B.A. Environmental Studies Degree Requirements

Foundations

  • 1st Year English or equivalent
  • Math: PHIL 110, LING 123, MATH 105, 107, 112 or higher.
  • 4th semester second language proficiency

General Education

  • 6 units Tier 1 Individuals & Societies
  • 6 units Tier 1 Traditions & Cultures
  • 6 units Tier 1 Natural Sciences
     
  • 3 units Tier 2 Humanities
  • 3 units Tier 2 Natural Sciences
  • 3 units Tier 2 Arts
  • 3 units Diversity

Minor

Required, minimum of 18 units (or double-major)

Ideas and Institutions

  • Complete the following course (3 units)

This class analyses the key ideas, individuals, and institutions that have shaped environmental studies and policies in the US and globally.  The course provides an introduction to environmental writings that have shaped attitudes to the environment, an overview of the most important US and international institutions that have been established to manage the environment, and the exploration of critical and iconic environmental cases and problems.  The course is intended to provide the social science foundations and basic environmental literacy for the degree in environmental studies.

Introduction to Environmental Social Sciences

  • Complete 1 of the following courses (3 units)

A Tier Two, Individuals and Societies course¿explores the broader trends shaping the US Southwest and Borderlands, with particular emphasis on the region's human-environment tradition. It exposes students to a variety of methods for understanding how humans have organized in the Southwest to gain access to resources critical for their survival, both in the past and in the present context.  Geog 250, likewise, focuses on the social, cultural, and political dimensions of human-environmental transformation.

Urbanization and cities within the sustainability framework. Global urbanization, social justice, environmental equity, growth management, "the new urbanism." International cases. Web based projects.

This course explores the development of technology and concepts of nature in the United States, from the eighteenth century to the present. It interprets the historical roots of the relationship between human knowledge and the environment by examining how science and technology have shaped our understanding, use, and control of nature.

Environmental Science I

  • Complete 1 of the following courses (3 units)
  • Note: These courses may not be double dipped with Tier 2 Natural Science or within the major

The strategy is to immerse non-science majors in the biological aspects of Physical Geography and, through lively debate and discussion, maps and images, to enhance critical thinking skills students need to make decisions about the world around them.

Where, when, and why is climate changing? We will answer these questions via computer visualization and hands-on exploration of satellite images, time-series, and other climate variability data at global, regional, and local scales, and from paleoclimate to modern instrumental record.

Critical perspectives on complex environmental problems; issues include environmental hazards, renewable and nonrenewable resources; global, regional, and local patterns, and geographic scale are emphasized.

Environmental Science II

  • Complete 1 of the following courses (3 units)
  • See advisor for other science course options
  • Note: These courses may not be double dipped with Tier 2 Natural Science or within the major

The strategy is to immerse non-science majors in the biological aspects of Physical Geography and, through lively debate and discussion, maps and images, to enhance critical thinking skills students need to make decisions about the world around them.

Where, when, and why is climate changing? We will answer these questions via computer visualization and hands-on exploration of satellite images, time-series, and other climate variability data at global, regional, and local scales, and from paleoclimate to modern instrumental record.

Critical perspectives on complex environmental problems; issues include environmental hazards, renewable and nonrenewable resources; global, regional, and local patterns, and geographic scale are emphasized.

Biogeography is the study of the spatiotemporal distribution of living things. Biogeographers map and examine the distributions of organisms today and reconstruct those of the past. They also conduct research into how physical and biological factors and processes influence distributions of organisms and they study how geographic distributions affect the evolution and extinction of species.

Earth is a dynamic, wondrous, and complex planet.  The diversity we see in the living systems, i.e. the Earth's biosphere, is the result of many processes studied individually among many disciplines including hydrology, geology, ecology, and soil science. In this course, we will take a holistic and integrative look at the complex spatial variations in the elements of Earth's biosphere. 

This course is designed to explore how biogeographic processes influence the evolution of species, communities, and ecosystems and provides background and analytical techniques for studying the effects of global change on biota. This involves the study of the interplay between biota and environment through time and space.

This course will combine evolutionary and ecological perspectives in the field of biogeography and show how Earth history, contemporary environments, and evolutionary and ecological processes have shaped species distributions and nearly all patterns of biodiversity. General patterns in space and time from a diversity of organisms across the Earth's aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems will be used to illustrate this broad field of biogeography.

Systematic examination of processes and circulations comprising Earth's climate. Emphasis on circulations influencing geographic processes using examples of atmospheric environmental issues.

