Introduction to Environmental Sciences (IES)

Course Level: 
Master’s
Campus: 
Vienna
Course Open to: 
Students on-site
Remote students
Academic Year: 
2020-2021
Term: 
Fall
US Credits: 
2
ECTS Credits: 
4
Course Description: 

The course is designed for refreshing of basic knowledge about geological, geophysical and geographical peculiarities of Earth as a planet, it gives understanding of basic concepts and principles of ecology, such as energy and material flows in ecosystems. It also gives overview of key human-induced processes affecting the biosphere, focusing on major environmental issues, such as main factors of population dynamics and related consumption and environmental issues , climate change, ozone depletion, soil degradation, various types of pollution, etc., as well as ways how our civilization is trying to solve these problems. The main aim of this course is to show history of evolution of our planet and state-of-the-art situation with human impact on the environment.

Learning Outcomes: 

The course aims to develop an understanding of the functioning of ecosystems and the environmental challenges which arise at the interface between them and human societies, including in particular the problems of serving global demands in energy and other natural resources. At the end of the course a successful student should be able to:

  1. Be familiar with the main concepts of geological processes on Earth and their link with distribution of natural resources and major natural disasters.
  2. Understand main principles of climate zoning and related vegetation, soil and biota distribution.
  3. Understand basic concepts, principles and laws of ecology; understanding ecological processes including the flow of energy, and materials in ecosystems, ecological succession and evolution.
  4. Understand the key concepts of environmental impact at different scales and associated ecological issues at global, regional and local levels;
  5. Know the purpose and key elements of environmental indicator frameworks, the ways indicators and indices can be used.
Assessment: 

Take-home exam paper 100%