All ES courses

| 100-Level ES Courses | 200-Level ES Courses | 300-Level ES Courses |

| Independent Study | Additional Courses that Count for Credit for the ES Major/Minor |

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ES 100 Introduction to Environmental Science & Systems

Griffith | Fall 2019 | 1.0 unit

This course introduces environmental science through the lens of systems thinking. Given the staggering level of complexity found around us, a powerful approach in science is to simplify complex systems into key components that influence processes and provide predictive power. But how do we choose which factors to focus on? How disconnected are causes and effects? Although not a laboratory course, students will actively engage in data collection, analysis, and interpretation of systems ranging from energy in ecosystems to environmental toxins and human health. (Note that students may enroll in either ES 100 or 101, but not both.)

Prereq: None
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

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ES 101 Fundamentals of Environmental Science with Laboratory

Staff | TBD | 1.25 unit

Environmental problems are some of the most complex issues that we face today, and addressing them requires skills and knowledge from a variety of scientific and non-scientific disciplines. This course seeks to provide the scientific foundation for approaching environmental problems. Using a systems-approach to problem formulation and solving, we will investigate environmental issues including soil degradation, human and natural energy flows, stratospheric ozone depletion, mercury pollution, and the conservation of biodiversity. The combined studio and laboratory format offers diverse approaches for understanding, applying, and constructing models to investigate the behavior of environmental systems as well as testing hypotheses and drawing conclusions.

Prereq: Fulfillment of the basic skills component of the Quantitative Reasoning requirement. Summer version is open to all students; Fall version is a first-year seminar; Spring version is open to first-years and sophomores; juniors and seniors may only enroll with permission of the instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science. Fulfills the QR overlay requirement

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ES 102 Environment and Society: Addressing Climate Change

Turner (FA), Higgins (SP) | Fall 2019, Spring 2020 | 1.0 unit

This course offers an interdisciplinary introduction to environmental studies, with a focus on a climate change. Major concepts that will be examined include: the state of scientific research, the role of science, politics, and economics in environmental decisionmaking, and the importance of history, ethics and justice in approaching climate change. The central aim of the course is to help students develop the interdisciplinary research skills necessary to pose questions, investigate problems, and develop strategies that will help us address our relationship to the environment. ES 101, ES 102, and ES 103 may be taken in any order.

Prereq: QR basic skills component
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

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ES 104 FYS: How to Save the Planet: Making Change Happen

DeSombre | Fall 2019 | 1.0 unit

Fixing environmental problems will require change at all levels – from the habits and beliefs of individuals to the norms in communities, and political decisions locally, nationally and globally. How do individuals, communities, and political structures change?  This seminar combines a reading of the social science literature on change with our own efforts to put that information into action. We’ll figure out how to change our own habits, change someone else’s mind, and how to invoke or transform community norms.  We’ll experiment with what approaches to political change succeed or fail. We’ll also examine what types of change are most important: does it matter whether people undertake their behavior for the right reasons, or simply that they act in ways that are better for environmental protection?  When should we focus on changing behavior by individuals, and when should we focus on changing the structures within which that behavior happens?

Prereq: None
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

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ES 105 FYS: The Ethics of Eating

Matthes | Fall 2019 | 1.0 unit

In this course we will examine the ethics of eating, from farm to table. Students will use philosophical methods to explore ethical issues surrounding topics such as world hunger, industrial agriculture, vegetarianism, cultural identity, paternalism, and individual responsibility. We will focus both on honing our argumentative skills and engaging critically with popular writing about food ethics.

Prereq: None
Dist
Religion, Ethics, and Moral Philosophy

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ES 201/GEOS 201  Environmental, Health, and Sustainability Sciences with Laboratory

Brabander | Fall 2019 | 1.0 unit

Problems in environmental, health, and sustainability sciences are inherently transdisciplinary and require a diverse skill set to frame, analyze and solve. This course will focus on developing a toolbox of skills including; systems level thinking, field and analytical methods, biogeochemical analysis (natural waters, soils, and other environmental materials), and modeling with a goal of building a science-based foundation for the analysis of complex issues at the interface between humans and the environment. Students will conduct semester-long research projects and will present their results in a final poster session.

Prereq: Enrollment limited to students majoring in ES and GEOS, other students by permission of instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

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ES 212/RAST 212 Lake Baikal: The Soul of Siberia

Moore (Biological Sciences), Hodge (Russian) | Not Offered | 1.25 units |

The ecological and cultural values of Lake Baikal – the oldest, deepest, and most biotically rich lake on the planet – are examined. Lectures and discussion in spring prepare students for the three-week field laboratory taught at Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia in August. Lectures address the fundamentals of aquatic ecology and the role of Lake Baikal in Russian literature, history, art, music, and the country's environmental movement. Laboratory work is conducted primarily out-of-doors and includes introductions to the flora and fauna, field tests of student-generated hypotheses, meetings with the lake's stakeholders, and tours of ecological and cultural sites surrounding the lake. 

Prereq: or corequisites: ES 101 or BISC 111; RUSS 101, and permission of the instructors. Preference will be given to students who have also taken HIST 211. Application required.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science; Language and Literature

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ES 214/POL2 214 Social Causes and Consequences of Environmental Problems

DeSombre | Fall 2019, Spring 2020 | 1.0 unit

This course focuses on the social science explanations for why environmental problems are created, the impacts they have, the difficulties of addressing them, and the regulatory and other actions that succeed in mitigating them. Topics include: externalities and the politics of unpriced costs and benefits, collective action problems and interest group theory, time horizons in decision making, the politics of science, risk and uncertainty, comparative political structures, and cooperation theory. Also addressed are different strategies for changing environmental behavior, including command and control measures, taxes, fees, and other market instruments, and voluntary approaches. These will all be examined across multiple countries and levels of governance.

