Environmental Studies

Program Overview

The Bachelor of Arts Degree in Environmental Studies is designed to meet the interests of students wishing to address environmental issues through multiple disciplinary perspectives, including relevant sciences as well as social and political aspects. The program is meant for students who are interested in careers in environmental policy, advocacy, justice, nonprofit organizations, ecotourism and other related career opportunities; or graduate school in non-science focused environmental and other disciplines, including environmental law.

Note: This B.A. program is not designed to prepare students for graduate level science programs, nor is it designed to enable students to gain employment as professional scientists.  Consider the B.S. in environmental science if you plan to pursue either of these career steps.

Curriculum Overview

The curriculum for this major focuses on the interdisciplinary nature of the environment by offering classes that give students a strong basis of science preparatory material while also offering a unique, interdisciplinary, hands on approach to learning. Students take introductory courses in foundational classes in chemistry, physics, biology, environmental sciences and geosciences, followed by more in-depth course work focused on the environmental sciences. 

Honors Program in Environmental Studies

Graduation with honors in Environmental Studies is awarded in recognition of majors who have demonstrated outstanding academic ability. Enrollment in the program is by invitation of the faculty of the Department of Geological, Environmental, and Marine Sciences (GEMS). Eligibility requirements include a minimum GPA of 3.5 in courses required for the major and the satisfactory completion of a three- or four-credit independent research and study course. In addition an honors candidate must maintain an overall minimum GPA of 3.0.

Degrees Offered

  • B.A. in Environmental Studies

Contact

Kathleen M. Browne, Ph.D.
GEMS Chairperson
Science and Technology Center 324C
609-896-5408
browne@rider.edu

Program Website:  Environmental Studies
Associated Department: Department of Geological, Environmental, and Marine Sciences (GEMS)

Related Programs 

Environmental Studies Major Requirements

(56-57 credits)

2017 General Education Requirements45-46
Geological and Marine Sciences
ENV 100Introduction to Environmental Sciences4
ENV 100LIntroduction to Environmental Sciences Lab0
ENV 200Statistical and Computer Applications in the Natural Sciences4
ENV 205Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (also cross listed as GLS-205)3
ENV 220Weather and Climate Change3
GEO 100Earth Systems Science3
or GEO 113 Environmental Geology (also cross listed as GLS-113)
GEO 102Earth Materials and Processes Lab1
Geological, Environmental, and Marine Sciences Upper Level Elective
Select one of the following:3-4
Environmental Field Methods and Data Analysis
Environmental Biogeochemistry
Soil and Surficial Processes
Hydrology and Water Resources
Biology
BIO 115Principles of Biology I4
BIO 115LPrinciples of Biology I Lab0
BIO 116Principles of Biology II4
BIO 116LPrinciples of Biology II Lab0
BIO 350General Ecology4
BIO 350LGeneral Ecology Lab0
Chemistry
CHE 120Principles of Chemistry3
CHE 121Principles of Chemistry Lab1
Physics
PHY 100Principles of Physics I3
PHY 100LPrinciples of Physics I Lab1
Policy and Humanities9
Select three from the following list:
American Environmental History
Environmental Ethics
Environmental Policy
Comparative Environmntl Policy
Policy and Humanity Electives6
Select two of the following not already selected above:
Technology and Science in America
Honors Sem: Natural Adventures
Honors Seminar: Science and Politics of the Jersey Shoreline
Honors Seminar: The Environment: a Conflict of Interest
American Environmental History
Nature's Business (for some reason this course is not in the current catalog, it should be)
Environmental Policy
Environmental Ethics
Comparative Environmntl Policy
Geopolitics of Energy
Population Study
Total Credits101-103

Environmental Studies Majors also will take either MTH 105 or MTH 210 to satisfy the CLAS core requirement.

Academic Plan of Study

The following educational plan is provided as a sample only.  Rider students who do not declare a major during their freshman year; who change their major; or those who transfer to Rider may follow a different plan to ensure a timely graduation.  Each student, with guidance from his or her academic advisor, will develop a personalized educational plan.

