Undergraduate Courses

To see a complete list of courses offered and their descriptions, visit the online course catalog.

The courses listed below are provided by Student Information Services (SIS). This listing provides a snapshot of immediately available courses within this department and may not be complete. Course registration information can be found at https://sis.jhu.edu/classes.

Column one has the course number and section. Other columns show the course title, days offered, instructor's name, room number, if the course is cross-referenced with another program, and a option to view additional course information in a pop-up window.

Freshman Seminar: Sustainable + Non-Sustainable Resources
AS.270.110 (01)

An introduction to the important resources involved in the origin and production of oil, natural gas, coal, cement, metals and geothermal fluids.

  • Credits: 1.00
  • Level: Lower Level Undergraduate
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 8/12
  • PosTag(s): n/a

Introductory Oceanography
AS.270.325 (01)

This class is an introduction to a wide range of physical, chemical, and biological phenomena in the world’s oceans. Underlying basic principles are exposed wherever possible. Topics covered include: seawater, waves, tides, ocean circulation, chemical oceanography, biogeochemical ocean processes, and remote sensing of the oceans. Recommended Course Background: freshman Physics, Chemistry, Calculus through ordinary differential equations.

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Upper Level Undergraduate
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 12/20
  • PosTag(s): ENVS-MAJOR

Soil Ecology
AS.270.332 (01)

The course introduces basic aspects of cycles and flows in the soil ecosystem, and provides students with an overview of the higher groups of soil organisms. Laboratory and field surveying methods are also covered.

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Upper Level Undergraduate
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 3/10
  • PosTag(s): ENVS-MAJOR, ENVS-MINOR

Guided Tour: The Planets
AS.270.114 (01)

An introduction to planetary science and planetary exploration primarily for non-science majors. A survey of concepts from astronomy, chemistry, geology, and physics applied to the study of the solar system.

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Lower Level Undergraduate
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 39/110
  • PosTag(s): n/a

Freshman Seminar: Environmental Poisons
AS.270.113 (01)

An exploration of the occurrence and potential effects of poisons in the environment, from naturally occurring ones such as arsenic to those that may be introduced by mankind such as nuclear waste.

  • Credits: 1.00
  • Level: Lower Level Undergraduate
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 7/12
  • PosTag(s): n/a

Introduction to Geographic Information Systems and Geospatial Analysis
AS.270.205 (01)

The course provides a broad introduction to the principles and practice of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and related tools of Geospatial Analysis. Topics will include history of GIS, GIS data structures, data acquisition and merging, database management, spatial analysis, and GIS applications. In addition, students will get hands-on experience working with GIS software.

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Lower Level Undergraduate
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 2/24
  • PosTag(s): ARCH-RELATE

Population/Community Ecology
AS.270.308 (01)

This course explores the distribution and abundance of organisms and their interactions. Topics include dynamics and regulation of populations, population interactions (competition, predation, mutualism, parasitism, herbivory), biodiversity, organization of equilibrium and non-equilibrium communities, energy flow, and nutrient cycles in ecosystems. Field trip included. Students who have not taken one of the prerequisites may register with the permission of the instructor.

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Upper Level Undergraduate
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 1/45
  • PosTag(s): n/a

Oceans & Atmospheres
AS.270.224 (01)

A broad survey of the Earth’s oceans and atmospheres, and their role in the environment and climate. Topics covered include waves, tides, ocean and atmosphere circulation, weather systems, tornadoes and hurricanes, El Niño, and climate change. For science and engineering majors

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Lower Level Undergraduate
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 13/32
  • PosTag(s): GECS-SCI, ENVS-MAJOR, ENVS-MINOR

Mineral Physics Recitation
AS.270.333 (01)

This course is designed for undergraduate students interested in pursuing geophysics research in the topics of solid state physics or inorganic chemistry. It will consist of a weekly seminar paired with a separate paper reading+discussion group, covering a range of topics on the frontiers of mineral physics. Themes rotate each semester, and Fall 2018 will be paired with the Mineralogy Lecture Series on Modeling and Experimental challenges in Cosmochemistry. Recommended Course Background: Relevant coursework such as Mineralogy or equivalent in other department, and instructor permission.