Prereq: ES 102 or permission of instructor
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

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ES 219/ANTH 229 Mapping Society, Public Heath, and the Environment: GIS Approaches   
 
Staff | Not Offered | 1.0 unit

This course introduces students to Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and the use of spatial data in social and behavioral research. Many human behaviors have a spatial component. Space can also provide a common framework to identify and understand patterns within complex relationships.  The course will emphasize how to design, execute and present original research through lectures and labs.  Students will develop conceptual tools for spatial-reasoning, how to use specific software packages, and how to present interpretations and results in graphic form. The approaches to GIS will be relevant to students from Anthropology, Sociology, Economics, History, and other cognate disciplines. We will cover main concepts and applications of GIS as used in human ecology, planning and development, conflict studies, and epidemiology, for example.

Prereq: None
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

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ES 220 Human Ecology: Environmental Limits and Conservation with Laboratory
 
Griffith | Spring 2020 | 1.25 unit
 
Humans and their environment make up a complex and dynamic system.  As with all ecological systems, key components are the availability and use of resources and the interactions with other species - both of which have important impacts on the nature and stability of the system itself. This course investigates these far-reaching concepts by examining topics such as the broad implications of thermodynamics, energy and material flows through human and natural systems, natural resource management, and the conservation of resources and biodiversity. We will also explore the role of science and technology in surmounting previous limits (e.g. energy use and agricultural yields), as well as the implications of inherent limits that may never be broken. Laboratory work will focus on quantitative skills and modeling tools used to examine a range of systems.
 
Prereq: ES 100, ES 101, GEOS 101, GEOS 102, BISC 108 or permission of instructor
Dist: Natural and Physical Sciences; Mathematical Modeling

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ES 228/ECON 228 Environmental and Resource Economics

Keskin (Economics) | Spring 2019 | 1.0 unit

This course considers the economic aspects of resource and environmental issues. After examining the concepts of externalities, public goods, and common property resources, we will discuss how to measure the cost and benefits of environmental policy, in order to estimate the socially optimal level of the environmental good. Applications of these tools will be made to air and water pollution, renewable and nonrenewable resources, and global climate. In addressing each of these problems we will compare various public policy responses such as regulation, marketable permits and tax incentives.

Prereq: ECON 101
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

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ES 229 Latin America: Topics in Food Systems and the Environment

Goodall (Visiting Lecturer) | TBD | 1.0 unit

From an ecological perspective, Latin America is a vast region composed of numerous biomes: tropical forests, savannas, deserts, mountains, and temperate forests and grasslands. Culturally, this region is home to diverse human communities including 600 indigenous groups. Economically, many countries in Latin America depend upon the export of natural resources and agricultural products. Growing populations, increased global trade, and a complicated history of colonization put pressure on all of these areas, creating a fascinating and important backdrop for exploring issues in food systems and the environment. Topics will be guided by student interest, but may include food justice, agroecology, water rights, biodiversity conservation, biopiracy, transnational agreements, farmer networks and social movements.

Prereq: ES 101, ES 102, or ES 103
Dist: None

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ES 233/PHIL 233 Environmental Ethics
 
Matthes (Philosophy) | Fall 2019 | 1.0 unit
 
This course will train students to use philosophical methods to engage in rigorous debate about ethical issues concerning the environment. Topics may include animal rights, the ethics of eating, climate justice, the rights of ecological refugees, obligations to future generations, and environmental activism.
 
Prereq: Open to first-year students who have taken one course in philosophy and to sophomores, juniors, and seniors without prerequisite. 
Dist: Religion, Ethics, and Moral Philosophy
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ES 234/PHIL 234 From Wilderness to Ruins

Matthes (Philosophy) | Not Offered | 1.0 unit

This course concerns a range of ethical and aesthetic questions about places, whether of natural or cultural significance. How should we understand the value of nature? Is it relative to human interests, or independent of them? What is nature in the first place, and how is it distinguished from culture? Is scientific or cultural knowledge relevant to the aesthetic experience of nature? Does “natural beauty” have a role to play in guiding environmental preservation? When we seek to preserve an ecosystem or a building, what exactly should we be aiming to preserve? Should the history of a place guide our interactions with it? How should we navigate conflicts between environmental and cultural preservation, especially as they intersect with issues of race and class? How should a changing climate affect our environmental values? We will investigate these questions, among others, in contexts from wilderness to parks, cities to ruins.

Prereq: Open to first-years who have taken one course in philosophy. Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors without prerequisite.
Dist: Religion, Ethics, and Moral Philosophy

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ES 247/BISC 247 Plant Diversity and Ecology with Laboratory

Griffith | Fall 2019 | 1.25 unit

This course is a combination of "What's that wildflower?" and "Why does it grow over there and not here?" We begin by examining large-scale patterns of plant diversity from an evolutionary and phylogenetic perspective  and then shift to an ecological perspective. Along the way, we zoom in to specific concepts and processes that help us understand overall patterns. Laboratories will primarily be taught in the field and greenhouses and will include plant identification, observational and experimental studies, and long-term study of forest communities on the Wellesley campus. Laboratories will also include aspects of experimental design and data analysis. The goal of the course is not only to train students in botany and plant ecology, but to engage them in the world of plants every time they step outside. 

Prereq: ES 100, ES 101, BISC 108, BISC 111/T, BISC 113 or permission of instructor
Dist: Natural and Physical Sciences

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ES 265/ANTH 265 The Politics of Nature
 
Ellison (Anthropology) | Fall 2019 | 1.0 unit
 
In this course we will consider the historical, social, and political life of nature in its many guises and from an anthropological perspective. What is the relationship between resource control and the consolidation of power? How have indigenous movements and development agencies mobilized ideas of participatory conservation to achieve their goals, and how have these same concepts been used to exclude or to reproduce inequality? We will explore themes such as the relationship between race, nature, and security; intellectual property and bioprospecting; and the lived effects of the many “green,” “sustainable,” and “eco-tourism” projects now attracting foreign travelers around the world. Additionally, the course will introduce students unfamiliar with socio-cultural anthropology to ethnographic research methods, ethical dilemmas, and the craft of ethnographic writing.
 
