Graduate Course Descriptions

ENVI 501 Ornithology


ENVI 502 Plant Biodiversity

This course examines the contribution of plants to the overall biodiversity on Earth as well as the importance of plants in promoting the sustainability of ecosystems. Issues to be discussed in class include benefits derived from diverse plant communities, ecosystem services (e.g., nutrient cycling and storage), biological resources (e.g., food and medicine), and social benefits (e.g., recreation and tourism). The course will also cover energy and trophic structures, global biomes, biodiversity loss and its impacts on human welfare.

ENVI 503 Sustainable Agriculture

This course will explore the origin, forms, policies, and challenges to sustainable agriculture across the globe. In addition, the course will examine the significance of sustainable agriculture in the conservation of Earth's biodiversity through protection of species and their habitats as well as restoration of degraded ecosystems. Class discussions will explore different management practices being used to uphold ecological integrity, reduce costs, protect human and animal health, and promote environmental sustainability. Case studies, peer reviewed articles, and digital media will be used to help students better understand issues being discussed in the class.

ENVI 520 GIS for Environmental Science

The GIS for Environmental Science course will provide an introduction to environmental data management and analysis using geographical information system (GIS) methods.  The objectives of this course are to introduce students to GIS theory/concepts, environmental data resources and formats, problem solving, and data presentation using a GIS approach.  A major component of this course will be introducing and using ESRI software for data management, analysis, and presentation. (3 credits)

ENVI 531 Environmental Management

The course deals with environmental issues from a management perspective by focusing on how such issues potentially impact on the corporation and how the organization should proactively deal with them. Basic business concepts related to environmental aspects will be covered, such as laws and regulations, manufacturing and market strategies, benefit-cost analysis, risk assessment, evaluation of evolving remediation technology, and competitive and international issues. The importance of environmental aspects to business and society will be stressed, and strategies towards sustainable development will be discussed. (3 credits)

ENVI 533W Writing for Environmental Professionals

The course provides a practical and analytical approach to efficient technical writing, letters, memos, reports, press releases, articles, and presentations. Students will benefit with new abilities to write more quickly, clearly, and concisely. (3 credits)

ENVI 535W Environmental Public Relations

The course provides students with a broad and general understanding of the application and practice of public relations as it pertains to environmental management in industry, government, and non-profit organizations. The various dimensions of environmental public relations will be covered. This course provides students with a basic understanding of how to apply public relations strategies and tactical solutions to environmental management problems. (2 credits)

ENVI 537 Environmental Conflict Resolution

The course will combine lectures, class discussions and "role playing" opportunities in simulated environmental disputes to explore the nature of environmental conflicts, alternative dispute resolution processes and varying techniques that may be employed to resolve conflicts effectively. The course will emphasize practical rather than theoretical approaches. Class sessions will be designed to include substantial student participation. (2 credits)

ENVI 540 Introduction to Environmental Law

This course exposes students to basic legal theories relevant to contemporary environmental practice, and provides an introduction to administrative law as well as six federal environmental statutes: the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). (2 credits)

ENVI 542 Sustainable Business Practices

The course will employ lectures, reading, case studies, discussion, films, and guest presentations to enable students to: understand why environmental policy and management must be reconfigured to address today's environmental challenges; be conversant with the fundamentals of environmental management, ecological economics, corporate social responsibility, and environmental politics; learn how innovative firms and managers craft strategies, policies, and Best Management Practices for sustainability. (2 credits)

ENVI 544 Public Policy and Environmental Politics

This course examines the interplay of scientific, political, and economic factors in the formation of environmental policy in the United States. It assesses the role of civic concern, political institutions, regulatory agencies, non-governmental organizations, scientific information, financial factors, and technology in environmental affairs. Lectures, reading, and films enable students to understand the principal issues in the field. The political process that generates environmental laws and regulations is reviewed. Also, real world case studies cover controversial national and international policy issues. The focus is on the role science plays in the policy process, and on the sources of conflict among political and policy actors (elected officials, bureaucrats, legislators, and interest groups). (3 credits)

ENVI 549 Quantitative Environmental Methods

This course provides practical experience with three widely utilized public domain modeling tools: EPA's Estimation Program Interface for Windows (EPIWIN), that predicts the fate and ecotoxicity of organic chemicals; USGS's PHREEQC aquatic speciation, batch-reaction, one-dimensional transport, and inverse geochemical calculations; and CALTOX, the California EPA's environmental fate and exposure risk assessment tool. These software tools, along with documentation and examples, are freely available on the internet. If you do not have internet access, an installation CD will be provided. In addition, DU has a site license for ChemDraw Ultra. This will serve as a valuable resource in support of the modeling tools. (3 credits)
*ENVI 552 Environmental Chemistry is a pre-requisite for ENVI 549.

