Undergraduate Course(s)


ENV 101: Introduction to Environmental Sciences (3 credits)

The course is designed for students to gain an understanding of basic principles of environmental sciences, including an introduction to the structure and functioning of ecosystems and their physical and biogeochemical cycles. The course will emphasize the importance of these processes for human health as well as human impact on these processes. Specific topics to be covered include but are not limited to biodiversity, 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. Instructor-led discussion along with reading, writing, presenting and practical assignments.

ENV 105: Numbers, Responsibility, and the Environment (3 credits)

The course is a practical introduction to basic quantitative and statistical techniques that can be applied to environmental studies. Students will learn techniques to identify, organize, verify, and understand data, including analyzing trends and tendencies. The course will emphasize the importance of ethical and responsible use of data and information. Each topic will begin with an introduction to a numerical or statistical concept followed by the application of that concept on a real world environmental challenge or opportunity. Students will use basic data analysis tools such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.

ENV 110: Fundamentals of Climate Change (3 credits)

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity today. The course will take a multidisciplinary approach to understanding its causes and consequences as well as responses to this challenge. The course will explore the science, economics, and politics of climate change. Key international and Armenia-specific literature, case studies, and social and political movements around climate change will be reviewed and discussed. The course will require students to participate in a simulated multi-stakeholder and multinational negotiations on addressing climate change.

ENV 120: Sustainable Food Systems (3 credits)

This course provides fundamental knowledge of food systems, including their economics and environmental sustainability aspects. This entails the description of primary agricultural resources and inputs, production technologies, post-harvest handling, and food waste, logistics, and marketing. Students will also learn developments in the food industry such as genetically modified organisms, organic agriculture, fair trade, and reduction of food loss. Three hours of instructor-led class time per week.

ENV 130: Plants and Society (3 credits)

This interdisciplinary course enables students to explore the relationship between plants and people and the role of plants in shaping human societies throughout millennia. The course will discuss current environmental challenges related to human relationship with plants, such as food security, forest ecosystem integrity, and more. Through focusing on plants’ impacts on human societies the course is specifically designed to increase students’ awareness and understanding of diverse regions, cultures, and societies within the context of contemporary global challenges.

ENV 140: Waste in Circular Economy (3 credits)

Producing waste seems to be an unavoidable result of human activity. But how can we minimize producing such waste? How can we extract value from these? The course will discuss the fundamental principles of sustainable waste management from environmental, technological, social, and business viewpoints. The course will cover various types of waste, including food, packaging, plastics, paper, clothes, electronics, and more. The course will focus on the circular economy solutions discussing waste reduction strategies, green product design, reuse and recycling practices, zero-waste lifestyle, waste-to-energy, composting, biogas production, and more. Field visits to waste treatment facilities may be part of the course.

ENV 150: Basics of Sustainable Energy (3 credits)

The course focuses on sustainable generation and use of energy. Topics will include identifying, evaluating and managing sustainable energy use and generation in homes, buildings, industry, cities, and nationally. Specific topics shall include energy efficiency, lighting, centralized renewable energy generation, distributed renewable energy generation, smart grids, e-transportation, energy storage, as well as sustainable energy policies. Students will have an understanding of sustainable energy from the environmental, economic, and social perspectives. Students will be evaluated based on individual or group projects and written examinations. Instructor-led class time. Not available to ENGS students.

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) 

New Course Description: This course is designed for undergraduate students to gain competence in designing, implementing, and evaluating projects that address environmental issues. Students will work on semester-long group projects which would start from the design of project proposals, and culminate with round-table discussions on each of the implemented projects. The project topics could relate to issues such as: environmental education, resource management (such as waste, energy, soil, water, etc.), sustainable food systems, air quality, forest management or restoration, among other topics. The course includes several in-class simulations using case studies on environmental issues relevant globally and to Armenia. The course uses a project-based learning approach, where student evaluation will be based on their performance in their project, their participation during the in-class simulations and activities, as well as examinations.

Prerequisite: Any lower-division ENV course

ENV 203: Environmental Monitoring (3 credits)

The course will present general procedures, methods, theories, and techniques in the monitoring of environments. Contamination of air, water, soils, and food will be discussed with the emphasis on instrument selection and quality control, including documentation, calibration, and sample management. Classical monitoring schemes, as well as new and innovative techniques will be compared and evaluated. Local and regional data will be introduced and analyzed. The course will emphasize the methods of scientific inquiry, including planning and designing monitoring, sampling, biological and physical-chemical analytical methods, data generation and analysis, and effective presentation of the final results. Instructor-led discussion, along with reading, data-mining, presenting, written, and practical assignments. The course also includes lab and field work opportunities.

Prerequisite:  ENV 101 Introduction to Environmental Science

ENV 204: Environmental Decision Tools: EIA, CIA, SEA, CBA (3 credits)

When a project (e.g., a hydro-power plant, a highway, or a mine) is built or a program/policy (e.g., promoting agriculture, regulating car emissions, or increasing waste disposal fees) is adopted, it could impact the natural environment (air, water, soil, flora, fauna, and ecosystems) and the human environment (resettlement of populations, noise, dust, odors, vibrations, obstruction of views, etc.). How do we understand these impacts and inform project design and policy formulation to minimize, mitigate, or eliminate negative impacts? This course will discuss the tools available and commonly used to do this: Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA), Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), and economic cost-benefit analysis (CBA). The course will also highlight the role of ecosystem services valuation as a relatively new concept that can enhance the effectiveness of decision-making tools introduced in the course. Instructor-led discussions and written assignments. PRE-REQUISITES: None but ENV 101 recommended.

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. This will be examined within the larger context of urban aspirations including green or eco-cities, smart cities, creative cities, resilient cities, and more. Special emphasis will be placed on the concepts and tools necessary to address the environmental sustainability of cities including its resource metabolism, ecology, and built environment impacts. Specific topics may include transportation, land use, energy, water, biodiversity and more. The course will also examine the 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.

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 and 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, use, and recycling 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 may include field and lab work opportunities.

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 be 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.

ENV 290: Special Topics in Environmental Sciences (3 credits)

The course covers a selected topic of current interest. Topics to be announced prior to course registration.

Prerequisite: May vary; to be announced prior to course registration.


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 325: Urban Environmental Mapping – Field Application of Sensing and Visualization Tools (3 credits)

The course is on spatio-temporal mapping of urban environments, with particular emphasis on field application of sensor and visualization technologies. The course will introduce the theoretical and technical framework of urban environmental data acquisition and visualization using readily available sensing kits and the state-of- the-art mapping platforms. The course promotes active student participation. Students will become familiar and apply the following software tools: ArcGIS or QGIS (open-source), Rhino3D, Grasshopper3D, Arduino Program, and Grasshopper plug-in for Arduino I/O. The course will culminate in composition and presentation of a 5-minute videos that will document the students’ works. These video documentations will be publicly exhibited. Instructor-led classes and fieldwork.

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.