Prereq: None
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis
 
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ES 267/ARTH 267 Art and the Environmental Imagination

Bedell (Art) | Not Offered | 1.0 unit

Nature, according to the environmental historian William Cronon, "serves as the mirror onto which societies project the ideal reflections they wish to see." Focusing on the land of the United States as it has been shaped into forms ranging from landscape paintings to suburban lawns, national parks, and our own Wellesley College campus, we will investigate the social, political, economic, religious, scientific, and aesthetic imperatives that have underlain these creations and molded our responses to them. Among the questions we will consider are: What is "nature"? What do we value in a landscape and why? How have artists and architects responded to environmentalist concerns? 

Prereq: None
Dist: Arts, Music, Film and Video

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ES 299 Environmental History

Turner | Fall 2019 | 1.0 unit

This course examines the relationship between nature and society in American history. The course will consider topics such as the decimation of the bison, the rise of Chicago, the history of natural disasters, and the environmental consequences of war. There are three goals for this course: First, we will examine how humans have interacted with nature over time and how nature, in turn, has shaped human society. Second, we will examine how attitudes toward nature have differed among peoples, places, and times and we will consider how the meanings people give to nature inform their cultural and political activities. Third, we will study how these historical forces have combined to shape the American landscape and the human and natural communities to which it is home. While this course focuses on the past, an important goal is to understand the ways in which history shapes how we understand and value the environment as we do today.

Prereq: None
Dist: Historical Studies

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ES 300 Environmental Decisionmaking

DeSombre | Not Offered | 1.0 units

An interdisciplinary seminar in which students work together in small groups to understand and develop solutions for current environmental problems. Each year, we focus on a given environmental issue of concern to our community, e.g. environmental implications of building design, energy use, or water quality. In particular, we work to understand its scientific background, the political processes that lead to potential solutions, and the ethical and environmental justice implications. Student-led research provides the bulk of the information about the issue and its role in our local environment; lectures and readings provide supplementary information about the local situation and the global context.

Prereq: A declared major or minor in environmental studies, ES 101 or ES 102 or ES 103, and completion of the three core distribution requirements, or permission of the instructor. This course is only open to juniors and seniors.
Dist: None

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ES 307/BISC 307 Ecosystem Ecology with Laboratory

Matthes (Biological Sciences) | Not Offered 2019-2020 | 1.25 units

Ecosystems are essential to sustaining life on Earth. The emergent structure and function of ecosystems are regulated by feedbacks between biological and physical systems from the microscopic to the global scale. We will study how ecosystems cycle carbon and nutrients and how the energy balance of ecosystems creates critical feedbacks with climate. We will also examine the role that humans play in managing, creating, and using services from ecosystems in our current era of rapid global change. Students will develop statistical skills working with real datasets from the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) network and will gain experience collecting new field data to understand temporal and spatial patterns of ecosystem processes.

Prereq: Two units in Biological Sciences at the 200-level or above, or permission of instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

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ES 312S/POL2 312S Seminar: Environmental Policy

DeSombre | Not Offered 2019-2020 | 1.0 unit

Focuses both on how to make and how to study environmental policy. Examines issues essential in understanding how environmental policy works and explores these topics in depth through case studies of current environmental policy issues. Students will also undertake an original research project and work in groups on influencing or creating local environmental policy.

Prereq: ES 214 or one 200-level unit in political science and permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to juniors and seniors. 
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

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ES 313 Environmental Impact Assessment

Higgins | Not Offered 2019-2020 | 1.0 unit

Our environment is constantly changing as a result of anthropogenic events; we can apply scientific principles and assessment tools to reduce the adverse impacts that our actions have on the environment. Environmental impact assessment is the systematic identification and evaluation of the potential impacts or effects of proposed projects, products, and decisions relative to the current state of the total environment. This course teaches the scientific fundamentals of environmental impact assessment, along with the related approaches of environmental risk assessment, life cycle assessment and industrial ecology, that can help us make informed choices about how to minimize environmental harm and make informed choices about alternatives. These tools will be applied to case studies in class, and a semester-long team project.

Prereq: One introductor ES course, and one 200-level science course, or permission of the instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Sciences

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ES 325/POL3 325 International Environmental Law

DeSombre | Spring 2020 | 1.0 unit

For international environmental problems, widespread international cooperation is both important and quite difficult. Under what conditions have states been able to cooperate to solve international environmental problems? Most international efforts to address environmental problems involve international law—how does such law function? What types of issues can international environmental law address and what types can it not? This course addresses aspects of international environmental politics as a whole, with particular attention to the international legal structures used to deal with these environmental problems. Each student will additionally become an expert on one international environmental treaty to be researched throughout the course.

Prereq: ES 214 or POL3 221 or permission of instructor.
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

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ES 327/BISC 327 Seminar. Topics in Biodiversity

Jones | Fall 2019 | 1.0 unit

Topic of 2019-20: Biodiversity in the Built Environment. How do other species interact with landscapes and habitats that people have modified or even completely restructured? Which species live in human-dominated environments, and how does the diversity of species in these habitats affect the function and health of these ecosystems? In this course we will build our scientific understanding of biodiversity and its consequences, and explore how this understanding can inform the design and management of spaces we occupy. We will consider habitats from agricultural landscapes to suburban parks, to buildings, with special attention to the opportunities afforded by Wellesley's remarkable campus, including the Global Flora greenhouse.

