Environmental Studies Environmental Studies Environmental Studies Environmental Studies Environmental Studies

Interdisciplinary Programs

Environmental Studies

Questions?

Martha Bohrer

630-637-5273

mlbohrer@noctrl.edu

Understanding our environment involves learning about the world around us from many different perspectives. The liberal arts curriculum at North Central is designed to allow students with diverse interests learn how to be scholars, and researchers and stewards of the environment. Located in Naperville, IL in the middle of a complex mixture of urban, suburban, agricultural, prairie, wetland, and woodland habitats, North Central students have an opportunity to gain experience with a wide variety of environments and ecological challenges. Through North Central’s award winning international program, ENV students also have the opportunity to study environmental issues around the world.

We offer a minor and a major in Environmental Studies. Students in the major can choose from three tracks:

Society and the Environment includes humanities courses on environmental ethics, history, and literature as well as social science courses on environmental policy, and international issues.

Science and the Environment offers courses on issues such as ecology, climate change, and energy grounded in biology, chemistry, and physics.

Sustainable Business takes advantage of North Central College’s combination of liberal arts and pre-professional departments to offer courses in sustainability, green business, and environmental economics taught by business, accounting, and economics professors.

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Read more about North Central College's sustainability efforts.

Environmental Studies, B.A.

For additional information and courses in this program, see Environmental Studies.

Major Requirements

A minimum of 37.5 credit hours, including:

Core

  • ENV 120 - American Culture and the Environment

    ENV 120 - American Culture and the Environment

    3.00 credit hours

    This introductory course in Environmental Studies explains key environmental concepts and surveys the changing relationships between people and their environments through key texts in American literature, sociology and history.  

    Core

    Humanities.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENV 230 - Environmental Policy

    ENV 230 - Environmental Policy

    3.00 credit hours

    This course introduces the politics of U.S. environmental policy making. It explores how conflicting political, economic and social interests and values contend for influence and exert power in the realm of environmental policy. Students will gain an understanding of how environmental issues arrive on the public agenda, the role of political institutions in making environmental policy, the economic, political, social and institutional forces that shape policymaking, competing approaches to environmental policy analysis and the goals and strategies of the environmental movement.

    Prerequisite(s)


    ENV 120.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENV 450 - Urban-Suburban-Rural Environmental Nexus

    ENV 450 - Urban-Suburban-Rural Environmental Nexus

    3.00 credit hours

    NCC's Chicago metropolitan locale provides an ideal location to study urban, suburban and rural environmental issues such as regional environmental interdependence, urban ecology, sustainable cities, suburban sprawl, transportation, Chicago environmental history, restoration/reuse of brownfields, green spaces in urban, suburban and rural environments, and agriculture and the environment. This course explores these issues with particular attention to their relationship to the local history and politics of Chicago.  

    Prerequisite(s)


    ENV 120 and Junior standing.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENV 490 - Environmental Capstone Symposium *

    ENV 490 - Environmental Capstone Symposium

    0.00-1.00 credit hours

    In this portion of the experiential requirement for the Environmental Studies major, students, faculty and occasional guest speakers present research, internship and activist experiences. Majors who have completed their experiential project take the symposium for one credit hour and present the results of their experiential project. Any student can enroll for zero credit and participate as audience members; majors are required to do this once in addition to the term that they present their work.

    Prerequisite(s)


    Completion of experiential project, if taken for credit (presenters); no prerequisite if taken for no credit (participants).

    Schedule Of Classes

*NOTE: Experiential Requirement tied to ENV 490

In order to complete the degree requirements for a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies, all students must complete an Experiential Component. See the program coordinator for the proposal and project approval process. The goal for the Experiential Component is for all students to gain hands-on experience in some aspect of Environmental Studies outside of the classroom, such as an independent research project, an activism project or an internship. A professor from the Environmental Studies faculty will serve as the faculty mentor for each project.

ENV 490 - Environmental Capstone Symposium is taken twice. The first time, the student enrolls for zero credit when the student participates as an observer and questioner. The second time, the student enrolls for one credit when they present the findings from their experiential project.

Six Courses at the 100- and 200-Level

Two from each Area of Emphasis:

Society and the Environment
  • ENV 225 - Environmental Ethics

    ENV 225 - Environmental Ethics

    3.00 credit hours

    After a brief examination of philosophical ethical frameworks, the following will be considered: the history of environmental ethics; the problem of the "moral status" of nonhuman animals and other aspects of nature: the environment and "the good life," ethical issues related to population growth, sustainability, diminishing/vanishing resources and the use of cost benefit analysis in environmental policy.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENV 246 - Environmental Literature

    ENV 246 - Environmental Literature

    3.00 credit hours

    Environmental Literature encompasses the study of classics of nature writing from the 19th and 20th century Anglo-American literary traditions and the practice of eco-criticism, which analyzes a much wider range of novels and other texts in order to understand the various ways that literature participates in various cultural formations of the relationships between humans, their environment and other forms of life. Texts will include a wide range of genres (poetry, non-fiction, novels, including sci-fi) and periods from the 19th century to our contemporary moment.  