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
Fall SemesterCredits
CMP 120 Expository Writing 1 3
ENV 100 Introduction to Environmental Sciences 4
ENV 100L Introduction to Environmental Sciences Lab 0
BIO 115 Principles of Biology I 4
BIO 115L Principles of Biology I Lab 0
MTH 105
Algebra and Trigonometry 1
or Calculus I
4
NCT 010 Freshman Seminar 0
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
CMP 125 Research Writing 3
GEO 100
Earth Systems Science
or Environmental Geology (also cross listed as GLS-113)
3
GEO 102 Earth Materials and Processes Lab 1
Foreign Language Core (Level 1) 3
Social Science Core (1 of 2) 3
Fine Arts Core 3
 Semester Credit Hours16
Year 2
Fall Semester
CHE 120 Principles of Chemistry 3
CHE 121 Principles of Chemistry Lab 1
ENV 200 Statistical and Computer Applications in the Natural Sciences 4
BIO 272 Intro to Marine Biology 3
BIO 272L Marine Biology Laboratory 1
Foreign Language Core (Level 2) 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
CHE 122 Intro to Chemical Systems 3
CHE 123 Quantitative Methods Lab 1
Social Science Core (2 of 2) 3
Philosophy Core (Any PHL Course or AMS 227) 3
English Literature Core 3
Elective Course Credits 2 3
 Semester Credit Hours16
Year 3
Fall Semester
PHY 100 Principles of Physics I 3
PHY 100L Principles of Physics I Lab 1
ENV 205 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (also cross listed as GLS-205) 3
BIO 350 General Ecology 4
HIS 150 World History to 1500 3
 Semester Credit Hours14
Spring Semester
GEO 350
Soil and Surficial Processes
or Hydrology and Water Resources
4
BCH 225 Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry 4
Group A, B or C Environmental Science Elective 2 3-4
HIS 151 World History Since 1500 3
 Semester Credit Hours14-15
Year 4
Fall Semester
Five Elective Course Credits 2 15
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
GEO 350
Soil and Surficial Processes
or Hydrology and Water Resources
4
Four Elective Courses 2 12
 Semester Credit Hours16
 Total Credits121-122

Note: Natural and Physical Science core requirements are included in the major.

1

 For course placement information see http://www.rider.edu/offices-services/orientation/course-placement

2

 Please note that elective credits may be used to complete requirements in a second major or minor.

Courses and Descriptions

AMS 304 Technology and Science in America 3 Credits

An overview of the development and impact of technology and science on American institutions. Topics include innovation, economic growth, science and its relation to technology, social theory, and the politics of science.

BHP 231 Honors Seminar: Natural Adventures 3 Credits

Examines connections among environmental history, biology, and ecology. Human attitudes toward the natural environment are complex and have changed overtime, ranging from terror to exaltation from exploitation to preservation. Focus will be on the impact of changes in human land use and technology on natural ecosystems, exploring feedbacks between the two. Hands-on experiences will supplement readings from the primary literature both in science and history as well as literary explorations of nature.

BHP 232 Honors Seminar: Science and Politics of the Jersey Shoreline 3 Credits

Designed to acquaint the student with the scientific basis for evaluation of coastal problems and the political realities of funding and policy, focusing on the New Jersey Shoreline. Course topics will include consideration of waste disposal in ocean systems, depletion of ocean resources, physical and biological ramifications of human activities on the environment, and the political problems in dealing with mitigation of environmental stresses.

BHP 259 Honors Seminar: The Environment: a Conflict of Interest 3 Credits

Examines critical environmental issues such as global warming; food, water and energy resources; population trends; and global industrialization. Topics for context will include the origin of the elements, the origin of solar systems, and the origin of life as well as the basic principles of the current biotechnical revolution. Scientific understanding will be combined with knowledge about strategies for raising community awareness in order to (re)formulate public policy. In teams, students will be asked to define the problems; research available and prospective solutions; identify the technical, social, political, and economic constraints; and finally propose a workable strategy for making progress toward solutions.

BIO 115 Principles of Biology I 4 Credits

An introductory biology course focusing on major themes of biology: what is life?; Cells as fundamental structure and functional unit of life; information transmission, storage and retrieval; Diversity and unity of life explained by evolution. Three hours of lecture and one three- hour lab per week.

Corequisite(s): BIO 115L.

BIO 115L Principles of Biology I Lab 0 Credits

This lab is a co-requisite and must be taken with the corresponding course.

Corequisite(s): BIO 115.

BIO 116 Principles of Biology II 4 Credits

An introductory biology course focusing on major themes of biology: Energy and matter to carry out life's essential functions; Interdependent relationships characterize biological systems (homeostasis, growth & development); Behavior of living things; Ecology and the environment. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour lab per week.

