The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences offers two majors. Both programs are interdisciplinary, using principles of biology, chemistry, geology, physics, mathematics, sociology, political science and economics to address scientific and public policy issues related to human interactions with terrestrial, aquatic and atmospheric components of the biosphere.
Earth and Environmental Sciences Majors
Bachelor of ScienceBachelor of Arts
The curriculum of the bachelor of science in Earth and Environmental Sciences is designed to provide students with the methods and processes of applying the basic sciences of biology, chemistry, geology, and physics to scientific problems of the environment. Successful students will gain an extensive exposure to the interconnectedness of these natural sciences and obtain a breadth of knowledge that will permit them to make informed decisions about environmental issues. This degree prepares students for careers such as laboratory/field scientists, laboratory supervisors, industrial health and safety supervisors, and educators. The bachelor of science in Earth and Environmental Sciences consists of 34 hours of EES courses and 28 hours from the sciences and mathematics.
The curriculum of the bachelor of arts in Earth and Environmental Studies is designed to provide students with the methods and processes of applying the basic social sciences of sociology, political science, and economics to policy related problems of the environment. Successful students will gain fundamental understanding of the basic social sciences and related natural sciences, becoming proficient in applying the principles of these disciplines to formulation, analysis, and appropriate implementation of environmental policy from local to international levels. This degree prepares students for careers in environmental management, policy development, education, government agencies, and law. The bachelor of arts in Earth and Environmental Studies consists of 29 hours of EES courses and 15-17 hours from sciences/mathematics and social sciences.
Earth and Environmental Sciences Minor
A minor in Earth and Environmental Sciences consists of a minimum of 15 hours of EES courses, including EES 150 and at least 6 hours of EES courses numbered 300 or above.
EES 103. The Ocmulgee River Floodplain (2 hours)
Prerequisite: SCI 105
An integrated study of natural form and function of the Ocmulgee River flood plain and the interconnectedness between the environment and human society. The course is taught as a seven-week module.
EES 104. Environmental Controversies (2 hours)
Prerequisite: SCI 105
A critical evaluation of the many perspectives of contemporary environmental issues including such topics as global warming, deforestion of tropical rainforest, and environmental racism. The course is taught as a seven-week module.
EES 105. Geology (4 hours)
An introductory course in geology, including a study of the structure and material of the earth’s crust: the processes that have given the rocks and minerals their composition, structure, and distribution; the internal structure of the earth; the energy and forces responsible for earthquakes, volcanoes, and mountain-building; the forces that have otherwise shaped the landscape; and a brief history of life on earth as revealed in the fossil record. A lecture and laboratory course.
EES 110. Meteorology (4 hours)
An introductory, basically qualitative approach to the science of weather and cli- mate. Includes the study of cloud types and their causes; air masses, their origin and movement; fronts, frontogenesis, and frontal weather; tornadoes, hurricanes, and other phenomena. A lecture and laboratory course.
EES 150. Introduction to Environmental Science (4 hours)
A study of the interrelationships of biological cycles and processes with the physical and geological cycles that drive terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the form and function of the natural environment, modifications placed on natural systems by human activities, and current strategies to minimize human impacts on natural systems. A laboratory/field trip course.
EES 210. Environmental Geology (4 hours)
Prerequisite: EES 105 or consent of the instructor.
This course focuses on the influence that geologic forces have on the existence and development of physical and biological communities. Topics include geologic hazards, preservation of natural geologic habitats, and pertinent political/economic/ social considerations. The course is designed particularly for students pursuing majors or minors in the earth sciences, engineering, or other disciplines requiring specific knowledge of the above described inter-relationships. A lecture and laboratory course.
EES 220. Oceanography (4 hours)
Prerequisites: CHM 112, and PHY 141/121L or 161/121L
The basic principles and concepts needed to give an understanding of the general makeup of the world’s oceans and how they are investigated by oceanographers. Physical, chemical, biological and environmental aspects of oceanography will be presented. A lecture and laboratory course.
EES 251.Water and Wastewater Analysis (4 hours)
Prerequisites: CHM 112 and EES 150
A study of the quantitative techniques used for the determination of water quality with an overview of pertinent federal and state legislation pertaining to water quality. Includes traditional wet chemistry techniques used in the characterization of ambient, potable and municipal wastewater supplies with emphasis on development of quantitative laboratory skills. A lecture, laboratory and field course.
EES 300. Invertebrate Zoology (4 hours)
Prerequisite: BIO 212
A systematic study of the invertebrate taxa with emphasis on phylogeny, comparative morphology and physiology, behavior, and ecology. A library research paper is required. A lecture and laboratory course.
EES 304. Introduction to Social Science Research Methods (4 hours)
Prerequisite: SOC 101; MAT 126 is recommended.
In this course students are introduced to fundamental ideas and methods of social science research, including the link between theory and research, the evaluation of research literature, the basics of research design, and the principle elements of surveys, experiments, and field research. Students will complete laboratory exercises in these areas and will learn basic descriptive statistics through the use of a standard statistical analysis program (e.g. SPSS).
EES 310. Hydrogeology (4 hours)
Prerequisites: CHM 111/112 or 115, EES 150
A study of the movement of water through the hydrological cycle and the geological factors that control the occurrence, movement, and chemical composition of surface and groundwater systems. This course is designed to permit a quantitative understanding of various components of the hydrological cycle, essential physical concepts governing groundwater flow, and natural and anthropogenic controls on water chemistry during passage through the hydrosphere. A laboratory and lecture course.
