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Course Descriptions

Web Catalog Information Subject to Change

The web version of the ESF Catalog is updated as needed throughout the year. To view the version officially associated with a particular date of entry to the College, please refer to the appropriate catalog of record.

Course Descriptions

EST

EST 132 Introduction to Environmental Studies (3)
Three hours of lecture, discussion and analytical activities per week. Gateway course for EST majors. Introduction to the study of environmental problems in the social sciences and humanities. Topics: pollution, conservation, preservation, human health, ecosystem health, limits to growth, sustainability, ecosystems, population, energy, risk and traditional knowledge. Fall.

EST 140 Introduction to Native Peoples, Lands & Cultures (3)
Three hours of lecture/discussion per week. Introductory survey of the history, geography, economy, and culture of Native Americans from prehistory to present, with special attention to the Great Lakes region/upstate New York and environmental topics. Draws on texts, films, guest speakers, and other resources. Spring.

EST 200 Cultural Ecology (3)
Three hours of lecture/discussion/oral presentations per week. Students develop skills and fluency in preparing, delivering and evaluating multicultural and traditional environmental management and decision-making. Emphasis is on situations encountered in the environmental professions. Case studies pose ethical questions, which challenge students to apply theory and analysis to each case. Topics also include interactions of culture and environment, relationship between traditional and scientific knowledge and co-management as multicultural decision making. Self-evaluation and peer evaluations are emphasized. Fall or Spring.

EST 201 US History Reconstruction to the Present (3)
Three hours of lecture/discussion per week. History of changes occurring in America post 1865 including land use, government, economic and international relations. Spring.

EST 202 American History: From Discovery to Civil War (3)
EST 202 American History: From Discovery to Civil War (3 credits) Three hours of lecture/discussion per week. A survey of American history considering the origin and development of American institutions and ideals, from the discovery of the New World through the Civil War. Students are introduced to works of major historians and to various interpretations of American history.
Prerequisite(s): none.

EST 220 Urban Ecology (3)
Two hours lecture/discussion, three hours of outdoor laboratory per week. Explores the city from an ecosystems perspective. Addresses the role and importance of science, engineering, the design professions, and community participation in creating livable communities. Environmental equity and justice are addressed. Fall.

EST 221 Introduction to American Government (3)
Three contact hours per week. Describes American political system and its roles and functions in society. Examines how political processes change over time, including the role of rhetoric and argumentation in policy development. Explores critical analysis of political phenomena. Fall.

EST 230 China Experience (3)
Forty five hours (equivalent) of lecture and field studies. General survey of the history of China from ancient societies through the current time, with attention to cultural, ecological and natural resource issues focused on selected localities of China. The locality and/or hot spots will be selected from: the invention of paper; printing technology; renewable energy; anaerobic digestion of manual / plant biomass; wastewater treatment; Great Walls; Forbidden City; Three Gorges area; Canals; Chinese gardens; Sichuan; Dujianyang Irrigation Dam/Channels; Panda preservation; Hakka culture; Tibetan culture; plants and vegetation, etc. Analysis of the evolution of the Chinese culture. Historical and contemporary influences of China. Spring, Fall or Summer.

EST 231 Environmental Geology (3)
Three hours of lecture and discussion per week. Environmental Geology is an applied field of study that uses geological information to assist in resolving human conflicts related to land use issues, environmental damage, and resource use. Topics include natural resources, energy, environmental pollution, waste disposal, geological hazards and climate change. Spring.

EST 245 Foundations of Environmental Communication (3)
Three hours of lecture/discussion per week. Survey of environmental communication, including nature representions in popular culture, and the role of mass media on public perceptions of environmental issues. Topics also include strategic communication, public participation in environmental decision-making, and environmental risk perception. Exposure to communication theory and social scientific and humanities-based approaches. Fall.
Prerequisite(s): none.