    Prerequisite(s)


    One of ENG 196, ENG 201 or ENV 120.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENV 248 - American Environmental History

    ENV 248 - American Environmental History

    3.00 credit hours

    This broad survey of American history from an environmental perspective examines the ways that different groups of Americans adapted to and changed the landscape, and analyzes their ideas about nature. Major themes include the new perspective of environmental history, reading the landscape, the role of region in America and knowing nature through labor.

    Prerequisite(s)


    One humanities or social science course.

    Core

    Humanities or Social Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

Science and the Environment

One must be a laboratory course.

  • ENV 105 - The Science of Climate Change

    ENV 105 - The Science of Climate Change

    3.00 credit hours

    An examination of the scientific understanding of climate change. Includes a thorough study of the evidence that the climate is changing; at detailed analysis of our current best understanding of how the global climate system works, including the possible causes of the rapid climate change now taking place, and the connection between human activities and the changing climates. Time permitting, an examination of the impacts of climate change and the options available to ameliorate the changes now underway.

    Core

    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENV 106 - Introduction to Environmental Science

    ENV 106 - Introduction to Environmental Science

    3.50 credit hours

    An overview of biological and physical processes that affect the environment in the context of current environmental issues. Topics include population, community, ecosystem ecology, conservation biology, water and air pollution and natural resource management. Laboratory required.

    Core

    Science (Lab).

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENV 201 - Scientific Topics in Environmental Studies

    ENV 201 - Scientific Topics in Environmental Studies

    3.00 credit hours

    A modular course covering scientific topics of relevance to environmental studies. Topics may include Energy Technology and Society, Invasive Species Ecology, Microbes in the Environment, Hot Topics or areas of faculty or student interest. Content will vary from offering to offering.

    Prerequisite(s)


    Completion of at least one general education science course.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIO 220 - Field Biology

    BIO 220 - Field Biology

    1.00-3.00 credit hours

    Field study in biology. This course takes students off-campus into a field environment for research in ecology, zoology, botany, environmental science and/or related areas. Timing and location vary according to faculty interests and research opportunities. May be offered during D-term or in conjunction with a study abroad program. Examples of recent offerings include study of desert ecology in Arizona and estuarine ecology on the Gulf Coast. This course may be repeated once with different content and permission of the instructor.

    Prerequisite(s)


    BIO 152.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIO 253 - Ecology and Environment

    BIO 253 - Ecology and Environment

    3.75 credit hours

    Interactions among diverse communities of living organisms and between organisms and their environment. Emphasis on regional natural history. Laboratory required, investigation of ecological problems including field observations, laboratory experiments and computer modeling.

    Prerequisite(s)


    BIO 252.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHM 210 - Chemical Analysis

    CHM 210 - Chemical Analysis

    3.75 credit hours

    Quantitative analysis including theory and techniques for gravimetric, volumetric and spectrophotometric methods. Two laboratory sessions per week. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    CHM 142.

    Schedule Of Classes

Sustainable Business
  • ENV 210 - Sustainability in a Changing World

    ENV 210 - Sustainability in a Changing World

    3.00 credit hours

    Sustainability is a common, but still contentious term. Students learn various definitions of it, study its practical application on our local campus and in the Chicago metropolitan area and investigate what is required from all of us to achieve sustainability. A major part of this course is service learning in the local community and field trips to see sustainable projects in action. Topics covered include management of water, waste, energy, food production and the effects on "people, planet, profit".

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENV 240 - Introduction to Environmental Economics

    ENV 240 - Introduction to Environmental Economics

    3.00 credit hours

    Environmental Economics primarily examines the impact of economic activity on the environment and the shortcomings of the market system in valuing environmental costs and benefits. Traditional regulation of the U.S. economy, including command and control policies are briefly discussed. The focus of the course is the recent development and application of new and potential economic instruments to improve environmental quality. Other topics covered include the valuation of environmental resources and prospects for sustainable development.

