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Introduction to Environmental Studies
Undergraduate Program Status
1st year
Society and Culture
Course Description

This mandatory interdisciplinary course explores the complexity of environmental challenges, and how we might forge a more sustainable and just world.  In particular it raises questions about how environmental problems emerge based on the interplay of historical, social, and biophysical factors. The course will analyze specific case studies in different parts of the world that show how people articulate and engage environmental issues differently due to the governance regime and their location, disposition and ways of knowing.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to: 

  1. Articulate key dynamics of environmental challenges and problems across conceptual, theoretical and practical levels; 
  2. Contextualize environmental problems through case study analyses; 
  3. Connect contemporary environmental challenges to the history of human interventions as they are manifested through social and biophysical relationships;  
  4. Critically question and analyze complex environmental issues manifested in political rhetoric; and 
  5. Consider how we might forge a more sustainable and just world through the application of particular frameworks and strategies.
  • Attendance and participation (20%) 
  • Team presentations of case study readings (15%) 
  • Short papers leading up to the take-home exam (2 x 15%=30%)  
  • Take-home exam (35%)
Course Level
Course Open to
Students on-site
Academic Year
US Credits
ECTS Credits
Course Code