  • Credits: 2.00
  • Level: Upper Level Undergraduate
  • Status: Canceled
  • Seats Available: 10/10
  • PosTag(s): n/a

Topics in Mineralogy
AS.270.339 (01)

This semester, join HEMI’s Designer in residence, and MICA professor Jenna Frye, in a modified version of her popular experimental fabrication course, EPIC FAIL. Discover how thinking with your hands, embracing risk and failure and playful exploration with educational toys, can invigorate your research in mineralogy and deepen your understanding of crystallography visualization. This course is designed as a hands-on, deeply collaborative workshop, where we will investigate the role of creative fabrication technology and invention as it relates to communicating scientific research to outside audiences. Together we will make, tinker and fail our way to improved visualization and presentation strategies so that others may more fully access the complexities in our work. Topics in Mineralogy is a special topics course that rotates in subject and may be taken multiple times for credit. This course is designed for those interested in mineralogy, and we recommend concurrent enrollment in Planetary Interiors, Space Weathering, and/or Advanced Mineralogy seminar.

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Upper Level Undergraduate
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 7/12
  • PosTag(s): n/a

Isotope Geochemistry
AS.270.331 (01)

Introduction to stable isotope and radioisotope geochemistry. Isotope measurements are used to probe fundamental questions in the Earth and environmental sciences because they can be used to extract information about the timing of and/or chemical, physical, and biological processes associated with the formation of geomaterials. The first half of the course focuses on light isotope systems (O, C, S, etc.) and low-temperature applications, including: (1) tracing sources and sinks of fluids, sediments, biological materials, and contaminants, (2) studying rates and mechanisms of biochemical reactions, and (3) paleoenvironmental reconstructions. The second half of the course focuses on heavier isotope systems and high-temperature applications, including: (1) methods for dating of rocks and geologic processes using long-half-life radioisotopes, including the various isotope systems available and their applicability, and (2) isotope fractionation at high temperatures and the utility of radioisotope and novel stable isotope geochemistry for interrogating processes influencing the crust and mantle. Biweekly lab classes (scheduled in first week) will allow students to become familiar with principles of isotope measurements and interpretations. Mid-term and final exams. Recommended course background: AS.270.220 and AS.270.221, or instructor permission.

  • Credits: 4.00
  • Level: Upper Level Undergraduate
  • Status: Waitlist Only
  • Seats Available: 0/16
  • PosTag(s): ENVS-MAJOR

Mammalian Evolution
AS.270.312 (01)

An introduction to the evolutionary history and diversity of mammals, with emphasis on the first half of the Cenozoic - the beginning of the Age of Mammals. The course will focus primarily on the adaptive radiation of mammals (including our own order primates) that followed the extinction of the dinosaurs, exploring the origins and relationships of the major groups of mammals as well as the anatomical and ecological reasons for their success. Lectures will be supplemented with relevant fossils and recent specimens.

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Upper Level Undergraduate
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 10/25
  • PosTag(s): ENVS-MAJOR, ENVS-MAJOR

Senior Thesis
AS.270.496 (01)

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Upper Level Undergraduate
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 6/10
  • PosTag(s): n/a

Society and Nature Conflicts: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Studying Environmental Problems Over Time
AS.271.345 (01)

In this seminar students will read seminal pieces in the field of socio-environmental research. Socio-environmental research recognizes that society and nature inherently interact in such a way that they affect and change one-another - it is not only that society affects the nature or that nature only affects society. Solving environmental problems necessitates understanding this duality and thus an interdisciplinary background. Assigned readings will span early from thinkers on environmental problems (Before 1900) to current approaches to studying and solving environmental problems.It is aimed at upper level undergraduates and graduate students.