    Schedule Of Classes

Three Courses at the 300- or 400-Level

Courses must be selected within the student's chosen Area of Proficiency:

Society and the Environment
  • ENV 305 - Cultural Ecology

    ENV 305 - Cultural Ecology

    3.00 credit hours

    Examines human engagements with the physical environment from early homo sapiens to the present. Topics include major adaptive strategies (foraging, horticulture, intensive agriculture, pastoralism and industrialism) and their social correlates and environmental consequences; factors that lead to collapse of complex societies in the archaeological past; mercantile and colonial engagements and resulting changes in resource use; and contemporary resource conflicts between small-scale societies and states and corporate interests.  

    Prerequisite(s)


    One of SOA 105, SOA 165 or ENV 120.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENV 315 - International Environmental Issues

    ENV 315 - International Environmental Issues

    3.00 credit hours

    This course introduces students to a number of psychological and socio-economic factors that contribute to environmental issues, and uses them to gain insight into and draw parallels between specific environmental problems. Apart from introducing students to the concepts and literature in global environmental politics, the course provides students with insights into the political structure and context of transnational environmental issues, the ways in which individuals are implicated in these issues, the intergovernmental mechanisms established for addressing environmental problems and the transnational environmental activity, including that through social movements, non-governmental organizations and corporate actors. 

    Prerequisite(s)


    One of PSC 102, SOA 105 or PSC 221.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENV 325 - Environmental Justice

    ENV 325 - Environmental Justice

    3.00 credit hours

    Examines the concept of environmental justice through interdisciplinary lenses. Beginning by examining different definitions of "environmental justice," various frameworks will be used to analyze environmental issues through the lens of social justice and human inequality. Through selected case studies, the course examines a number of topics and questions which include: the advantages and drawbacks of current systems of production and consumption and who bears the burdens and who enjoys the benefits of our current environmental and social system and what kinds of alternatives are available.

    Schedule Of Classes

Science and the Environment
  • BIO 301 - Plant Physiology

    BIO 301 - Plant Physiology

    3.75 credit hours

    Investigation of how plants have been impacted by human activities and how they are responding to these biotic and abiotic changes. This class will introduce students to basic concepts in botany, such as plant anatomy, taxonomy, physiology and ecology in the context of global change. Laboratory work includes field observations and laboratory experiments. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    BIO 253.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIO 310 - Biology of Animals

    BIO 310 - Biology of Animals

    3.75 credit hours

    A study of the basic biology of animals with special emphasis on adaptive strategies and evolutionary relationships of the major groups. Areas investigated include, but are not confined to, diversity, function and evolution of animals. Laboratory introduces students to the extensive taxonomic diversity of animals and provides an introduction to animal morphology, particularly as it is used to infer evolutionary relationships within the group. Laboratory also involves field work studying local animals. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    BIO 253

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIO 350 - Conservation Biology

    BIO 350 - Conservation Biology

    3.75 credit hours

    Exploration of the fundamentals of conservation biology, and the role of conservation in the world today. Topics include exploration of biodiversity, changing landscapes, climate change and the role of humans in both destruction and preservation of ecosystems. Laboratory required, emphasizes experimental design and analyses of ecological experiments examining current topics in conservation biology.

    Prerequisite(s)


    BIO 253.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIO 416 - Environmental Biology

    BIO 416 - Environmental Biology

    3.75 credit hours

    Investigation of the effects of human activities on biological resources and ecosystem structure and function, with extensive use of the primary scientific literature. Issues in research ethics and scientific leadership are discusses, including core values of science, ethical standards of conduct and peer review as well as a focus on the ethics and politics of ecological research, sustainability and human impacts on the environment. Laboratory required: independent project exposing students to some of the most important field methods and analytical techniques used to examine human impacts. Research course.

    Prerequisite(s)


    BIO 301 or BIO 350.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIO 440 - Infectious Disease

    BIO 440 - Infectious Disease

    3.75 credit hours

    Biology of pathogenic microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi, and the mechanisms by which they cause disease, with extensive use of the primary scientific literature. Epidemiological modeling of disease spread and the role of public-health intervention will be important topics, as will the immune response to disease. Issues in research ethics and scientific leadership are discussed, including core values of science, ethical standards of conduct and peer review as well as a focus on human-subject research and clinical trials. Laboratory required: independent project dealing with the spread and prevention of infection. Research course.

    Prerequisite(s)


    One 300-level Biology course with laboratory.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHM 410 - Instrumental Analysis

    CHM 410 - Instrumental Analysis

    4.00 credit hours

    Theory and practice of instrumental analytical chemistry. Major topics include potentiometric and voltammetric methods, chromatography, spectrophotometry, mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry. Two laboratory sessions per week. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    CHM 210; one of PHY 115, PHY 143A, or PHY 143C.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHM 430 - Special Topics (with program coordinator approval)

    CHM 430 - Special Topics

    1.00-3.75 credit hours

    Advanced topics in chemistry. May be repeated with new content.

