Undergraduate Course(s)

ENV 101: Introduction to Environmental Sciences (3 credits)

The course aims to introduce students to basic environmental science principles, including the structure and functioning of ecosystems and their physical and bio-chemical cycles. The course will emphasize the importance of these processes for human health as well as human impact on these processes. As a science course, the course will teach students to use the methods of scientific inquiry to raise questions about global systems, their impact on humans, and human impact on them. Specific topics to be covered include but are not limited to biodiversity, quantity and quality of water, land and air resources, environmental conservation, human population trends and dynamic, food and industrial production, and waste and toxicity. Topics will be supplemented by Armenia and Caucasus-specific cases and problem sets. Students are required to attend three field trips over the weekend. Three hours of instructor-led class time per week.

ENV 120: Food (3 credits)

This course provides a fundamental knowledge on food, its economics and environmental sustainability focusing on food values chains, production, and domestic and international marketing. This entails description of primary agricultural resources and inputs (including key environmental concerns related with these inputs), production technologies, post-harvest handling, logistics, marketing and state regulations and interventions. The course will also discuss government policies on food security, safety, trade, and environmental resilience and sustainability. Students will also learn developments in food industry such as genetically modified food, organic agriculture, fair trade, and reduction of food loss. Students will have to participate in one field visit to a food-production facility, which will most likely be organized on a weekend.  Three hours of instructor-led class time per week.

ENV 140: Solid and Hazardous Waste (3 credits)

The course is designed for undergraduate students to understand the fundamental principles and key technologies of solid and hazardous waste management. It encompasses environmental and health effects of solid and hazardous wastes as well as the legal and regulatory framework that relates to waste management. The course will cover various waste streams (household, commercial, industrial, medical, etc.) and central principles of their management, including collection, handling, sorting, transportation, reprocessing/recycling, and disposal. The course will also discuss waste minimization strategies, zero-waste approaches, reuse and recycle technologies, and waste-to-energy solutions. As a science-based, quantitative course, the lectures and discussions will be supplemented with learning activities, such as visits to waste disposal sites, scientific investigations, and numerical problem solving. Three hours of instructor-led class time per week.

ENV 170: Chemistry in Everyday Life (3 credits)

The course highlights and discusses the practical chemical world of human beings and the chemical nature of everyday processes. The role of chemistry in necessities of daily life such as the chemistry of life, agriculture, food, housing, healthcare, clothing, household goods (e.g., toys, furniture, etc.), transport and communications will be discussed. In addition the course will introduce various applications of chemistry in the area of arts, crime and law enforcement, consumer products, cosmetics and warfare. As a science-based, quantitative course, the course will teach students the methods of scientific inquiry, including experimental design and chemical analytical methods, data generation and analysis, and presentation of the final results. Instructor-led discussion, along with reading, written, and practical assignments.

ENV 202: Environmental Projects (3 credits) 

This upper division course is designed for undergraduate students to gain a deeper understanding and competence in environmental project design, implementation, and evaluation. The projects can be in technology, science, conservation, management, restoration, promotion/marketing, education, and other related topics. The course, however, emphasizes data collection and analysis for assessing the success and impact of project ideas. The students will design and complete a project for the course. The types of environmental projects will vary depending on student and faculty agreement. The projects may be related to the following broad topics: Clean technologies; IT, satellite, remote sensing solutions in environmental protection; alternative transport, clean transport; renewable-energy generation or energy efficiency; sustainable water use, solid waste management, sustainable agriculture and food production; mining pollution prevention/ management; forest protection/management/restoration; watershed protection/management/restoration; air-quality protection/management/restoration; and flora or fauna monitoring/conservation/restoration.

ENV 203: Environmental Monitoring (3 credits)

The course is to present general procedures, methods, theories and techniques in the monitoring programs for different environments. Environmental contamination in air, water and wastewater, soils, and food will be discussed with the emphasis on instrument selection and quality control, including documentation, calibration, and sample management. As a science-based, quantitative course, the course will teach students the methods of scientific inquiry, including planning and designing monitoring, biological and physical-chemical analytical methods, data generation and analysis, and effective presentation of the final results. Instructor-led discussion, along with reading, written, and practical assignments.