Prereq: Two units in Biological Sciences at the 200-level or above, or permission of instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Sciences

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ES 329 Latin America: Topics in Food Systems and the Environment

Goodall (Visiting Lecturer) | TBD | 1.0 unit

This course meets with ES 229. From an ecological perspective, Latin America is a vast region composed of numerous biomes: tropical forests, savannas, deserts, mountains, and temperate forests and grasslands. Culturally, this region is home to diverse human communities including 600 indigenous groups. Economically, many countries in Latin America depend upon the export of natural resources and agricultural products. Growing populations, increased global trade, and a complicated history of colonization put pressure on all of these areas, creating a fascinating and important backdrop for exploring issues in food systems and the environment. Topics will be guided by student interest, but may include food justice, agroecology, water rights, biodiversity conservation, biopiracy, transnational agreements, farmer networks and social movements.

PrereqPermission of instructor and one of the above
Dist: None

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ES 347/BISC 347 Advanced Plant Diversity and Ecology with Laboratory

Griffith | Fall 2019 | 1.25 units

This course meets along with ES 247/BISC 247 and offers an opportunity for students to engage more deeply with the material and perform independent research. Students will be expected to more thoroughly review and reference peer-reviewed literature and assist in leading in-class discussions. Additionally, each student will develop and conduct an experiment (or observational study) over the course of the semester that examines mechanisms of plant diversity and coexistence.

Prereq: BISC 201, ES 220, BISC 207 or permission of instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

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ES 381/POL1 381 United States Environmental Politics 

Turner | Spring 2020 | 1.0 unit

This course examines the politics of environmental issues in the United States. The course has two primary goals: First, to introduce students to the institutions, stakeholders, and political processes important to debates over environmental policy at the federal level. Second, to develop and practice skills of analyzing and making decisions relevant to environmental politics and policy. Drawing on the literature of environmental politics and policy, this course will consider how environmental issues are framed in political discourse, various approaches to environmental advocacy and reform, and the contested role of science in environmental politics. The course will be organized around environmental case studies, including endangered species conservation, public lands management, air and water pollution, and toxics regulation.

Prereq: A 200-level ES course of POL1 200 or permission of the instructor.
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

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ES 383 The Science of Compliance: The Evolution of Technology to Meet the Goals of U.S. Environmental Policy

Higgins | Not Offered 2019-2020 | 1.0 unit

For more than 40 years U.S. environmental policies have been passed, amended and enforced with the purpose of protecting human health and preserving the environment. This course will examine the evolution of technologies to meet the goals of major U.S. environmental policies including the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation, and Liability Act and the role that available technologies play in setting the enforceable standards within policies. We will learn fundamental scientific principles of water treatment, wastewater treatment, and air pollution control technologies and examine how scientists and engineers employ these technologies to meet policy goals. Students will further examine the relationship between a recent or future environmental policy and technological evolution.

Prereq: ES 100, ES 101, ES 220 or permission of the instructor.
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

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ES 398 Capstone Scientific Research in Environmental Studies: Knowledge Creation through Collaboration

Higgins | Fall 2019 | 1.0 unit

This course is a science-based capstone experience for Environmental Studies majors. Students will apply interdisciplinary tools learned throughout the ES major to advance an individual project within environmental science (which may connect to research done in lab groups or independent study projects). Class sessions will be conducted as an interdisciplinary science research group devoted to helping students develop their skills framing, conducting, and communicating scientific research. Students will produce deliverables such as literature reviews, research proposals, data analysis workflows and visualizations, demonstrations of research methods/techniques, and approaches to communicate the research project and its importance to different types of audiences. Enrollment in the course is by application.

Prereq: A declared major in Environmental Studies and completion of six courses that count toward the ES major, one of which will be a 200-level science course, or permission of instructor. This course is only open to juniors and seniors.

Dist: None.

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ES 399 Calderwood Seminar in Public Writing: Environmental Synthesis and Communication

Turner | Spring 2020 | 1.0 unit

Tax carbon? Label genetically modified crops? Ban endocrine disruptors? In this course, we will engage with such questions and related environmental sustainability issues as public writers. Students will choose one environmental issue, which will be the focus of their environmental “beat” during the semester. They will draw on an interdisciplinary toolset from environmental studies to analyze and communicate the scientific, economic, political, and ethical dimensions of pressing policy issues. Students will conduct independent research to produce weekly articles, such as op-eds, blog posts, press releases, book reviews, policy memos, and interviews with environmental professionals. Class sessions will be organized as writing workshops focused on the interdisciplinary analysis and content of student work.

Prereq: A declared major in Environmental Studies and completion of six courses that count toward the ES major, or permission of instructor. This course is only open to juniors and seniors.
Dist: None.

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Individual Study

ES 250 or 350 (Research or Individual Study) can be advised by any member of the advisory faculty in environmental studies. They may count towards the area of concentration. A half-unit course may only count as credit towards the major when combined with another half-unit course. Only two units of independent study may be counted towards the major. ES350 courses may not be used to fulfill the minimum requirement that two electives be at the 300-level.

ES 250GH Environmental Studies Reading Group

Staff | Not Offered | 0.5 unit

The ES program runs a weekly reading group on changing topics. Readings will be chosen based on the interests of the participating students and faculty members. Students who enroll commit to coming to each week's discussion, preparing a set of responses to the week's reading, and, in collaboration with other group members, selecting some of the weekly topics and readings. Grading is mandatory Credit/No Credit..