    Prerequisite(s)


    Varies with topic.

    Schedule Of Classes

Sustainable Business
  • ENV 303 - Environmental Cost Analysis

    ENV 303 - Environmental Cost Analysis

    3.00 credit hours

    Accounting and business concepts are applied to sustainability projects within the greater College community. After covering a foundation of cost and managerial accounting concepts, students will work on teams to plan, implement and assess environmental opportunities available to the College. Projects may include cost-benefit analysis, capital budgeting or sustainability certification opportunities.

    Prerequisite(s)


    ACC 202, ENV 105 and ECN 240.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENV 310 - Energy and the Environment

    ENV 310 - Energy and the Environment

    3.00 credit hours

    The demand for energy is increasing worldwide, presenting us with a number of complex environmental, economic and political challenges. Students gain a broad understanding of the current energy system in the U.S., the environmental and economic compromises necessary to power the world in the 21st century, and possible paths to a sustainable energy future. They examine the environmental and economic trade-offs of a variety of fossil fuel and alternative energy sources. The course gives students a framework for thinking about energy-related events that are happening in the world, what they may mean for future energy use and by extension societal and environmental well-being, the political factors governing our energy system and how we might improve our current energy system moving forward. 

    Prerequisite(s)


    ENV 105 or BIO 253.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENV 330 - Leadership for Campus Sustainability

    ENV 330 - Leadership for Campus Sustainability

    3.00 credit hours

    This course is directed to students interested in leading organizations and communities toward greater sustainability. Students utilize the College campus as a laboratory to lead change, motivate others to be stewards of the environment, and help the College achieve its sustainability goals. Students identify and examine critical issues that affect the College's impact on the environment and work toward specific improvements through group projects.  

    Prerequisite(s)


    ENV 210 and Junior standing.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BUS 410 - Environmental Management

    BUS 410 - Environmental Management

    3.00 credit hours

    This course provides students with an overview of how management intersects with the environment. It examines purchasing decisions by consumers and production choices by firms, and how these can be made to reduce the negative impact on the environment. Other topics covered will include: how our market system contributes to global climate change, sustainability of our economy and ecology, production Life-Cycle-Analysis and "green" products.

    Prerequisite(s)


    BUS 362 and ECN 252.

    Schedule Of Classes

Environmental Studies Minor

For additional information and courses in this program, see Environmental Studies.

Minor Requirements:

A minimum of 21 credit hours, including:

Core:

  • ENV 120 - American Culture and the Environment

    ENV 120 - American Culture and the Environment

    3.00 credit hours

    This introductory course in Environmental Studies explains key environmental concepts and surveys the changing relationships between people and their environments through key texts in American literature, sociology and history.  

    Core

    Humanities.

    Schedule Of Classes

    • One Environmental Studies elective

One course from each Area of Emphasis:

Society and the Environment
  • ENV 225 - Environmental Ethics

    ENV 225 - Environmental Ethics

    3.00 credit hours

    After a brief examination of philosophical ethical frameworks, the following will be considered: the history of environmental ethics; the problem of the "moral status" of nonhuman animals and other aspects of nature: the environment and "the good life," ethical issues related to population growth, sustainability, diminishing/vanishing resources and the use of cost benefit analysis in environmental policy.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENV 246 - Environmental Literature

    ENV 246 - Environmental Literature

    3.00 credit hours

    Environmental Literature encompasses the study of classics of nature writing from the 19th and 20th century Anglo-American literary traditions and the practice of eco-criticism, which analyzes a much wider range of novels and other texts in order to understand the various ways that literature participates in various cultural formations of the relationships between humans, their environment and other forms of life. Texts will include a wide range of genres (poetry, non-fiction, novels, including sci-fi) and periods from the 19th century to our contemporary moment.  

    Prerequisite(s)


    One of ENG 196, ENG 201 or ENV 120.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENV 248 - American Environmental History

    ENV 248 - American Environmental History

    3.00 credit hours

    This broad survey of American history from an environmental perspective examines the ways that different groups of Americans adapted to and changed the landscape, and analyzes their ideas about nature. Major themes include the new perspective of environmental history, reading the landscape, the role of region in America and knowing nature through labor.

    Prerequisite(s)


    One humanities or social science course.

    Core

    Humanities or Social Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

Science and the Environment
  • ENV 105 - The Science of Climate Change

    ENV 105 - The Science of Climate Change

    3.00 credit hours

    An examination of the scientific understanding of climate change. Includes a thorough study of the evidence that the climate is changing; at detailed analysis of our current best understanding of how the global climate system works, including the possible causes of the rapid climate change now taking place, and the connection between human activities and the changing climates. Time permitting, an examination of the impacts of climate change and the options available to ameliorate the changes now underway.

