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Course Descriptions  |  Program in Environmental Thought and Practice

Department of Environmental Sciences

P.O. Box 400123
Clark Hall
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4123
Phone: (434) 924-7761
Fax: (434) 982-2137

Overview The interdisciplinary field of environmental sciences is concerned with the interaction of physical and biological processes that shape our natural environment. The Department of Environmental Sciences offers instruction and conducts research in the areas of atmospheric science, hydrology, geoscience, ecology, environmental chemistry, and land and resource analysis. It offers students the opportunity to understand how these processes interact in time and space, and how a change in any one may affect others. The research efforts of faculty and students deal largely with understanding the fundamental science of physical and ecological processes, and to a lesser extent with applications of this understanding to environmental problems, management, or policy making. Majors can specialize in one area or diversify across all areas depending on career goals.

The environmental sciences major provides strong preparation for several post-graduate paths. The program’s in-depth training in the theory and methods of atmospheric science, hydrology, geoscience, ecology prepares students for graduate school in either environmental sciences or one of the disciplines it involves. Moreover, with its focus on reasoning and analytical skills that involve natural processes, the program provides a strong foundation for professional schools. It also furnishes students with the liberal arts science training necessary for post-graduate employment in natural resource fields. Many environmental sciences majors concentrate their programs in one or two fields with graduate or professional schools in mind. Others use the breadth and interdisciplinary nature of the curriculum to prepare for careers in science writing, scientific methods, mathematical modeling and computing, teaching, or environmental management.

In 1998, the Department of Environmental Sciences initiated the Environmental Literacy Program at the University of Virginia. The purpose of this program is to bring together studies of the physical, biological, and social environment to provide students and faculty the opportunity to expand their understanding of the environmental issues facing society today and in the future. The program’s mission is to identify, facilitate, and develop activities within the University and the community at large that enhance the understanding of the environment. This mission is accomplished by supporting a variety of activities, both in and out of the classroom, including seminars, field trips, and community and educational outreach.

As part of the Environmental Literacy Program, the department's 100- and 200-level courses provide introductions to the geologic, ecologic, atmospheric, and hydrologic processes that are frequently managed, planned, financed, litigated, and involved in health considerations. For science majors, as well as non-science and pre-professional students, these courses provide solid training in the interactions of biological and physical processes, and the procedures of interdisciplinary research and discovery.

Faculty There are more than thirty faculty members in the department. Many of these faculty are world-renowned for their research in such areas as forest ecology, atmospheric chemistry, transport of bacteria and other contaminants in groundwater, isotope geochemistry, and coastal processes. All of the faculty are committed to teaching and working with students.

Recognizing that environmental processes and concerns are among the most important issues of our time, the University has enabled the department to link its research with scientists and others worldwide who deal with global environmental change.

Students There are currently more than 150 students majoring in environmental sciences. After completing the core curriculum, students may specialize in one area or select work from two or more of the four areas of studies. Majors who aim for continued education in graduate and professional schools or specific job paths generally concentrate in one or two areas. Those interested in such careers as science writing, computing, or teaching choose advanced courses from a broader range. Majors are employed in consulting, government agencies, forestry and agricultural firms, lobbying, weather forecasting, and many other exciting and enjoyable careers.

Introductory courses are usually conducted in a lecture format; some are large, but faculty members are easily accessible. Advanced courses are quite small, and all are taught by faculty. The department encourages all majors to explore opportunities to work with faculty and graduate students in research projects that provide practice in using the tools and concepts of various disciplines and help to develop career goals and opportunities.

Special Resources Departmental facilities include field vehicles, boats, electronics shops, greenhouses, environmental chambers, extensive computing facilities, a Geographic Information Systems laboratory, aerial photographic interpretation equipment, the Office of the State Climatologist, Internet access to the McIDAS-X and GEMPAK weather information services, and four environmental research sites, including Virginia's Eastern Shore; two Piedmont sites; the Blandy Farm Experimental Research Station at Front Royal, Virginia; the Pace site near Charlottesville; and the Mountain Lake Biological Research Station in Giles County, Virginia. Majors are encouraged to take advantage of all of these facilities.

Requirements for Major The Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Sciences requires that students complete 30 graded credits of departmental course work with a 2.0 cumulative grade point average. EVSC 280, 320, 340, and 350 with their laboratories are the required core courses. The interdisciplinary nature of the environmental science’s advanced courses is one of the program’s great strengths and unique features. To take maximum advantage of these courses, students should complete the four core courses by the beginning of their fourth year. Three credits of non-core 100- or 200-level course work, taken prior to the third year, may be counted toward the major. At least 11 credits of non-core courses at the 300 level or higher must be taken.

The department requires one semester of calculus and two semesters of college-level chemistry, biology, or physics with laboratories. Students should begin to fulfill this requirement in their first year by taking MATH 131 and any two of the following: CHEM 141, CHEM 142, BIOL 201, BIOL 202, PHYS 231, or PHYS 232 with their labs. (Note that the laboratories for PHYS 201, 202 are used to fulfill this requirement.)

To do serious research and compete effectively in graduate school and employment, additional math and science is generally needed. Work in any environmental sciences area necessitates developing an understanding of related fields. Thus, to encourage each student’s success in research and the competition for top graduate schools and jobs, the department requires students to undertake related work selected on the following basis: Ecology depends on a basic knowledge of chemistry (CHEM 141, 142) and biology (BIOL 201, 202). Geoscience, hydrology, and atmospheric science depend on chemistry and physics (PHYS 231, 232). All of these areas depend on calculus (MATH 131, 132 recommended) and the techniques of statistics (STAT 212 or ECON 371) and computer programming (CS 102 or 120). Moreover, most applications and analyses of legal or policy issues depend on basic economics (ECON 201, 202).

