Blog

Acopian Center for the Environment Course Descriptions

 

 

ENV101 Introduction to Environmental Sciences (Credits:3)

The course is designed for students to gain an understanding of basic principles of environmental sciences, including an introduction to the structure and functioning of ecosystems and their physical and biogeochemical cycles. The course will emphasize the importance of these processes for human health as well as human impact on these processes.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite:

 

 

ENV105 Numbers, Responsibility and the Environment (Credits:3)

The course is a practical introduction to basic quantitative and statistical techniques that can be applied to environmental studies. Students will learn techniques to identify, organize, verify, and understand data, including analyzing trends and tendencies. The course will emphasize the importance of ethical and responsible use of data and information. Each topic will begin with an introduction to a numerical or statistical concept followed by the application of that concept on a real world environmental challenge or opportunity. Students will use basic data analysis tools such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite:

 

 

ENV110 Climate Change (Credits:3)

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity today. The course will take a multidisciplinary approach to understanding its causes and consequences as well as responses to this challenge. The course will explore the science, economics, and politics of climate change. Key international and Armenia-specific literature, case studies, and social and political movements around climate change will be reviewed and discussed. The course will require students to participate in a simulated multi-stakeholder and multinational negotiations on addressing climate change.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite:

 

 

ENV120 Sustainable Food Systems (Credits:3)

This course provides fundamental knowledge of food systems, including their economics and environmental sustainability aspects. This entails the description of primary agricultural resources and inputs, production technologies, post-harvest handling, and food waste, logistics, and marketing. Students will also learn developments in the food industry such as genetically modified organisms, organic agriculture, fair trade, and reduction of food loss. Three hours of instructor-led class time per week.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite:

 

 

ENV130 Plants and Society (Credits:3)

This interdisciplinary course enables students to explore the relationship between plants and people and the role of plants in shaping human societies throughout millennia. The course will discuss current environmental challenges related to human relationship with plants, such as food security, forest ecosystem integrity, and more. Through focusing on plants’ impacts on human societies the course is specifically designed to increase students’ awareness and understanding of diverse regions, cultures, and societies within the  context of contemporary global challenges.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite:

 

 

ENV140 Waste in Circular Economy (Credits:3)

Producing waste seems an unavoidable result of human activity. But how can we minimize producing such waste? How can we extract value from what we do produce? The course will discuss the fundamental principles of sustainable waste management from] environmental, technological, social, and business viewpoints.The course will cover various types of waste, including food, packaging, plastics, paper, clothes, electronics, and more. The course will focus on the circular economy solutions discussing waste reduction strategies, green product design, reuse and recycling practices, zero-waste lifestyle, waste-to-energy, composting, biogas production, and more. Field visits to waste treatment facilities may be part of the course.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite:

 

 

ENV150 Basics of Sustainable Energy (Credits:3)

The course focuses on sustainable generation and use of energy. Topics will include identifying, evaluating and managing sustainable energy use and generation in homes, buildings, industry, cities, and nationally. Specific topics shall include energy efficiency, lighting, centralized renewable energy generation, distributed renewable energy generation, smart grids, e-transportation, energy storage, as well as sustainable energy policies. Students will have an understanding of sustainable energy from the environmental, economic, and social perspectives. Students will be evaluated based on individual or group projects and written examinations. Instructor-led class time.  Available to BS ES students as free elective.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite:

 

 

ENV170 Chemistry in Everyday Life (Credits:3)

The course highlights and discusses the practical chemical world of human beings and the chemical nature of everyday processes. The role of chemistry in necessities of daily life such as the chemistry of life, agriculture, food, housing, healthcare, clothing, household goods (e.g., toys, furniture, etc.), transport and communications will be discussed. In addition the course will introduce various applications of chemistry in the area of arts, crime and law enforcement, consumer products, cosmetics and warfare. As a science-based, quantitative course, the course will teach students the methods of scientific inquiry, including experimental design and chemical analytical methods, data generation and analysis, and presentation of the final results. Instructor-led discussion, along with reading, written, and practical assignments.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite:

 

 

ENV201 Environmental Field Studies (Credits:3)