ENV 210: Disasters (3 credits)

Explores the history, fundamentals, principles, theories, and approaches of disaster management. Students study natural and manmade disasters and the planning and management tools available for preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. Topical investigations include: an overview of disaster management, the range of physical and human impacts, the role of decision-makers and the general public, and structural and non-structural techniques in this quantitative science course. Armenia specific cases and scenarios are also considered and discussed.

ENV 211: Sustainable Cities (3 credits)

The course will introduce the concept of sustainable cities—places where there is human prosperity, social equity, and environmental health. Special emphasis will be placed on the concepts and tools necessary to address the environmental sustainability of cities. The concepts and tools covered includes: a) urban metabolism (material and energy flows); b) urban ecology; c) disaster resilience; d) smart cities and data analytics; and e) role of integrated and inclusive urban planning and governance. Students are expected to collect, analyze and present data as well as assess the merits of analyses by others. Instructor-led discussion, along with reading, written, and practical assignments.

ENV 212: Mining (3 credits)

The course introduces the basic concepts of mineral exploration, ore extraction, mineral processing, and mine-waste management. The course will have a particular focus on related environmental, occupational safety, public health and social management issues and approaches. As a quantitative science course, emphasis will be placed on statistical, scientific, and engineering tools for understanding better management of mining operations. Additionally, the course will introduce some of the legal and policy topics related to good governance of the mining sector in a country. Both international and Armenia- specific cases will be used to highlight concepts and effective practices. Instructor-led discussion, along with reading, written, and practical assignments.

ENV 230: Water (3 credits)

Without adequate supply of freshwater our economies will not function and our health will not be secured. Human overuse and pollution of freshwater can also cause political conflict as well as damage ecosystems. This course will examine water from various perspectives including ecological, human health, resource stewardship, economic, and legal/political. Specific topics to be covered include water supply and use in manufacturing, mining, energy, agriculture and domestic life; potential for resource efficiency and optimization; water quality and types of water pollution, methods of testing and monitoring water quality and conditions of freshwater ecosystems; water purification and wastewater treatment; water planning and management tools/models including those for watersheds, surface, and ground water resources; new technologies, such as desalination, to access freshwater; and international and national laws on water. The course includes field and lab work opportunities as well as introductory approaches to modeling water systems.

ENV 250: Biodiversity: Conservation and Restoration (3 credits)

This course is designed for undergraduate students to develop basic quantitative skills for deeper understanding of the causes and consequences of the current worldwide loss of plant, animal and other species. The course will cover the theory and practice of managing endangered species and the conservation and restoration of habitats and species populations. The course will emphasize how to apply science and the scientific method in the conservation and restoration of biodiversity. Worldwide as well as Armenia-specific cases will reviewed. A key expected outcome of the course is students’ competence in measuring trends using statistics and computing useful measures and indices. Three hours of instructor-led class time per week.

ENV 251: Forests (3 credits)

Students will use statistical and scientific tools to gain a deeper understanding of forests, forest-related processes, and management of this critical resource. The course will offer an introduction to the types of forests worldwide, the role of forests in ecosystem that protect the living environment, and their significance to human economies and well-being. Students will gain insights in the ecosystem services that forests provide—for instance, their importance in climate and water-cycle regulation as well as biodiversity and soil protection. Forest management techniques and the role of good forest governance will be highlighted throughout the course. Topics will be supplemented by Armenia and Caucasus-specific cases and problem sets. Instructor-led discussion, along with reading, written, and practical assignments.

Graduate Course(s)

ENV 300: Natural Environment and Humans (1 credit)

The course is designed for graduate students from disparate disciplines to gain an overview of environmental principals and current environmental issues. The course will cover four broad areas. First it will discuss what ecosystems are, how they function, and the main processes keeping them stable. Second, it will review key environmental issues including climate change, loss of biodiversity, nitrogen and phosphorous cycle disruptions, eutrophication, chemical pollution (including persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals, particulate, etc.), degradation of natural habitats (deforestation, grasslands change and wetlands drainage), and so on. Third, basic environmental concepts, frameworks, and tools will be presented including sustainability, planetary boundary, ecological footprint, carbon footprint, and TRACI. Finally, the course will present broad review of regulatory and market-based policy directions employed to address environmental change. Topics will be supplemented by Armenia and Caucasus-specific cases.

