Graduate Courses

AAE 523 Introduction to Remote Sensing

Offered this spring by Prof. James Garrison

This course will introduce students to key aspects of the design of satellite systems for Earth observation (EO). We will start by identifying the physical quantities that need to be measured in order to understand changes in the Earth's atmosphere, land surfaces and oceans. These parameters will be compared with the various phenomenologies that enable them to be measured remotely from space. Next, we will look at the design of instruments and satellite systems around these principles. Microwave instruments will be emphasized, although there will also be discussion of optical systems. This course is intended equally for students in Engineering or the Sciences.

ABE 651 Environmental Informatics

Offered in the spring by Prof. Keith Cherkauer

Data volumes in the environmental field are increasing with the advent of sensor networks, greater availability of high-resolution and multispectral remote sensing images, and the growing use of spatially distributed models. Students require new tools and techniques for working with data in a wide variety of formats.

AGEC 525 Environmental Policy Analysis

Offered in the spring by Prof. Juan Sesmero

This course deals with “the main aspects of economic theory concerning how the links between the economy and the environment operate, how markets allocated environmental resources and how this allocation can differ from what society views as optimal” (Hanley, Shogren, and White). This course involves studying the situations in which markets fail to allocate environmental resources efficiently. The relative merits of policies aiming at “correcting” inefficient allocation of resources will be analyzed. To support the evaluation of policy alternatives, the course will emphasize the construction, solution, and interpretation of mathematical models with particular emphasis on calculus-based optimization. As such, it requires knowledge and use of mathematics and economic principles.

AGEC 608 Benefit Cost Analysis

Offered in the spring by Prof. Wally Tyner

Principles and practice for analysis of the benefits and costs of public investments. Topics include measures of project worth, choice of the discount rate, analysis of projects with multiple objectives and purposes, identifying and quantifying benefits and costs, applications of consumer and producer surplus in project analysis, treatment of risk and uncertainty, and shadow pricing techniques for project evaluation in developing counties. Concurrent Prerequisite: AGEC 60400; a graduate course in microeconomic theory.

AGEC 622 Food System Organization and Policy

Offered in the spring semester by Prof. Joseph Balagtas

This course focuses on application of Industrial Organization concepts to evaluate agricultural and food markets. Topics include competition in agricultural markets, vertical coordination and integration, product differentiation, and innovation and property rights. While not explicitly a course on climate change, the socio-economic effects of climate change play out, in part, through agricultural and food markets. Thus climate change offers particularly interesting applications of Industrial Organization models.

AGRY 598 Field Measurement of Greenhouse Gases

Offered in fall by Profs. Rich Grant and Cliff Johnston

An interdisciplinary field oriented graduate level course that which will present both the fundamental and applied principles of greenhouse gas measurements in agricultural landscapes. The course will include frequent labs at the Agronomy Center for Research and Education. Topics include gas sampling and analytics of closed and open path measurements including open path FTIR, laser based measurement techniques of NH3, N2O and CO2. Laboratories will include the measurement of gases and gas fluxes from both soil and plants: Flux methods will include chamber, eddy correlation, gradient, and backward Lagrangian methods.

EAPS 529 Modeling Ecosystems and Biogeochemical Cycles

Offered in the fall by Prof. Qianlai Zhuang                   

Process-based models are powerful tools for studying ecosystem dynamics and geochemical cycles in Earth System Sciences. In this course, we will explore how various components of ecosystems can be modeled following principles of biology, physics, and chemistry.  We will also examine techniques for using modeling to study: 1) responses of the structure and functioning of ecosystems to changing climate, atmospheric composition, environmental conditions, and human activities; and 2) exchanges of major greenhouse gases (e.g., CO2, CH4, and N2O) between the atmosphere and the biosphere.  During the course, we will go through the whole cycle of system modeling approach including model conceptualization, formulation, parameterization, sensitivity and uncertainty analysis, verification, and application.

EAPS 536 Introduction to General Circulation

Offered in the fall (once every two years or so) by Prof. Yutian Wu

This course provides an overview of the general circulation of the atmosphere and ocean. This course covers the global energy balance, hydrological cycle, atmospheric general circulation & climate, ocean general circulation & climate, history & evolution of Earth's climate, climate sensitivity & feedback mechanisms, global climate models, natural climate change and anthropogenic climate change.