This environmental field studies course offers students a unique educational opportunity to practice methods of scientific inquiry, focusing on field-research methodology and techniques. It teaches students the necessary skills to observe, interpret, and analyze scientific information with a critical understanding of the appropriate contexts. Classroom learning, complemented by hands on learning activities, are designed to enable students to work in teams, to use methods of scientific field observation and data collection, and to develop analytical thinking necessary for addressing environmental challenges. This course consists of instructor-led in class time as well as outdoor activities.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite: At least 30 credits completed

 

 

ENV202 Projects in Environmental Sciences (Credits:3)

This course is designed for undergraduate students to gain competence in designing, implementing, and evaluating projects that address environmental issues. Students will work on semester-long group projects which would start from the design of project proposals, and culminate with round-table discussions on each of the implemented projects. The project topics could relate to issues such as: environmental education, resource management (such as waste, energy, soil, water, etc.), sustainable food systems, air quality, forest management or restoration, among other topics. The course includes several in-class simulations using case studies on environmental issues relevant globally and to Armenia. The course uses a project-based learning approach, where student evaluation will be based on their performance in their project, their participation during the in-class simulations and activities, as well as examinations.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite: At least 30 credits completed AND EN170 OR ENV150 OR ENV140 OR ENV130 OR ENV120 OR ENV105 OR ENV101

 

 

ENV203 Environmental Monitoring (Credits:3)

The course is to present general procedures, methods, theories, and techniques in the monitoring programs for different environments. Environmental contamination in air, water, soils, and food will be discussed with the emphasis on instrument selection and quality control, including documentation, calibration, and sample management. Classical monitoring schemes, as well as new and innovative techniques will be compared and evaluated. Local and regional data will be introduced and analyzed. As a science-based, quantitative course, the course will teach students the methods of scientific inquiry, including planning and designing monitoring, sampling, biological and physical-chemical analytical methods, data generation and analysis, and effective presentation of the final results. Instructor-led discussion, along with reading, data-mining, presenting, written, and practical assignments. The course also includes lab and field work opportunities.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite: At least 30 credits completed AND ENV101

 

 

ENV204 Environmental Decision Tools (Credits:3)

When a project (e.g., a hydro-power plant, a highway, or a mine) is built or a program/policy (e.g., promoting agriculture, regulating car emissions, or increasing waste disposal fees) is adopted, it could impact the natural environment (air, water, soil, flora, fauna, and ecosystems) and the human environment (resettlement of populations, noise, dust, odors, vibrations, obstruction of views, etc.). How do we understand these impacts and inform project design and policy formulation to minimize, mitigate, or eliminate negative impacts? This course will discuss the tools available and commonly used to do this: Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA), Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), and economic cost-benefit analysis (CBA). The course will also highlight the role of ecosystem services valuation as a relatively new concept that can enhance the effectiveness of decision-making tools introduced in the course. Instructor-led discussions and written assignments.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite: At least 30 credits completed

 

 

ENV210 Disasters (Credits:3)

This course explores the history, fundamentals, principles, theories, and approaches to disaster management.  Students study natural and manmade disasters and the planning and management tools available for preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation.  Topical investigations include: an overview of disaster management, the range of physical and human impacts, the role of decision-makers and the general public, and structural and non-structural techniques in this quantitative science course.  Armenia- specific cases and scenarios are also considered and discussed.  Three hours of instructor-led class time per week.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite: At least 30 credits completed

 

 

ENV211 Sustainable Cities (Credits:3)

The course will introduce the concept of sustainable cities—places where there is human prosperity, social equity, and environmental health. This will be examined within the larger context of urban aspirations including green or eco-cities, smart cities, creative cities, resilient cities, and more.] Special emphasis will be placed on the concepts and tools necessary to address the environmental sustainability of cities including its resource metabolism, ecology, and built environment impacts. Specific topics may include transportation, land use, energy, water, biodiversity and more.The course will also examine the role of integrated and inclusive urban planning and governance. Students are expected to collect, analyze and present data as well as assess the merits of analyses by others.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite: At least 30 credits completed

 

 

ENV212 Mining (Credits:3)

