Visit the Course Catalog for the official course description and listing

EVST 100: Introduction to the Environment: A Systems Approach

An Interdisciplinary course that introduces students to the major issues in environmental studies. We emphasize the importance of analyzing environmental issues from a comprehensive systems approach. The course focuses on the interaction of natural, socioeconomic, political, and ethical systems, using case studies to highlight the need to examine environmental issues from multiple perspectives. Case studies include: “clean” coal, ocean depletion policy, and energy and transportation systems and the environment. Case studies are likely to change from year to year.

EVSC/GEOL 211:  Rivers and Watersheds:  Form and Function

This course examines the role of rivers in the landscape within the context of their watersheds.  Through a combination of lectures, field and lab exercises, and research projects students will explore the relationships between river hydrology, river morphology, sediment transport, and watersheds. The course will also evaluate how dams and other human disruptions can disturb the natural equilibrium in these dynamic systems.  In addition to these scientific approaches, the course will also consider rivers as a focus of philosophical and artistic expression.
Prerequisite: EVST 100 or GEOL 110 or CE 321 or Permission of Instructor

EVST 215: Environmental Policy

This course examines the ways policy seeks to promote environmental value in our complex and changing world. Students will be introduced to the contemporary environmental policy landscape, as well as the politics of environmental decision-making. We will examine and critique policy-making processes, policy actors and influence, dominant policy strategies for environmental change, and environmental policy analysis frameworks. We will draw upon case studies from multiple environmental and political contexts to explore class concepts.

EVST 220: People, Places, and Environments of the Mid-Atlantic

Students will learn about challenging and current environmental dilemmas by examining real-world and literary representations of the Mid-Atlantic region. The course will draw on understandings of place, society, and environmental writings to analyze environmental initiatives in the most densely populated region of the country. The course will focus on case studies, which may include energy development, the Chesapeake Bay, urban ecology, and the Pine Barrens.

EVST 230: Water Problems, Water Solutions

An introduction to water in the contemporary world. Examines a wide range of topics-privatization, dam building, conservation, irrigation, pollution-drawing on case studies from within and outside the United States. Assignments will include historical, journalistic, cinematic, and scientific accounts of water development and exploitation with an emphasis on freshwater settings.

EVST 250: Art and Environment

While one view of art making would suggest elite tools and materials available at a premium through specialty shops, many artists from all over the world-for reasons of politics, philosophy, economics, environmental concerns or conceptual relevance to the given idea-have engaged with found objects and materials to create beautiful, compelling, and revolutionary works of art. In this course we will explore artists and art practices that function in this manner and investigate through studio practice ideas and methods for producing such work. Our investigations will focus on artists whose work is involved with environmental concerns, broadly defined. We will explore and produce work that engages with environment in a social, political, and cultural context. [H]
Prerequisite: Any 100-level Studio Art or Environmental Studies course

EVST 253: Gender, Race and Environmental Justice

This course explores connections between environmental issues and hierarchies of social power. The course investigates how systemic social hierarchies of dis/advantage-principally gender and racial/ethnic identity-are articulated through the environment and how the environment is shaped by dynamics of gender/race inequalities. Additional analytical lenses (sexuality, socio-economic class, and global position) are used to form conceptual frameworks that improve our understanding of the important role “environmental justice” plays in the study of systemic social inequalities. [GM1]

EVST 290: Climate Change: The Facts, the Issues, and the Long-Term View

The Scientific community has explored modern climate change for decades, yet only recently has this issue emerged in the consciousness of the broader society. This writing-intensive, discussion-based seminar will consider the scientific evidence that has climate experts concerned about the future, as well as the significant economic, moral, political, and social issues that human-induced climate change raises. We will explore the challenges as well as the proposed solutions for addressing this global environmental problem. [V, W]
Prerequisite: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor

EVST 310: Organizations and the Environment

As environmental concern deepens, the landscape of organizations seeking to redress environmental degradation has become more complex. Students in this course will examine and evaluate diverse organizational forms and strategies for promoting environmental value. We will cover environmental activism, governmental natural resource agencies, environmental non-governmental organizations, international environmental institutions, and discuss the emergence of “green” business. Students will ground their learning in community-based learning projects with local and regional environmental organizations.
Prerequisites: EVST 100 or permission of instructor

EVST 315: Food, Culture, and Sustainable Societies

We ask, critically, what sustainable and just mean in relation to food and why it matters – and what “culture” has to do with it. To do so we merge well-established studies and work in the anthropology of food with (1) environmental studies of alternative food systems and urban gardening/farming. (2) studies from political ecology engaging a range of analysis on food, (3) critical food studies, which considers race/class/gender/globalism in the context of food.
Prerequisite: A&S 102 or A&S 103

EVST 373: Technology and Nature

This course examines the sometimes-contentious relationship between the natural world and human attempts to understand it (science) and manage it (technology). It addresses historical, ethical, artistic, and scientific distinctions between the natural and the human-built world, with examples from food and agriculture, modes of transportation, river control, factories, and more. The purpose of the course is to help students develop a nuanced understanding of the interactions amongst and between technology and nature. [W]
Prerequisite: A prior writing [W] course

EVST 400: Capstone

This course serves as a capstone to the Environmental Studies program. In this course, students will perform research under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Students will apply their knowledge from coursework to enhance empirical understanding of environmental studies issues. In addition to performing the research, students will present their research to the Environmental Studies program and provide a written report to their mentor.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Additional environmentally focused courses offered at Lafayette

AFS 330 Cowboys in Africa: Social Transformations and Environmental Justice

Since the colonial era, countries in Africa have struggles with issues of governance, human rights and weak economies. Of these three, governance and economy were highly influenced by the frameworks, both ideological and structural, left behind by the colonial state. This course looks at how stewardship of the national territory, specifically rangelands, is affected by the dynamics described above by looking at case studies from West and East Africa. [GM2]

BIOL 234 Environmental Biology

While recognizing the interrelatedness among different areas of environmental science, this course focuses on how biological and ecological applications relate to environmental issues. Emphasis is on how the human population impacts ecosystem function, giving attention both to population regulation mechanisms and to disruption/conservation of ecosystem processes. Laboratory exercises focus on classical applied ecology as well as field excursions targeting policy and management issues. Satisfies core component of Environmental Science minor. Lecture/laboratory.
Prerequisite: BIOL 101, BIOL 102

BIOL 272 Conservation Biology

This course provides students with an introduction to the scientific basis of modern conservation biology and the application of these principles to conservations problems around the world. To understand the complexities involved in making conservation decisions, we will read from many sources, have class and small group discussions, and engage in debate. The objective of the laboratory portion of this course is to provide students with practical, problem-solving experiences in conservation biology beyond the classroom. Lecture/laboratory. [W]
Prerequisite: BIOL 101, BIOL 102 or permission of instructor

BIOL 275 Behavioral Ecology

This course explores both the proximate causal mechanisms (e.g., hormone levels, developmental conditions) and ultimate consequences (e.g., effects on survival or reproduction) of animal behaviors as they relate to navigating a complex and ever-changing environment. Topics include predator-prey interactions, relationships between habitat and optimal foraging strategies, sexual selection, navigation within physically variable environments, and a wide variety of social interactions. Laboratory involves both indoor and outdoor observations and experiments.
Prerequisite: BIOL 231 is recommended

BIOL 332 Advanced Aquatic Ecology

Students gain familiarity with function and structure of freshwater ecosystems and ecological analysis of biota and abiotic parameters beyond the intermediate level by examining complex interrelationships and synthesizing findings according to theoretical models. Laboratory/practicum and lecture/seminar are fused by offering this course on our “floating laboratory” pontoon boat at Merrill Creek Reservoir, NJ. Students acquire skills and master techniques by interfacing with naturalists at MCR, enabling them to design, develop, propose and execute a research project with recommendations for environmental management, culminating in presentations to an open Program at the MCR Nature Center.
Prerequisite: BIOL 231, BIOL 234, BIOL 271 or BIOL 272 Knowledge of statistics is highly recommended