Plant ecophysiology is the study of a plant's physiological response to its environment. These responses within vegetation serve to determine patterns in biogeography and community, landscape, and ecosystem ecology.  This 3-hour course will (1) revisit the core principles and underlying assumptions that plant ecophysiology is based upon, (2) examine plant responses to a myriad of biotic and abiotic stresses, and (3) familiarize students with eco-physiological tools available to assess those plant responses.  Upon completion of this course, students should be prepared to confidently outline and conduct eco-physiological experiments ~ including running, trouble-shooting, and maintaining commonly used equipment and interpreting measured response functions.

Methods

  • Complete 2 of the following courses (6 units)

This class is designed to furnish students with a basic set of skills in recognizing, locating, processing and analyzing geographic data.  These skills provide a foundation for upper-level classes in statistical methods, Geographic Information Systems, urban and regional development.  These skills also provide a basic professional preparation for employment market requirements including defining research questions, selecting suitable geographic tools and methods to investigate, harvesting and analyzing data, and in presenting findings using computer mapping, spreadsheet, and charting software.

Methods used in environmental geography, including mapping techniques, use of global positioning systems, collection of various types of environmental data and basic data analysis methods.

Introduction to remote sensing principles, techniques, and applications, designed principally for those with no background in the field.

Formulation and solution of geographic problems; models, research design, and methods of gathering, analyzing, and portraying geographic data.

General survey of principles of geographic information systems (GIS); applications of GIS to issues such as land assessment and evaluation of wildlife habitat; problem-solving with GIS.

Methods of gathering and analyzing data for the solution of geographical, urban, and regional planning problems, with emphasis on quantitative and statistical techniques used in spatial analysis and cartography, on the one hand, and program planning, on the other.

An introductory course in the fundamentals of modern statistics with applications and examples in the social and behavioral sciences. Topics include: methods for describing and summarizing data, probability, random sampling, estimating population parameters, significance tests, contingency tables, simple linear regression, and correlation.

Engagement

  • Complete 1 of the following courses (3 units)

Students will work in teams on one or more of several existing projects, including composting, gardening, rain water harvesting, recycling, environmental justice, food choices and their impacts, greening athletic events, energy and climate, or environmental arts. With the approval of the instructor and undergraduate directors, students may also work as a team to develop new projects oriented around sustainable use and conservation of natural resources on the UA campus and in the surrounding community.

Specialized work on an individual basis, consisting of training and practice in actual service in a technical, business, or governmental establishment.

This workshop-based course is designed to enable UA undergraduates and graduates students to work in Tucson-area schools helping students and teachers to undertake the design, construction, planting, harvesting and preparation of foods from a local school garden.  The workshop also involves preparing or assembling curriculum materials to enable teachers and students to teach and learn about food production, food histories and geographies, and food politics.  The course includes an intensive workshop sponsored by the Tucson Community Food Bank.  In addition to attending that workshop, students are also expected to attend at least one fieldtrip among the two that are organized during the semester as well as attend monthly meetings of the group on the UA campus. Most of the workshop, however, revolves around consistent and engaged involvement with a Tucson school and its teachers and students supporting the development and maintenance of school garden and attendant curriculum.

Environmental Social Sciences and Policy

  • Complete 4 of the following courses (12 units)

Cultural adaptation with emphasis on the systematic interaction of environment, technology, and social organization among hunter-gatherers, nomadic herders, and peasant farmers.

The role of anthropology in interdisciplinary projects involving economic development and planned change on the national and international levels.

Explores societies and cultures of Native peoples of the US Southwest and Northern Mexico from European contact to present. Examines impact of Spain, Mexico, and the United States on these Native peoples. Discusses major contemporary issues facing Native peoples in the area.

The course encompasses the greater Southwest, including northern Mexico from pre-Columbian times to the present.  Evidence from archaeology, ethnology, linguistics, and biological anthropology is integrated.  Emphasis is placed on the interaction of Indian, Hispanic, and Euroamerican peoples and their adaptation to and exploitation of the natural environment through time.

This course introduces a variety of environmental thought linking the political sphere and the biosphere. It examines ecological economics, environmental history and ethics, theoretical ecology, ecofeminism, political ecology in anthropology and intellectual property law.

This course is a survey of basic issues and concepts in natural resource management and the environment in Native communities using integrated case studies that survey all the major varieties of environmental issues in Indian Country in the 21st century. A central theme will be developing tribally-specific solutions to rebuilding the resiliency of degraded ecosystems. We will consider particular case studies such as: tribal sovereignty, land tenure, reserved rights and Native claims; Native knowledge systems and Western science; co-management and restoration; water; fish and wildlife; agriculture and rangeland management; energy, mining and nuclear waste; and global climate change.

