Accelerated Introduction to GIS

This course serves as an introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS). It is designed to provide students with basic concepts, principles and applications of GIS and their use in the decision-making process pertaining to natural resource management. Students will perform practical exercises using ESRI's ArcGIS software, the industry standard in GIS applications.

Air Quality Assessment and Management

Air Quality Assessment and Management introduces the principles of air quality engineering and science. Topics include: health and welfare effects of air pollution, ecosystem and materials damage, water acidification, visibility degradation, and climate change. We will examine air quality conditions and trends in the U.S. and abroad, sources of air pollutants and efforts to control them, air quality assessment methods and their limitations, case studies, and laws and regulations that provide the impetus for air quality management

Applied Ecology

Basic principles of environmental science relating to ecosystems, biodiversity, issues of populations and exponential growth, and energy recycling.

Building Environmental Control Systems

California Ecosystems

Climate Change: Global Processes Ecological Perspectives

This Climate Change course focuses on the natural processes and anthropogenic activities that are key forces in initiating and determining changes in Earth’s environment on regional and global scales. Lectures will provide 1) an overview of Earth’s dynamic environmental history relative to the biosphere, including methods used to reconstruct past climates and detect current trends; 2) descriptions of global processes and anthropogenic influences that affect climate; 3) discussions of apparent and potential impacts of climate change on organisms and ecosystems; and 4) perspectives on future predictions and modeling efforts.

Climate Change Mitigation

Recognizing that human activity is altering the earth’s climate, this course focuses on climate change mitigation options for changing human activities and reducing emissions of greenhouse gasses to avert negative climate change impacts. Working seminar-style, we examine efforts to develop and implement climate policies at multiple levels: international agreements (e.g., United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol, current COP agreements, alternative agreements), regional policies (e.g., European Union), and US national and state policies (especially California). We also discuss non-governmental and private sectors efforts on climate change mitigation. To understand the structure and effectiveness of different agreements, we examine major sources of greenhouse gas emissions and ways of reducing them, ranging from automobile fuel economy standards to carbon caps and trading mechanisms. Course readings, the latest climate news, and current research inform our discussion.


The required Ecoscience course for first-year MSEM students focuses on principles of ecology and their application to management. Topics include species distributions, population growth and ecology, community interactions (competition, predation, etc.), ecosystem dynamics and energy flows, and landscape ecology. A component of the course will focus on synthesizing and critiquing scientific literature.

Energy Auditing

Energy Resources and Environment

An examination of the present and potential future energy trends from national and global perspectives. Energy usage and its impact on the environment will be emphasized, as well as economic, technical, political and sustainability issues. Specific areas to be explored include fossil fuels, renewable energy sources, alternative transportation in automobiles, current gasoline/crude oil supply issues, California electricity problems and greenhouse warming issues.

Environmental Chemistry

The required course in Environmental Chemistry serves as an introduction to major topics in the chemistry of the environment and the role of environmental chemistry in environmental management. Major topics will include the chemistry of photochemical smog, aquatic systems, water quality parameters, distribution and behavior of chemical species in the environment, microbiological processes, and aspects of toxic organic substances. The application of fundamental chemical principles will be emphasized, including: molecular structure, intermolecular interactions, reaction mechanisms, kinetics, equilibrium, solubility, acid-base chemistry, and oxidation-reduction reactions.

Environmental Economics I and II

Principles of economics applied to environmental management. The first course focuses on externalities and public goods, exploring methods for valuing ecosystem services, and evaluating the economics of various regulatory approaches including taxes, tradable permits, and privatization. The second course focuses on resource degradation and depletion, focusing on the economics of water use and energy use.

Environmental Engineering I - Pollutant Fate and Transport in Surface Water and Air

Essentials of environmental engineering synthesized for the non-engineer. Principles of pollutant transport in surface water and the atmosphere. Students will use simple models to estimate changes in surface water pollution concentrations resulting from operational changes at discharge sources. For indoor and outdoor air, students will model pollution concentrations and the influence of ventilation patterns, stack height, meteorology and atmospheric stability.

