Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies

Changes effective Spring Term 2016

Allen Lines Nodine Poole
Siry Stephenson

The interdisciplinary environmental studies major examines natural and cultural systems from many perspectives -- ecological, economic, ethical, historical, geographical, and political. Students study the conservation and utilization of natural resources essential for economic development and public well being.

The curriculum analyzes the problems, processes, and possibilities of creating a more sustainable society. It also offers preparation for an environmental career, broad background in several related areas of study, or concentration in a particular thematic issue as a basis for graduate study.

Florida offers an ideal laboratory for environmental studies. Nationally recognized projects such as the Everglades restoration, Wekiva Geopark, and models in the New Urbanism place Florida in the forefront of environmental protection and sustainable design.


Ten (10) courses required: six (6) core courses, one (1) required course in the origins of environmental thought, and three (3) environmental studies electives.

CORE COURSES; complete six (6):

  • ENV 130 The Geosphere with Lab
  • ENV 189 The Environmental Crisis in its Cultural Context
  • ENV 225 The Biosphere with Lab
  • ENV 323 Conservation of Biodiversity OR BIO 316 Ecology
  • ENV 389 Environmental Planning
  • ENV 413 Senior Seminar in Environmental Issues


  • ENV 270 Environmental Literature
  • ENV 353 National Parks and Protected Areas
  • ENV 380 American Environmental History

ELECTIVES; complete three (3):

  • At least two (2) of these courses must be at the 300 level or above.


  • One of the ten (10) courses taken to complete the major must have a significant field study or community engagement component. Such courses are designated each semester by the Chair of the Environmental Studies department.


Seven (7) courses are required: the five (5) core courses shown below and two (2) electives in environmental studies, one (1) of which must be at the 300 level or above.

  • ENV 130 The Geosphere with Lab
  • ENV 189 The Environmental Crisis in its Cultural Context
  • ENV 225 The Biosphere with Lab
  • ENV 323 Conservation of Biodiversity OR BIO 316 Ecology
  • ENV 389 Environmental Planning

Course of Study

ENV 105/205/305 Topics: Environmental Studies: Examines contemporary environmental issues. Topics vary from year to year.

ENV 130 The Geosphere with Lab: Introductory earth science course exploring the dynamic interactions between the earth's climate, landforms, water, ecosystems, and soils. Emphasizes key environmental topics such as global warming, tropical deforestation, and natural hazards.

ENV 189 The Environmental Crisis in its Cultural Context: Weighs humanity's responsibility to nature, technocratic drift of society, and conflicts between material and environmental values. Traces development of mechanistic worldview and re-emergence of organic or holistic perspective.

ENV 204 Landscapes of Promise: The Ecological Transformation of the West: Historical study of regional ecology with a critical analysis of economic change. Optional field study component focuses on regional landscapes that reflect the competing attempts to transform and preserve the natural world.

ENV 206 Caribbean Environmental History: Explores the tension among American, European, and African cultures in the Caribbean. Topics include the Spanish conquest, the slave economy, and the exchange of organisms between Old and New World environments.

ENV 225 The Biosphere with Lab: Introduces ecological principles forming the basis for understanding environmental issues and policy. Explores scientific concepts and laboratory field techniques used to study and assess ecosystems.

ENV 240 Ecosystems of North America: Examines the geographic distribution, characteristics, and present status of terrestrial biomes in North America. Emphasizes case studies of critical environmental regions including the Everglades, the Colorado Plateau, and the Pacific Northwest.

ENV 250 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS): A project-based course that examines the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in the mapping of land, and how to use GIS to make well-informed decisions regarding land use.

ENV 260 History of Technology: Tools of Toil: Chronicles history of mechanization and cultural change from ancient world to this century. Considers tool evaluation and design, as well as social and psychological influences of mechanical advances. Ties everyday use of tools to modern industrialism's roots and global influences on labor.

ENV 270 Environmental Literature: Features poets, novelists, and essayists who have spoken out strongly for preservation of the environment. May include Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Muir, Leopold, and Abbey.

ENV 289 Nature in the City: Examines the origins of suburban sprawl, its problems and ongoing solutions. Traces efforts of design professionals from Frederick Law Olmstead to the present and examines their efforts to harmonize urban and natural worlds.