If this related work has been accomplished, students can begin the department’s core courses in the first or second year. With college-level chemistry and calculus, most students are prepared for EVSC 280 (Physical Geology) and EVSC 320 (Fundamentals of Ecology). Students are advised to obtain computer skills and an understanding of statistics as early as possible, and to take additional related science as their interests develop.

The Bachelor of Arts Science degree in Environmental Sciences The B.S. degree in Environmental Sciences is similar to the B.A., except that the course requirements are much more extensive. Students must fulfill all of the College Area Requirements in addition to the requirements for the major. Because of the more enhanced and more restrictive structure of the B.S. degree, careful planning of course selection and scheduling is essential very early. Interested students should contact the department as soon as possible to get help with establishing a program quickly with appropriate adjustments for AP or transfer credits. AP credits in related science or math are especially helpful, as is a strong performance on the foreign language placement exam to remove some of the obligation for these proficiency requirements to be completed upon arrival at the university.

Related Math & Science One semester each of each of the three basic sciences with their associated labs, viz., Biology 201&203, Chemistry 141 & 141L, and Physics 151 & 201L, along with one year of Calculus (Math 131&132). Additionally, 2 more semesters of related sciences or math are required (e.g. BIOL 202 and 204, CHEM 142&142L, PHYS 152&202L, MATH 231, or equivalent courses). Majors Requirements Each of the core courses EVSC 280, 320, 340 and 350 and their associated laboratories EVSC 280L, 320L, 340L and 350L for a total of 16 core credits. An additional 24 hours of graded EVSC courses are required. Three of these credit hours may be taken below the 300-level (i.e. 100 or 200 level), if they are completed prior to the third year. The remainder must be taken at or above the 300-level, and at least one must be a laboratory course.

Specialization in Environmental Conservation The Department of Environmental Sciences, in conjunction with the Department of Biology, offers an opportunity for students to obtain the Bachelor of Arts or Science in Environmental Sciences with a Specialization in Environmental and Biological Conservation. Candidates for the Specialization must fulfill all the requirements for the Environmental Sciences major.

The requirements for the Specialization are as follows: 1) Related math and science courses required are calculus (MATH 121 or 131), organismal biology (BIOL 202 or BIOL 301) with lab (BIOL 204), and either chemistry with lab (CHEM 141/141L) or physics with lab (PHYS 151/201L); 2) The four core environmental science courses (EVSC 280, 320, 340, 350) with their labs; 3) Two introductory courses in environmental conservation (EVSC 222, BIOL 345), population ecology (EVSC 413) and a 2-credit seminar in environmental conservations (EVSC 493/494); 3) An additional twelve upper-level credits in Environmental Sciences or Biology. The Conservation Specialization requires at least one course in each of the following areas: Biological Diversity - a course focused on a particular group of organisms (e.g. plants, birds, mammals); Environmental Diversity - a course focused on a particular habitat (e.g. wetlands, oceans, forests, grasslands, tundra); Techniques in Conservation - a course focused on policy, related chemical or physical sciences, statistics, modeling, geo-spatial analysis or field methods; Field Experience - this can be fulfilled with an independent study, a field course at a University of Virginia biological or ecological field station (Mountain Lakes Biological Station, Blandy Experimental Farm), involvement with the Africa research program in the Environmental Sciences department, or an internship with a conservation agency. The Conservation Specialization can be completed as part of the B.S. degree in Environmental Sciences provided that all of the B.S. requirements are met.

Students who are interested in this Specialization should consult with an advisor who is a faculty of the Environmental Conservation Program, preferably when declaring their major.

Requirements for Minor A minor consists of at least 16 credits of environmental sciences course work in a program of study proposed by the student and approved by the department faculty. The program must include at least two core courses (EVSC 280, 320, 340, 350) with laboratories, and one non-core course at the 300 level or higher, with no more than six credits of non-core courses below the 300 level. To take advantage of advanced interdisciplinary courses, the core courses should be completed early.

The Environmental Sciences Organization, recognized by Student Council, presents an undergraduate professionalization seminar, field trips, career and job search activities, curriculum review and planning, and many social events. All University students are welcome to join.

Distinction and Prizes The department participates in the College’s Distinguished Majors Program designed for highly qualified students. This program must be started early. Information can be obtained from an advisor. Each year, the department gives the following awards to members of the graduating class who have distinguished themselves academically during their four years of study at the University:

1. the Wallace-Poole Award to the most outstanding major;
2. the Wilbur A. Nelson Award, the Mahlon G. Kelly Award, and the Michael Garstang Award to students who are outstanding in the areas of environmental geology, ecology, and atmospheric sciences;
3. an award to the outstanding student in the area of hydrology; and
4. the Trout Unlimited Award for excellence in aquatic ecology.

Each year, the department offers the following awards to majors in the program:
1. the Bloomer and Mitchell Awards for geoscience-oriented students; and
2. the Chamberlain Award for departmental majors.

The Blandy Experimental Farm and the Orland E. White Arboretum of the University of Virginia are located in Boyce, Virginia at the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley. At this facility, faculty and students conduct research on the ecology of plants, mammals, and insects. Field classes from the Departments of Environmental Sciences and Biology conduct laboratory exercises at the facility, and each year an extensive summer program of course work is presented. The farm contains a wide array of habitats including forest, successional fields, pasture, cropland, ponds, and marshes. The Orland E. White Arboretum, the State Arboretum of Virginia, contains a beautifully landscaped collection of 1,000 species and varieties of trees and shrubs. The facilities also include greenhouses, laboratories, computer facilities, and housing, laundry and dining facilities. Students may participate in supervised research or independent study at Blandy Farm primarily during the summer.