EST 255 Research Methods for Environmental Studies (3)
Three hours of lecture, discussion and analytical activities per week. An introductory methods course focused on research techniques used in environmental and natural resources social science research. This course reviews quantitative and qualitative methodologies for environmental studies research including but not limited to questionnaires, in-depth interviews, rhetorical critiques and content analyses. Spring.
Pre- or Co-requisite: EWP 290

EST 296 Special Topics in Environmental Studies (1 - 3)
Experimental, interdisciplinary or special coursework at the freshman or sophomore levels. Subject matter and course format vary from semester to semester or offering on the basis of needs and objectives of the course. Fall or Spring.

EST 301 Leadership through Mentoring (1)
Biweekly meetings with instructors and with first-year student groups. Advanced leadership training for students in the ESF Peer Mentoring Program. Use of online resources to augment person-to-person interactions and group meetings. Fall.
Prerequisites: Upper division class standing, participation in the Peer Review Mentoring Program, and successful completion of Orientation Leader training.

EST 321 Government and the Environment (3)
Three contact hours per week. Examines the relationship between government and the environment, primarily in the U.S. Introduces environmental policy, including the policy making process. Reviews legal framework and current issues in several thematic areas (e.g., air, water, hazardous waste, and endangered species protection). Spring

EST 353 Environmental Psychology (3)
Three hours of lecture per week. Overview of theory, research, and methods in environmental psychology and sustainable behavior. Explores the role of human behavior as a root cause of environmental degradation and examines the contribution of individual and societal processes. The cognitive-behavioral perspective is emphasized in understanding these issues. Fall, odd years.
Prerequisites: Introductory psychology; junior status or permission of instructor.

EST 361 History of the American Environmental Movement (3)
Three hours of lecture and discussion per week. The historic and cultural origins and evolution of this complex, multifaceted social phenomenon called the environmental movement and its influence on public policies, values and lifestyles. The events, personages, philosophies and historical/cultural processes that marked and continue to drive various, competing attitudes toward nature, even within the United States environmental movement. Fall.

EST 366 Attitudes, Values and the Environment (3)
Three hours of lecture per week. Historical roots of environmental attitudes, values, and ethics with special emphasis on how individual attitudes impact environmental issues. Perspectives on man's relationship and responsibility to nature. Value implications of ecological principles and concepts. Examples of current environmental issues are examined in this context. Fall, even years.
Prerequisites: Junior status or permission of instructor.

EST 388 Psychological Principles of Risk Communication (3)
Three hours of lecture and discussion per week. Presents socio-psychological principles and theoretical underpinnings guiding the applied social science approach to environmental risk communication issues. Three overlapping themes will be considered and linked: how communities cope with environmental hazards, how risk information is cognitively processed and evaluated and how risk communication influences perception, evaluation and behavior. Spring, even years.
Prerequisite: Upper-division status.

EST 390 Social Processes and the Environment (3)
Three hours of lecture/discussion per week. Explores alternative ways of explaining the relationship between social processes and environmental conditions. Analyzes classical and modern social theories and applies their insights to questions of human-environment interaction. Introduces qualitative social science research methods and the social construction of environmental meaning. Fall or Spring.

EST 393 Environmental Discourse and Communication (3)
Three hours of lecture and discussion per week. Considers the role of communication and political discourse in shaping perceptions of nature and environmental issues/problems. Explores a variety of interpersonal, group, organizational and mass communication theories and a wide range of environmental discourses using examples of written, visual, broadcast, and electronic communication. Spring.
Prerequisite: Junior standing, and either EST 245 or permission of instructor.

EST 395 Public Communication of Science and Technology (3)
Three hours of lecture/discussion per week. Survey of public communication of science and technology (PCST). Considers the structure, meanings, and implications of PCST, including contexts in which it occurs. Topics also include motivations and constraints of those who produce PCST, and function of PCST in contemporary society. Exposure to communication theory and social scientific research methods and analysis. Spring.
Prerequisite(s): EST 245 and junior standing, or permission of the instructor.

