Elective Courses

ENV 610: Cultural Geography and Land Management (3 credits) 
This course introduces students to the importance of spatial dimensions and relations in social organization, incorporating social and cultural meanings of space and place and political and economic implications into land management practice and policy.  The course surveys basic concepts in geography, including cultural-settlement patterns, land-use patterns, sense of place, populations and demographics, regionalization, agriculture and rural development, urbanization and industrialization, the political economy of natural resources, and the social production of space.  The course explores these topics in the framework of land-use policy and management and illustrates the use of legal instruments such as conservation easements, political structures such as protected areas and bio reserves, economic incentives in ecotourism, and digital technologies such as geographic information systems (GIS).  

ENV 612: Energy, Natural Resource Management, and the Environment (3 credits) 
This course covers a wide spectrum of topics on energy and natural resource management from a public-policy and environmental-affairs approach.  In the course students will investigate the politics, economics, and impacts of renewable and fossil-fuel energy sources, energy policy, energy efficiency, waste, restoration, environmental technology, public finance and investment, and environmental law and regulations. 

ENV 621: Environmental Governance (3 credits) 
This course approaches environmental governance from a multi-level perspective, including community-based environmental management, and policy and governance structures formally represented in institutions as well as adaptive and emergent forms shaped in response to decentralized negotiations over decisions and access to resources.  In addition to this multilevel framework, the course will focus on the process of policy making, decision analysis, the problem of scaling, and the techniques of scenario planning.  It will present basic concepts and illustrate real-world concerns in case studies.

ENV 622: Environmental Justice (3 credits) 
This course examines environmental inequity, in particular how race and socioeconomic status are related to environmental problems faced by communities. We will investigate patterns of environmental inequity, injustice, and racism as well as grassroots and community-based efforts to deal with environmental threats.

ENV 630: Public Participation (3 credits) 
This course introduces students to the critical role of public engagement with issues that have a bearing on communities directly affected by adverse environmental impacts, such as environmental health, food security, and resource allocation.  It will build upon approaches and topics studied in other offerings in this curriculum on social science methods, governance, and environmental justice.  We will examine power and stakeholders, learning to map the scope of interests and spheres of influence of stakeholders and developing the practical skill at managing a stakeholder process.  We will survey different types of public participation in the political process, including public comment, community organization, citizen science, and the co-production of knowledge.  This course emphasizes practical application of public engagement and participation techniques in the context of heterogeneous communities with different cultural worldviews and priorities.  

ENV 637: Environmental Change: Causes and Impacts (3 credits) 
This course examines the driving forces and impacts of a variety of environmental challenges, and geophysical and geopolitical ties that bind communities together around the world.  Students will better understand the social, economic, and biological landscape that we face globally today.  They will also understand how these forces of environmental change also fuel conflicts, public health issues, poverty, and vulnerability in communities.  Case studies of successful mitigation and resilience will be provided and discussed to provide students with awareness and appreciation for what is being done in response to these issues.  

ENV 640 Risk and Society (3 credits) 
This course introduces students to the field of environmental risk and its construction and representation as a complex of interweaving ecological, social, economic, statutory and political factors.  The course will consider the process of risk assessment and analysis, as well as risk communication and management, in contexts such as public administration and public health.   

ENV 689: Independent Study (1-4 credits) 
This option allows students to determine and submit a self-directed research and/or creative project. Students will present a statement of rationale to the academic director for approval based on the value of the study within the student's overall educational objectives for the program and the overall goals of the MAES program.