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Upper Level Undergraduate
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 15/18
  • PosTag(s): n/a

Seminar in Field Geology
AS.270.381 (01)

Field experience is an integral part of a geology student’s education. During this course, students will spend over a week outdoors, learning to make observations that can be used to interpret the geologic history and structure of natural environments. This course is a spring break field course that will focus on different topics each year. For Spring 2019, the focus of the trip will be on applying concepts and techniques covered in Dynamic Earth (AS.270.220/1), Sedimentary Geology (AS.270.350), and Earth History (AS.270.303). Students will also learn about the different tectonic events that have shaped the landscape that we see today in the western United States. The class is designed for upper level E&PS majors and first or second year E&PS graduate students. For logistical reasons, this class is capped at 10 students. Preference will be given to E&PS majors. Students will be camping during the field course and should be prepared to be hiking outside all day. In the case that obtaining personal field supplies (e.g., hiking boots, sleeping bags) is not possible through Homewood student affairs gear rentals and/or is a financial hardship, please contact the instructor. Any communication about this will be kept confidential. Mandatory class field trip: 9-day field trip to Esmeralda County, NV over spring break (3/16/18-3/24/18).

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Upper Level Undergraduate
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 3/6
  • PosTag(s): n/a

Space Weathering
AS.270.406 (01)

This course will introduce and explore multiple topics of Space Weathering - the interaction of solar system bodies with the space environment. Through a combination of lecture, reading, research, and discussion the course will explore physical and chemical processes of solar and cosmic radiation and particles, micrometeorites, etc., on the surfaces of planets. We will also explore interaction of the space environment with planetary magnetic fields and atmospheres, and with non-planetary materials (such as spacecraft, and astronauts).

  • Credits: 1.00
  • Level: Upper Level Undergraduate
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 13/20
  • PosTag(s): n/a

Introduction to Sustainability
AS.271.107 (01)

Humans are having such a massive impact on Earth systems that some call this the Anthropocene epoch. Should we consider this state of affairs progress or catastrophe? How to we find a sustainable path to the future? This course provides an interdisciplinary introduction to the principles and practice of sustainability, exploring such issues as population, pollution, energy and natural resources, biodiversity, food, justice, and climate change through the lens of systems thinking. Course open to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Seniors by instructor permission only.

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Lower Level Undergraduate
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 14/75
  • PosTag(s): n/a

Planetary Interiors
AS.270.404 (01)

This course investigates the physical processes occurring in planetary interiors. Topics include formation and differentiation of planetary bodies, planetary structure, thermal evolution, convection, and dynamo generation of magnetic fields. Standard remote sensing methods used to investigate planetary interiors and results from recent planetary satellite missions will also be discussed. Recommended: Knowledge of vector calculus, PDEs and introductory physics.

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Upper Level Undergraduate
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 10/20
  • PosTag(s): n/a

Environmental Ethics
AS.271.401 (01)

Environmental Ethics is a philosophical discipline that examines the moral relationship between humans and the natural environment. For individuals and societies, it can help structure our experience of nature, environmental problems, human-environmental relations, and ecological awareness. Beginning with a comprehensive analysis of their own values, students will explore complex ethical questions, philosophical paradigms and real-life case studies through readings, films and seminar discussions. Traditional ethical theories, including consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics will be examined and applied. Environmental moral worldviews, ranging from anthropocentric to ecocentric perspectives, will be critically evaluated. Organized debates will help students strengthen their ability to deconstruct and assess ethical arguments and to communicate viewpoints rooted in ethical principles. Students will apply ethical reasoning skills to an examination of contemporary environmental issues including, among others, biodiversity conservation, environmental justice, climate change, and overpopulation. Students will also develop, defend and apply their own personal environmental ethical framework. A basic understanding of modern environmental history and contemporary environmental issues is required. Prior experience with philosophy and ethics is not required.