Prereq: Permission of instructor, normally limited to students who have taken two courses in Environmental Studies
Dist: None

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ES 250 Research or Individual Study

Fall and Spring | 1.0 unit

PrereqPermission of instructor, ordinarily limited to students who have completed at least three units toward their major
Dist: None

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ES 250H Research or Individual Study

Fall and Spring | 0.5 unit

PrereqPermission of instructor, ordinarily limited to students who have completed at least three units toward their major
Dist: None

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ES 350 Research or Individual Study

Fall and Spring | 1.0 unit

PrereqPermission of instructor, ordinarily limited to students who have completed at least five units toward their major
Dist: None

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ES 350H Research or Individual Study

Fall and Spring | 0.5 unit

PrereqPermission of instructor, ordinarily limited to students who have completed at least five units toward their major
Dist: None

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ES 360 Senior Thesis Research

Fall and Spring | 1.0 unit

PrereqBy permission of the advisory faculty. See Honors in Environmental Studies.
Dist: None

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ES 370 Senior Thesis

Fall and Spring | 1.0 units

PrereqES 360 and permission of the department.
Dist: None

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Additional Courses that Count for Credit Towards the ES Major or Minor

AFR 226 Environmental Justice, "Race," and Sustainable Development 

Steady (Africana Studies) | Spring 2018 | 1.0 unit

An investigation of the extent to which the causes and consequences of environmental degradation are influenced by social inequality and the devaluation of indigenous peoples. The course will examine how the poor, indigenous peoples and people of color are subjected to environmental hazards. Topics include the link between negative environmental trends and social inequality; the social ecology of slums, ghettos and shanty towns; the disproportionate exposure of some groups to pollutants, toxic chemicals, and carcinogens; dumping of hazardous waste in Africa and other Third World countries; and industrial threats to the ecology of small island states in the Caribbean. The course will evaluate Agenda 21, the international program of action from the Earth Summit designed to halt environmental degradation and promote sustainable development.

Prereq: None
Dist: Social and Behavioral Analysis

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ARTH 266 New Perspectives on the Global City

Friedman, McNamara (Architecture) | Not Offered | 1.0 unit

This team-taught course introduces students to the study of the global city through an examination of key topics in urban history, planning, architecture, culture, economics and environment. Focusing on major sites from New York to Mumbai, we will look at the ways in which cities have been designed and represented, analyze the use of public and private space by men and women, and explore the construction of urban narratives, both in the past and in the age of cyberculture. The course will include guest lecturers and site visits.

Prereq: None. ARTH 100 and ARTH 101 recommended.
Dist: Arts, Music, Film, Video

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ARTH 317 Historic Preservation: Theory and Practice

McNamara (Architecture) | Not Offered | 1.0 unit

Using the campus of Wellesley College as a case study, this course will explore the theory and practice of historic preservation. Beginning with a focus on the history of preservation in the United States, we will trace the development of legal, economic, public policy, and cultural frameworks that have shaped attitudes and approaches toward the preservation of our built environment. To ground these theoretical discussions, we will use the Wellesley College campus as a laboratory for understanding the benefits and challenges of historic preservation. Students will engage in both individual and group projects that will emphasize field study of buildings and landscapes, archival research, planning, and advocacy. The course is designed for Architecture and Art History majors, but could also be of interest to students in History, American Studies, Environmental Studies and Political Science.

Prereq: ARTH 200 or permission of instructor
Dist: Arts, Music, Film, Video

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ASTR 223/GEOS 223 Planetary Climates

Watters (Astronomy) | Spring 2018 | 1.0 unit

Have you wondered what Earth's climate was like 3 billion years ago? What about weather patterns on Titan and climate change on Mars? In this course, we'll explore the structure and evolution of atmospheres and the climate on four worlds: the Earth, Mars, Venus, and Saturn's moon Titan. We'll examine the techniques and tools that geologists use to learn about the history of the Earth's climate and that planetary scientists use to learn about the atmospheres and surface environments on other worlds. Students will also gain experience simulating the climate system and computing atmospheric properties. Other topics include: the super-rotation of Venus's atmosphere and its Runaway Greenhouse climate, the destruction of atmospheres on low-gravity worlds, and the future of Earth's climate as the Sun grows steadily brighter.

Prereq: Any 100 level course in ASTR; or GEOS 101, GEOS 102, or GEOS 206; or ES 101; or permission of the instructor
Dist: Natural and Physical Science; Mathematical Modeling

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BISC 108 Environmental Horticulture with Laboratory

Jones, McDonough, Thomas (Biological Sciences) | Spring 2018 | 1.25 unit

This course will examine how plants function, both as individual organisms and as critical members of ecological communities, with special emphasis on human uses of plants. Topics will include plant adaptations, reproduction, environmentally sound landscape practices, urban horticulture, and the use of medicinal plants. The laboratory involves extensive use of the greenhouses, experimental design, data collection and analysis, and field trips.

Prereq: QR basic skills component
Dist: Natural and Physical Sciences

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BISC 198 Statistics in the Biosciences 

Hughes (Biological Sciences) | Spring 2018 | 1.0 unit

This course combines statistical theory and practical application, the latter using examples from ecology and experimental biology to illustrate some of the more common techniques of experimental design and data analysis. Students will learn how to plan an experiment and consider the observations, measurements, and potential statistical tests before data are collected and analyzed. Other topics include graphical representation of data, probability distributions and their applications, one- and two-way ANOVA and t-tests, regression and correlation, goodness-of-fit tests, and nonparametric alternatives. Students also learn to use statistical computer software.

Prereq: QR basic skills component and one course in biology, chemistry, or environmental science.
Dist: Natural and Physical Sciences, Quantitative Reasoning Overlay.

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BISC 201 Ecology with Laboratory

Koniger, Thomas | Fall 2017 | 1.25 unit

An introduction to the scientific study of interactions between organisms and their environments. Topics include evolutionary adaptation in dynamic environments, behavioral ecology and life-history strategies, population growth and regulation, species interactions (competition, parasitism, mutualism, predation) and their consequences, and the structure and function of biological communities and ecosystems. Emphasis is placed on experimental ecology and its uses in addressing environmental issues such as biological control of pests, conservation of endangered species and global climate change. Laboratories occur primarily in the field where students explore and study local habitats, including meadows, forests, alpine tundra, bogs, dunes, marshes, lakes, and streams.