Research Opportunities Research projects throughout the department provide a number of employment and experience opportunities for undergraduates. Students in their third and fourth years are encouraged to gain research experience by participating in faculty research or initiating their own research projects with faculty supervision. These projects can be conducted for credit by arranging with a faculty member to supervise an independent study (EVSC 493, 494) or research project (EVSC 495, 496).

Additional Information For more information, contact Aaron Mills, Faculty Advisor, Department of Environmental Sciences, Clark Hall, Charlottesville, VA 22903; (434) 924-7761; www.evsc.virginia.edu.

Course Descriptions


Environmental Sciences

EVSC 101 - (3) (Y)
Introduction to Environmental Sciences

Introduces the principles and basic facts of the natural environment. Topics include earth materials, land forms, weather and climate, vegetation and soils, and the processes of environmental change and their implications to economic and human systems.

EVSC 102 - (3) (Y)
Practical Concepts in Environmental Sciences

Prerequisite/corequisite: EVSC 101.
Practical concepts and problem solving in environmental sciences through demonstrations, hands-on activities, structured discussions, and problem sets beyond those of traditional lecture and discussion components offered in EVSC 101. Emphasizes experience and critical thinking in the four core areas: geology, hydrology, atmospheric sciences, and ecology.

EVSC 120 - (3) (Y)
Elements of Ecology

Introduces the science of ecology and its application to current environmental issues. A number of topics relating to population growth and regulation, biodiversity, sustainability, and global change are used as a framework to investigate basic ecological principles. Emphasizes the application of basic science to the understanding and mitigation of current environmental problems.

EVSC 140 - (3) (Y)
Water on Earth

Studies the natural history of the Earth’s hydrosphere, including its origin, evolution, and importance in Earth processes. Introduces the hydrological cycle and the role of water in a variety of Earth processes. Discusses human influences on the hydrosphere and current topics in hydrological science and water resources, such as contamination and resource allocation, emphasizing the scientific basis for past, present, and future decisions.

EVSC 148 - (3) (Y)
Resources and the Environment

Explores the impact of people on the environment in the past and present with projections for the future. Addresses the phenomena and effects of food and energy production and industrial processes, including such topics as lead pollution, acid rain, the greenhouse effect, and the disposal of radioactive waste. Demonstrates how the environment works in the absence of humans and discusses how human use of resources perturbs the environment.

EVSC 181 - (3) (Y)
Climate Change: Past and Future

Explores past changes of the Earth’s climate system (atmosphere, oceans, vegetation, land surface and ice sheets) caused by changes in atmospheric CO2, the strength of the sun, the Earth’s orbit around the sun, volcanic eruptions, and plate tectonics. Future climate change is projected based on past changes.

EVSC 201 - (3) (S)
Materials That Shape Civilizations

Reviews the structure, properties, methods of production, uses, and world supply of the materials on which present and past civilizations have been based; including materials used in heavy industry, construction, communications, medicine, as well as textiles and naturally occurring organic materials. Emphasizes the effects of environment on materials and energy relationships. Cross-listed as MSE 201.

EVSC 210 - (3) (Y)
Beaches, Coasts and Rivers

Studies the geologic framework and biophysical processes of the coastal zone, and the role of the major river systems in modifying the coastal environment. Emphasizes human modifications, including case studies along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts.

EVSC 215 - (3) (Y)
Introduction to Oceanography

Analyzes the principles that govern the world’s oceans and their integration into an understanding of the major marine environments. Topics include marine pollution, global climate, and marine policy.

EVSC 222 - (3) (Y)
Conservation Ecology—Biodiversity and Beyond

Studies ecological science relevant to sustaining populations, species, ecosystems, and the global biosphere. Includes discussion of genetic inbreeding, critical population size, community structure and organization, maintenance of critical ecosystem function, and global biogeochemistry. Case studies from around the world demonstrate links between human-driven environmental change and the health of the biosphere, at all levels, from the organism to the planet.

EVSC 230/ETP 230 - (3) (Y)
Politics, Science, and Values: An Introduction to Environmental Policy

Introduces a wide variety of domestic and international environmental policy issues. Explores how political processes, scientific evidence, ideas, and values affect environmental policymaking. This class satisfies the social sciences area requirement and not the natural sciences/mathematics area requirement, since EVSC 230 is devoted to the subject of environmental policy.

EVSC 250 - (3) (Y)
Man’s Atmospheric Environment

Long-term global climactic controls and short-term severe weather events such as hurricanes and tornadoes are treated in terms of the physical laws governing the motions of the atmosphere and the energy driving the system. Discusses climactic and atmospheric events that severely impact human behavior. Explores responses by early and modern humans to perturbations in the weather and climate. Examines utilization of renewable energy residing in the sun, wind, and water; and advertent and inadvertent weather modification.

EVSC 280 - (3) (S)
Physical Geology

Recommended: At least one semester of college chemistry with lab such as CHEM 141, 142.
Studies the composition, structure, and internal processes of earth; the classification, origin, and distribution of earth materials; earth’s interior; and the interpretation of geological data for the solution of problems of the natural environment.

EVSC 280L - (1) (S)
Physical Geology Laboratory

Corequisite: EVSC 280.
Field and laboratory experimentation into the nature of earth materials and processes, especially as applied to use and human problems.

EVSC 320 - (3) (S)
Fundamentals of Ecology

Prerequisite: One semester of calculus; recommended: at least one semester of college-level chemistry and biology with labs such as CHEM 141, 142, and BIOL 202.
Studies energy flow, nutrient cycling and allocation in natural ecosystems, organization of species at the population and community levels, and interaction between people and the biosphere.

EVSC 320L - (1) (S)
Fundamentals of Ecology Laboratory

Corequisite: EVSC 320.
Field and laboratory experimentation illustrative of ecological systems, and their checks, balances, and cycles.