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Upper Level Undergraduate
  • Status: Waitlist Only
  • Seats Available: 0/12
  • PosTag(s): GECS-SOCSCI, INST-PT

Climate Change: Science & Policy
AS.271.360 (01)

Prereq: 270.103 or permission of instructor. This course will investigate the policy and scientific debate over global warming. It will review the current state of scientific knowledge about climate change, examine the potential impacts and implications of climate change, explore our options for responding to climate change, and discuss the present political debate over global warming.

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Upper Level Undergraduate
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 13/50
  • PosTag(s): GECS-SCI, INST-IR

Special Topics in Environmental Studies
AS.271.305 (01)

Environmental Policy in the Age of Trump. This course will analyze the effects of the current administration’s actions on environmental issues by assessing the policies in question and estimating the potential impacts on climate change, human health, and ecology. Policies that have been overturned or are under review represent a number of environmental issues, including climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, offshore drilling, national monuments, mining pollution, toxic discharge into public waterways, the development of oil pipelines, public land use planning, coal leases, a harmful insecticide, hunting in wildlife refuges, airborne mercury emissions, protection of tributaries and wetlands under the Clean Water Act, energy and fuel-efficiency standards, and resource extraction from federal lands. Students will examine the historical roles environmental organizations and government agencies have played in advocating for, creating and enforcing U.S. environmental policy and will discuss the future roles of these actors and other stakeholders in implementing effective environmental policy

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Upper Level Undergraduate
  • Status: Waitlist Only
  • Seats Available: 0/12
  • PosTag(s): GECS-SOCSCI

Water, Energy, and Food
AS.271.402 (01)

The water, energy and food (WEF) nexus is a topic of growing interest in the research and policy communities. This course will survey WEF concepts and principles, introduce tools of analysis, and engage students in case studies of critical WEF issues in the United States and internationally.

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Upper Level Undergraduate
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 9/20
  • PosTag(s): INST-IR

Environmental Policymaking and Policy Analysis
AS.271.403 (01)

This course provides students with a broad introduction to US environmental policymaking and policy analysis. Included are a historical perspective as well as an analysis of future policymaking strategies. Students examine the political and legal framework, become familiar with precedent-setting statutes such as NEPA, RCRA, and the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, and study models for environmental policy analysis. Cost benefit studies, the limits of science in policymaking, and the impact of environmental policies on society are important aspects of this course. A comparison of national and international policymaking is designed to provide students with the proper perspective. This course is taught in conjunction with an identical graduate course. All students will be expected to perform at a graduate level.

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Upper Level Undergraduate
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 4/21
  • PosTag(s): INST-AP, INST-CP

Geodynamics Seminar
AS.270.361 (01)

Seminar class on the dynamics of subduction and accretionary orogenesis. Weekly readings discussed in class. Focus will be broad and process-based. Topics in subduction may include: (1) modes of global subduction through Earth history; (2) models of forced/triggered v. spontaneous subduction initiation; (3) arc development and implications for growth of continents; (4) subduction zone rollback and arc migration, and (5) subducted slab breakoff and tearing. Topics in accretionary orogenesis may include: (1) stress state of the overriding plate; (2) tectonic mode switches (shortening to extension and vice versa), and (3) length and time scales of the thermal manifestations of accretionary orogenesis.

  • Credits: 1.00
  • Level: Upper Level Undergraduate
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 5/10
  • PosTag(s): n/a

Energy and Politics
AS.271.405 (01)

In the 21st century, energy supply and consumption are critical subjects for international politics, social development, and the future of the environment. Policies that determine energy supply and consumption come to being in complex institutional, national, and international contexts. This course will equip students with the necessary background to analyze energy policy issues and contribute to them in a meaningful manner. It also involves examination of wide-ranging debates over the switch to renewables, the use of unconventional energy sources, and the environmental consequences of energy choices.

