This course is an introduction to the field's history, current actives and issues, ethics, systems, and economics; and an overview of key necessary knowledge and skills to work and learn within the field. Students will: gain a strong historical understanding of how environmental and natural resource issues have influenced economic development and societal growth throughout the ages; learn about the complexity of environmental issues and the value of interdisciplinary and systems thinking when applied to making decisions about natural resource usage; understand the important role that empirical science, policy analysis and advocacy play in how governments and private companies address complex environmental issues; become aware of the stressors that ecosystems around the globe are experiencing and the value of multidisciplinary approaches to addressing these challenges; and understand the diverse employment opportunities available in the environmental field.
The earth as a whole is comprised of many systems that affect the environment. Some have large wide ranging reach, while others are restricted to a relatively small area. Included is everything in between. Actions in one area or system may have unintended secondary and tertiary consequences in that system or others. This course uses various tools and materials to study a few environmental systems and determine connections, consequences, impacts, barriers, decision making, life cycle costs, etc.
This class provides an overview of economics and finance in an environmental context. Topics include an overview of the economic system, efficiency, equity, market failure, environmental regulation, benefit-cost analysis, valuing the environment, pollution control, energy, conservation of natural resources, performance metrics, risk and return, time value of money, cost of capital, returns on investments, and standard financial reports. The class makes use of reading assignments, written assignments, case studies, and class participation. The course emphasizes relationship between business management and environmental quality, and provides students with a financial and economic decision-making framework for understanding and analyzing environmental issues.
This course provides a well-rounded primer on energy as a resource and its importance in the economy and the world today. Renewable energy and alternative fuels as well as nuclear and hydrogen-based technologies will be explored. This course also provides an in-depth view of issues surrounding the development, enforcement and application of energy regulatory policy.
21st Century transportation planning on the local and global scale involves consideration of environmental policies and sustainable practices. Development of an efficient system for moving goods and people along highways, airways and public transit networks must coordinate with legal requirements governing automobile source emissions, water pollution, mitigation of congestion, and crisis management. Conflicts occur along political fault lines between public interest groups, environmental justice advocates, the business community, government regulators, and the ordinary commuter. Consideration is given to different fuel sources, including carbon-based, hydrogen, electricity, and biofuels. The course also examines fuel efficiency (CAFE) and trends in emission science and regulation.
"Global Warming" is a cause celebre, but how much do we really know about the science involved in studying the earth's climate? Moving beyond the social and political opinions espoused in the current debate on climate change, this course delves into the chemical and physical forces at play in the arena. This course covers scientific processes used in measuring climate dynamics, among them ozone chemistry, carbon and oxygen cycles, and heat and water budgets. It explores scales and methods for detecting climate change, including analyzing ice cores, instrumental records, and time series. Some attention will be dedicated to "climate forcing" caused by such things as orbital variations, volcanism, plate tectonics, and solar variability.
Builders, developers and designers increasingly are promoting the use of green construction practices in the pursuit of healthier, smarter buildings. Students in this course examine sustainable building strategies and tools, including LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the nationally-accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. LEED promotes a whole-building approach by recognizing performance in five areas: sustainable site development water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor air quality. What materials are best in the design and operation of green building? How can a designer or building owner make better use of power and water efficiency programs? What are the recent developments, trends and case studies of green buildings and materials?
Two future- and high-tech oriented energy sources are explored in this course, nuclear power and hydrogen fuel. The course covers principles used in fission energy and in nuclear power engineering, including controlled chain reactions and reactor design criteria. It also attends to issues of radioactive waste treatment and storage and the mitigation of other radiation hazards. Currently, some 20% of the United States electric power comes from nuclear plants that use low-enriched uranium as fuel, burn nothing, and emit virtually no CO2. What is the future for this form of energy? In addition to nuclear power technology, the course focuses on fuel cells and the hydrogen economy, which brings its own questions concerning cost-benefit analysis and risks. Do these new economy, relatively "clean" energies present a way to avoid the downward trend of depleting natural resources, or do they send a siren song with the waste and safety problems they present?
Renewable energy sources now generate an estimated 13 percent of power worldwide. A political hot button, renewable energy sources range in their effectiveness, with some technologies already mature and economically viable, while still others need additional development or government subsidies to survive. The course begins with an overview of the major alternative sources, examining each one in-depth to consider its benefits, as well as its environmental and economic risks. We cover thermal systems and photovoltaics in the generation of solar power; atmospheric science and weather in the study of wind power; the organic chemistry that is involved in biomass, biofuels and agricultural residues; direct use of hot water in geothermal systems; and other alternative sources such as tidal and wave energy. Problems vexing grid placement and dissemination throughout a source network is also studied.
For such basic human needs, water and food present their own highly-technical challenges inside legal, political and environmental spheres. This course delves into environmental, economic, and social implications in water usage and water resources regulation. This course also takes a broad look at food and farming systems at community, society, and ecosystem levels.
This course is designed to provide students from a broad range of disciplines with the skills to carry out applied research tasks and projects requiring the integration of geographic information system technologies and geospatial data. Students are introduced to a collection of techniques and data sources with a focus on acquiring and integrating data. Legal, ethical, and institutional problems related to data acquisition for geospatial information systems is also be discussed.