EVSC 340 - (3) (Y)
Physical Hydrology

Prerequisite: One semester of calculus.
Studies the physical principles governing the flow of water on and beneath the earth’s surface, including fundamental concepts of fluid dynamics applied to the description of open channel hydraulics, ground water hydraulics, and dynamics of soil moisture. Introduces elements of surface water and ground water hydrology and explores humanity’s influence on its hydrological environment.

EVSC 340L - (1) (Y)
Physical Hydrology Laboratory

Corequisite: EVSC 340.
Field and laboratory experimentation illustrative of the hydrological cycle, including energy and mass transfer in surface and ground water.

EVSC 350 - (3) (Y)
Atmosphere and Weather

Prerequisite: One semester of calculus; recommended: at least one semester of college physics with lab such as PHYS 231, 232.
Introduces the physical laws governing atmospheric behavior and examines atmospheric variables and their role in the fluid environment of the earth.

EVSC 350L - (1) (Y)
Atmosphere and Weather Laboratory

Corequisite: EVSC 350.
Studies the principles of measurements, instrumentation for measuring atmospheric parameters, and methods of observing and calculating atmospheric variables.

EVSC 362 - (3) (S)

Prerequisite: The equivalent of the College natural science/mathematics and social science area requirements.
Experience with word processing, file managers, and other computing skills is essential. Explores the theory of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and their applications in a range of disciplines using various GISsoftware packages. Example applications are from physical and social sciences, often with a focus on the Charlottesville-Albemarle area. For students interested in immediate applications of GIS in their work.

EVSC 384 - (4) (Y)
Earth Surface Processes and Landforms

Prerequisite: EVSC 280 or instructor permission.
Examines erosional processes and their role in creating landforms. Explores the influence of processes and landforms on land use and the human environment, including hazards from floods and landslides.

EVSC 385 - (3) (Y)

Prerequisite: EVSC 280, calculus, and physics. Studies the basic principles of continuum mechanics and their application to problems in the geological sciences, including the behavior of the Earth’s lithosphere, rock mechanics, and flow of water.

EVSC 386 - (3) (IR)
Introduction to Geochemistry

Prerequisite: CHEM 141, 142 and EVSC 280. Studies the principles that govern the distribution and abundance of the elements in the Earth’s lithosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere.

EVSC 413 - (3) (Y)
Population Ecology and Conservation

Prerequisite: EVSC 320 and one course in calculus.
Studies ecological, evolutionary, and behavioral processes that occur within and between populations in natural communities. Emphasizes the mathematics of population dynamics and species interactions and uses models to demonstrate the diversity of life histories in plants and animals. Discusses the application of population ecology to current issues in conversation biology.

EVSC 415 - (3) (IR)
Topics in Oceanography

Prerequisite: One year college-level science.
Introduces oceanography together with a survey of marine resources and the scientific bases for their management.

EVSC 420 - (3) (Y)
The Ecology of Coastal Wetlands

Prerequisite: EVSC 320 or equivalent.
Investigates the ecology of coastal interface ecosystems, including sea grass, mangrove, and salt marsh emphasizing biogeochemisty, succession, and dynamic processes related to the development and maintenance of these systems. Explores the differences between tropical and temperate coastal systems.

EVSC 423 - (3) (O)
Marine Environments and Organisms

Prerequisite: EVSC 320 or equivalent.
Surveys the major habitats of marine and estuarine areas and the organisms which have adapted to life in these environments. Emphasizes the organisms and communities which have evolved in response to stress and competition in the sea, and the systematics and natural history of marine organisms.

EVSC 425 - (3) (Y)
Ecosystem Ecology

Prerequisite: EVSC 320 and one semester of chemistry or instructor permission.
Study of the flows of energy and the cycling of elements in ecosystems and how these concepts connect the various components of the Earth system.

EVSC 427 - (4) (Y)
Soil Science

Prerequisite: EVSC 280 and 320; one year college chemistry or instructor permission.
Introduces the study of soils as a natural system. Topics include the fundamentals of soil chemistry, hydrology, and biology with respect to genesis, classification and utilization.

EVSC 428 - (4) (Y)
Environmental Microbiology

Prerequisite: BIOL 201, CHEM 141, 142, EVSC 320.
Analyzes the impact of microbial physiologic reactions on environmental quality: microbes as transformers of chemical pollutants; microbes as transformers of nutrient elements; microbes as agents of energy transfer in ecosystems; and microbes as contaminants. Emphasizes the quantitation of microbial activities.

EVSC 430 - (3) (O)
Management of Forest Ecosystems

Prerequisite: EVSC 320, 340 or 350 recommended. Studies processes in forest ecosystems which effect management decisions. Emphasizes the interactions between the physiological processes of plants and system-level functions such as the cycling of nutrients and the flow of energy and water. Examples of current and projected uses of forest systems are discussed throughout, including harvesting for fiber and energy, and the preservation of forests as water purification and air pollution control systems.

EVSC 431 - (3) (Y)
Methods in Aquatic Ecology

Prerequisite: EVSC 320 or equivalent.
Trains students in field and laboratory techniques used in aquatic ecological research. Two weekend field trips to the Eastern Shore of Virginia serve as the foundation. Laboratory exercises include the data and samples gathered in the barrier island lagoons and in the Chesapeake Bay. Analyzes water quality and patterns of primary and secondary production in aquatic ecosystems.

EVSC 432 - (3) (Y)
Aquatic Plant Ecology

Prerequisite: EVSC 320 or equivalent.
Studies the physiology and ecology of aquatic plants from tropical, temperate, and polar waters. Emphasizes comparisons among major plant groups (phytoplankton, macroalgae, vascular) of fundamental physiological processes, including photosynthesis, nutrient uptake, resource allocation, and growth. Discusses iterations between plant physiology an ecosystem function and the structure of plant communities for both marine and freshwater environments. Examples of human impacts on aquatic environments, including eutrophication and global climate change, are considered in the context of plant physiology and ecology.

