The environmental modeling minor introduces students to the process of spatial modeling as part of a tool set for investigating environmental issues and provides opportunities to apply these skills through advanced course work. Courses are designed to give students a solid foundation of environmental issues and concepts. Central to this minor are the development of geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing techniques, problem-solving skills, and an understanding of the multiple stakeholder perspectives often involved with environmental issues.
Notes about this minor:
This minor is closed to students majoring in environmental science.
Posting of the minor on the student's academic transcript requires a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the minor.
Concepts of Environmental Science
This course is the foundation course for the Environmental Science major and presents an integrated approach to the interrelated, interdisciplinary principles of environmental science through lecture, case studies and active participation. In this course, the focus will be on sustainability as the foundation for problem solving while investigating a number of environmental issues and establishing environmental literacy. Topics may include biodiversity, ecosystems, pollution, energy, and global climate change. To demonstrate the interdisciplinary methodology of environmental science, elements of government/political science/policy, ethics, economics, sociology, history and engineering are embedded in the scientific matrix used to present this course.
Applications of Geographic Information Systems
Through hands-on projects and case studies, this course illustrates concepts and applications of raster and vector geographic information systems (GIS) in a variety of disciplines, such as environmental science, biology, geology, geography, sociology, and economics. Students will learn how to use GIS software and spatial analyses, plan a project, create a database, and conduct an independent project. Students should have completed a foundational course in their major and be comfortable working with computers. Experience with programming is also useful. (Foundational course in student's major field of study or permission of instructor).
Advanced Applications of Geographic Information Systems
Aerial photography, satellite imagery, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are extremely useful tools in hydrologic modeling and environmental applications such as rainfall runoff modeling, pollution loading, landscape change analyses, and terrain modeling. This course will: 1) introduce students to spatial analysis theories, techniques and issues associated with hydrologic and environmental applications; 2) provide hands-on training in the use of these spatial tools and models while addressing a real problem; 3) provide experience linking GIS and model results to field assessments and monitoring activities; and 4) enable students to solve a variety of spatial and temporal hydrologic and environmental problems.
Environmental Applications of Remote Sensing
This course offers an introduction to remote sensing systems and a selection of environmental applications of remote sensing. The basic properties of electromagnetic radiation, its interaction with the atmosphere and earth surfaces (e.g., vegetation, minerals, water, etc.), and the interpretation of these interactions are dealt with in the first half of the course. This is followed by a description of airborne and spaceborne, active and passive sensors that operate throughout the electromagnetic spectrum for detecting physical phenomena. Finally, an introduction is provided to pre-processing and analysis techniques that are useful for extracting information from such sensors. The Earth's atmospheric, hydrospheric, and terrestrial processes are considered at local to regional scales. Application areas include monitoring vegetation health, measuring biomass (carbon sequestration), identifying cultural features, assessing water resources, and detecting pollution and natural hazards.
Environment and Society
This course introduces the interdisciplinary foundations of environmental science via an analysis of sustainability within a socio-cultural context. This is a required course for the environmental science degree program.