EST 400 Senior Paper (3)
Individual study of an environmental topic resulting in a formal report that meets the requirements for an environmental studies synthesis experience. These requirements are identified in course meetings. Enrollment is restricted to environmental studies seniors. Fall and Spring.

EST 401 Environmental Ethics and Culture: Perspectives on the Adirondack Park (3)
Introduction to the ethics of land-use conflicts in the Adirondacks, NY. This course links the philosophical history of ethics with contemporary principles of environmental ethics and advocacy. Topics include agency, ethics, value theory, morality and responsibility in the context of ongoing regional debates. Requires concurrent registration with other Sustaining the Park courses. Fall, Newcomb Campus.
Prerequisite(s): none. Co-requisites: EFB 411, EST 402, EST 403, EST 404.

EST 402 Diverse Perspectives on a common landscape: Experiencing the Adirondack Park (3)
Two hours of lecture and three hours per week of immersion in Adirondack issues including introduction to diverse stakeholders and perspectives through non-governmental, agency, and community meetings; interaction with an array of regional experts through special panel discussions; and field trips to and private tours of historic and cultural sites and institutions. Requires concurrent registration with other Sustaining the Park courses. Fall, Newcomb Campus.
Prerequisite(s): none. Co-requisites: EFB 411, EST 401, EST 403, EST 404.

EST 403 Sustainable Development: An Adirondack Park Case Study (3)
A place based study of the concepts of sustainable development and their application. Students will learn of the role of historical precedence and current context in approaching planning and policy for a sustainable future. The course will combine lecture, discussion, student led seminars and writing that illustrates both skills in analysis and synthesis. Class will meet once a week for three hours for fourteen weeks at the ESF Newcomb campus, and may require occasional field trips. Requires concurrent registration with other Sustaining the Park courses. Fall, Newcomb Campus.
Prerequisites: none. Co-requisites: EFB 411, EST 401, EST 402, EST 404.

EST 404 Using Past Exp. to Inform Future Managmt: Synthesizing the Adirondack Park (3)
Three hours of lecture/seminar/discussion per week. Synthesis of experiences, content and insights gained during the “Sustaining the Adirondack Park” residential semester, including Capstone research and production of an independent position paper and collaborative comprehensive management plan. Requires concurrent registration with other Sustaining the Park courses. Fall, Newcomb Campus.
Prerequisite(s): none. Co-requisites: EFB 411, EST 401, EST 402, EST 403.

EST 412 Advanced Leadership Through Mentoring (2)
Two hours of seminar/discussion for ten weeks. Returning mentors to the Student-to-Student Mentoring Program will help train peers while mentoring first year students. Topics include small group dynamics, diversity, time management, community service, public speaking, team-building, problem-solving, and interactive styles. Spring.
Prerequisite(s): EST 301 Leadership Through Mentoring. Acceptance into Orientation Leader Program and Student-to-Student Mentoring Program.

EST 423 Rhetorical Practices in Environmental Communication (3)
Three hours of lecture, discussion and analytical activities per week. An advanced methods course focused on the research of rhetorical appeals and practices used in environmental and natural resources discourse and decision-making. This course reviews different methodologies for communication research including rhetorical critiques, content analyses and thematic analyses. Fall.
Prerequisite(s): EWP 220 and EWP 290

EST 426 Community Planning and Sustainability (3)
Three hours of lecture and demonstration per week. Presents ecological planning and development concepts and theory guiding local and global initiatives for sustainable development. Overlapping themes are considered and linked: the relationship between landscape patterns reflecting wealth, poverty and environmental quality; the role of efficiency in reducing environmental impacts; and the questions of environmental equality, and the quality of development. Fall.

EST 427 Environmental and Energy Auditing (3)
Three hours of lecture, demonstration, and discussion per week. Presents environmental and energy auditing concepts and theory guiding local and regional initiatives for greenhouse gas production and energy use reduction. This course utilizes a practicum approach through use of inventory and analysis tools by student teams for project application. Spring.
Note: Credit will not be granted for both EST 427 and EST 627.