PrereqBISC 108 or BISC 111/113 or ES 101, or by permission of the instructor
DistNatural and Physical Science. Fulfills QR overlay requirement

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BISC 202 Evolution with Laboratory

Sequeira (Biological Sciences) | Spring 2018 | 1.25 unit

Examination of evolution, the central paradigm of biology, at the level of populations, species, and lineages. Topics include the genetics of populations, the definition of species, the roles of natural selection and chance in evolution, the reconstruction of phylogeny using molecular and morphological evidence, and patterns in the origination, diversity, and extinction of species over time.

PrereqBISC 110/112 and BISC 111/113
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

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BISC 204 Biological Modeling with Laboratory

Matthes (Biological Sciences) | Spring 2018 | 1.25 unit

Can we anticipate the effects that genetic variation will have on the future of a species? How can we predict the spread of an impending epidemic? How many fish will be in the ocean next year? Mathematical models liberate biologists from only being able to draw inferences from what we can directly observe, and these models allow us to develop a deeper understanding of complex systems. In this course students will develop skills in conceptualizing, writing, programming, and interpreting results from biological models through theoretical examples and laboratory exercises.

PrereqBISC 110/112/116 or BISC 111/111T/113, and MATH 116 (or equivalent), or permission of instructor
Dist: Natural and Physical Science, Mathematical Modeling

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BISC 210 Marine Biology with Laboratory

Hughes (Biological Sciences) | Fall 2017 | 1.25 unit

Oceans cover more than 70% of the earth's surface and are our planet's primary life support system. This course examines adaptations and interactions of plants and animals in a variety of marine habitats. Focal habitats include the photic zone of the open ocean, the deep-sea, subtidal and intertidal zones, estuaries, and coral reefs. Emphasis is placed on the dominant organisms, food webs, and experimental studies conducted within each habitat. Laboratories will emphasize primarily field work in marine habitats as well as hands-on study of marine organisim and adaptation anatomy.

PrereqBISC 111/113 or ES 101, or by permission of the instructor
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

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BISC 314 Environmental Microbiology and Laboratory 

Klepac-Ceraj (Biological Sciences) | Spring 2018 | 1.25 unit

A field-based exploration of the microbial world centered on distinct microbial habitats visited locally. Short lectures and readings from primary literature will be combined with trips to visit a diverse set of microbial environments where students will collect samples for microbial isolation as well as culture-independent community assessment. In the laboratory, students will learn how to identify and design media for selective isolation of microbes involved in processes such as: methanotrophy, sulfur oxidation, nitrogen fixation, syntrophism and symbiosis, fermentation of ethanol and aging of cheese. Student participation and discussion of original scientific literature will be emphasized.

PrereqCHEM 211 plus any of the following: BISC 201, 202, 209, 210, 219 or 220 or permission of instructor
DistNatural and Physical Science

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BISC 319 Evolution and Conservation Genetics with Laboratory

Sequeira | Not Offered | 1.25 unit

Oceanic archipelagos such as Galápagos stand at a crossroads: while many still retain most of its original species, ecological degradation is proceeding rapidly. We will focus on the study of the components of accumulation of species diversity in island systems and of the forces or agents that can threaten that endemic diversity. By looking at relationships between organisms, populations and species, we can interpret how historical processes can leave evolutionary footprints on the geographic distribution of traits. Additionally, analyzing genetic patterns within island populations we can detect signals of demographic growth or decline and evaluate the role of genetic factors in population persistence. After a series of introductory lectures, the course will involve student presentations and discussion of primary literature examining cases in archipelagos (Hawaii, Canaries and Galápagos). In the laboratory, we will explore computational biology tools for analysis of DNA sequences, and apply methods of phylogeny, phylogeography reconstruction and population demographics. We will also explore the growing field of molecular dating of evolutionary events.

PrereqBISC 201 or 202 or 210 or 219 or by permission of the instructor
DistNatural and Physical Science

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EXTD 123 Water Resources Planning and Management 

Staff | Fall 2017 | 1.0 unit

A comprehensive introduction to the economics and ecology of water supply and water pollution control. Topics include watershed management, groundwater and wetlands protection, and wastewater treatment. The inherent difficulty in applying static laws and regulations to a dynamic natural resource such as water is a recurring theme. Offered by the Marine Studies Consortium.

PrereqOpen to students by permission of the consortium representative, Jocelyne Dolce, Department of Biological Sciences.
DistNone.

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EXTD 128 Coastal Zone Management

Staff | Spring 2018 | 1.0 unit

This course presents a survey of the coastal environment and its physical characteristics, natural systems, economic uses, and development pressures. Lectures examine strategies formulated in the United States for land and water-resource management in the coastal zone. The roles of federal, state, and local governments, environmental groups, and resource users are also explored. Finally, by comparing coastal-zone management problems in the United States to those elsewhere in the world, students gain a global perspective. Offered by the Marine Studies Consortium.

PrereqOpen to students by permission of the consortium representative, Jocelyne Dolce, Department of Biological Sciences.
DistNone.

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FREN 300 Post-Apocalyptic Cinema: French Visions of Ecological Trauma 

Morari | Spring 2018 | 1.0 unit

How has French cinema responded to the reality of environmental crisis and the specter of ecological catastrophe? Issues linked to political ecologies and environmental ethics, anthropocentrism, climate change, pollution and technological challenges have influenced the shape and substance of these cinematic responses. Work in the film medium has assumed a critical place in a forum otherwise dominated by specialists in sciences, economics and engineering. Indeed, French cinema has articulated a French voice in response to this global problem. As we probe environmental discourses and their cinematic figuration, we will read, among others, texts by Marc Augé, Luce Irigaray or Bruno Latour, and discuss representative films by directors such as Georges Méliès, René Clair, Agnès Varda, Chris Marker, Jean-Luc Godard, Claire Denis or Jacques Tati.