Specialized work on an individual basis, consisting of training and practice in actual service in a technical, business, or governmental establishment.

Qualified students working on an individual basis with professors who have agreed to supervise such work.

Qualified students working on an individual basis with professors who have agreed to supervise such work.

Introduction to Sustainable Development is a foundational course in understanding the policies and strategies that constitute "smart" regional development in US metropolitan areas.

The course explores human and natural systems and their dependence on freshwater at multiple scales.  Topics of interest include global change, ecosystem services, groundwater, urbanization, land use, watershed and river basin management, stakeholder processes, and water policy.

This course evaluates theories and practices aimed at addressing the complex relationship between economic development and environmental protection in both industrialized and developing world contexts.

The Green Economy.  What is it and how does it function?  What does it mean for our future?  What are the implications for cities, community, and globalization?  What kind of policies lay the foundation for green economic development, and what challenges and opportunities lie within?  And what does 'green' mean anyway?  This course is a challenging exploration into the day-to-day practices and policies of the green economy, particularly in the United States and the Southwest.  The class will be devoted to understanding how the green economy functions and why, through readings, lectures, visiting speakers, and field studies.

Introduction to theories of social justice with application to social, cultural, and economic geography. What are the prevailing theories of social justice and how can we draw on them to assess movements and goals for social change? How do different geographical contexts inform our assessment of social justice concepts? Course will address theory, moral questions, and specific case studies equally.

Surveys political problems in environment/society relations by exploring the history of geographic theory surrounding environmental politics, surveying the local and global actors in conflicts, and addressing questions of biodiversity loss, forest conservation, and urban hazards.

The changing character of the land and human occupancy of it, with emphasis on Arizona; historically and problem oriented.

An introduction to the growing literature on traditional ecological knowledge and its relationships to the ecological and social sciences.

Why is it so difficult to solve international environmental problems? What works and doesn't work in international environmental policy and governance? What improvements can be made and how can we take positive steps forward? This course seeks to address these very questions from a geographical and social science perspective.  We will explore the nature and causes of many high-profile international environmental problems and the solutions developed to address these challenges.  We will begin by identifying some key concepts in global environmental politics such as the global commons, sovereignty, and sustainability. Next, we will explore the geographical origins and consequences of international environmental issues - which countries and groups are most responsible, how the issue relates to the earth's physical and human geography, and who will be most affected.  We will explore the processes of environmental policy development from the identification of problems to the negotiation of solutions, and the implementation of international treaties and agreements. We will look at a variety of cases including water, whaling and marine conservation, fisheries, ozone depletion, toxic waste, trans-frontier pollution, deforestation, biodiversity, and climate change, and how these relate to development goals.  Finally, students will debate key policy questions in global environmental politics and analyze approaches to development, security, equity, and justice. The focus will be at the global level but we will also examine the interaction between processes in sub-national, national and international arenas and the role of government, business, nongovernmental and international organizations.

Lecture/seminar class designed for graduate planning students. Looks at basic and advanced land use, the tools utilized for land use planning, and the methodology of land use planning. Current planning and legal issues dealing with regulation of growth, the sequence of growth, and the limiting of growth are analyzed. Issues of equity in controlling land use are also explored.

Examines physical resources (e.g. distribution, quantities, and availability) and the human factors which may contribute to their completion and deterioration as well as protection and maintenance.

This course offers an overview of U.S. environmental law and policy in historical and geographic context.  How has U.S. society used laws to solve environmental problems?  We introduce the fundamental elements of the U.S. legal system and the public policy process, as they affect the natural environment and resources.  We study key environmental laws, such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Air Act, and the political geography, court decisions, and policy issues that have shaped their implementation in practice.  In addition to environmental law, we discuss different approaches to environmental economics, political economy, and human-environment relations in order to better understand the wider social and geographic context of environmental regulation.  In the last part of the course we study the evolution of electricity law in relation to changing social and environmental priorities, and these cross-cutting themes lead us to look at international environmental problems of global warming and climate change.

Social and environmental conflicts over water are intensifying in much of the world. This course studies the physical basis, history, and political economy of water development and water policy in the U.S. and internationally.

Historical, cross-cultural, and geographical assessment of strategies societies have deployed to govern science and technology; effects of particular strategies in terms of impacts (both positive and negative) of science and technology on people, their lives, and the environment.