The course introduces the basic concepts of mineral exploration, ore extraction, mineral processing, and mine-waste management. The course will have a particular focus on related environmental, occupational safety, public health and social management issues and approaches. As a quantitative science course, emphasis will be placed on statistical, scientific, and engineering tools for understanding better management of mining operations. Additionally, the course will introduce some of the legal and policy topics related to good governance of the mining sector in a country. Both international and Armenia- specific cases will be used to highlight concepts and effective practices. Instructor-led discussion, along with reading, written, and practical assignments. When administered in the summer, this course may be taught in intensive format with a fieldwork component. Intensive could include meeting daily in a field location.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite: At least 30 credits completed

 

ENV 215 Urban Environment Mapping (Credits:3)

The course is on spatio-temporal mapping of urban environments, with particular emphasis on field application of sensor and visualization technologies. The course will introduce the theoretical and technical framework of urban environmental data acquisition and visualization using readily available sensing kits and the state-of- the-art mapping platforms. The course promotes active student participation. Students will become familiar and apply the following software tools: ArcGIS or QGIS (open-source), Rhino3D, Grasshopper3D, Arduino Program, and Grasshopper plug-in for Arduino I/O. The course will culminate in composition and presentation of a 5-minute videos that will document the students’ works. These video documentations will be publicly exhibited.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite:

 

ENV230 Water (Credits:3)

Without adequate supply of freshwater our economies will not function and our health will not be secured. Human overuse and pollution of freshwater can also cause political conflict and damage ecosystems. This course will examine water from various perspectives including ecological, human health, resource stewardship, economic, and legal/political. Specific topics to be covered include water supply, use, and recycling in manufacturing, mining, energy, agriculture, and domestic life; potential for resource efficiency and optimization; water quality and types of water pollution, methods of testing and monitoring water quality and conditions of freshwater ecosystems; water purification and wastewater treatment; water planning and management tools/models including those for watersheds, surface, and ground water resources; new technologies, such as desalination, to access freshwater; and international and national laws on water. The course includes field and lab work opportunities.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite: At least 30 credits completed

 

EPIC 231 Design and Fabrication (Credits:3)

The course aims to partake in the ongoing discourse about the role of fabrication for the production of design and manufacture.  More specifically it aspires to draw a connection between the advancement of design ideas and the use of techniques specific to the digital fabrication pipeline, and to posit how this coupling may further inform other areas of disciplinary research. As such, the course aims to be a research laboratory for the analysis, development and localized deployment of strategies for digital fabrication.

Topics of study include:  design/fabrication typologies, technical performance, sustainable strategies, prefabrication methodology, current and future developments in design/fabrication, among others.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite:

 

ENV250 Biodiversity: Conservation and Restoration (Credits:3)

This course is designed for undergraduate students to develop basic quantitative skills for deeper understanding of the causes and consequences of the current worldwide loss of plant, animal and other species. The course will cover the theory and practice of managing endangered species and the conservation and restoration of habitats and species populations. The course will emphasize how to apply science and the scientific method in the conservation and restoration of biodiversity. Worldwide as well as Armenia-specific cases will reviewed. A key expected outcome of the course is students’ competence in measuring trends using statistics and computing useful measures and indices. Three hours of instructor-led class time per week.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite: At least 30 credits completed

 

 

ENV251 Forests (Credits:3)

Students will use statistical and scientific tools to gain a deeper understanding of forests, forest-related processes, and management of this critical resource. The course will offer an introduction to the types of forests worldwide, the role of forests in ecosystem that protect the living environment, and their significance to human economies and well-being. Students will gain insights in the ecosystem services that forests provide—for instance, their importance in climate and water-cycle regulation as well as biodiversity and soil protection. Forest management techniques and the role of good forest governance will be highlighted throughout the course. Topics will be supplemented by Armenia and Caucasus-specific cases and problem sets. Instructor-led discussion, along with reading, written, and practical assignments. When administered in the summer, this course may be taught in intensive format with a fieldwork component. Intensive could include meeting daily in a field location.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite: At least 30 credits completed

 

 

ENV290 Special Topics in Environment Sciences (Credits:3)

The course covers a selected topic of current interest. Topics to be announced prior to course registration.    Additional Prerequisite:s may be required based on topic.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite: At least 30 credits completed AND ENV 101