BIOL 341 Environmental Issues in Aquatic Ecosystems

In this course, students will learn about major global environmental issues in freshwater, marine, and estuarine ecosystems. Students are expected to critically read, evaluate, present, and discuss current events and primary literature. Examples of some topics include chronic effects of nutrient over-enrichment, chemical environmental contaminants, harmful algae, overfishing, and biological invaders. In the practicum, students will be introduced to laboratory and field techniques that aquatic ecologists often use to assess and find practical solutions to water quality problems. Lecture/practicum/discussion. [W]
Prerequisite: BIOL 231, BIOL 234, BIOL 271, BIOL 272, CHEM 252 or CE 321

CE 203 Envisioning a Sustainable World

In this seminar-style course, students explore the concept of sustainability, the relationships between the natural and built environment, and the sustainable and/or unsustainable aspects of large-scale systems (energy, water, food, transportation, buildings, etc.) that support society. Students research aspects of sustainable systems and/or participate in applied projects in the campus and local community. [STSC, V]

CE 321 Intro to Environmental Engineering and Science

This course introduces the student to applications of engineering principles to a variety of environmental topics. The topics will revolve around local issues within the Bushkill Watershed, therefore we will adopt a watershed approach to better understand the various topics. Topics include environmental chemistry, hydrology, risk assessment, water supply and pollution control, solid and hazardous wastes, and environmental management. Laboratories consist of field trips, computer modeling exercises, sample collection, and chemical analysis methods.
Prerequisite: MATH 162, CHEM 121

CE 351 Water Resources Engineering

An introductory course in hydraulics, hydrology, and water resources engineering. Topics include groundwater and surface water supply, flow measurements, flow and pressure losses in pipe systems, probablility concepts in design, open channel design including storm sewers and culverts, pump design, and detention basis design. Written laboratory and design reports are required.
Prerequisite: CE 251

CHEM 252 Environmental Chemistry

This course discusses the chemical principles underlying natural processes and the ways in which human activity affects those processes. Sources, sinks, and interactions of important environmental compounds are investigated.
Prerequisite: CHEM 122

ECON 202 Environmental Economics

This course is designed to give students a better understanding of how the environment and the economy interact and how public policy can be used to shape this interaction. The course begins by sketching out the flows of natural resources associated with economic activity and how the environmental effects produced by these flows are valued. The course then proceeds to show how market economies affect the environment. Particular emphasis is placed on the environmental damage generated by market economies and how public policy can best be used to address this damage.
Prerequisite: ECON 101

EGRS 230 Environmental Justice

This interdisciplinary course explores the intersection of social justice and environmental stewardship in an attempt to understand the various dimensions of the environmental justice movement and how it affects modern society. Students will be exposed to humanities, social sciences, and environmental science/engineering aspects relevant to the topic. Cross-listed with AFS 230.
Prerequisite: At least one college-level mathematics course and one college-level social science course

EGRS 352 Energy Technology and the Modern World

This course examines the role of energy and energy technologies in the United States and the world. Energy from fossil fuels, nuclear power, and renewable resources is covered. Topics include world resources and recovery of fossil fuels, energy conversion technologies and impacts, nuclear energy and waste disposal, role of energy in global climate change, and emerging renewable energy technologies. Economic and policy issues are integrated with a technical introduction to the energy field.
Prerequisite: At least one college-level mathematics and one college-level science course

ENG 276 Literature of the Sea

This course focuses on literary works (fiction, poetry, journalism, etc.) that take the marine environment as a focus, written on a range of land masses from 1800 to the present. Examples include Moby-Dick and Rachel Carson’s Under the Sea-Wind. Major themes include cultural contact, science, and literature, the environment as concept, and the social worlds of seagoing. [H, GM1, W]
Prerequisite: Any introductory English Department course (101-199) or AP credit or permission of instructor.