EVSC 444 - (4) (Y)
Applied Hydrology

Prerequisite: EVSC 340.
Introduces hydrology as applied to environmental problems including water resources, systems analysis, and the effects of urbanization and land use on the hydrological cycle. Three hours lecture, two hours laboratory.

EVSC 446 - (3) (Y)
Hydrological Field Methods and Data Analysis

Prerequisite: EVSC 340.
Hydrological instruments are introduced; students employ the instruments to make field measurements and perform a range of data analysis exercises.

EVSC 447 - (3) (Y)
Introduction to Climatological Analysis

Prerequisite: One semester of calculus; recommended: EVSC 350.
Discusses the general circulation of the atmosphere, followed by quantitative analysis of climactic fluctuations and their impact upon ecologic and economic systems.

EVSC 455 - (3) (O)
Synoptic Climatology

Prerequisite: EVSC 350 or equivalent, or instructor permission.
Studies the formation, movements, and meteorological and climatological attributes of synoptic-scale weather systems and the impact on the environment. Explores the relationship of these systems to air quality, atmospheric transport, climate change, and evaporation and precipitation regimes.

EVSC 457 - (3) (Y)

Prerequisite: EVSC 350 or instructor permission.
Analyzes the principles governing atmospheric processes occurring at small temporal and spatial scales near the Earth’s surface, including energy, mass, and momentum transfer. Includes features of the atmospheric environment affecting plants and feedback mechanisms between plants and their local microclimates, trace gas exchange between the terrestrial biosphere and the atmosphere, energy budgets, evapotranspiration, and motions near the surface.

EVSC 465 - (3) (O)
Environmental Policymaking in the United States

Prerequisite: Completion of Natural Sciences/Mathematics area requirement and third- or fourth-year standing, or instructor permission.
Exploration of the possibilities for, and constraints on, domestic environmental policymaking. Examination of the roles of Congress, the executive branch, and the courts in environmental policymaking. Critical analysis of the analytical principles and values commonly employed in environmental policymaking.

EVSC 466 - (3) (S)
GIS and Arc/Info

Prerequisite: The equivalent of the College natural science/mathematics and social science area requirements.
Experience with word processing, file managers, and other computing skills is essential. Explores the theory of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and the use of Arc/Info software for research and other applications in a range of disciplines. Example applications are from physical and social sciences, often with a focus on the Charlottesville-Albemarle area. For students interested in research and longer term applications of GIS.

EVSC 468 - (3) (Y)
Advanced GIS

Prerequisite: An introductory GIS course. Explores advanced Geographic Information Systems concepts through use of Arc/Info, Erdas Imagine, and other GIS software in individual and group projects. Topics include data management, raster modeling, image manipulation, and 3-D visualization.

EVSC 470 - (3) (Y)
Instrumental Methods for Analysis of Environmental Samples

Prerequisite: CHEM 142 or equivalent.
Studies instrumental methods of chemical analysis in an overall context of sampling and evaluating sources of pollution. Analyzes contaminants in air, water, soil, or plant materials.

EVSC 478 - (3) (O)
Groundwater Geology

Prerequisite: EVSC 280, 340.
Study of the mechanics of groundwater flow, with attendant heat and mass transport; regional geological controls on groundwater occurrence and movement; and the role of groundwater in geological processes.

EVSC 480 - (4) (Y)

Prerequisite: EVSC 280; prerequisite or corequisite: One year of college chemistry. Study of crystallography, crystal chemistry and optical mineralogy; mineral symmetry as it relates to chemical bonding; interaction of crystals with polarized light; and the identification of minerals by physical, optical, and X-ray diffraction techniques. Field experience and laboratories are included.

EVSC 481 - (4) (O)

Prerequisite: EVSC 280. Study of the origin and classification of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. Emphasizes rock series and tectonic associations of rock types. Study of thin sections and hand samples in the laboratory. Field experience and laboratories are included.

EVSC 482 - (3) (IR)
Stratigraphy and Sedimentation

Prerequisite: EVSC 280. Explores the fundamentals of geological chronology including principles of sedimentation and sequences in layered rocks, and stratigraphic classification of sedimentary rocks, emphasizing spatial and temporal relationships; study of lithofacies and biofacies for interpretation of geologic history; and systematic examination of geologic periods.

EVSC 483 - (3) (Y)
Earth’s Climactic History

Prerequisite: EVSC 280. Analyzes changes through geologic time of the Earth’s climate system (ice sheets, oceans, atmosphere, vegetation) in response to solar variability, sea-floor spreading, mountain building, atmospheric CO2 levels, volcanic eruptions, and earth-sun orbital changes.

EVSC 484 - (3) (E)
Engineering Geology

Prerequisite: EVSC 280 and 340.
Studies engineering properties of earth materials and their behavior in response to surface processes as they affect land use and natural resource utilization. Two lecture hours and three field or laboratory hours.

EVSC 485 - (3) (Y)
Coastal Processes

Prerequisite: EVSC 280.
Reviews wave generation, wave prediction, wave refraction, transformation, shoaling, and associated inshore currents. Topics include the generation of littoral drift and shallow water surge; beach and barrier island geomorphology and problems of erosion. Includes the historical development of research in coastal processes and a quantitative analysis of spatial patterns along sandy coasts.

EVSC 485L - (1) (Y)
Coastal Processes Laboratory

Corequisite: EVSC 485. Laboratory analysis of sediment, map, and aerial photo data sets.
Lab demonstrations with the wave tank and rapid sediment analyzer. Weekly exercises and research projects required.