Environmental Engineering II - Contaminant Transport in Groundwater

Environmental Engineering II builds upon the concepts of Env. Engineering I: Contaminant Transport in Surface Water and Air (ENVS 654). The course adds an understanding of groundwater issues and a basic understanding of computer modeling. The course emphasizes quantitative analysis, exploring hydro-geologic factors affecting pollutant transport including heterogeneity, anisotropy, soil type, and geological setting. Students will learn fundamental pollution control and capture techniques for groundwater pollution, and will gain appreciation of handling uncertainty in analysis.

Environmental Health and Epidemiology

Overview of fundamental issues involved in environmental health and epidemiology.

Environmental Law

State and federal laws dealing with impacts on the environment and human health. Includes legal theory and case applications.

Environmental Ethics

This course examines topics in contemporary environmental ethics.  Students are asked to think critically about ethical issues facing the global environmental community. We begin by reviewing ethical reasoning and traditional perspectives about morality and the environment. We then explore cross-disciplinary models of thought such as economics, game theory, and evolutionary psychology by applying them to environmental dilemmas such as global warming, valuing non-human species and biodiversity.

Environmental Policy and Politics

Public issues and political bodies that fashion and implement environmental public policy.

Environmental Risk Assessment

A variety of examples of environmental and health risk analysis from regions and locations in California, the U.S. and throughout the world.

Environmental Risk Management

Application of risk analysis, data for risk management and decision making and problem solving by environmental process management.

Environmental Toxicology

Fundamentals of toxicology - includes sampling and measurement of toxicants and examination of properties of toxic substances and their disposition and metabolism.

Field Survey Management

Green Building

Management of Chemical and Hazardous Materials

Practical aspects of hazardous material and waste management in industry and society, and resource recovery of hazardous waste streams.

Management and Environmental Management Systems - Theory and Practice

Basic theories and practices of organizational management as useful to environmental professionals.

Marine Resources

The Marine Resource course will explore the major issues facing our oceans. We will cover the basic principles of oceanography (e.g., ocean circulation, primary production, chemical constituents) to build a foundation for understanding anthropogenic impacts on the biogeochemistry of the oceans. Then, we will look at how anthropogenic activities and global warming may impact the oceans, particularly the carbon cycle. We will review the literature on how ocean acidification may affect organisms (including coral reefs). We will examine the problem of overfishing and the effects of aquaculture, a pressing problem because at least one-third of U.S. fisheries are currently overfished. Our discussions of these topics will review current management strategies and potential alternatives.

Master's Project

The Master’s Project is the required capstone research project for MSEM. Students critically evaluate and integrate available knowledge on an environmental management issue of their choosing. Students present their research findings and management recommendations in a written report and a conference-style presentation.

Natural Resource Management

This course serves as an introduction to resource management with an emphasis on ecosystem management. Known also as community-based conservation, adaptive management or landscape-level conservation, this new approach combines basic principles of conservation biology integrated with practical aspects of human dimensions for a more holistic approach to environmental planning. Ecosystem management is a concept for dealing with larger spatial scales, longer time frames, and many more variables (ecological, economic, and social) than have commonly been considered in past management approaches.

Remote Sensing and GIS Resource Assessment

Overview of mechanisms for incorporating resource assessment data into resource management decisions.

Research Methods

Research Methods will introduce you to the nature and conduct of research in an environmental science and management context. You will learn the important processes of formulating a research question, developing a testable hypothesis, and justifying the proposed research based on a critical analysis of relevant peer-reviewed literature. You will also gain understanding of multiple research methods, qualitative and quantitative, the peer review and response process as it works in scientific context, as well as ethical considerations in research. This course will help hone your skills in critical analysis, writing, and presentations, all essential for any environmental professional. This course will also facilitate your undertaking of the Master’s Project.

Restoration Ecology

Overview of concepts and practices in restoration ecology. Emphasis on application of ecological principles in restoration design, implementation and monitoring.

Sustainable Design

Sustainable Transportation

Urban Adaptation to Climate Change

Water Quality Assessment and Management

Water quality criteria and standards, water and wastewater technology and principles of design and operation.

Wetland Delineation

Wetland Ecology

A comprehensive overview of wetland ecosystems. Includes an overview of physical and biological components of wetlands (hydrology, soils, wetland plants and animals), a survey of wetland types from around the world, and a review of wetland management policies with a focus on wetland delineation issues and wetland restoration.