ENG 351 Environmental Writing

This course is designed to engage students in advanced writing about nature and the environment. A central focus of the course will be an examination of the language and rhetoric used to describe these crucial issues in various popular, government, and scholarly contexts. [H, W]
Prerequisite: ENG 205, ENG 250, ENG 251, or ENG 255 and permission of the instructor.

GEOL 110 Environmental Geology

From human perspective on the earth’s surface, the planet appears almost infinite. From an Apollo spacecraft, however, earth is simply a larger spaceship with more resources, but nonetheless finite. The course examines the interplay between land-use activity and geologic processes such as flooding, shoreline erosion, and soil erosion. Students explore groundwater resources, geological constraints on waste disposal, and impacts of resource utilization, such as acid rain and the greenhouse effect. Lecture/laboratory/ field excursions. Preference to first- and second-year students, geology majors, and environmental science minors. [NS]

Geol 210 Hydrogeology

The study of groundwater occurrence, flow, quality, and utilization. The characteristics of the geologic environment which determine the hydrogeologic system are discussed. Principles of groundwater flow, surface water and groundwater interaction, aquifer response to pumping, and regional groundwater flow are examined. The course also focuses on groundwater contamination and remediation (clean-up). Field projects use a well-field at Metzgar Fields and local remediation sites. Lecture/laboratory. [NS]
Prerequisite: Any 100-level geology course

GOVT 231 Global Environmental Politics

Global Environmental Politics bridges international politics and environmental issues, offering an explicit focus on environmental problems and policies in the global context. Students in this course will study the development of global environmental regimes and analyze the successes and continuing deficiencies of political responses to various environmental issues, such as air pollution, water quality, and waste management, climate change, and energy use. [SS, V, W]
Prerequisite: GOVT 102 or permission of instructor

HIST 252 Transformation of the American Environment

This course examines the relationship of environment (and environmental change) to American history. Topics include the impact of colonial settlement and 19th century industrial expansion on the environment; the effect of transportation technologies on land use; the conflict between environmental protection and conservation as exemplified in the progressive era battle over construction of Hetch Hetchy Dam in Yosemite National Park; and the origins of environmental movement of the 1960-70’s. [SS]

IA 240 Pursuing Global Sustainability

This course investigates the challenge of achieving global sustainability by looking at a selection of international sustainable development goals. Students will investigate progress toward sustainability across the world, with an emphasis on transnational connections and the holistic nature of the sustainability challenge. Students will explore the importance of measurement and monitoring for global sustainability through direct engagement with and analysis of key sustainability data sets.

PHIL 155 Environmental Ethics

This course will begin with a brief presentation of prominent ethical theories and concepts important to debates in environmental policy. We will apply these theories and concepts to a range of environmental issues, including population growth, sustainability and our responsibilities to future generations, animal rights, food ethics, and climate change. In addition to reading, discussing and writing about rigorous academic material, students will be required to engage on a practical level with some environmental cause. [H, V, W]

WGS 204 Gender & Environmentalism

This course merges key insights of environmental studies/activism, which focus on relationships between living beings and their environment, and feminism, which focuses on systemic, hierarchical power structures organized by gender difference. The course investigates questions of power and knowledge at the intersection of ideas about gender and the environment/nature. We explore forms of environmental activism(s) relative to gender and gender difference (particularly as intersecting with race, class, and sexuality), and reflect on popular attitudes toward environmental issues [GM1]

The programs in Environmental Science and Studies are supported by many other environmental content courses from many departments across campus.  For additional examples, see the degree requirements at:

Environmental Studies Major

Environmental Science Major