Course Codes
Faculty Directory

ENV 102 - Introduction to Environmental Studies
This class introduces numerous questions and perspectives regarding global climate change. While the media now reports daily on climate change, understanding its causal mechanisms and effects are exceptionally complex. Is the climate changing and how do we know? What are climate change's causal forces? What are some ways that climate change affects ecosystems and human life? How do we imagine and plan for futures that may look and feel dramatically different from the present? What is being done to mitigate climate change and its effects? And why is more not being done? Addressing these questions requires an interdisciplinary approach, spanning the natural and social sciences as well as the humanities. In this course, we will scratch the surface of multiple approaches to the problem of global climate change and techniques of environmental studies, paying particular attention to the ethical dimensions of climate action. (Staff, offered each semester)

  • 01 LEC MW 2:50-4:20 PM
  • 02 TR 1:10-2:40 PM; Kinne 

GEO 182 - Introduction to Meteorology
The influence of weather and climate affect our daily activities, our leisure hours, transportation, commerce, agriculture, and nearly every aspect of our lives. In this course many of the fundamental physical processes important to the climate system and responsible for the characteristics and development of weather systems will be introduced. We will examine the structure of the atmosphere, parameters that control climate, the jet stream, large-scale pressure systems, as well as an array of severe weather phenomena including hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms and blizzards. Upon completion of this course, we will have developed: (a) a foundation of basic scientific inquiry (b) a basic comprehension of the physical processes that govern weather and climate, and (c) an understanding of the elements of weather and climate that are most important to society. (Laird, Metz, offered each semester)

  • 01 LEC MW 8-9:30 AM; Laird 

GEO 184 - Introduction to Geology
We will explore the form and function of the solid Earth, using plate tectonics as a central paradigm. From this framework, we investigate minerals and rocks, volcanoes, earthquakes, the rise and fall of mountains, the origin and fate of sediments, the structure of our landscape and geologic time. We analyze geological resources such as minerals and fossil fuels, and the many other ways human society interacts with our restless planet. We work extensively in the field and typically take one mandatory weekend field trip. This course is a prerequisite for many geoscience courses. (Arens, Kendrick, offered each semester)

  • 01 LEC TR 10:20-11:50 AM; Arens 
  • 11 LAB T 1:10-4:10 PM; Arens 
  • 12 LAB W 1:10-4:10 PM; Kendrick 

GEO 186 - Introduction to Hydrogeology
Water and water resources are critical issues for the sustenance of every society. This course is an introduction to hydrogeology and explores water in the atmosphere, lakes, oceans, and other reservoirs found on land and the movement among reservoirs. Discussion of the role of water in natural systems results in an exploration of (1) atmospheric moisture; (2) floods and stream processes; (3) the physical , chemical, and ecological characteristics of lakes and oceans; (4) aquifers and groundwater processes; and (5) wetlands. We will use quantitative reasoning to examine the characteristics and importance of water across environmental and geophysical sciences. This course is a prerequisite for many geoscience courses. (Curtin, Finkelstein, offered fall)

  • 01 LEC MWF 9:40-10:40 AM; Curtin 
  • 11 LAB M 1:10-4:40 PM; Curtin
  • 12 LAB T 1:10-4:10 PM; Curtin 

HIST 111 - Topics in Introduction to American History
These courses investigate different topics, but they all explore critical episodes or themes in American history to help you: 1) understand the complex nature of the historical record; 2) engage in historical inquiry, research, and analysis; 3) craft historical narrative and argument; and 4) practice historical thinking in order to better understand and engage with present-day society. Prerequisites: none. (Offered every semester.)

  • 01 LEC TR 8:40-10:10 AM; Crow 

PHIL 154 - Environmental Ethics
This course explores the ethical and philosophical issues that arise when we consider the relation between humans and the natural environment - issues made urgent by our current environmental crisis. Among questions examined are: Is the value of nature intrinsic or only instrumental? Do humans have obligations toward nonhuman animals? Why are animal species worth preserving? Is it individual animals or ecosystems that should be of moral concern? What can feminism tell us about our treatment of nature? Are economic efficiency and cost/benefit analysis adequate criteria for assessing our relation to the environment? (Ward, offered annually)

  • 01 LEC MW 1:10-2:40 PM; Ward
  • 02 LEC MW 2:50-4:20 PM; Ward 

PHYS 115 - Astrobiology 
Astrobiology is the scientific study of the origin and evolution of life in the Universe. It brings together perspectives from astronomy, planetary science, geoscience, paleontology, biology and chemistry to examine the origin of life on Earth and the possibility of life elsewhere in the Universe. This course is designed to help students understand the nature and process of science through the lens of astrobiology. We will explore questions such as: What is life? How did it arise on Earth? Where else in the Universe might life be found? How do we know about the early history of life on Earth? And how do we search for life elsewhere? We will evaluate current theories on how life began and evolved on Earth and how the presence of life changed the Earth. We will review current understanding on the range of habitable planets in our solar system and around other stars. And we will discuss what life might look like on these other planets and what techniques we could use to detect it. This course is designed to fulfill a student's goal of experiencing scientific inquiry and understanding the nature of scientific knowledge. It does not count toward the major in Geoscience or Physics. (Offered alternate years)

  • 01 LEC TR 8:40-10:10 AM; Kendrick 

PHYS 150 - Introduction to Physics I 
This is a calculus-based first course in mechanics and waves with laboratory. Prerequisite: MATH 130 Calculus I (may be taken concurrently). (Offered annually)

  • 01 LEC MWF 9:40-10:40 AM; Allen
  • 02 LEC MWF 10:50-11:50 AM; Allen 
  • 11 LAB M 1:10-4:10 PM; Dumitriu
  • 12 LAB T 1:10-4:10 PM; Dumitriu
  • 21 LAB W 1:10-4:10 PM; Dumitriu
  • 22 LAB R 1:10-4:10 PM; Dumitriu

PHYS 160 - Introduction to Physics II 
This course offers a calculus-based first course in electromagnetism and optics with laboratory. Prerequisites: PHYS 150 and MATH 131 Calculus II (may be taken concurrently). (Offered annually)

  • 01 LEC TR 10:20-1:50 AM; Spector
  • 11 LAB M 1:10-4:10 PM; Spector
  • 12 LAB M 7:30-10:30 PM; Spector 

REL 286 - Islam and Environment
The course offers an overview of key concepts in Islamic environmental ethics, Muslim responses to environmental catastrophes, and the link between local and global forces in Islamic societies and their impacts on environment. The course will begin with a comparative ethical approach on the relationship between humans and their environment by introducing the concept of the sacred. The foundations of Islamic ethics will follow. The course will also evaluate Muslims' treatment of their environment, as well as their responses to climate change and natural disasters using theological, ethical, textural, political, cultural, and civic approaches. Such discussions will be contextualized in the interplay between local factors that shape Muslims' attitudes and behaviors toward their environment and global forces, such as colonialism and capitalism, that exacerbate the use and abuse of nature. Social justice, sustainability, Islamic socialism and anti-capitalism, and disaster relief efforts in the aftermath of tsunamis are also key topics in the course.

  • 01 LEC MW 2:50-4:20 PM; Anwar