ENV 320: Geographic Information Systems and Environmental Analysis (2 credits)

The course aims to introduce and develop introductory and intermediate skills in application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to visualize, analyze, and interpret relationships, patterns and trends in the fields of environmental management, public health, sustainable agriculture and transportation. GIS as a tool, however, is applicable to a wide variety of fields and industries, including marketing, logistics, urban development, and so on.  Students will also learn to use Global Positioning System (GPS) units to collect spatial data.    

ENV 321: Remote Sensing and Environmental Analysis (1 credit)

The course aims to provide a basic understanding of land-use mapping with remote-sensing techniques.The focus will be on multispectral remote sensing and pixel based image classification. For land use mapping, freely available satellite data from the Landsat mission will be used. Processing will be done with ArcMap10 or similar software.

ENV 330 (BUS 391): Business and Environmental Sustainability (1 credit)

The course is for graduate students with interest in business, management, and economics. It offers an overview of environmental challenges facing the planet today including climate change, loss of biodiversity, natural resource depletion, chemical pollution, and more. The course discusses corporate responses, political activist and governmental pressures on corporations, regulatory and market-based policy solutions, and technological innovations that are helping address these environmental challenges. Topics are supplemented by Armenia and Caucasus-specific cases.

ENV 360: Environmental Field Study (4 credits)

This four-credit class will be held during the spring and summer quarters, and meeting times will be by arrangement with the instructor. The class will prepare students to conduct independent research in the environmental sciences. The course will teach the competencies necessary to plan and implement data collection and write a scientific paper. The course will include a lab practicum on the determination of accuracy and precision in data collection as well as reading and discussion of the fallacies of logic and perception that may bias data interpretation. The course will culminate with a research report on original data collected in a field exercise. The field exercise may be coordinated with ongoing research in Armenia, and the course may be supplemented by seminars with visiting faculty and scientists.

ENV 390: Independent Research (6 credits)

The course is a continuation of previous, which  will culminate with a research report on original data collected in a field exercise.  The field exercise may be coordinated with ongoing research in Armenia, and the course may be supplemented by seminars with visiting faculty and scientists.

ENV 399: Special Topics: Fate and Transport Modeling (Summer 2016) (1 credit)

Course gives an introduction to the transport of inorganic and organic contaminants through the environment. This course will provide an introduction to environmental engineering; environmental and ecological systems; physical, chemical, and biological processes; water and wastewater treatment; air pollution; solid and hazardous wastes; and environmental regulations and impact assessment. Specific topics to be covered include: Mass Transport and Reaction; Water Supply; Water Quality: Pollutant Sources and Effects; Brief overview of Water/Wastewater Treatment; Surface Water Quality; Groundwater Quality; Solid and Hazardous Waste; Risk Assessment; Radiation and Radioactive Waste; Air pollution: Sources and Effects; Indoor Air Quality, Atmospheric Dispersion; and Global Environmental Issues. Particular emphasis will be placed on the human and environmental risk posed by the transport of inorganic and organic contaminants through the environment.

TEFL 330: Endangered Languages and Biodiversity (1 credit)

“About 70 percent of all languages currently spoken on Earth occur in approximately one-fourth of the planet’s land area (excluding Antarctica) that is designated as a Biodiversity Hotspot or High Biodiversity Wilderness Area. As is the case with species occurring in the biodiversity regions, many of the languages spoken in the Hotspots and High Biodiversity Wilderness Areas are unique to individual regions, thereby marking the sole opportunities to maintain them. Moreover, many of the languages occurring in these regions are spoken by small numbers of people indicating that much of the linguistic diversity (and, by implication, cultural diversity) currently present in biodiversity regions is in danger of disappearing in the foreseeable future due to the high vulnerability of small groups to changes in their cultural systems and environments amid rapid globalization.” From: http://users.ox.ac.uk/~romaine/lingbiodiversity.html. Through readings, class materials and lectures, this course introduces students to Earth’s Biodiversity Hotspots and the linguistic and cultural groups that live in these hotspots. The course is co-taught by ACE and TEFL and sensitizes students to current linguistic and biodiversity issues.