Corequisite(s): BIO 116L.

BIO 116L Principles of Biology II Lab 0 Credits

This lab is a co-requisite and must be taken with the corresponding course.

Corequisite(s): BIO 116.

BIO 350 General Ecology 4 Credits

An investigation of the processes that regulate the distribution of plants and animals throughout the biosphere. Relationships among species and their interactions with the environment are stressed. Quantitative analyses of experimental results and current research in basic and applied ecology are discussed. Laboratory activities explore conceptual models using both field activities and computer simulations. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour lab per week. One Saturday field trip (laboratory time will be adjusted accordingly). Prerequisite(s): BIO 115, BIO 116, with a grade of “C” or better in each course.

Corequisite(s): BIO 350L.

BIO 350L General Ecology Lab 0 Credits

This lab is a co-requisite and must be taken with the corresponding course.

Corequisite(s): BIO 350.

CHE 120 Principles of Chemistry 3 Credits

For students who have successfully completed one year of high school chemistry. This systematic study of the fundamental principles and concepts of chemistry covers atomic structure, bonding, stoichiometric relationships, including solution and oxidation-reduction reactions, and molecular structure. Three hours of lecture per week. Prerequisite(s): High school chemistry or CHE 100 is recommended before taking this course.

Corequisite(s): CHE 121.

CHE 121 Principles of Chemistry Lab 1 Credits

For students concurrently taking CHE 120. Experiments involve gravimetric, volumetric, and spectrophotometric quantitative analysis. One three-hour lab per week. Fall.

ENV 100 Introduction to Environmental Sciences 4 Credits

Examines how ecosystems function, with emphasis on the interactions between biological organisms and their physical environment, and the chemical processes that govern these interactions. The impact of human populations on natural ecosystems is investigated in detail using case studies from history and current events. The laboratory provides for hands-on experiences and/or short field trips to local sites for a better understanding of many of the concepts discussed. Weekday and weekend field trips may be required. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour lab per week.

Corequisite(s): ENV 100L.

ENV 100L Introduction to Environmental Sciences Lab 0 Credits

This lab is a co-requisite and must be taken with the corresponding course.

Corequisite(s): ENV 100.

ENV 200 Statistical and Computer Applications in the Natural Sciences 4 Credits

This course introduces important statistical concepts, their application, and the usage of computer technology relevant to biological, environmental, geological, and marine problems. Students will learn various graphical and statistical techniques and how to execute them on personal computers. The curriculum emphasizes the integrated nature of these techniques and their importance to meaningful data evaluation and representation. Laboratory exercises are designed to emphasize useful solutions to problems found in many scientific disciplines using computer-based methodologies. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour lab per week.

Corequisite(s): ENV 200L.

ENV 200L Statistical and Computer Applications in the Natural Sciences Lab 0 Credits

This lab is a co-requisite and must be taken with the corresponding course.

Corequisite(s): ENV 200.

ENV 205 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (also cross listed as GLS-205) 3 Credits

This course introduces the computer-based concepts and skills of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). It covers the basic GIS concepts, such as map characteristics and projections, spatial data models and analysis, and relational databases. It explores data sources, data quality, and metadata, as well as implementation and management of specific GIS projects. Hands-on experience with ArcGIS software is provided through a series of student exercises completed throughout the semester. Students will also be taught how to process both vector and raster data using ArcGIS software. The course is relevant for students from numerous disciplines in the natural sciences, social sciences, and business, which require the analysis and graphical representation of spatial data. Three hours of lecture per week. Note: This course is cross-listed as GLS 205. Students may not receive credit for both ENV 205 and GLS 205.

ENV 220 Weather and Climate Change 3 Credits

This course introduces students to the concepts of weather and climate change. These concepts frame a continuum from short-term or daily changes in the atmosphere (meteorology) to those changes averaged over much longer periods of time (climatology). Students will learn the fundamentals of weather forecasting, the causes of natural variation in the Earth’s climate, and the impact of human actions on the Earth’s climate. Connections will be drawn to other current issues in the Earth system, including land use change, biodiversity, and pollution. Three hours of lecture per week.

Prerequisite(s): GEO 100 or permission of instructor.