 

 

ENV300 Natural Environment and Humans (Credits:1)

The course is designed for graduate students from disparate disciplines to gain an overview of environmental principals and current environmental issues. The course will cover four broad areas. First it will discuss what ecosystems are, how they function, and the main processes keeping them stable. Second, it will review key environmental issues including climate change, loss of biodiversity, nitrogen and phosphorous cycle disruptions, eutrophication, chemical pollution (including persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals, particulate, etc.), degradation of natural habitats (deforestation, grasslands change and wetlands drainage), and so on. Third, basic environmental concepts, frameworks, and tools will be presented including sustainability, planetary boundary, ecological footprint, carbon footprint, and TRACI. Finally, the course will present broad review of regulatory and market-based policy directions employed to address environmental change. Topics will be supplemented by Armenia and Caucasus-specific cases.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite:

 

 

ENV320 Geographic Information Systems and Environmental Analysis (Credits:2)

The course aims to introduce and develop introductory and intermediate skills in application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to visualize, analyze, and interpret relationships, patterns and trends in the fields of environmental management, public health, sustainable agriculture and transportation. GIS as a tool, however, is applicable to a wide variety of fields and industries, including marketing, logistics, urban development, and so on.  Students will also learn to use Global Positioning System (GPS) units to collect spatial data.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite:

 

 

ENV321 Remote Sensing and Environmental Analysis (Credits:1)

The course aims to provide a basic understanding of land-use mapping with remote-sensing techniques.The focus will be on multispectral remote sensing and pixel based image classification. For land use mapping, freely available satellite data from the Landsat mission will be used. Processing will be done with ArcMap10 or similar software.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite: ENV 320

 

 

ENV325 Urban Environment Mapping: Field Application of Sensing and Visualization Tools (Credits:3)

The course is on spatio-temporal mapping of urban environments, with particular emphasis on field application of sensor and visualization technologies. The course will introduce the theoretical and technical framework of urban environmental data acquisition and visualization using readily available sensing kits and the state-of- the-art mapping platforms. The course promotes active student participation. Students will become familiar and apply the following software tools: ArcGIS or QGIS (open-source), Rhino3D, Grasshopper3D, Arduino Program, and Grasshopper plug-in for Arduino I/O. The course will culminate in composition and presentation of a 5-minute videos that will document the students’ works. These video documentations will be publicly exhibited. Instructor-led classes and fieldwork.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite: Instructor’s approval

 

 

ENV330 Business and Environmental Sustainability (Credits:1)

The course is for graduate students with interest in business, management, and economics. It offers an overview of environmental challenges facing the planet today including climate change, loss of biodiversity, natural resource depletion, chemical pollution, and more. The course discusses corporate responses, political activist and governmental pressures on corporations, regulatory and market-based policy solutions, and technological innovations that are helping address these environmental challenges. Topics are supplemented by Armenia and Caucasus-specific cases.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite:

 

 

ENV399 Special Topics (Credits:1)

Course Description tailored to course content when offered.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite:

 

 

 

TEFL330 Endangered Languages and Biodiversity (Credits:1)

About 70 percent of all languages currently spoken on Earth occur in approximately one-fourth of the planet’s land area (excluding Antarctica) that is designated as a Biodiversity Hotspot or High Biodiversity Wilderness Area. As is the case with species occurring in the biodiversity regions, many of the languages spoken in the Hotspots and High Biodiversity Wilderness Areas are unique to individual regions, thereby marking the sole opportunities to maintain them. Moreover, many of the languages occurring in these regions are spoken by small numbers of people indicating that much of the linguistic diversity (and, by implication, cultural diversity) currently present in biodiversity regions is in danger of disappearing in the foreseeable future due to the high vulnerability of small groups to changes in their cultural systems and environments amid rapid globalization.” From: http://users.ox.ac.uk/~romaine/lingbiodiversity.html.    Through readings, class materials and lectures, this course introduces students to Earth’s Biodiversity Hotspots and the linguistic and cultural groups that live in these hotspots.  The course is co-taught by ACE and TEFL and sensitizes students to current linguistic and biodiversity issues.

Corequisites:

Prerequisite:

 

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.