ENV 292 Political Economy of Environmental Issues: Traces transformation of organic society into market society and resulting commodification of nature.

ENV 302 Traditional Town Planning: Explores movement to return to pedestrian-friendly communities built along natural lines. Examines problems of suburbanization: traffic congestion, pollution, visual blight, strip malls, and housing designed for autos at the expense of pedestrians and children.

ENV 308 Science and Policy: Critically questions the role of science in contemporary society and international relations.

ENV 310 Ecological Restoration: Analysis of the origins and evolution of ecological restoration. Field trips and field projects supplement the classroom experience, which will analyze restoration projects in a variety of settings. Prerequisites: ENV 130 or ENV 225 or ENV 289.

ENV 323 Conservation of Biodiversity: Examines our present biodiversity crisis through the lens of biogeography, an integrative field of study focused on large-scale human interactions with the earth's ecosystems. Case studies presented throughout the semester sharpen our focus on specific regions. Prerequisites: ENV 130 or ENV 225.

ENV 325 Natural Habitats of Florida: In-depth look at Florida's natural habitats. Examines how human activity is changing the face of Florida's physical landscape and natural communities. Prerequisite: ENV 130 or ENV 225.

ENV 343 History of Science: Chronicles the major scientific discoveries that changed worldviews and the personalities that shaped them. Examines the social context in which these discoveries arose.

ENV 347 Islands in the Stream: Describes the literature, natural history, and settlement of our nation's subtropical region. Examines the protection of coral reefs, mangrove forests, and fisheries.

ENV 348 Sustainable Development: Explores both theoretical and actual development strategies that are ecologically and socially acceptable.

ENV 350 Food, Culture, and Environment: Is agriculture about more than simply producing food? Is modern agriculture sustainable? Is organic agriculture really as beneficial as is claimed? These questions guide our exploration of the relationships between food, culture, and the environment.

ENV 353 National Parks and Protected Areas: Discusses value of national parks as pleasuring grounds, genetic banks, working ecosystems, and symbols of national heritage.

ENV 365 Environment and Development in Central America: Studies the need for broad-based sustainable development using Central America as a case study. Explores appropriate models of development.

ENV 372 Images of the Environment as Seen Through Film: Reveals attitudes toward nature and wilderness, attitudes toward technology, exploitation of nature, and visions of the future.

ENV 375 Island Economies and Sustainable Development in the Caribbean: Examines the natural resources and conservation of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine habitats of the Caribbean. Explores the prospects for sustainable economic development in the region.

ENV 377 Wilderness and the American Mind: Examines arguments for and against the preservation of wilderness and the role of these arguments in shaping environmental policy.

ENV 380 American Environmental History: Follows the changing patterns of land and resource use. Examines the displacement of Native Americans, expansion of the frontier, the progressive conservation movement, and development of contemporary environmentalism. Prerequisite: ENV 189.

ENV 385 Sustainable Development in the Amazon Basin: Explores the largest remaining tropical ecosystem on earth and considers the crucial ecological services it provides as well as its exceptional biological and cultural diversity. Examines new approaches to development that generate income while protecting vital ecological systems supporting economic development.

ENV 386 Environmental Law: Focuses on the interpretation and application of federal, state, and local environmental regulations.

ENV 389 Environmental Planning: Examines competing demands for urban growth and development and the need to conserve and protect limited natural resources. Prerequisites: ENV 130, ENV 189, and ENV 225.

ENV 390 Culture and Landscape: Analyzes American landscapes and human cultures that created them, particularly intensive development that has radically altered natural systems.

ENV 399/499 Independent Study Environmental Research: Designated for field-based or problem-centered topics. Prerequisite: sophomore or junior standing for ENV 399; senior standing and consent of advisor for ENV 499.

ENV 413 Senior Seminar in Environmental Issues: Senior capstone seminar. Concentrates on major themes in the discipline and their relationship to current environmental issues. Prerequisites: senior standing, environmental studies major, and ENV 389.

BIO 316 Ecology: Explores processes and organization of populations, communities, and ecosystems. Required lab uses standard field methodology to analyze aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems of Central and South Florida, including the Keys and Everglades. Prerequisite: BIO 121 or ENV 225.