EES 315. Field Studies in Environmental Science (3 hours)
The biological study of a given region of the world through travel, filed work, reading, and lecture. Specific topics (e.g., ecology, animal behavior, zoology, botany, and/or environmental issues) will reflect the expertise of the instructor and the characteristics of the region. As appropriate, field experience will be supplemented by informal lectures, seminars, demonstrations, discussions, experimentation, and directed study. A library research paper as well as other forms of writing will be required. A lecture/field course.
EES 325. Urban Ecology (3 hours)
Prerequisite: SOC 101
The focus of “urban ecology” is the synergistic relationship between people and the urban environment (social, physical and institutional), to include the essential bond between human and natural environments. It includes the study of the historical development of cities, current urbanization trends and impacts, the critical role of the local community in the development of human relations and institutions, community leadership and organization, and the relationship of the urban and natural environment.
EES 330. Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (4 hours)
Prerequisite: EES 150 or CSC 125 or permission of the instructor
The study of computer-based technology for creating geographic data, managing large quantities of digital data, integrating information from different sources, visualizing scenarios, and analyzing geographic data. The theoretical component of the course emphasizes the fundamentals of cartography and structure and editing of spatial data. Successful students will be able to apply this knowledge to demonstrate how GIS can be used to propose hypothetical solutions to various environmental problems. A lecture and laboratory course.
EES 344. Environmental Ethics (3 hours)
Prerequisite: either one course in PHI or EES 150.
An examination of ethical issues and theories as they apply to environmental concerns, together with a survey of emerging environmental philosophies.
EES 345. Environmental Justice (3 hours)
This course examines the impact of institutional racism on environmental and health policies, industrial practices, government regulations and rule making, enforcement, and overall quality of life in people-of-color communities. The course will examine the nexus between environmental protection and civil rights, and the impact of the environmental justice national environmental groups.
EES 351. Environmental Chemistry (4 hours)
Prerequisite: CHM 241
A study of the physicochemical properties of substances that determine their fate and transport in the environment. Inorganic and organic substances will be examined as they are deposited, transported, transformed, and stored in the soil/sediment, water, and atmosphere. Techniques for the sampling and analysis of nutrients, toxic metals, and organic priority pollutants will be examined. A lecture, laboratory and field course.
EES 352. Environmental Health and Toxicology (4 hours)
Prerequisites: EES 150 and BIO 212
A study of material and energetic substances produced by humans, and the adverse effects of those substances on the environment. Dynamics of these substances, including their effects on living organisms, are examined. A lecture and laboratory course.
EES 370. Principles of Ecology (4 hours)
Prerequisite: BIO 212
A study of relationships between organisms and their physical and biological environment. Ecological relationships will be considered from the perspectives of individuals, populations and communities.Work in the field is required. Formal laboratory writing is required. A lecture, laboratory and field course.
EES 383. AIDS: Narratives of Disease (3 hours)
This interdisciplinary course gives students sufficient information for them to make informed decisions about their behaviors and their lives. Students will confront and grapple with the biological, social, historical, environmental, psychological, and cultural issues which the AIDS pandemic represents. The diverse populations affected by AIDS – gays, children, women, Africans – will be discussed. AIDS and other historic plagues raise numerous moral and ethical issues regarding public health, resource allocation, individual versus group rights, and the sweeping effects of trying to keep people healthy. Books, articles, speakers, films, and classroom discussion serve as the texts for the course.
EES 390. Special Topics: Environmental Studies (1-3 hours)
A study of some significant topic in environmental studies not covered in the regular course offerings. May be taken more than once for a maximum of 6 credits.
EES 391. Special Topics: Environmental Science (1-4 hours)
A study of some significant topic in environmental science not covered in the regular course offerings. May be taken more than once for a maximum of eight credits.
EES 440. Aquatic Biology (4 hours)
Prerequisite: BIO 212
Aquatic ecosystems encompass a wide spectrum of habitats, ranging from the world’s major oceans and rivers down to the smallest tidal pools and mountain streams. Course content will reflect this diversity as well as the fundamental principles unifying these systems, emphasizing the adaptations of representative communities to the physicochemical characteristics of the varied habitats. The laboratory component will combine field trips to local middle Georgia aquatic envi- ronments with wet labs, where collected plant and animal samples will be identified. Experimental design and formal laboratory writing are required. A lecture, laboratory, and field course.
EES 452. Environmental Economics (3 hours)
Prerequisites: ECN 150, 151, and one ECN course numbered 300 or higher, or permission of instructor.
An examination of the interrelationship which exists between the physical environment and the economic system. Models of general equilibrium analysis, welfare economics, and property rights are developed; these are supplemented by readings from scholarly journals. Emphasis is placed upon the issue of free markets’ ability to allocate scarce environmental resources efficiently (including intertemporally) among competing uses.
EES 470. Population Biology (4 hours)
Prerequisites: BIO 212, and MAT 141 or 191.
A study of the structure, growth, and genetics of theoretical, laboratory, and natural populations of all types of organisms. Physical limitations, competition, predation, parasitism, and mutualism will be considered by theoretical, practical, and evolutionary perspectives. Experimental design and formal laboratory writing are required. A lecture, laboratory, and field course.
EES 490. Internship in Environmental Science (3-9 hours)
Prerequisites: senior status and permission of the instructor.
Provides supervised practical experience emphasizing hands-on environmental education in a field approved by the coordinator of the environmental science program. The instructor in the environmental field must approve and supervise the student project.
EES 495. Senior Seminar in Environmental Science (3 hours)
Prerequisites: senior status and permission of instructor.
An interdisciplinary study of a contemporary topic not covered in depth in the curriculum. Majors will present papers on research and write a review of a significant topic in environmental science. A lecture/discussion course.