EAPS 591T/AGRY 598T Principles of Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology

Offered in the fall by Prof. Qianlai Zhuang

The objective of this course is to build a conceptual model of terrestrial ecosystems and to provide students with the state-of-the-art mechanisms by which terrestrial ecosystems work. Topics include ecosystem concept, Earth’s climate system, geology and soils, terrestrial water and energy balance, terrestrial production processes, terrestrial decomposition, terrestrial plant nutrient use and cycling, biogeochemical pathways, and ecosystem temporal and spatial dynamics.

We expect students to have a basic knowledge of Biology, Ecology, Chemistry, and Physics in order to master topics covered in the course. If a student lacks some of this basic knowledge, we will work with you to overcome those deficiencies with some additional reading prior to the lecture needing that material.

The course will be a combination of lecture, problem-solving and discussions based on current papers in the literature.  The course will have a mid-term exam. The course will also have you design a project and present it to the class and deliver a final project paper. 

FNR 535 Forest Regeneration

Offered in the fall, alternate years by Prof. Douglass Jacobs

An overview of the dynamics associated with the regeneration of forestlands in North America.  Topics include genetic considerations, seed collection and handling, forest tree nursery operations, seedling quality, managing for environmental stresses, planting operations, early stand management, and natural regeneration.  The course meets 150 min per week.  We use a lecture-based format but with the goal of at least one-third of the time being dedicated to discussion. Whenever logistically feasible, we will incorporate experiential learning through visits to field tours or laboratories

FNR 572 Community Involvement in Natural Resource Management

Offered in the spring of 2016 (final time taught) by Prof. Linda Prokopy

There are five primary learning objectives for this course: 1) to introduce students to the complexity of involving the public in decisions about natural resource management, 2) to understand the factors that make collaborative natural resource management successful, 3) to learn techniques for resolving conflicts, 4) to learn a variety of participatory techniques, and 5) to learn facilitation techniques.

HSCI 202 Essentials of Environmental, Occupational, and Radiological Health Sciences

Offered in the fall only by Prof. Jennifer Freeman

This course introduces the essential concepts of Environmental, Occupational, and Radiological Health Science including Environmental impacts on human health and disease; Environmental toxicology; Emerging environmental health issues; Stress of biological, chemical, and physical agents; Occupational safety; Contemporary occupational health issues; Radioactivity; Interactions of radiation with matter; Radiation dosimetry; Human health effects of ionizing radiation exposure; and Principles and practices related to radiation safety.

HSCI 575 Introduction to Environmental Health

Offered in the spring only by Prof. Jennifer Freeman

This course covers the basic principles of environmental health needed for prevention of disease and promotion of public health.  Topics include basic methodologies for assessing the effect of environmental agents, including epidemiology, toxicology, exposure assessment and risk assessment.   The major biological, chemical and physical agents will be addressed with emphasis on physical characterization and exposure assessment, adverse health effects and their mechanisms, population exposures, dose-response relationships, effects on susceptible populations, applicable standards and regulations, and control of exposures.  The course addresses ethical and global issues involved with environmental health, including conflicts of interest in controlling environmental hazards, environmental justice, and global climate change.

POL 623 Global Environmental Politics and Justice

Offered in the fall and spring includes some material on climate justice (every two years) by Prof. Kim Marion Suiseeya 

Investigation in depth of a substantive aspect of environmental policy or a theoretical approach to environmental policy, with emphasis on student research.

POL 693 / CE597 Dynamics of Social, Ecological, and Technological Systems: Concepts and Tools

Offered in the fall, spring, and summer by Prof. David Yu

In a perfectly linear and predictable world, decision-making for sustainability is a matter of how to discount future and how to juggle between inter/intra-generational and inter-species concerns. The world we actually live in, however, is much more complex than that. More often than not, it is characterized by non-linearity, feedback loops, and inter-connectedness that lead to unexpected system dynamics such as regime shifts, critical thresholds, and “robust-yet-fragile” system performance. Public policy for sustainability in such a context requires an understanding of dynamic system-level concepts and tools and an interdisciplinary approach to study interactions among different subsystems (social, ecological, and technological subsystems) of our modern world. This course will help students understand systems thinking, an interdisciplinary approach of social, ecological, and technological systems, and quantitative skills to model and study the dynamics of such coupled systems. Students will gain precise mathematical understanding of resilience and regime shift through local stability analysis, learn evolutionary game dynamics to study how social norms or institutions change over time, and understand how to conduct ‘what-if’ policy analyses using dynamic models.

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