EVSC 487 - (3) (Y)
Global Biogeochemical Cycles

Prerequisite: One semester of college chemistry and one or two of the EVSC core classes. Studies the processes that regulate the cycling of carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorus within and between oceans, continents, and atmosphere.

EVSC 488 - (3) (O)
Planetary Geology

Prerequisite: Introductory course in geosciences or astronomy.
Studies the origin and evolution of the solar system, emphasizing the geology of the planets and satellites of the inner solar system and the satellites of the gaseous planets. Compares and contrasts the Earth with Venus and Mars.

EVSC 489 - (4) (E)
Structural Geology

Prerequisite: EVSC 280, or instructor permission.
Studies the origin, development, and classification of microscopic and macroscopic structures in folded and faulted rocks; the response of rocks to stress and strain; brittle and ductile deformation; and the tectonic evolution of mountain belts. Includes field experience and laboratories.

EVSC 493, 494 - (1-3) (IR)
Independent Stud
Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Specialized topics in ecology, atmosphere, hydrology, environmental geology, or environmental systems not normally covered in formal classes under the direction of the faculty.

EVSC 495, 496 - (3) (IR)
Supervised Research

Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Original research usually involving a field or laboratory problem in the environmental sciences under the direction of one or more faculty members. The results may form the basis of an undergraduate thesis which is required to partially fulfill the Distinguished Majors Program in environmental sciences.

EVSC 503 - (4) (Y)
Applied Statistics for Environmental Scientists

Prerequisite: MATH 111 or STAT 112; corequisite: EVSC 503L. Provides a firm knowledge of experimental design, hypothesis testing, and the use of statistical methods of data analysis.

EVSC 503L - (0) (Y)
Applied Statistics Laboratory

Corequisite: EVSC 503. Uses computer laboratories in the analysis of quantitative data.

EVSC 511 - (4) (E)
Systems Analysis in Environmental Sciences

Prerequisite: MATH 132 or equivalent, computer programming experience.
Applies a variety of systems analysis techniques to the environmental sciences, particularly ecology. Examines and uses simulation models of ecosystems, biological populations, and hydrological, atmospheric, and geological systems to address scientific questions in the environmental sciences. Student projects apply techniques to specific problems.

EVSC 544 - (3) (O)
Physical Oceanography

Prerequisite: PHYS 231, 232 or equivalent, two semesters calculus, MATH 131, 132 recommended, or instructor permission. Studies the physical properties, processes, and structure of the oceans; mass and energy budgets; methods of measurements; and the nature and theory of ocean currents, waves, and tides in the open sea, near shore and in estuaries. Atmosphere

EVAT 541 - (4) (Y)
Atmospheric Dynamics

Prerequisite: MATH 131, 132 and PHYS 231, 232.
Introduces theoretical meteorology encompassing dry and moist air thermodynamics, the mechanics of atmospheric motion, and the dynamics of atmospheric weather systems.

EVAT 542 - (3) (Y)

Prerequisite: EVSC 350 or instructor permission. Examines principles of radiation transfer, soil heat flux, atmospheric heat transfer, atmospheric moisture, evapotranspiration, motions near the Earth’s surface, and surface energy balances to provide a basis for describing the microclimate of various surfaces.

EVAT 550 - (3) (O)
Environmental Climatology

Corequisites: EVSC 350 or the text The Science and Wonders of the Atmosphere.
An advanced survey of the theoretical and experimental research areas in climatology and meteorology, emphasizing environmental problems associated with the atmosphere. Fundamental principles used in these studies are introduced and discussed, along with procedures used to present and analyze atmospheric information.

EVAT 554 - (3) (O)
Ocean-Atmosphere Dynamics

Prerequisite: EVSC 350 or equivalent, or one semester of calculus-based physics, or instructor permission.
Begins with the equations of motion governing the atmosphere and generalizations necessary for application to ocean dynamics. Topics include influence of atmospheric thermal- and wind-forcing on the ocean, oceanic feedback on the atmosphere, and intrinsically coupled ocean-atmosphere processes. Examines the behavior of the coupled ocean-atmosphere and climate system on seasonal, interannual, and longer time scales (e.g., El Niño/Southern Oscillation phenomenon).

EVEC 521 - (4) (Y)
Aquatic Ecology

Prerequisite: EVSC 320, 340, 420, integral calculus, or instructor permission. Analyzes the physics and chemistry of fresh-water and marine environments, functional classification of organisms in aquatic communities, and the energy and nutrient dynamics of aquatic communities. Three hours lecture, three laboratory hours.

EVEC 522 - (4) (O)
Terrestrial Ecology

Prerequisite: EVSC 320 and instructor permission.
Analyzes the patterns and processes in terrestrial ecosystems. Topic include macro- and micro-meteorological factors such as producer, consumer, and decomposer processes; hydrologic and biogeochemical pathways; and changes through space and time. Three lecture and four field or laboratory hours.

EVEC 523 - (3) (Y)
Microbial Ecology

Prerequisite: EVSC 280, 320, 340, 350, or instructor permission.
Treats the relationships of microorganisms to similar organisms, to dissimilar (macro) organisms and to the physical-chemical environment to demonstrate basic ecological theory and indicate the importance of the microbes in maintaining the world as we know it. Topics include the organisms, microbial habitats, community formation and structure, interspecific relationships, nutrient cycling, and anthropogenic ecology.

EVEC 523L - (1) (Y)
Microbial Ecology Laboratory

Prerequisite: Instructor permission; corequisite: EVEC 523.
Intended to complement EVEC 523. Provides an opportunity to learn and experience the techniques used in microbial ecological research. Utilizes both classic techniques and state-of-the-art methods to determine microbial biomass in nature. Covers various methods of determining microbiological activity. Several exercises involve field sampling and analysis.

