Environmental Studies | Course Catalogue

2020-2021 Catalogue

Environmental Studies is an interdisciplinary field that draws on knowledge and analytical tools from many areas of study to understand the function of natural ecosystems, the effects of human societies on the environment, and the role that the environment has played in shaping human cultures and artistic endeavors. The major in Environmental Studies and Sustainability prepares students for careers in policy-making, education, conservation, government service, research, and the arts. Students will also be well prepared to work for non-governmental organizations or enter into post-graduate studies in environmental law, urban planning, and scientific disciplines such as ecology.

Major Program

The student learning outcomes of the major are:
I. to understand the fundamental scientific principles that govern the operation of natural ecosystems;
II. to gain an appreciation for the effects of the human economic activities and governmental policies on the environment; 
III. to explore interdisciplinary approaches to, and become effective leaders for, environmental sustainability and justice;

IV. to explore ethical, spiritual, cultural, and psychological dimensions of human relationships to non-human nature;
V. to consider the ways in which the natural world has inspired creative endeavors in literature and the arts;
VI. to integrate material from the various disciplines into a coherent framework for understanding the role of humans in the environment

To ensure a broad and multidisciplinary background in the study of the environment, all students will take courses from and complete work in the following three areas of study:
1) Science and the Biosphere (scientific approaches to understanding environmental issues),
2) Human Institutions and the Environment (policy, economic, and educational viewpoints on human relationships with non-human nature), and
3) Creative, Ethical, and Spiritual Perspectives on Ecology (artistic, philosophical, and spiritual considerations).

4) Students will also complete a senior capstone experience that will integrate concepts and methods of environmental studies with those of another academic discipline.

Professional Development: Throughout her Wesleyan education each student is given opportunities to explore professional and career choices, and to develop and demonstrate the knowledge and skills essential for professional success. Each student will complete PDE 400 Professional Development Experience and PDE 401 Professional Practice Seminar.

Integrative Experience: An integrative experience is required of each student as part of the general education program. The integrative experience requirement is met with ESC/BIO 440 Senior Integrative Exercise in the Life Sciences. In this course, students work individually to research a focused topic integrating concepts and methods of Environmental Studies with those of another discipline. Students work collaboratively in a small group to organize oral presentations which integrate individual topics into a broader theme, question, or problem. Students present their work at the end of the semester.

Major requirements: Environmental Studies and Sustainability. (41 hours)

I. Science and the Biosphere (16 hours)
ESC 150 Principles of Environmental Science 4 hours
ESC/BIO 208 Field Biology 4 hours
ESC/BIO 280 Ecology 4 hours
ESC/BIO 360 Conservation Biology 4 hours
 
II. Human Institutions and the Environment (12 hours)
Required (6 hours)
At least two of the following (at least one at the 300 level):
PHI/LED 207 Effective Leadership in Community 3 hours
ECO 206 Economic Thought 3 hours
POL/PHI 240 Introduction to Political Thought 3 hours
PHI/LED 307 Power and Service Leadership 3 hours
POL 306 Environmental Politics and Policy 3 hours
POL 356 Activism and Political Organization 3 hours

 

Two Courses from the Following (6 hours)

ECO 104 Issues in Microeconomics 3 hours
ECO 206 Economic Thought 3 hours (if not used to fulfill the requirement above)
ECO 302 International Trade 3 hours
EDS 114 Understanding Learning 3 hours
POL 115 American Politics 3 hours
POL/PHI 240 Introduction to Political Thought 3 hours (if not used to fulfill the requirement above)
POL 230 International Relations 3 hours
POL/PHI 300 Foundations of Political Thought 3 hours
POL 306 Environmental Politics and Policy 3 hours (if not used to fulfill the requirements above)
POL 342 International Organizations 3 hours
POL 356 Activism and Political Organization 3 hours (if not used to fulfill the requirement above)
PHI/LED 207 Effective Leadership in Community 3 hours (if not used to fulfill the requirement above)
PHI/LED 307 Power and Service Leadership 3 hours (if not used to fulfill the requirement above)
 
III. Creative, Ethical, and Spiritual Perspectives on Ecology (9 hours)
Required (6 hours)
ART 110 Creativity: Art/Design from Nature 3 hours
PHI 223 Ethics 3 hours
 