    Core

    Science.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENV 106 - Introduction to Environmental Science

    ENV 106 - Introduction to Environmental Science

    3.50 credit hours

    An overview of biological and physical processes that affect the environment in the context of current environmental issues. Topics include population, community, ecosystem ecology, conservation biology, water and air pollution and natural resource management. Laboratory required.

    Core

    Science (Lab).

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENV 201 - Scientific Topics in Environmental Studies

    ENV 201 - Scientific Topics in Environmental Studies

    3.00 credit hours

    A modular course covering scientific topics of relevance to environmental studies. Topics may include Energy Technology and Society, Invasive Species Ecology, Microbes in the Environment, Hot Topics or areas of faculty or student interest. Content will vary from offering to offering.

    Prerequisite(s)


    Completion of at least one general education science course.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIO 220 - Field Biology

    BIO 220 - Field Biology

    1.00-3.00 credit hours

    Field study in biology. This course takes students off-campus into a field environment for research in ecology, zoology, botany, environmental science and/or related areas. Timing and location vary according to faculty interests and research opportunities. May be offered during D-term or in conjunction with a study abroad program. Examples of recent offerings include study of desert ecology in Arizona and estuarine ecology on the Gulf Coast. This course may be repeated once with different content and permission of the instructor.

    Prerequisite(s)


    BIO 152.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • BIO 253 - Ecology and Environment

    BIO 253 - Ecology and Environment

    3.75 credit hours

    Interactions among diverse communities of living organisms and between organisms and their environment. Emphasis on regional natural history. Laboratory required, investigation of ecological problems including field observations, laboratory experiments and computer modeling.

    Prerequisite(s)


    BIO 252.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • CHM 210 - Chemical Analysis

    CHM 210 - Chemical Analysis

    3.75 credit hours

    Quantitative analysis including theory and techniques for gravimetric, volumetric and spectrophotometric methods. Two laboratory sessions per week. Laboratory required.

    Prerequisite(s)


    CHM 142.

    Schedule Of Classes

Sustainable Business
  • ENV 210 - Sustainability in a Changing World

    ENV 210 - Sustainability in a Changing World

    3.00 credit hours

    Sustainability is a common, but still contentious term. Students learn various definitions of it, study its practical application on our local campus and in the Chicago metropolitan area and investigate what is required from all of us to achieve sustainability. A major part of this course is service learning in the local community and field trips to see sustainable projects in action. Topics covered include management of water, waste, energy, food production and the effects on "people, planet, profit".

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENV 240 - Introduction to Environmental Economics

    ENV 240 - Introduction to Environmental Economics

    3.00 credit hours

    Environmental Economics primarily examines the impact of economic activity on the environment and the shortcomings of the market system in valuing environmental costs and benefits. Traditional regulation of the U.S. economy, including command and control policies are briefly discussed. The focus of the course is the recent development and application of new and potential economic instruments to improve environmental quality. Other topics covered include the valuation of environmental resources and prospects for sustainable development.

    Schedule Of Classes

Two ENV courses at the 300- or 400-Level:

  • ENV 300 - Topics in Contemporary Environmental Issues

    ENV 300 - Topics in Contemporary Environmental Issues

    3.00 credit hours

    Led by professors across the varied disciplines of environmental studies, this is an intensive study of a selected topic in environmental studies. Such topics may include sustainable business, energy analysis, writing about nature, science and environment, and environmentalism in developing nations. This interdisciplinary course integrates principles and approaches from the sciences, humanities and social sciences to better understand the complex social, cultural, economic and scientific grounds of specific environmental issues. May be repeated once with different content.  

    Prerequisite(s)


    ENV 120 or Junior standing.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENV 303 - Environmental Cost Analysis

    ENV 303 - Environmental Cost Analysis

    3.00 credit hours

    Accounting and business concepts are applied to sustainability projects within the greater College community. After covering a foundation of cost and managerial accounting concepts, students will work on teams to plan, implement and assess environmental opportunities available to the College. Projects may include cost-benefit analysis, capital budgeting or sustainability certification opportunities.

    Prerequisite(s)


    ACC 202, ENV 105 and ECN 240.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENV 305 - Cultural Ecology

    ENV 305 - Cultural Ecology

    3.00 credit hours

    Examines human engagements with the physical environment from early homo sapiens to the present. Topics include major adaptive strategies (foraging, horticulture, intensive agriculture, pastoralism and industrialism) and their social correlates and environmental consequences; factors that lead to collapse of complex societies in the archaeological past; mercantile and colonial engagements and resulting changes in resource use; and contemporary resource conflicts between small-scale societies and states and corporate interests.  