ENVI 551 Principles of Environmental Science

The course provides students with an appreciation and understanding of the fundamental and theoretical background and concepts in environmental science. The impact of population growth on ecosystems, fossil and nuclear energy, resources and resource management, and population and risk assessment are among the topics to be discussed. The course will also deal with such issues as global warming, deforestation, biodiversity, and ozone depletion. This course provides a foundation for integrating other courses. (3 credits)

ENVI 552 Environmental Chemistry

This course provides students with an appreciation and an understanding of the fundamental and theoretical background and concepts in Environmental Chemistry. Students will learn environmental testing methods and gain the knowledge necessary for critical evaluation of fundamental aspects of environmental evaluation and testing. (3 credits)

ENVI 566 Terrestrial Field Biology

This applied ecology course is designed to present an overview of field and laboratory methods used by ecologists to describe and analyze plant and animal aggregations and their environments. The course focus is on the principles and practice of various ecological procedures with explanation of how to collect, record and analyze data. The course reviews the basic concepts of ecology that are needed to understand the various methods and their significance. The course material is presented as a combination of lecture, laboratory, and field sessions. (3 credits, cross-listed with BIOL 466/566)

ENVI 570 Fundamentals of Air Pollution Prevention and Control

This course will provide the skills required by environmental professionals to deal with Federal and State Air Quality Standards. The course will be structured to blend technical, social, and political air quality issues into real world activities. It will provide students with information needed to carry out daily management activities in the air pollution field by enabling them to recognize key air quality issues and how to best deal with them. Students will also be grouped and asked to work as a team to submit and to review air quality plan approval and permit applications. In addition to the traditional classroom setting, two classes will be held at site locations to enhance the learning experience. (3 credits)

ENVI 571 Fundamentals of Water Pollution Prevention and Control

ESM 571 is designed to provide the student an overall understanding of the science, law, regulations, and technologies associated with the protection of surface and ground waters. It is a non-engineering course that prepares students to understand and deal with water pollution issues in the workplace. The course begins with a review of the basic science associated with the properties and behavior of water. It then progresses to an examination of the various types of water pollution and their sources. The legal framework for water pollution control in the United States is addressed via a review of the structure and requirements of the Clean Water Act (CWA). This is followed by an examination of regulatory requirements, including ambient water quality criteria, effluent limits, permitting, and other topics. The latter half of the course focuses on water conservation and water pollution control and prevention technologies. (3 credits)

ENVI 572 Fundamentals of Solid & Hazardous Waste Prevention and Management

This survey course is designed to acquaint students with the gamut of topics associated with solid and hazardous wastes. It is a non-engineering course that prepares students to understand and deal with waste management issues in the workplace. The course begins with a review of the various types of wastes and their properties and sources. Municipal solid waste, industrial residual wastes, and hazardous wastes are addressed; however, the course focuses more on hazardous waste. An examination of the legal and regulatory frameworks for controlling wastes and their management includes review of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and related statutes. The background, history and structure of the RCRA regulatory program is then addressed. The latter half of the course addresses technologies commonly employed for the treatment and disposal of hazardous wastes, as well as pollution prevention and recycling technologies commonly associated with solid and hazardous wastes. (3 credits)

ENVI 591 Environmental and Hydrogeology

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of geologic materials and soils and deals with ground and surface water and hazardous earth processes, such as flooding and earth movements. Geological issues of solid waste disposal, hazardous waste management, and land-use planning will be covered. The course will include case histories and field trips. (3 credits)

ENVI 592 Stream Field Biology

Stream Field Biology is the study of the functional relationships and productivity of fresh water streams as they are affected by their physical, chemical and biotic environment. The dynamics of flowing streams, with their linear pattern, makes an ever-changing ecosystem dominated by constant erosion and deposition. Increasing knowledge about the operational stream ecosystem and factors that regulate productivity of the total watershed is crucial. The participants in this course will categorize stream order in a watershed; explain the abiotic and biotic relationships that exist with stream ecosystems; analyze the parameters of a watershed; and evaluate the trade-offs, costs and benefits of conserving stream watersheds. (2 credits)

ENVI 594 Environmental Sampling and Analyses

Explores the fundamentals of sample collection from experimental design and chain of custody, to methods used for obtaining environmental samples from air, water, and sediment in addition to biological sampling. The class lectures are augmented with trips to field research stations and a river excursion with RiverQuest to obtain environmental samples. Sample analysis includes microscopy and spectrometry, as well as biological and molecular techniques. (3 credits). Prerequisites: Biology 111/111L, 112/112L; CHEM 121/121L, 122/122L; MATH 225 or enrollment in graduate program.