EST 450 Sustainable Enterprise (3)
Three hours of classroom/presentation per week. Economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainability and their interdependence. Influences on organizations to adopt sustainable approaches to operations and activities. Tools to validate organizational sustainability. Transdisciplinary emphasis. Fall.
Note: This course is cross-listed at SU School of Management as LPP/SHR 450.

EST 460 Land Use Law (3)
Three hours of lecture and discussion per week. This course provides an understanding of U.S., state and local laws affecting land use in New York in the context of current environmental policy debates. Students learn to recognize and analyze legal issues involving land use in varying contexts. Spring.
Prerequisites: EST 221 or permission of the instructor. Note: Credit will not be granted for both EST 460 and EST 660.

EST 493 Environmental Communication Workshop (3)
Three hours of cooperative learning activities, lecture and discussion per week. A workshop format on a specified environmental program or issue introduces the theories and skills of alternative dispute resolution approaches, public participation structures and dynamics, public policy decision making and implementation, risk communication, leadership styles, and small group dynamics. Spring.
Prerequisite: Senior status or permission of instructor.

EST 494 Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies (1)
Two-hour seminar every two weeks. For all seniors in Environmental Studies. Students will prepare portfolios and give capstone presentations on their senior synthesis project and develop career goals and plans. Spring.
Prerequisites: Limited to graduating seniors in the Department of Environmental Studies.

EST 495 Selected Readings in Environmental Studies (1 - 3)
An in-depth and independent exploration of selected readings from the environmentally related literature. Emphasis is placed on gaining insights and understanding from the readings, rather than producing an extensive bibliography. Fall, Spring and Summer.
Prerequisite: Approval of study plan by instructor.

EST 496 Special Topics in Environmental Studies (1 - 3)
Special topics of current interest to undergraduate students in environmental studies and related fields. A detailed course subject description will be presented as the topic area is identified and developed. Fall, Spring and Summer.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

EST 498 Introductory Research Problems (1 - 3)
Guided individual study of an environmental topic. Emphasis is on the study procedure and the methods employed. Enrollment is possible at various times during the semester. Fall, Spring and Summer.
Prerequisite: Approval of study plan by instructor.

EST 499 Environmental Studies Internship (1 - 12)
Internships provide students with a supervised field experience to apply and extend their academic abilities in a professional working environment. Enrollment is possible at various times during the semester. Fall, Spring and Summer.
Prerequisites: Environmental Studies senior status and written approval of an internship contract by major professor, curriculum director and field supervisor.

EST 550 Environmental Impact Analysis (3)
Three hours of lecture per week. The law, administration and natural/social science basis of the environmental impact assessment process in the federal government and New York state. Spring.
Prerequisite: Graduate matriculation or permission of instructor.

EST 600 Foundations of Environmental Studies (3)
Three hours of lecture/discussion per week. Examines frameworks for understanding and solving environmental problems. Familiarizes students with the epistemological foundations of environment-society relations. Considers multiple methodological and analytical strategies. Uses a case study method to exemplify key principles. Fall.
Prerequisites: Undergraduate courses in general ecology, environmental science and policy or communication theory.

EST 603 Research Methods and Design (3)
Three hours of lecture/discussion per week. Comprehensive survey of research methods and design for Environmental Studies. Topics covered include the scientific method; research design; quantitative, qualitative, and mixed research methods; sampling; data collection techniques; data analysis and interpretation; research ethics; and research proposal development. Fall.

EST 604 Social Survey Research Methods for Environmental Issues (3)
Three hours of lecture and discussion per week. Provides a critical overview of survey methods used to study human dimension of environmental problems. Explores fundamental theories, techniques, and applications of environmentally related social survey research processes. Design of original survey research and critical assessment of existing research. Spring, odd years.
Prerequisite: Undergraduate basic statistics course.