    Prerequisite(s)


    One of SOA 105, SOA 165 or ENV 120.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENV 310 - Energy and the Environment

    ENV 310 - Energy and the Environment

    3.00 credit hours

    The demand for energy is increasing worldwide, presenting us with a number of complex environmental, economic and political challenges. Students gain a broad understanding of the current energy system in the U.S., the environmental and economic compromises necessary to power the world in the 21st century, and possible paths to a sustainable energy future. They examine the environmental and economic trade-offs of a variety of fossil fuel and alternative energy sources. The course gives students a framework for thinking about energy-related events that are happening in the world, what they may mean for future energy use and by extension societal and environmental well-being, the political factors governing our energy system and how we might improve our current energy system moving forward. 

    Prerequisite(s)


    ENV 105 or BIO 253.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENV 315 - International Environmental Issues

    ENV 315 - International Environmental Issues

    3.00 credit hours

    This course introduces students to a number of psychological and socio-economic factors that contribute to environmental issues, and uses them to gain insight into and draw parallels between specific environmental problems. Apart from introducing students to the concepts and literature in global environmental politics, the course provides students with insights into the political structure and context of transnational environmental issues, the ways in which individuals are implicated in these issues, the intergovernmental mechanisms established for addressing environmental problems and the transnational environmental activity, including that through social movements, non-governmental organizations and corporate actors. 

    Prerequisite(s)


    One of PSC 102, SOA 105 or PSC 221.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENV 325 - Environmental Justice

    ENV 325 - Environmental Justice

    3.00 credit hours

    Examines the concept of environmental justice through interdisciplinary lenses. Beginning by examining different definitions of "environmental justice," various frameworks will be used to analyze environmental issues through the lens of social justice and human inequality. Through selected case studies, the course examines a number of topics and questions which include: the advantages and drawbacks of current systems of production and consumption and who bears the burdens and who enjoys the benefits of our current environmental and social system and what kinds of alternatives are available.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENV 330 - Leadership for Campus Sustainability

    ENV 330 - Leadership for Campus Sustainability

    3.00 credit hours

    This course is directed to students interested in leading organizations and communities toward greater sustainability. Students utilize the College campus as a laboratory to lead change, motivate others to be stewards of the environment, and help the College achieve its sustainability goals. Students identify and examine critical issues that affect the College's impact on the environment and work toward specific improvements through group projects.  

    Prerequisite(s)


    ENV 210 and Junior standing.

    Schedule Of Classes

  • ENV 450 - Urban-Suburban-Rural Environmental Nexus

    ENV 450 - Urban-Suburban-Rural Environmental Nexus

    3.00 credit hours

    NCC's Chicago metropolitan locale provides an ideal location to study urban, suburban and rural environmental issues such as regional environmental interdependence, urban ecology, sustainable cities, suburban sprawl, transportation, Chicago environmental history, restoration/reuse of brownfields, green spaces in urban, suburban and rural environments, and agriculture and the environment. This course explores these issues with particular attention to their relationship to the local history and politics of Chicago.  

    Prerequisite(s)


    ENV 120 and Junior standing.

    Schedule Of Classes

NOTE: This page contains all of the regular course descriptions for this discipline or program. Academic credit for each course is noted in parenthesis after the course title. Prerequisites (if any) and the general education requirements, both Core and All-College Requirements (ACRs), which each course fulfills (if any) are noted following each course description. Not all courses are offered every year. Check Merlin, our searchable course schedule, to see which courses are being offered in upcoming terms.

ENV 105 The Science of Climate Change (3.00)
An examination of the scientific understanding of climate change. Includes a thorough study of the evidence that the climate is changing; a detailed analysis of our current best understanding of how the global climate system works, including the possible causes of the rapid climate change now taking place, and the connection between human activities and the changing climate. Time permitting, an examination of the impacts of climate change and the options to ameliorate the changes now underway. Core: Science.

ENV 106 Introduction to Environmental Science (Lab) (3.50)
This course is an overview of biological and physical processes that affect the environment in the context of current environmental issues. Topics include population, community, ecosystem ecology, conservation biology, water and air pollution, and natural resource management. Same as: BIO 106. Core: Science (Lab).

ENV 120 People and Nature (3.00)
This course is an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of Environmental Studies from a humanities perspective. Students will read some of the most important books by American authors about the complicated and changing relationships between people and the rest of nature. These classic environmental tests offer insights into perceptions and uses of nature. This course aims to help students interpret arguments about environmental issues and understand their social, historical, and political context. Core: Humanities.