ENVI 597 Applied and Environmental Microbiology

An in depth look at how microbes, both prokaryotic and eukaryotic, affect the environment. Microbial processes involved in the biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and metals, biomineralization, bioremediation, water treatment, and biotechnology will be covered in detail. Particular emphasis will be placed on current issues in environmental science. The lectures will cover both theoretical and applied aspects.

ENVI 599 Microbial Ecology

In this course the interaction of microorganisms, primarily prokaryotes, with each other, plants, animals, and fungi, and the environment is explored. The course takes a systematic approach, examining these interactions at the ecosystem, organismal, subcellular, and historical level. Topics include microbial primary production and photosynthesis, biogeochemical cycling, the structure of microbial communities, modeling, symbiosis, and microbial evolution.

ENVI 650 Conservation Biology

This course will provide an overview of the current concepts and issues. Topics that will be covered include threats to biodiversity, life tables and reproductive strategies, population structure and metapopulation dynamics, population viability analysis, gap analysis, conservation genetics, habitat restoration, propagation programs, and recovery plans for imperiled species. Lecture (3 hours) Pre-requisites: Biology 111/111L, 112/112L; CHEM 121/121L, 122/122L; MATH 225 or enrollment in graduate program. (3 credits)ENVI 662 Enhanced Microwave Chemistry

This course teaches fundamental and advanced concepts of microwave sample preparation with emphasis on the understanding and predicting behavior in the microwave environment. Microwave decomposition procedures for botanical, environmental, clinical, geological, aqueous and other sample types are also discussed and demonstrated. (3 credits)

ENVI 662 Enhanced Microwave Chemistry

This course teaches fundamental and advanced concepts of microwave sample preparation with emphasis on the understanding and predicting behavior in the microwave environment. Microwave decomposition procedures for botanical, environmental, clinical, geological, aqueous and other sample types are also discussed and demonstrated. (3 credits)

ENVI 670 Environmental Toxicology

This course is designed to examine the toxic effects of air, water, and soil pollutants on humans, other living species and on the environment. Practical applications and environmental problems are presented, using specific pollutants, such as pesticides, heavy metals, organic solvents, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Extrapolation of toxicological data from animals to humans is presented. The National Research Council (NRC) risk assessment paradigm (hazard identification, dose-response assessment, exposure assessment, and risk characterization) is emphasized. (2 credits)

ENVI 672 Environmental Biology

This three-credit course provides an overview of man's impact on other life on earth. Basic biological principles are examined in the context of man's interaction with the biosphere. Topics include: history of life on earth; population, community and ecosystems biology; human population growth; and the impacts of humans on biological systems, with special emphasis on effects of agriculture and on loss/protection of biodiversity. The course is appropriate for biology majors, environmental science management majors and nonscience majors with a strong science background. (3 credits)

ENVI 600 Agency Internship and ESM 601 Industry Internship

The Process

The student must first submit an internship proposal in writing to the Program Director. The proposal should indicate the following:

  • general type of work experience that will be gained
  • name of the internship provider
  • semester(s) during which the internship will fall
  • supervisor's name and position

Students are encouraged to explore suitable internship opportunities on their own. The Program Director is also available to assist in arranging internships and interviews with potential sponsors.

Once this proposal is approved, the student should then register for the appropriate internship with the graduate advisor.

Upon completion of 150 hours of on-site work, the student must submit a final report to Program Director.

The internship supervisor must complete and return an evaluation form to Program Director.

Once both the report and the evaluation have been reviewed and approved, the student will receive a "P" grade.

ENVI 700 Thesis

Students who wish to write a thesis should consult a faculty member for advice about selecting the topic. During preparation of the thesis the student will have a thesis advisor and at least one other faculty reader (the student's "Thesis Committee"). After the outline of the thesis proposal is approved by the thesis advisor and submitted to the Program Director, students register for "thesis credit" (ESM 700). The academic credit value for the thesis is six credits, and partial credit is not granted. Students normally register for three thesis credits in each of two successive terms. After the defense of the thesis a final draft must be approved by the student's committee. Two copies, signed by the advisor and the reader(s), must be deposited with the Director. Two copies of the abstract of the thesis must also be submitted. (Thesis preparation instructions are available from the Dean's Office.) For more information, see Thesis Guidelines. (6 credits)