EVEC 525 - (3) (Y)
Ecological Issues in Global Change

Prerequisite: EVSC 320 or equivalent, one year of college calculus, or instructor permission.
Introduces development and application of theoretical constructs and mathematical models for projecting the dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems to large scale changes in the environment. Requires a computer-based laboratory (EVEC 525L) to provide an increased familiarity with ecological models used in global change studies.

EVEC 525L - (1) (Y)
Ecological Issues in Global Change Laboratory

Corequisite: EVEC 525.
Computer-based laboratory in the application of ecological models to problems in evaluating the responses of terrestrial ecosystems to large scale environmental change. Designed to parallel lecture material in EVEC 525.

EVGE 504 - (3) (O)

Prerequisite: CHEM 141, 142, EVSC 280, 480, two semesters calculus, MATH 131, 132 recommended. Studies the principles that govern the distribution and abundance of the elements in the earth’s lithosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere.

EVGE 507 - (4) (Y)
Aqueous Geochemistry

Prerequisite: One year of calculus, one year of chemistry, one mineralogy or petrology course.
Studies the principals of thermodynamics as applied to mineral-water systems. Treatment includes mineral stability, phase diagrams, solution thermodynamics, electrolyte theory, aqueous complex and hydrolysis equilibria, and electrochemical equilibria.

EVGE 582 - (4) (Y)

Prerequisite: EVSC 280 or 340. Studies the processes that shape the land surface and their relationship to human activity.

EVGE 584 - (3) (Y)
Sediment Processes and Environments

Prerequisite: One year of calculus and physics, or instructor permission; corequisite: EVGE 584L.
Studies the erosion, transport, and deposition of sediment; initial motion of sediment, bedload and suspended load transport and bedforms; and important sediment-transporting environments. Applies sediment transport theory to problems of geological and environmental interest.

EVGE 584L - (1) (Y)
Sediment Processes Laboratory

Corequisite: EVGE 584. Laboratory investigation of sediment transport phenomena and readings of classic and current research.

EVHY 544 - (3) (Y)
Catchment Hydrology: Process and Theory

Prerequisite: EVSC 340.
Introduces current theories of the hydrological response of catchments and takes an integrative approach; illuminates the derivation of theory in light of the time and location of the process studies on which they were based.

EVHY 545 - (4) (Y)
Hydrological Transport Processes

Prerequisite: EVSC 280 and 340.
Studies the physical principles governing the transport of dissolved substances and of sediment and particulate matter in the terrestrial portion of the hydrological cycle.

EVHY 547 - (4) (Y)
Environmental Fluid Mechanics

Prerequisite: One year of calculus and physics or instructor permission.
Studies the mechanics of fluids and fluid-related processes occurring at the earth’s surface, including laminar, inviscid, and turbulent flows, drag, boundary layers, diffusion and dispersion of mass, flow through porous media, and effects of the Earth’s rotation. Emphasizes topics related to the environmental sciences.

EVHY 578 - (4) (Y)
Groundwater Hydrology

Prerequisite: EVSC 280, 340 or equivalents, two semesters calculus, CHEM 141, 142 or equivalents.
Introduces physical and chemical groundwater hydrology including such topics as the mechanics of groundwater flow, emphasizing geological factors influencing groundwater occurrence and movement; the influence of natural geological heterogeneity on groundwater flow patterns; and mass and heat transport in groundwater flow systems. The accompanying laboratory examines methods of hydrogeological data acquisition and analysis.

Program in Environmental Thought and Practice

Overview Environmental Thought and Practice is a new major developed by a diverse group of faculty from across the University who are committed to addressing current environmental issues within a broadly interdisciplinary framework. Environmental problems concern natural phenomena whose dimensions are appropriately described by environmental scientists. However, the "problems" themselves result from changes in public perception that are contingent upon cultural constructs and historical events. Attempts to solve these problems necessarily fall within the political sphere, but policy debates draw in principles and discourses from philosophy, economics, and ethics. In short, understanding and solving environmental problems demands the ability to connect ideas from such diverse disciplines as anthropology, literature, history, ethics, politics, ecology, the earth and atmospheric sciences, economics, and land use planning.

The objective of the Environmental Thought and Practice program is to produce students who can:
1. comprehend and think critically about scientific information, economic analysis, and the various ethical constructs that enter into environmental decisions; and,
2. appreciate how political and social context, historical events, and cultural expectations shape the way we perceive and solve environmental problems.

Faculty The co-directors of the program are Vivian Thomson, Assistant Professor of Environmental Sciences and Politics, and Thomas Smith, Associate Professor of Environmental Sciences. The Program's Advisory Committee includes Timothy Beatley, Associate Professor, Urban and Environmental Planning (School of Architecture); Ruth Gaare Bernheim, Executive Director, Institute for Practical Ethics; Jonathan Z. Cannon, Professor of Law and Director, Center for Environmental Studies (School of Law); James Childress, Edwin B. Kyle Professor of Religious Studies and Professor of Medical Education; Stephen Cushman, Professor, English; Fred Damon, Professor, Anthropology; Cassandra Fraser, Associate Professor, Chemistry; Michael Gorman, Professor, Technology, Culture, and Communication (School of Engineering); Ed Russell, Associate Professor, Technology, Culture, and Communication (School of Engineering); Hank Shugart, W. W. Corcoran Professor of Environmental Sciences and Biology and Director, Global Environmental Change Program; and, Mark White, Associate Professor of Commerce (McIntire School of Commerce).