ENV 201 - Scientific Topics in Environmental Studies (3.00)
A modular course covering scientific topics of relevance to environmental studies. Topics may include Energy Technology and Society, Invasive Species Ecology, Microbes in the Environment, Hot Topics or areas of faculty or student interest. Content will vary from offering to offering. Prerequisite(s): Completion of at least one general education science course.

ENV 210 - Sustainability in a Changing World (3.00)
Sustainability is a common, but still contentious term. Students learn various definitions of it, study its practical application on our local campus and in the Chicago metropolitan area and investigate what is required from all of us to achieve sustainability. A major part of this course is service learning in the local community and field trips to see sustainable projects in action. Topics covered include management of water, waste, energy, food production and the effects on “people, planet, profit”.

ENV 220 Field Biology (1.00-3.00)
Field study in biology. This course takes students off-campus into a field environment for research in ecology, zoology, botany, environmental science and/or related areas. Timing and location vary according to faculty interests and research opportunities. May be offered during D-term or in conjunction with a study abroad program. Examples of recent offerings include study of desert ecology in Arizona and estuarine ecology on the Gulf Coast. This course may be repeated once with different content and permission of the instructor. Same as: ENV 220.

ENV 225 Environmental Ethics (3.00)
After a brief examination of philosophical and ethical frameworks, the following will be considered: the history of environmental ethics; the problem of the moral status of nonhuman animals and other aspects of nature; the environment and the good life; ethical issues related to population growth, sustainability, diminishing/vanishing resources, and the use of cost/benefit analysis in environmental policy. Same as: PHL 225.

ENV 230 - Environmental Policy (3.00)
This course introduces the politics of U.S. environmental policy making. It explores how conflicting political, economic and social interests and values contend for influence and exert power in the realm of environmental policy. Students will gain an understanding of how environmental issues arrive on the public agenda, the role of political institutions in making environmental policy, the economic, political, social and institutional forces that shape policymaking, competing approaches to environmental policy analysis and the goals and strategies of the environmental movement. Prerequisite(s): ENV 120.

ENV 240 - Introduction to Environmental Economics (3.00)
Environmental Economics primarily examines the impact of economic activity on the environment and the shortcomings of the market system in valuing environmental costs and benefits. Traditional regulation of the U.S. economy, including command and control policies are briefly discussed. The focus of the course is the recent development and application of new and potential economic instruments to improve environmental quality. Other topics covered include the valuation of environmental resources and prospects for sustainable development. Same as: ECN 240.

ENV 246 - Environmental Literature (3.00)
Environmental Literature encompasses the study of classics of nature writing from the 19th and 20th century Anglo-American literary traditions and the practice of eco-criticism, which analyzes a much wider range of novels and other texts in order to understand the various ways that literature participates in various cultural formations of the relationships between humans, their environment and other forms of life. Texts will include a wide range of genres (poetry, non-fiction, novels, including sci-fi) and periods from the 19th century to our contemporary moment. Same as: ENG 246. Prerequisite(s): One of ENG 196, ENG 201 or ENV 120.

ENV 248 American Environmental History (3.00)
This broad survey of American history from an environmental perspective examines the ways that different groups of Americans adapted to and changed the landscape, and analyzes their ideas about nature. Major themes include the new perspective of environmental history, reading the landscape, the role of region in America, and knowing nature through labor. Same as: HST 248. Core: Humanities or Social Science.

ENV 260 - Geographic Information Systems (3.00)
Geographic Information Science (GIS) is the science of linking data to locations to explore spatial relationships. GIS goes far beyond mapping to evaluating the relationship between different spatial information so that one can identify the best location for new development, locate pollution point sources, find the easiest way to get from point A to point B and develop a better understanding of the way the world interacts. The goals of this course are to teach basic GIS concepts such as spatial data sources and structures, projections and coordinate systems, data editing and creation and geospatial analysis.

ENV 300 Modern Environmental Issues (3.00)
This is the capstone course for the Environmental Studies program. Led by professors from different departments with guest appearances by additional members of the Environmental Studies faculty, this is an interdisciplinary course that integrates principles and approaches from the sciences, humanities, and social sciences to better understand modern environmental issues. In this course, students examine different ways of thinking about nature and the environment and seek to understand the complex social, cultural, political, economic, and scientific causes of environmental problems, in order to evaluate potential and alternate social and policy solutions. Students also consider the ethical relationship between humankind and the natural environment and the relevance of various ethics and values to environmental decisions. ACR: Leadership, Ethics, & Values.

ENV 303 - Environmental Cost Analysis (3.00)
Accounting and business concepts are applied to sustainability projects within the greater College community. After covering a foundation of cost and managerial accounting concepts, students will work on teams to plan, implement and assess environmental opportunities available to the College. Projects may include cost-benefit analysis, capital budgeting or sustainability certification opportunities. Same as: ACC 303. Prerequisite(s): ACC 202, ENV 105 and ECN 240.