Complete at least one course from the following list (3 hours)
ARH 235 Outside the Mainstream 3 hours
ARH 354 Women's Issues in Contemporary Art 3 hours
ART 108 3-D Design 3 hours
ART 225 Graphic Design 3 hours
ART 318 Intermediate Ceramics 3 hours
ENG 102 Workshop in Research Writing 3 hours
ENG 111 Analyzing Literature 3 hours
ENG 161 Creative Writing 3 hours
ENG 302 Digital Culture 3 hours
PHI 210 Readings in Philosophy (Philosophies of Nature, Ecology, Environment, or Social Justice subjects only) 3 hours
REL 396 Special Topics in Religion (Religion and Ecology or Religion and Politics subjects only) 3 hours
REL/PHI 309 From Modernism to Postmodernism 3 hours
WIS 301 Wesleyan Liberal Arts Seminar: Interpretations of Land and Nature 3 hours
 
IV. Senior Seminar (3 hours)
ESC/BIO 440 Senior Integrative Exercise in the Life Sciences 3 hours

V. Additional course work (1 hour)
Electives may include any of the courses listed above, plus ESC 396, ESC 451 and ESC 452.

The 41 hours required for the major must include at least 12 hours at the 300-level or higher.
 

Minor Requirements: Environmental Science (32 hours)

ESC 150 Principles of Environmental Science 4 hours
ESC/BIO 208 Field Biology 4 hours
ESC/BIO 360 Conservation Biology 4 hours
BIO 110 Principles of Biology I - Biological Processes 4 hours
BIO 112 Principles of Biology II - Diversity of Biological Systems 4 hours
CHM 101 General Chemistry I 4 hours
CHM 102 General Chemistry II 4 hours
CHM 240 Quantitative Analysis 4 hours
 

Environmental Science (ESC) Course Descriptions

ESC 150: Principles of Environmental Science.
Goal: To appreciate that the Earth and its living systems sustain humankind, and to understand how the agricultural and industrial activities of human societies modify biogeochemical cycles and transform natural ecosystems, often to the detriment of ourselves and other species.
Content: An introduction to environmental sciences, an interdisciplinary field integrating concepts from ecology, chemistry, politics, and economics. The focus is on interactions between people and the environment, with specific topics including: human population growth; fuels and energy; pollution of air, water and soil; human alterations to global biogeochemistry, including global warming and acid rain; and responses of human societies to environmental issues. Laboratory exercises will take place in the lab and in the field.
Taught: Fall.
Gen. Ed. Category: Exploring; Natural World; (SM).
Credit: 4 hours.
 

ESC 208: Field Biology.
Goal: To practice field techniques and quantitative skills commonly used in outdoor scientific disciplines. To learn to identify the conspicuous plant and animal species of Georgia and consider how they are adapted to their environments.
Content: Students will be introduced to the flora, fauna, and ecosystems of the southeastern United States in this field-intensive course. Emphasis will be on practical aspects of conducting scientific investigation outdoors, namely: taxonomic skills, field identification of plants and animals, use of dichotomous keys, techniques for sampling and describing natural populations and communities, and quantitative skills for analysis of data.
Taught: Fall. Alternate Years.
Prerequisites: BIO 110 and BIO 112; or ESC 150.
Credit: 4 hours; cross-listed as BIO 208.

ESC 280: Ecology.
Goal: To understand the interrelationships between living organisms and their physical and biological environment. To develop a broad understanding of the field of ecology. To conduct ecological research.
Content: Ecological principles at the level of the individual, population, community, and ecosystem. Specific topics include nutrient cycles, flow of energy in ecosystems, population dynamics, evolutionary ecology, life histories, competition and other community interactions, succession, and island biogeography. Current topics in anthropogenic global change.
Taught: Fall. Alternate years.
Prerequisites: BIO 110 and 112; or ESC 150.
Credit: 4 hours; cross-listed as BIO 280.

ESC 360: Conservation Biology.
Goal: To understand the reasons why many species are endangered, to examine possible solutions, and to consider the ethical and ecological ramifications of species extinctions. To appreciate the interdisciplinary nature of conservation biology by considering issues ranging from the level of the gene to the scale of the entire biosphere.
Content: Students read, review, and discuss current literature in this speaking-intensive course. Students will conduct both laboratory- and field-based studies. Topics include defining diversity, threats to biodiversity, population genetics of rare species, conservation strategies and nature preserves, and legal and ethical issues.
Taught: Spring. Alternate years.
Prerequisites: BIO 110 and 112; or ESC 150.
Credit: 4 hours; cross-listed as BIO 360.
 
ESC 396: Special Topics in Environmental Studies.
Goal: To provide an opportunity to explore topics outside those offered elsewhere within the environmental studies curriculum or to explore in greater detail a subject covered by another course.
Content: An in-depth examination of a special topic within environmental studies. Topics will vary from semester to semester.
Taught: Offered occasionally.
Prerequisites: ESC 150 or permission of the instructor.
Credit: 3, 4 hours. A student may take a maximum of six to eight semester hours (two courses) of special topics in any one field.