Students The major is designed for students with a strong interest in the theory and practice of environmental issues. Each spring a maximum of 15 students will be selected for the program from a pool of applicants. Students will be chosen on the basis of prior academic performance, faculty recommendation, and an essay explaining the student's interest in the field. The program will provide students with a background for continued study in graduate and professional schools or careers in business, government, NGOs, or advocacy groups.

Requirements for the Major The Environmental Thought and Practice interdisciplinary major requires four prerequisites, three core classes, and seven electives. Before enrolling in the major students must meet the College's natural sciences and social sciences area requirements.

Prerequisites All four prerequisite courses listed below are required for Environmental Thought and Practice majors. In order to apply for the major students must be enrolled in, or have already completed, at least two of the four prerequisite classes:
(1) ECON 201 Microeconomics
(2) Any Environmental Sciences class other than those taken to meet the core or Natural Science area requirements
(3) One of the following Statistics classes: STAT 112, SOC 311, ECON 371 (requires MATH 121 or equivalent), MATH 312 (requires MATH 310), or APMA 312 (requires APMA 310 or equivalent)
(4) PLAN 103 Introduction to community and environmental planning

Core courses 
The following core courses are required of all majors.
(1) EVSC 230/ETP 230 Politics, Science, and Values: Introduction to Environ- mental Policy
(2) Either EVSC 280/280L(1) (Physical Geology) or EVSC 320/320L (Funda- mentals of Ecology) or EVSC 340/340L (Physical Hydrology) or EVSC 350/350L (Atmosphere and Weather)
(3) ETP 401 Environmental decisions (majors only)

(1) EVSC 320, 340, and 350 all require one semester of calculus; EVSC 280 recommends one semester of chem- istry; EVSC 320 recommends one semester each of chemistry and biol- ogy; EVSC 350 recommends one semester of physics with lab.

Electives Each student must also choose seven (7) classes distributed across the three areas indicated below, with the restriction that at least two (2) classes must be taken in Area I (Values, Culture, and History) and at least one (1) class must be taken in each of Areas II and III (two classes are required in Area I because there are no such classes in the core curriculum). Once these distribution requirements have been met, an internship approved by the ETP program may be substituted for one elective class. Classes taken to fulfill the prerequisite or core requirements may not be counted as electives.

I. Values, Culture, and History
HIUS 271/ TCC 206 American environmental history
PLAN 554 Environmental ethics and sustainability
ANTH 334 Ecology and society
ENAM 482C Advanced studies in Ameri- can literature: Emerson and Thoreau
INST 352 Sally Brown Seminar in Environmental Literature
LAR 512 History of landscape architecture
LAR 513 History of American landscape architecture (requires LAR 512)
LAR 514 Intro to theories of modern landscape (requires LAR 512)

If approved by one of the ETP Program Directors, students may count one (1) related 300-, 400-, or 500-level class in History, Anthropology, Philosophy, English, Religious Studies, Landscape Architecture, or Technology, Culture, and Communication against the two-class requirement for this area.

II. Policy, Planning, and Society
(1) Students may fulfill their one-class requirement for this track by taking any one (1) of the following specific classes (there are no prerequisites for these upper-level Planning classes):
ECON 443 Energy and environment (requires ECON 301)
EVSC 465 Environmental policymaking in the United States
PLAP 424A Special topics in American politics: Politics of the environment
PLAP 471 Resources and the environment
PLAN 303 Neighborhoods, community, and regions
PLAN 306 Land, law, and environment
PLAN 404 Planning in government: decisions and alternatives
PLAN 551 Sustainable communities
PLAN 553 Environmental policy and planning

If approved by one of the ETP Program Directors, students may take one (1) related 300-, 400-, or 500-level course in Economics, Politics, Sociology, the Law School, Darden, or Urban and Environmental Planning to meet the overall seven-course elective requirement, but not to meet the basic one-class requirement for this area.

(1)The College allows students to count 18 credits of classes in other schools toward the 120-credit graduation requirement.

III. Natural Science
Any 300- or 400-level EVSC course. If approved by one of the ETP Program Directors, students may take one (1) related 300-, 400-, or 500-level class in Biology, Chemistry, or environmental engineering (e.g., MAE 414, CE 205) to meet the overall seven-class elective requirement, but not to meet the basic one-class requirement for this area. (Upper level EVSC classes build on the classes listed above under "Core Classes." Upper-level biology, chemistry, and environmental engineering classes can have several prerequisites.)

Admission Students interested in becoming ETP majors should submit:
1. a completed ETP application form;
2. a letter of recommendation from a faculty member; and,
3. a 300-400 word essay that addresses why you are interested in becoming a ETP major.

The above materials should be sent to either of the co-directors of the ETP program by March 1. Candidates will hear from the committee by the end of March.

The co-directors of the program are available to answer any questions about admission procedure and program requirements. Students may also obtain this information from the ETP website.

Additional Information For more information contact either: Vivian Thomson, Clark Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903, (434) 924-3964, vet4y@virginia. edu or Thomas Smith, Clark Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903, (434) 924-3107, tms9a@virginia. edu

Environmental Thought and Practice Course Descriptions


ETP 230/EVSC 230 - (3) (Y)
Politics, Science, and Values: An Introduction to Environmental Policy

Introduces a wide variety of domestic and international environmental policy issues. Explores how political processes, scientific evidence, ideas, and values affect environmental policymaking. This class satisfies the social sciences area requirement and not the natural sciences/mathematics area requirement, since ETP/EVSC 230 is devoted to the subject of environmental policy.

ETP 401 - (3) (Y)
Environmental Decisions (MAJORS ONLY)

This team-taught, capstone seminar for the Environmental Thought and Practice major helps students integrate the broad range of ideas and information employed in environmental decision-making. A case study approach is used to examine the scientific, historical, cultural, ethical and legal dimensions of selected environmental issues.

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