environmental Conservation

4 hours

An introduction to conservation of the natural environment. Emphasizing ecological principles, the course covers the history of environmental conservation, the soil, air, and water components of the biosphere, and biological diversity. Laboratory/field trips emphasize the ecology of major habitats of northeastern Iowa and human efforts to solve environmental problems. (NWL)

ENVS 134 Environmental Geology

4 hours

Just as the physical environment impacts human activities, so too do our actions influence our surroundings. In this course we will seek to understand geologic processes and the ways in which humans interact with them. We will also explore the unique geology and physical geography of northeast Iowa during labs and field trips. (NWL)

ENVS 139, 239, 339, 439 Special Topics

Credit arr.

ENVS 175 Introduction to GIS

2 hours

This course is an applied practicum in geospatial technology that fosters effective use of Geographic Information Systems. Students who successfully complete the course will be able to create, manipulate, and manage geographic data to perform analysis tasks, to visualize geographic data, and to use geographic data analyses to support decision making. No prerequisite.

ENVS 185 First-Year Seminar

4 hours

A variety of seminars for first-year students offered each January Term.

ENVS 215 Environmental Education

4 hours

An introduction to the theory and practice of environmental education while providing a foundation of basic environmental science content. Emphasis is placed on learning local and regional natural history as well as phenology and basic ecological processes. Students gain skills and learn methods necessary to effectively teach about the natural world. Focus is placed on planning and implementing environmental education programs, inquiry and interdisciplinary approaches, and place-based education. The course will include training for environmental curricula such as Project Wild and Project Wet. Prerequisite: one natural world lab course. (NWL)

ENVS 220 Environmental Geochemistry

4 hours

In this course we will focus on chemical reactions in the environment in order to understand the properties and behavior of air, soil, and water. We will apply this understanding to environmental issues such as resource extraction, energy production, toxic waste disposal, and climate engineering while also exploring the ways in which chemistry can be used as a tool to increase our understanding of environmental processes, both in the present and in Earth's geologic past. Labs include both fieldwork and laboratory analyses. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: ENVS 134 and CHEM 201 or CHEM 152.

ENVS 230 Earth Systems and the Environment

4 hours

This course focuses on 1) the operation of the biosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere within the context of the Earth system as a whole, 2) how the operation of these systems may change over time and 3) how human activities influence and are influenced by these systems. We will draw on the immense field laboratory of the Italian peninsula to explore Earth system processes from the deep geologic past to the present. Course work will be based primarily on field observations and analysis. Study away course. Prerequisite: admission to Earth and Environment in Italy program. (NWL)

ENVS 285/295 Directed Study

2, 4 hours

An opportunity to pursue individualized or experiential learning with a faculty member, at the sophomore level or above, either within or outside the major. ENVS 285 can be taken only during January Term, ENVS 295 can be taken during the fall, spring, or summer terms.

ENVS 310 Earth: Evolution of a Habitable Planet

4 hours

Among the planets of our solar system, the Earth alone has remained hospitable to life throughout its long history. What processes and feedbacks have consistently maintained conditions on the Earth's surface within the bounds required for the survival of life? From the earliest Earth to the modern day, we will explore the intertwined histories of life, atmospheric chemistry, geologic processes, and the climate system. Additional emphasis on the scientific techniques used to reconstruct Earth history. Laboratory includes field trips exploring regional geology. Prerequisite: ENVS 134. (NWL)

ENVS 320 Soil Genesis, Morphology, and Classification

4 hours

Simply put, life depends on soil. Soils effectively link the physical, biological, and chemical environments and the study of soils is paramount to understanding and integrating concepts in archaeology, biology, chemistry, geology, and environmental science. Students will gain a basic understanding of soil formation processes and the relationships between soils and other Earth systems as well as conducting basic field description of soils and interpreting the environmental history recorded in soil profiles. Offered in alternate years. Prerequisite: ENVS 134. (NWL)

ENVS 330 The Geology of Italy

4 hours

Although Italy's geology, like much of the American Midwest, is characterized in large part by limestone bedrock, the landscape and geological history of Italy are unlike anything encountered in the central United States. In this course we will learn techniques for deciphering the sometimes complex geologic history recorded in the rocks of Italy, and will use these techniques to reconstruct events of mountain building, crustal deformation, igneous activity, metamorphism, erosion, extraterrestrial impacts, and climate and environmental change that have shaped the geology and landscape that we see today on the Italian peninsula. Prerequisite: admission to Earth and Environment in Italy program.

ENVS 375 Directed Readings

1-2 hours

ENVS 380 Internship

1, 2, or 4 hours

Supervised work-study placement with a public or private organization engaged in environmental concerns. Prerequisite: consent of department head.

ENVS 389 Directed Research

1, 2, or 4 hours

ENVS 395 Independent Study

1, 2, or 4 hours

ENVS 485 Seminar

4 hours

This course will be an interdisciplinary seminar for students completing the environmental studies major or minor. It will be topical in nature and will combine lecture and seminar approaches to the exploration of environmental issues and policies. Students may complete more than one seminar. Prerequisites: ENVS major or minor; junior or senior standing; completion of BIO 151, ENVS 134, PHIL 140, and POLS 258; or consent of instructor. (W)

ENVS 490 Senior Project

1, 2, or 4 hours

ENVS 493 Senior Honors Project

2 or 4 hours

A yearlong independent research project. Applications are completed on the Honors Program form available at the registrar's office, requiring the signatures of a faculty supervisor, the department head, the honors program director, and the registrar. Interdisciplinary projects require the signatures of two faculty supervisors. The project must be completed by the due date for senior projects. The completed project is evaluated by a review committee consisting of the faculty supervisor, another faculty member from the major department, and a faculty member from outside the major department. All projects must be presented publicly. Only projects awarded an "A-" or "A" qualify for "department honors" designation. The honors project fulfills the all-college senior project requirement.