ESC 440: Senior Integrative Exercise in the Life Sciences.
Goal: To provide a capstone integrative experience for seniors majoring in biology, neuroscience, and environmental studies. To prepare for careers and professional growth by discussing future goals and reflecting on past collegiate experiences, both in the major and in the general education curriculum.
Content: With faculty guidance, students will work individually to research a focused topic integrating concepts of biology, neuroscience, or environmental studies with those of another academic discipline. Students will work collaboratively in a small group to organize oral presentations incorporating individual topics into a broader theme, question, or problem. Students will make their presentations at the end of the semester to students and faculty in the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Students will also critique resumes and prepare cover letters for a variety of postgraduate opportunities.
Taught: Fall.
Prerequisites: Declared major in Biology with senior standing and completion of BIO 110, BIO 112, and BIO 203; or declared major in Environmental Studies with senior standing and completion of ESC 150; or declared major in Neuroscience with senior standing and completion of NSC 207, NSC 325, or NSC 335; or consent of instructor.
Credit: 3 hours; cross-listed as BIO 440 and NSC 440.

ESC 451: Directed Independent Study.
Goal: To enable an intensive exploration of a topic of special interest. To promote original, independent, creative, and critical thinking from an environmental perspective. To solve real problems in a scientific manner. To provide an opportunity to conduct independent laboratory work and to learn new techniques.
Content: Directed independent work of a critical or analytical nature. Under careful faculty supervision, qualified student are encouraged to develop originality of thought and thoroughness of method. Some emphasis is placed on research methods.
Taught: Upon request of student, with approval of sponsoring faculty.
Prerequisites: Permission of the program director.
Credit: 1-6 hours.

ESC 452: Field Study.
Goal: To afford actual experience in an environmental laboratory, consulting, or advising capacity.
Content: Applied areas in environmental science may be considered for internship credit. The student must submit a brief plan including objectives, anticipated activities, a list of readings, and the nature of the reports to be submitted to the sponsor.
Taught: Offered occasionally.
Prerequisites: Permission of advisor, program director, faculty sponsor, and the Director of Career Development.
Credit: 1-12 hours.

ESC 499: Honors Thesis. (Fee required).
  • About Us
    • Mission and History
  • Academic Catalogue
    • Undergraduate Calendar
    • Graduate Calendar
  • Policies
    • Academic Enrichment
    • Credit Options
    • Errata
    • Graduate Policies 
    • Undergraduate Policies
  • Admission
    • Undergrad Admission
    • Graduate Admission
  • Cost
    • Tuition & Fees
    • Financial Aid
  • Graduate Programs
    • Master of Arts IOP
    • Master of Arts Music
    • MBA Program
    • Master of Education
    • Master of Science Healthcare
  • Undergraduate Programs
    • Bachelor of Arts
    • Bachelor of Fine Arts
    • BSN Nursing
    • Dual Degree Programs
    • Online Program
    • Prof. Concentrations
  • Majors and Minors
    • Accounting
    • Advertising & Comm
    • American Studies
    • Applied Data Analysis
    • Applied Math Science
    • Applied Psychology
    • Art BFA-Studio Art BA
    • Art History
    • Arts Management
    • Asian Studies
    • Biology
    • Business Admin
    • Chemistry
    • Chinese
    • Communication
    • Computer Science
    • Digital Marketing
    • Economics
    • Education
    • English
    • Environmental Studies
    • Equine Therapy
    • Finance
    • Forensic Science
    • French
    • German
    • Health & Physical Ed.
    • Healthcare Admin
    • History
    • History Politics Global
    • Human Resources
    • Humanities
    • International Business
    • Japanese
    • Leadership
    • Mathematics
    • Music
    • Neuroscience
    • Nursing
    • Org Behavior
    • Philosophy
    • Physics
    • Political Science
    • Pre-Law
    • Professional Develop
    • Psychology
    • Public Health
    • Rel. Phi. Social
    • Religious Studies
    • Self-Designed Major
    • Spanish
    • Sport Management
    • Strategic Management
    • Theatre
    • Travel-Study
    • Visual Studies
    • Integrative Seminar
    • Women Gender
    • Writing

Calendar of Events

Wesleyan College is privileged to steward many arts and cultural events and share them with the community. Most are free and open to the public. Wesleyan art galleries are open M-F 1:30 – 5:00 PM and on Wesleyan Market Saturdays from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM.

Visit our Campus

Tour our beautiful 200-acre campus featuring Georgian architecture, lush green spaces, recreational facilities, residence halls, and worship center.

NCAA Division III Athletics

Wesleyan College is home to five NCAA Division III sports: soccer, basketball, volleyball, tennis, and softball. In addition, we offer an award-winning Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Equestrian program.

Join our email list