ENV 305 - Cultural Ecology (3.00)
Examines human engagements with the physical environment from early Homo sapiens to the present. Topics include major adaptive strategies (foraging, horticulture, intensive agriculture, pastoralism and industrialism) and their social correlates and environmental consequences; factors that lead to collapse of complex societies in the archaeological past; mercantile and colonial engagements and resulting changes in resource use; and contemporary resource conflicts between small-scale societies and states and corporate interests.  Same as: SOA 305. Prerequisite(s): One of SOA 105, SOA 165 or ENV 120.

ENV 310 - Energy and the Environment (3.00)
The demand for energy is increasing worldwide, presenting us with a number of complex environmental, economic and political challenges. Students gain a broad understanding of the current energy system in the U.S., the environmental and economic compromises necessary to power the world in the 21st century, and possible paths to a sustainable energy future. They examine the environmental and economic trade-offs of a variety of fossil fuel and alternative energy sources. The course gives students a framework for thinking about energy-related events that are happening in the world, what they may mean for future energy use and by extension societal and environmental well-being, the political factors governing our energy system and how we might improve our current energy system moving forward. Prerequisite(s): ENV 105 or BIO 253.

ENV 315 - International Environmental Issues (3.00)
This course introduces students to a number of psychological and socio-economic factors that contribute to environmental issues, and uses them to gain insight into and draw parallels between specific environmental problems. Apart from introducing students to the concepts and literature in global environmental politics, the course provides students with insights into the political structure and context of transnational environmental issues, the ways in which individuals are implicated in these issues, the intergovernmental mechanisms established for addressing environmental problems and the transnational environmental activity, including that through social movements, non-governmental organizations and corporate actors. Prerequisite(s): One of PSC 102, SOA 105 or PSC 221. ACR: Intercultural.

ENV 325 - Environmental Justice (3.00)
Examines the concept of environmental justice through interdisciplinary lenses. Beginning by examining different definitions of “environmental justice,” various frameworks will be used to analyze environmental issues through the lens of social justice and human inequality. Through selected case studies, the course examines a number of topics and questions which include: the advantages and drawbacks of current systems of production and consumption and who bears the burdens and who enjoys the benefits of our current environmental and social system and what kinds of alternatives are available.

ENV 330 - Leadership for Campus Sustainability (3.00)
This course is directed to students interested in leading organizations and communities toward greater sustainability. Students utilize the College campus as a laboratory to lead change, motivate others to be stewards of the environment, and help the College achieve its sustainability goals. Students identify and examine critical issues that affect the College’s impact on the environment and work toward specific improvements through group projects. Prerequisite(s): ENV 210 and Junior standing.

ENV 397 Internship (0.00-9.00)
Instructor consent required.

ENV 399 Independent Study (1.00-3.00)
Instructor consent required.

ENV 497 Internship (0.00-9.00)
Instructor consent required.

ENV 499 Independent Study (1.00-3.00)
Instructor consent required.

Esen Andic-Mortan

Assistant Professor of Management
BUS
Jeffrey Anstine

Professor of Management; Coordinator of Environmental Studies
BUS
5476
William Barnett

Associate Professor of History; Chair of the Department of History
HST
630-637-5319
Erin C. Bergren

Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
Interdisciplinary Studies
631-637-5585
Paul Bloom

Associate Professor of Physics
PHY
630-637-5196
Nicholas Boaz

Assistant Professor of Chemistry
CHM
630-637-5187
Martha Bohrer

Professor of English; Coordinator of Enviromental Studies
ENG
630-637-5273
Matthew Krystal

Associate Professor of Anthropology; Chairperson, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
SOA
630-637-5309
Chandreyee Mitra

Assistant Professor of Biology
BIO
630-637-5198
Shaheen Moosa

Assistant Professor of Philosophy
PHL
Gregory Ruthig

Associate Professor of Biology
BIO
5186
Rebecca Sanders

Assistant Professor of Chemistry
CHM
5175
Gerald Thalmann

Associate Professor of Accounting
ACC
630-637-5588

Extra-curricular and professional activities that will enrich your environmental studies education.

The very nature of environmental studies makes learning outside the classroom an added perk. Faculty encourage first-hand learning by accompanying students to areas studied in class or as part of research projects. Jeff Anstine teaches Ecotourism. He accompanies students to Costa Rica, the first country to pledge to be "carbon neutral" by 2021, to see environmental-friendly policies in action. Martha Bohrer teaches Midwest Dune Ecology and Nature Writing. She arranges for students to study ecology in their own backyard.


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