Prereq: FREN 211 or for students entering in 2014 or later, FREN 210 or FREN 212; and one additional unit, FREN 213 or above. 
DistLanguage and Literature; Arts, Music, Film, Video.

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GEOS 101 Earth Processes and the Environment with Laboratory

Brabander | Fall 2017 | 1.25 units

Geologic processes both rapid (earthquakes and landslides) and slow (mountain building and sea level rise) are intimately linked with sustaining the diversity of life on the planet. This course will examine these and other processes in which the atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere are linked via the flow of energy and mass. Laboratory exercises and field trips will introduce skills needed to observe and document processes shaping our environment. Problem solving in small groups during class time will foster critical thinking, and classroom debates between larger teams will focus research and communications skills on current issues in geosciences such as building and removing dams, and the science surrounding global climate change.

PrereqFulfillment of the basic skills component of the Quantitative Reasoning requirement; Not open to students who have taken GEOS 102
DistNatural and Physical Science. Fulfills the QR overlay requirement

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GEOS 102 The Dynamic Earth with Laboratory

Besancon, Staff | Fall 2017, Spring 2018 | 1.25 units

The Earth is a dynamic planet - driven by processes that operate on its surface and within. In this course we study these processes as well as interactions between the solid earth, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, and the biosphere that together produce the environment we live in. Topics covered include the origin and history of the earth, plate tectonics, the distribution of earthquakes and volcanoes, hydrology, landscape evolution, and global climate; these processes influence our lives daily. Laboratory exercises, project work, and local field trips provide hands-on opportunities to develop key concepts and hone observational and analytical skills.

PrereqQR basics skills. Not open to students who have taken GEOS 101
DistNatural and Physical Science. Fulfills QR overlay requirement.

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GEOS 120/ASTR 120  Planetary Habitability: Past, Present, Future with Laboratory

Brabander (Geosciences), McLeod (Astro) | Not Offered | 1.25 units

Overall, Earth is a pretty fine place to live. But how did it get this way, and will it always be so nice? We will explore Earth’s place in the Universe in both space and time, focusing on processes that led to the Earth as we know it. We then will examine cosmic, geologic, and human processes that are altering our planet at a time when humans have become change agents on a global scale. This interdisciplinary, studio-style course features two long blocks per week with hands-on activities including group work, discussions, and projects with non-traditional assessment tailored to individual student goals. There will be opportunities for nighttime telescopic observing along with field trips to rock outcrops that preserve evidence of a very different early Earth climate.

Prereq: Open to first years and sophomores only. Fulfillment of the basic skills component of the Quantitative Reasoning requirement.
DistMathematical Modeling, Natural Physical Science

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GEOS 208 Oceanography

Besancon | Spring 2018 | 1.0 unit

The Earth is an ocean planet. Covering 71 percent of the Earth's surface and holding 97 percent of the EARth's water, the oceans are perhaps our planet's most distinctive feature. This course will address fundamental questions about the oceans such as, why do we have oceans and ocean basins? Why do we have ocean currents? How have the interactions among physical, chemical, and biological processes produced the ocean we have today? Why should we strive to learn more about the oceans, and what are the links between the oceans and Earth's climate? In-class exercises, case studies, and data analysis will emphasize fundamental oceanographic processes and problem solving skills. A mandatory field trip to the coast will allow students to explore coastal processes in action. 

Prereq: Any 100-level GEOS, ES or BISC course, or permission of the instructor 
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

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GEOS 230 Earth from Above: Maps, Remote Sensing, and GIS 

Besancon | Fall 2017 | 1.0 unit

Paper maps and photographs rapidly migrated into digital form. Governments, consulting firms, journalists and scientists use geographic information systems (GIS) and image analysis to manage natural resources, administer city infrastructure, search for water supplies, analyze land use and planning, investigate relationships between environmental factors, and prepare maps of all types. Assignments examine a variety of problems in natural science using ArcGIS software. Normally offered in alternate years.

Prereq: GEOS 101/102/106 or ES 101 or permission of instructor
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

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GEOS 304 Sedimentology and Stratigraphy with Laboratory 

Monecke | Not Offered | 1.25 unit

Sediments and sedimentary rocks cover most of the Earth's present surface. Sedimentology encompasses the study of the origin, transport, deposition and lithification of sedimentary rocks, and is critical to accurate interpretation of the geologic rock record. Observations of modern sedimentary processes illuminate past environments; sedimentary strata record evidence of mountain building and seismic activity, glacial advances and paleoclimate cycles, and preserve the fossil record. Natural resources including groundwater, coal and petroleum are found in sedimentary rocks. Society is impacted by sedimentary processes in popular human habitats including coastlines and flood plains. Readings and discussions build students' familiarity with topics such as sediment transport, stratigraphy, and modern and ancient depositional environments. A semester-long project, laboratory exercises and weekend field trips emphasize field methods, rock identification, and data collection, analysis and interpretation. Normally offered in alternate years.

PrereqGEOS 200, GEOS 203, or permission of the instructor 
Dist: Natural and Physical Science

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GEOS 315 Environmental Geochemistry with Laboratory

Brabander (Geosciences) | Not Offered | 1.25 unit

Accurately predicting the fate and transport of naturally occurring toxic elements and anthropogenic compounds in the environment requires a broad set of multidisciplinary skills. This course introduces geochemical approaches including mass balance, residence time, isotope fractionation, and thermodynamic and kinetic modeling necessary to fingerprint sources of pollutants and track them in water, soil, and plants. These fundamentals will be explored in several classic case studies and in semester-long geochemical research projects conducted by small groups. 