Students examine how the introduction of nuclear power systems or a nuclear waste treatment facilities affect the demographic and economic characteristics of a specific region. Basic analysis of archaeological resources, historic buildings and structures, and traditional cultural properties are also considered. Pertinent areas of environmental law provides guidelines and regulations with relation to the nuclear industry and current policy issues including the importance of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
A general overview of the potential effects of nuclear power facilities on ecosystems and ecological resources. These include terrestrial resources, wetlands, floodplains, aquatic resources, protected and sensitive species, geology, soil mechanics and seepage. In site-specific scales, the following items need to be considered, such as physical alteration of the landscape, disruption of natural processes, such as flooding and fires, and pollution.
Air quality, noise and transportation issues can potentially be affected in the area surrounding a nuclear power plant in a variety of ways. Students become acquainted with the methodology of the dose rate estimations to the public and workers; the methods that are in place to monitor and reduce the risk to the public and workers from all hazards; and various pathways of exposure from possible nuclear contaminants and related pollution. Perceptions of citizens as stakeholders are considered. Identifying and profiling atmospheric toxic sources, developing and assessing emerging measurement methods, characterizing the degree and extent of local air toxicity problems, and tracking progress of air toxin reduction efforts. The impact of transportation on human and environmental risk assessment, including the primary methods and routes used to transport to a specific site, affected employees, commercial shipments, hazardous and radioactive material shipments, transportation packaging, transportation accidents, and onsite and offsite traffic volumes.
This course presents the basic components of nuclear power plant systems, their functional purpose, and operating conditions, including an overview of the equipments design and components from the safety point of view. An overview of nuclear power plants is presented in context of their impact on the environment and human health, including active and passive safety aspects.
Environmental Restoration is the identification and elimination of hazardous materials from a designated site such that the risks to human health and the environment are reduced to an acceptable level for an intended future land use. This course examines successful environmental restoration activities that were used to reduce and mitigate risk associated with past operations of nuclear and nuclear-related facilities and the significant potential to release harmful contaminants. Environmental restoration effects on the ecological and human health risk assessments and analyses related to the transport, treatment, storage, and disposal of waste from the contaminated site are presented. Remediation processes for radioactive materials and other hazardous wastes and the eventual storage, processing, and disposal and the potential effect on humans and the environment is studied. An overview is given on the development of a radiological protection program for an EIS report. External and internal hazards: control measures and monitoring, and other important limits and measurements are explored.
This course is an overview of basic leadership and management skills with an emphasis on topics germane to practicing environmental professionals. It addresses three main subject areas: performance metrics and standard financial reports (i.e., how organizations and businesses keep score); leadership (i.e., changes in behavior and work habits necessary for advancement from staff to management; and achieving clarity in organizational values and mission); and basic elements of internal and external communications. The class will make use of reading assignments, written assignments and class participation.
The Capstone Project provides students the opportunity to research a topics, problem, or issue within their field of study, and work individually with a Capstone advisor. Similar in weight to a thesis, but more flexible, this final project synthesizes and applies core concepts acquired from the program. The student selects an appropriate Capstone advisor who is knowledgeable in the field of study to work closely with and whom can guide the research project. Evaluation will be focused on the quality and professionalism of applied research and writing; critical and creative thinking; problem-solving skills; knowledge of research design, method, and implementation; and contribution to the field and topic of study. View the Capstone Guidelines for additional details. Prerequisites: A Capstone Proposal that has been approved by both the Capstone Advisor and the Academic Director, unconditional acceptance as a degree candidate, completion of at least 40 quarter-hours (including all core courses) with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better, and a B or better in MALS 4020. A final grade of B or better must be earned in this course to meet degree requirements.
The Capstone Seminar is a graduate seminar in which students utilize the knowledge and skills gained through the degree program to create a culminating work that critically addresses a problem or issue in the degree field of study. The student produces a paper of 7000-8000 words that presents a position on a relevant problem or issue, supports the position with professional and academic work in the field, analyzes and tests the paper position, and discusses the role of the findings within the field of study. The seminar is dependent upon collegial discussion of student research and work under the facilitation of a faculty member, and it is governed by the quality of participation and contributions of the students. The course structure, facilitated by the faculty member, guides the students through the process of independent research and writing of a capstone paper; the instructor provides intensive feedback on the capstone process and papers. Students are responsible for generating the course content through ongoing discussion of and peer feedback on the capstone process and individual papers, as well as the analysis and contextualization of focused students papers within the wider degree field of study. Students professionally and academically communicate their findings through written work and oral presentations. Students must have: unconditional acceptance as a degree candidate, completion of at least 40 quarter-hours (including all core courses) with a cumulative GPS of 3.0 or better, and a B or better in MALS 4020. A final grade of B or better must be earned in this course to meet degree requirements. Students must complete the Capstone Seminar in one quarter; no incomplete grades are assigned.
The EPM Internship is designed to offer students a purposeful experience in the field of environmental policy and management. The internship is an individualized learning experience and a training plan is created for each student in conjunction with the internship site to provide experiences related to the skills and knowledge covered in the certificate and master's programs.