EST 605 Qualitative Methods (3)
Three hours of lecture and discussion per week. Survey of the generally recognized paradigms and methods that qualitative researchers use to better understand, evaluate, and perhaps influence complex social phenomenon. Research proposal, pilot study, final report and oral presentation required. Spring, even years.

EST 606 Environmental Risk Perception: Implications for Communication and Policy (3)
Three hours of lecture and discussion per week. Concepts, problems and research related to the assessment and management of environmental hazards in our society. Current psychological, sociological and cultural theories in risk perception, communication, and policy. Emphasis on the interplay between science, politics, law, values and public opinion. Fall.
Prerequisites: Coursework in psychology, sociology or policy recommended.

EST 608 Environmental Advocacy Campaigns and Conflict Resolution (3)
Three hours of lecture and discussion per week. Addresses complex dynamics, strategies, and tactics of 1) organized campaigns by grassroots to international organizations to advocate for particular environmental policy and 2) processes that seek to resolve, manage, or prevent environmental conflicts when appropriate. Readings, simulations, projects, and case study analysis. Fall.

EST 609 Collaborative Governance Processes for Environmental and Natural Resource Management (3)
Three hours of lecture and discussion per week. Introduces the evolution of innovative multistakeholder processes that characterize collaborative governance (CG). Distinguishes CG from traditional public involvement and dispute resolution approaches, and explores its challenges and opportunities. Provides knowledge and introductory tools to design and be more productive participants in collaborative processes. Spring, odd years.

EST 612 Environmental Policy and Governance (3)
Three hours of lecture and discussion per week. Examination of the dynamic relationships present in the creation and implementation of environmental policies. Considers the roles of the state, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations. Explores background and implications of recent trends in environmental management. Spring.

EST 625 Wetland Management Policy (3)
Three hours of lecture and discussion per week. International, national, and local wetland management and conservation issues. Application of methods of policy research, critical evaluation and design of wetland management issues including delineation, functional evaluation, wetland banking, and property rights issues. Research paper required. Fall, odd years.
Prerequisite: EFB 542 or equivalent.

EST 626 Concepts and Principles of Sustainable Development (3)
Three hours of lecture and discussion per week. Presents ecological and development concepts and theory guiding local and global initiatives for sustainable development. Four overlapping themes are considered and linked: the relationship between patterns of wealth, poverty and environmental quality; the role of efficiency in reducing environmental impacts; the theme of frugality and sufficiency in advancing development; the questions of environmental equality, and the quality of development. Fall or Spring.

EST 627 Environmental and Energy Auditing (3)
Three hours of lecture, demonstration, and discussion per week. Presents environmental and energy auditing concepts and theory guiding local and regional initiatives for greenhouse gas production and energy use reduction. This course utilizes a practicum approach through use of inventory and analysis tools by student teams for project application. Spring.
Note: Credit will not be granted for both EST 427 and EST 627.

EST 628 Great Lakes Policy and Management (3)
Three hours of lecture and discussion per week. Provides a comprehensive understanding of environmental policy and management in the Great Lakes. Emphasizes how scientific knowledge of conditions in the Great Lakes is used by policy makers in the Canadian and U.S. federal governments and the states and provinces. Intended both for policy- and science-oriented students. Spring, even years.

EST 635 Public Participation and Decision Making: Theory and Application (3)
Three hours of discussion, presentation and exercises per week. Provides a student with fundamental theories and techniques for developing and applying citizen participation strategies and conflict resolution as they relate to environmental science and planning decision making. Spring.

EST 640 Environmental Thought and Ethics (3)
Three hours of discussion per week. Critical interdisciplinary introduction to philosophical, religious, cultural and historical dimensions of environmental affairs. How ecologically significant cultural assumptions, ideologies, representations, and institutionalized practices contribute to human meanings and relationships to other-than-human-nature. Special attention to the role of language and questions of environmental ethics and ontology. Fall.