PrereqOne course above the 100-level in two of the following disciplines: Geosciences, Chemistry, Biological Sciences or Environmental Studies, or permission of the instructor
DistNatural and Physical Science; Mathematical Modeling

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GEOS 320 Isotope Geochemistry

Brabander (Geosciences) | Fall 2017  | 1.0 unit

This seminar-style course will use the primary literature to study state-of-the-art techniques in isotope geochemistry. Radiogenic, cosmogenic, and stable isotope systematics will be explored with applications ranging from geochronology, tectonics, fate and transport of pollutants, and the use of isotopes to trace biogeochemical processes. Field trips to Boston area isotope labs and opportunities for collaborative research projects will complement the seminar.

PrereqAny 200-level GEOS course or permission of the instructor
DistNatural and Physical Science

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HIST 320 Seminar: The Hand that Feeds: A History of American Food

Grandjean (History) | Not Offered  | 1.0 unit

This seminar investigates the place of food in American history and culture, from reputed cannibalism in the American colonies to the rise of fast food in the twentieth century. Through selected episodes and commodities, we will explore the role of taste, competition for food, and capitalism in recasting American lives and identities. Topics include: colonial hunger and violence; the development of taste and "refined" eating; the role of food in defining race, class, and regional culture; the rise of mass production and its environmental effects and the reshaping of American bodies. In following the evolution of American food ways, we will visit eighteenth-century coffeehouses, antebellum slave quarters, campfires of the American West, the slaughterhouses of the Chicago meat market—and, of course—McDonald's.

PrereqNormally open to juniors and seniors who have taken a 200-level unit in history and/or a 200-level unit in a relevant area/subject.
DistHistorical Studies

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PHIL 338 Seminar: Who Owns the Past?* 

Matthes (History) | Spring 2018  | 1.0 unit

In this course, we will examine a range of moral and political questions surrounding cultural heritage. We will employ an interdisciplinary array of sources in order to investigate key concepts including cultural and natural heritage, value, identity, colonialism, cultural property and landscapes, stewardship, and preservation. We will use these conceptual foundations to address practical questions, such as whether cultural artifacts in Western museums should be repatriated to their countries of origin; how we should resolve value conflicts between archaeologists and indigenous communities; and whether institutions (such as governments or colleges) should continue to honor historical figures who perpetrated historical injustices. The course will involve a substantial independent research project on a topic of each student’s own choosing.

PrereqOne previous course in philosophy or permission of instructor.
DistReligion, Ethics, and Moral Philosophy

*ES Paper Required

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POL4 311 Seminar: Grassroots Organizing* 

Grattan (Political Science) | Fall 2017  | 1.0 unit

An introduction to the theory and practice of grassroots organizing for social change. Learning will take two concurrent paths. In class, we will examine what organizing is and how it has historically played a role in social change. We will ask how organizers: use storytelling to motivate action; analyze power, devise theories of change, and craft creative strategies; develop capacities, resources, relationships, and institutions to build collective power; and facilitate diverse groups in contexts marked by entrenched histories of oppression. Outside class, students will engage in a hands-on organizing project of their own choosing in which they must organize a group of people on or off campus to achieve a common goal.

PrereqOne course in political theory or significant coursework related to grassroots politics, social movements, or social change, and by permission of instructor. Enrollment is limited; interested students must fill out an application available on the political department website homepage.
DistSocial and Behavioral Analysis

*ES Paper Required

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QR 260/STAT 260 Applied Data Analysis and Statistical Analysis 

Pattanayak | Fall 2017  | 1.0 unit

This is an intermediate statistics course focused on fundamentals of statistical inference and applied data analysis tools. Emphasis on thinking statistically, evaluating assumptions, and developing practical skills for real-life applications to fields such as medicine, politics, education, and beyond. Topics include t-tests and non-parametric alternatives, multiple comparisons, analysis of variance, linear regression, model refinement, missing data, and causal inference. Students can expect to gain a working knowledge of the statistical software R, which will be used for data analysis and for simulations designed to strengthen conceptual understanding. This course, offered through Wellesley’s Quantitative Analysis Institute, can be counted as a 200-level course toward the major or minor in Economics or Psychology. Students who earned a Quantitative Analysis Institute Certificate are not eligible for this course.

PrereqAny Quantitative Reasoning Overlay course
DistMathematical Modeling

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WRIT 162 Environmental Law: Policy and Action  

Viti (The Writing Program) | Fall 2017  | 1.0 unit

Can laws change the way we treat the planet and prevent environmental catastrophe? We will read and analyze landmark court decisions about major environmental laws, from the 1960s to today, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, Superfund, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. We will learn how these decisions have affected policy and practice in protecting people and the environment. We will also track how the actions of the new Executive Branch and Congress in 2017 might affect key federal legislation on the environment, and the Supreme Court’s previous rulings on these laws.

PrereqNone. Open only to first-year students.
DistWriting

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WRIT 171 The Influence of Place 

Thomas (Biological Sciences) | Spring 2018 | 1.0 unit

How does where you are affect who you are? Throughout the semester we will draw from important writings on nature and the environment that depict and rely on a strong sense of place. From the scientific perspective of Alan Lightman’s Our Place in the Universe to Annie Dillard’s laser-focused compositions on place, we will learn about different ways to understand and write about spatial identity. We will cross disciplinary boundaries in our examination of the interactions of both humans and non-humans with their environment. Students will actively engage with different locations around and nearby campus, exploring the environment and using current geospatial data and maps to more deeply investigate the powerful influence of place.

PrereqNone. Open only to first-year students.
DistWriting

 

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