This workshop-based course is designed to enable UA undergraduates and graduates students to work in Tucson-area schools helping students and teachers to undertake the design, construction, planting, harvesting and preparation of foods from a local school garden.  The workshop also involves preparing or assembling curriculum materials to enable teachers and students to teach and learn about food production, food histories and geographies, and food politics.  The course includes an intensive workshop sponsored by the Tucson Community Food Bank.  In addition to attending that workshop, students are also expected to attend at least one fieldtrip among the two that are organized during the semester as well as attend monthly meetings of the group on the UA campus. Most of the workshop, however, revolves around consistent and engaged involvement with a Tucson school and its teachers and students supporting the development and maintenance of school garden and attendant curriculum.

Examines contemporary competition between environment, resources (water, energy), social equity, and economic viability in the community development and revitalization arena. Public policy, planning initiatives, design strategies and technical solutions that bridge the conflicting agendas are analyzed. Field investigation of contemporary cases. Appropriate for students specializing in planning, architecture and landscape architecture.

Analysis of the Earth system through an examination of its component parts (particularly climate and biogeochemistry) and their interactions with human activities, emphasizing information needed to understand modern and future environmental changes.

Examines the history of changing relations between human society and the natural world in North America.

This course will examine the ways in which different societies have defined, understood, valued, mapped, and made their livings in their environment.  Also, it will explore how societies and environments mutually transform one another.

Science is one of the most powerful forces of change in the world. This applied course covers the fundamental elements of producing news reports about science events and issues. We will examine the principles of journalism, the scientific process and the differences between science journalism and science communication. Guest speakers¿prominent science journalists and scientists¿will explore key issues involved in communicating with the public about science. Readings, case studies and discussions will examine issues of balance, scientific uncertainty, accuracy and ethical codes for science journalists. 

You'll write professional-quality science articles for general interest and specialized news media. You'll learn how to gather, evaluate and organize information in ways that will produce accurate, comprehensive information for the public. Each student will write one short piece, and in pairs you'll research and produce an in-depth article.

Students in this course will investigate and seriously consider how and why we should live as morally responsible members of an ecological community. Students will explore philosophical responses to questions such as: What makes something natural? What value is there to non-human entities? What obligations do we have to each other regarding the environment? How should we respond to catastrophic environmental change?

This course explores how religious traditions shape human relationships with the environment and how the natural world influences religious belief and practice. We will look at a variety of religious traditions and examine how they inform people's understanding of and attitude towards nature.

Ecosystem services: science and management will examine the ways that ecosystems, and their functions, provide services to human society.  Students will learn about and evaluate, strategies for valuing, mapping, and managing ecosystem services.  In addition, students will develop skills in scientific communication (reading comprehension, and written and oral presentation).

MCB 181R, ECOL182R; RNR 200 and RNR 316 recommended.

Introduction to resource management practices used to achieve societal goals. Includes practices used to produce water, wood, forage, wildlife and other renewable resources; to protect water, soil, wilderness and scenic attractions; and to mitigate the adverse impacts of management and land-use activities on the environment.

This course focuses on the complex linkages between human and natural systems. Environmental planning utilizes methodologies which are systematic, iterative, and transparent and relies on integrating a wide spectrum of contemporary environmental issues in order to achieve more sustainable land use outcomes. As an interdisciplinary course, it draws from the fields of planning, geography, design, land use law, public policy, economics, natural science, and engineering among others.
This course aims to equip students with a broad knowledgebase which focuses on landscape components and processes. Further, students will develop the necessary land use analysis and management skills in order to help guide land use decision making, engage stakeholders, and minimize/mitigate conflict between natural and built systems in an effort to produce more sustainable land use patterns and plans.

A complex set of laws has developed to control the environmental risks posed by potentially polluting activities. In this course, a survey and an economic evaluation are presented of major environmental legislation designed to protect air, land and water resource quality.

Resource policy formation; ethics of resource use; administration and organization for resource management; analysis of present policy and trends.

Role of government in management of energy, natural resources and environment; process and policy alternatives; special attention to the Southwest.

Senior Capstone

  • Complete the following course (3 units)
  • See advisor for other options
  • Note: Ideally taken during senior year. May not double dip within the major

A culminating experience for majors involving a substantive project that demonstrates a synthesis of learning accumulated in the major, including broadly comprehensive knowledge of the discipline and its methodologies. Senior Standing required.

Electives

Elective courses can be taken if needed to reach 120 total units or 21 upper-division units.