Courses in the Catalog but Not Currently Offered

ENV 301:  Environmental Policy (2 credits)

Environmental policy is a powerful tool, which puts into motion national and international strategies targeting environmental protection, bio-diversity conservation, and sustainable development. It establishes links between the theoretical knowledge on the environmental issues and practical efforts to address them; prepares the groundwork for the stakeholder dialogue and participation in environmental decision-making processes. The aim of this course is to make the students familiar with the basics of environmental policies. It will also introduce the tools and approaches that influence political decision-making processes in the field of environmental conservation and natural resource management.

ENV 302: Environmental Economics (2 credits)

The purpose of this course is to develop understanding of economic effects of environmental policies, including the costs and benefits of alternatives. The course will make students familiar with historic and modern economic paradigms and their environmental implications. During this course students will learn about economics of pollution, principles of sustainable management of resources  and protection of biodiversity. The attention also will be paid to the issues of pollution control and environmental protection, where costs and benefits are difficult to estimate, and much of subject matter failing outside the competitive market system. It is an area where common property resources need to be allocated sensibly to the public goods. The ways of achieving sensible allocations such as emission and effluent charges, “user charges” or disposal of waste, environmental taxes and tradable pollution rights will be discussed. One of the major topics of the course are an assessment of the economic value of the environment, including direct and indirect use values, lost of recreational trips and hedonic methods. The attention also will be paid to environmental compliance issue and cost-benefit analysis of environmental impacts and environmental policies. Students will learn about relations of environmental economics and other fields, including ecological economics. The course will be concluded by future trends of the subject, including trends of environmental policies from global and country level perspectives.

ENV 303: Sustainable Development (2 credits)

The purpose of this course is to develop general understanding about the paradigm of sustainable development and how this concept is translated into policy-making. Three elements of the concept are presented step by step: economic development, social change and conservation of environment. The course begins with reviewing the last 60 years of world development, exploring the inception of the SD concept, and international efforts undertaken in the mainstream of this concept since early 70s. Then the focus shifts to economic policy and discusses economic growth vs. economic development.  The course next moves to the issues of social change, addressing poverty, hunger, entitlement and public participation in decision-making. The course further dwells upon issues of democracy, governance, and human freedoms as factors of development. Next the instructor turns to the issues of overpopulation, scarcity of natural resources and impact on sustainable development. The attention then turns to sustainable management of natural resources and sound environmental practices. The course concludes with the overview of national development strategies and international development efforts to achieve broad-based sustainable development.
All the issues presented in the course are studied in strong relationship with the local setup in Armenia in order to deepen students’ understanding of the current stage of development in Armenia and country’s prospects for sustainable future.

ENV 304 (IE 399): Built Environment and Biodiversity (3 credits)

AUA ACE has also partnered in organizing special courses for groups and professionals that do not traditionally see their work related to the environment. In 2012, AUA ACE participated in offering a course, which included intensive field research, called the Built Environment and Biodiversity. The course was offered in cooperation with the United Nations University and the AUA College of Science and Engineering. The course introduced the topic of biodiversity preservation to architecture, urban planning, and landscape architecture students.

ENV 310: Ecology, Biodiversity, and the Future (2 credits) 

This course will focus on the principles of ecology and the maintenance of biodiversity.  Threats to biodiversity such as deforestation and invasive species will be discussed as well as efforts to maintain biodiversity such as natural reserves, reserve design, and ecological restoration. The course will include lectures and discussions on these topics and include one day-long field trip.  20 hours of classroom meetings and one field trip outside of class will be required.

ENV 311: Environmental Science and Conservation (2 credits) 

The health of Armenia’s environment is critical to the sustainable development of the Republic. Environmental Science and Conservation introduces the fundamental concepts of environmental science and conservation in an Armenian context. Topics covered include human population growth, ecosystem theory, water resources, water pollution, air pollution, ozone depletion, global warming and local climate change, soil degradation, energy resources, solid waste management, and biodiversity. 20 hours of classroom meetings and one field trip outside of class will be required.

ENV 312: Environmental Ornithology (2 credits) 

The course consists of 10 lessons (20 hours). Each lesson will be dedicated to a group of birds (such as Raptors, Woodpeckers, Waterbirds, etc). The birds are taken as means of explanation of current environmental threats. During each class you will learn some peculiarities of ecology with the help of each bird group and also will learn how to recognize birds and how to identify them in nature.