  • Credits: 3.00
  • Level: Upper Level Undergraduate
  • Status: Open
  • Seats Available: 13/30
  • PosTag(s): INST-IR

Course # (Section) Title Day/Times Instructor Room PosTag(s) Info
AS.270.110 (01)Freshman Seminar: Sustainable + Non-Sustainable ResourcesM 3:00PM - 4:00PMSverjensky, DimitriOlin 346
AS.270.325 (01)Introductory OceanographyMWF 3:00PM - 3:50PMGnanadesikan, Anand, Haine, ThomasOlin 204ENVS-MAJOR
AS.270.332 (01)Soil EcologyMW 4:30PM - 5:45PMSzlavecz, KatalinOlin 203ENVS-MAJOR, ENVS-MINOR
AS.270.114 (01)Guided Tour: The PlanetsTTh 1:30PM - 2:45PMStanley, SabineOlin 305
AS.270.113 (01)Freshman Seminar: Environmental PoisonsW 3:00PM - 4:00PMSverjensky, DimitriOlin 346
AS.270.205 (01)Introduction to Geographic Information Systems and Geospatial AnalysisMW 3:00PM - 4:15PMKelly, Rebecca EKrieger 108ARCH-RELATE
AS.270.308 (01)Population/Community EcologyTTh 9:00AM - 10:15AMAvolio, Meghan LynnOlin 305
AS.270.224 (01)Oceans & AtmospheresMWF 1:30PM - 2:20PMHaine, Thomas, Waugh, DarrynOlin 304GECS-SCI, ENVS-MAJOR, ENVS-MINOR
AS.270.333 (01)Mineral Physics RecitationT 6:00PM - 7:00PMWicks, June K 
AS.270.339 (01)Topics in MineralogyT 1:30PM - 4:30PMWicks, June KOlin 206B
AS.270.331 (01)Isotope GeochemistryTTh 10:30AM - 11:45AM, W 4:00PM - 5:00PMGomes, Maya L, Viete, Daniel ROlin 347ENVS-MAJOR
AS.270.312 (01)Mammalian EvolutionTTh 9:00AM - 10:15AMCooke, SiobhanOlin 204ENVS-MAJOR, ENVS-MAJOR
AS.270.496 (01)Senior ThesisGnanadesikan, Anand 
AS.271.345 (01)Society and Nature Conflicts: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Studying Environmental Problems Over TimeTTh 1:30PM - 2:45PMAvolio, Meghan LynnOlin 346
AS.270.381 (01)Seminar in Field GeologyT 4:00PM - 5:00PMSmith, EmmyOlin 347
AS.270.406 (01)Space WeatheringW 2:00PM - 3:00PMIzenberg, Noam, Wicks, June KOlin 145
AS.271.107 (01)Introduction to SustainabilityMW 12:00PM - 1:15PMKelly, Rebecca EOlin 305
AS.270.404 (01)Planetary InteriorsMF 1:30PM - 2:45PMStanley, Sabine, Wicks, June KOlin 145
AS.271.401 (01)Environmental EthicsT 1:30PM - 4:00PMMonopolis, Alexios NicolaosOlin 304GECS-SOCSCI, INST-PT
AS.271.360 (01)Climate Change: Science & PolicyTTh 10:30AM - 11:45AMWaugh, Darryn, Zaitchik, BenjaminOlin 305GECS-SCI, INST-IR
AS.271.305 (01)Special Topics in Environmental StudiesTh 1:30PM - 4:00PMMonopolis, Alexios NicolaosOlin 304GECS-SOCSCI
AS.271.402 (01)Water, Energy, and FoodM 1:30PM - 4:00PMZaitchik, BenjaminOlin 347INST-IR
AS.271.403 (01)Environmental Policymaking and Policy AnalysisT 6:00PM - 8:45PMMaldonado, JomarOlin 304INST-AP, INST-CP
AS.270.361 (01)Geodynamics SeminarM 4:00PM - 5:00PMViete, Daniel ROlin 346
AS.271.405 (01)Energy and PoliticsTTh 12:00PM - 1:15PMOzden-Schilling, CanayOlin 304INST-IR