Master of Environmental Studies
Over the course of six Sunday field trips, we will travel from the barrier islands along the Atlantic Ocean in southern New Jersey to the Pocono Mountains in northeastern Pennsylvania, visiting representative sites of the diverse landscapes in the region along the way. At each site we will study and consider interactions between geology, topography, hydrology, soils, vegetation, wildlife, and disturbance. Students will summarize field trip data in a weekly site report. Evening class meetings will provide the opportunity to review field trips and reports and preview upcoming trips. Six all-day Sunday field trips are required.
Philadelphia-area individuals and organizations have provided progressive leadership on many local, national, and international issues. These leaders come from government, business, NGOs, and academia. This course, given over a two week period, provides students with an opportunity to meet with these leaders at their place of employment. These experts will discuss their organization, their environmental priorities, and their thoughts on career opportunities. Each expert will also provide an in-depth explanation of one or two of their progressive, sometimes cutting-edge, approaches to environmental management and science. Classes will consist of five all-day weekday trips to be held between May 21 and May 25.
This online class includes weekly virtual sessions on the web (Tuesdays 5:30-7:30pm Eastern Time). Class members will also have the opportunity to meet the professor and each other live on-campus in Philadelphia, for the first and last class! Live classes will be recorded for those unable to attend.
Historical consumption of materials and land resources has resulted in increasing per capita waste and greenhouse gas emissions. This course will explore opportunities to address the challenges of climate change through sustainable closed-loop approaches for materials and land. Alternative views of the drivers of climate changing greenhouse gases and the relative contributions of various sectors of the U.S. economy will be presented. The implications of climate change, economic costs of climate change mitigation and adaptation, rising energy prices, land use, and waste management issues will be discussed. The course will identify policy needs at all levels (international, national, state, and local) as well as practical solutions for greenhouse gas reductions. The course will explore in depth local policies and actions (e.g., recycling efforts and land use planning) that complement national and international efforts (e.g., cap and trade system and carbon tax).
From ancient times to the present, Western literary texts have engaged in a central cultural debate: where can we live the best life--in the city, in the country, or in some space in between? This debate continues into the present as we grapple with issues such as urban decay, contaminated industrial sites, and suburban/exurban sprawl. In this course, we will examine what social, moral, and political values we attach to these locations--country purity, city sophistication, suburban safety? Naturally, writers engaged in this debate not only define themselves and their choices as ideal, they also create an opposite other, e.g., the country bumpkin, the urban degenerate, the suburban conformist. We will begin our discussion of city versus country by looking at such classical authors as Aristotle, Virgil, and Juvenal. We will trace the debate into the early modern era by reading the city comedies of Jonson and Middleton, as well as Jonson and Marvell's great house poems, looking also at Wycherley's urbane comedy, The Country Wife. We will discuss the late nineteenth/early twentieth-century city beautiful movement after examining works by major Romantic poets who find salvation in the English countryside. Finally, we will conclude the course with twentieth-century utopian/distopian fantasy literature that reveals modern anxieties about the environments technology has enabled our societies to construct.
As water sustainability issues are being understood and society begins to react, businesses around the world are beginning to integrate water issues into their strategic plans. The approach that companies take in responding to the water sustainability issue can not only impact their ability to function, but it can also influence their reputation in society. This course will examine the nature of water concerns around the world as a foundation for understanding why this is becoming such an important factor for industry. A broad review of common issues for industry will be undertaken with an emphasis on structuring strategic plans and designing solutions that have applicability for all companies. The role that government has played and can play around the world will be reviewed as it pertains to industry. The partnership between companies and NGOs will be examined to determine the potential liabilities as well as the benefits to all parties. We will then invite representatives of different industrial sectors to come in to discuss the specific concerns for their industry as well as their plans for the future. The tools that are useful in examining and solving water problems will be discussed in class. Students will research water problems in different industries as well as formulating solutions that could be considered by industry.
Project proposal and Form 100 required for course registration. See MES office and "Guide to the Capstone" for more information.
This is a 0.5 cu Independent Study course. Permission from the MES program is required for enrollment.