EST 645 Mass Media and Environmental Affairs (3)
Three hours of discussion per week. Introduces the mass media’s role in environmental affairs. Relationships between media organizations, technology, content, and audiences frame examination of how nature and environmental issues and problems are engaged by the media and with what consequences. News and current affairs, advertising and entertainment genres are considered. Fall.

EST 650 Environmental Perception and Human Behavior (3)
Three hours of lecture and discussion per week. Application of environmental perception and human behavior paradigms and theories in understanding the causes and potential solution strategies to environmental issues. Interdisciplinary approach utilizes concepts, theories and research from disciplines including environmental psychology, sociology, anthropology, and risk perception to understand the myriad influences on human behavior as it relates to environmental impacts. Spring.

EST 660 Land Use Law (3)
Three hours of lecture and discussion per week. This course provides an understanding of U.S., state and local laws affecting land use in New York, in the context of current environmental policy debates. Students learn to recognize and analyze legal issues involving land use in varying contexts. Spring.

EST 695 Environmental Journalism (3)
Three hours of lecture per week. This course covers a range of topics related to journalism: interviewing, writing the lead, style, writing and organizing the story, layout, editing and revising, writing features and follow-up stories, covering speeches, etc. In addition, students explore how the media covers scientific and environmental issues. Students work on writing skills--from basic editing techniques to more sophisticated areas of style. Spring.

EST 696 Special Topics in Environmental Studies (1 - 3)
One to three hours of lecture and discussion per week. Experimental and developmental courses in new areas of interest to environmental studies faculty and graduate students not covered in regularly scheduled courses. Fall and Spring.

EST 702 Environmental and Natural Resource Program Evaluation (3)
Three hours of lecture and discussion per week. The systematic analysis of public environmental programs with an emphasis on the evaluation of resultant environmental outcomes. Topics include evaluation contexts, objective setting, environmental monitoring, and analysis of agency organization and procedures. Spring.

EST 705 Environmental Policy Analysis (3)
Three hours of lecture/discussion per week. This course covers current and classic literature in environmental policy analysis, as well as a variety of approaches to policy analysis that are relevant for working through complex environmental issues. While tools and methods for policy analysis will be treated, the overall intention of the course is to provide students with the scholarly background to think analytically, critically, and creatively across a variety of environmental policy contexts. Fall.
Prerequisite(s): A graduate-level course in environmental policy.

EST 708 Social Theory and the Environment (3)
Three hours of seminar/discussion per week This course is an advanced graduate seminar that covers social theory related to the environment. Students will be exposed to foundational literature in environmental sociology in the first part of the course, after which other social science literatures will be explored that analyze the relationship between environment and society, such as Political Ecology, Environment and Citizenship, Environmental Governance, Geographies of Energy, Sustainability Indicators and Standards, Ecological Modernization, and Environmental Justice, among others. Environmental issues and scholarship from both industrialized and developing country contexts, and that represent a variety of social science disciplinary perspectives, will be discussed. Spring.
Prerequisite(s): EST 600 or consent of instructor.

EST 796 Advanced Topics in Environmental Studies (1 - 3)
One to three hours of classroom instruction per week. Lectures and discussions, seminars, conferences and group research on advanced topics of special or current interest to environmental studies faculty and graduate students. Fall and Spring.

EST 797 Environmental Studies Seminar (1 - 3)
One to three hours of classroom instruction/discussion per week. Discussion of current topics and research related to environmental studies. Fall and Spring.

EST 798 Problems in Environmental Studies (1 - 3)
One to three hours of supervised individual activity per week. Individualized, special study of environmental studies subjects and issues. Comprehensive oral or written report required for some problems. Fall, Spring and Summer.

EST 898 Professional Experience (1 - 12)
Variable number of hours of professional experience per week. Professional experience which applies, enriches and/or complements formal coursework. Graded on an “S/U” basis. Fall, Spring, and Summer.

EST 899 Master’s Thesis Research (1 - 12)
One to 12 hours of supervised individual activity per week. Research and independent study for the master’s degree and thesis. Fall, Spring, and Summer.


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