ENV 340 Environmental Field Methods and Data Analysis 3 Credits

This course will provide students with practical experience in field methods and data analyses within the environmental sciences. The course will include advanced activities incorporating field-based exercises, GIS analyses, statistical analyses, and database management. Students will also complete an independent project focused on a relevant topic. Local field trips during lab and on weekends may be required.

Prerequisite(s): MTH 105, GEO 100, GEO 102, and ENV 100; or Permission of Instructor.

ENV 375 Environmental Biogeochemistry 3 Credits

This course examines the biogeochemical interactions among various environmental components, including water, rock, soil, organisms, and atmosphere. Covered topics focus on the relation between the biosphere and changes in the Earth’s environment and atmosphere. The transfer of energy and nutrients within terrestrial ecosystems also is explored. Case studies from various examples will be used to understand ecosystem dynamics. Long-term environmental change and present-day ecosystem restoration activities are examined in the context of biotic offsets and land-use planning. The biogeochemical cycles of some environmentally sensitive compounds and elements in natural systems, such pesticides, mercury, and lead, also may be examined. Three hours of lecture per week.

Prerequisite(s): GEO 100 or GEO 113, CHE 120, CHE 121, CHE 122, CHE 123.

GEO 100 Earth Systems Science 3 Credits

Investigates the major global processes that occur on Earth. These processes can be grouped into four major systems: atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and cosmosphere. Each system interacts with and affects the other systems creating, in a sense, a single Earth process. With this approach, the student will view the Earth as a whole, and understand that the many seemingly separate components that make up this planet are, in fact, a set of interacting processes, that operate in cycles through time, within a single global system. Three hours of lecture per week.

GEO 102 Earth Materials and Processes Lab 1 Credits

A hands-on laboratory experience involving the origin, significance, identification, and classification of Earth materials and processes. Mineral and rock specimens, soil and water samples, and topographic and geologic maps are utilized. Numerous field trips to local sites help students visualize many of the concepts discussed. One three-hour lab per week.

Prerequisite(s): concurrent enrollment in, or prior completion of, GEO 100 or GEO 113 is required.

GEO 113 Environmental Geology (also cross listed as GLS-113) 3 Credits

Examines the fundamental premise that “our society exists by geologic consent subject to change without notice” by studying a number of important geologic processes and cycles, and the hazards and/or resources they present to individuals, society, and the natural environment. Topics discussed include earthquakes, volcanism, stream flooding, coastal erosion, climate change, and water, soil, mineral, and energy resources. Cost/benefit considerations, hazard mitigation concepts, economic and political ramifications, and the interactions among the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere also are presented. The course is designed to give non-science majors a deeper appreciation of their connection to the surrounding geologic environment, leading to better, more informed business, political, policy, and personal decisions. Three hours of lecture per week. Note: This course is cross-listed as GLS 113. Students may not get credit for both GEO 113 and GLS 113.

GEO 350 Soil and Surficial Processes 4 Credits

This course examines the physical, chemical, hydrological, and biological aspects of soil and their relation to geomorphologic development. Specific topics include descriptions of soil texture and structures, soil classification, soil colloids, soil redox and pH, and their effect on vadose zone water chemistry. Soil genesis and erosion controls, microbiology/ecology, nutrient cycles, and modern soil pollution from sludge and pesticide applications, as well as domestic and industrial chemical spills, also are discussed. The lab portion of the course introduces the basic techniques of soil analysis, both physical and chemical, and field survey methods. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour lab per week. Prerequisite(s): GEO 100 or GEO 113, and GEO 102.

Corequisite(s): GEO 350L.

GEO 350L Soil and Surficial Processes Lab 0 Credits

This lab is a co-requisite and must be taken with the corresponding course.

Corequisite(s): GEO 350.

GEO 407 Hydrology and Water Resources 4 Credits

This course introduces the principles that govern both surface water and groundwater flows that have applications to societal water needs. Surface water topics cover the basics of the hydrologic cycle, the processes of precipitation, evapotranspiration, runoff, and infiltration, and various factors affecting water supply and water quality issues in a modern watershed. Groundwater topics examine the principles that govern flow through a porous medium and the basics of well hydraulics under different pumping conditions that community development requires. Laboratory exercises will give students hands-on experience with the delineation of watersheds, analysis of precipitation data, and flow contaminant transport modeling. The field portion of the laboratory includes runoff and stream discharge measurements, as well as hydraulic conductivity estimations from both slug and pumping tests. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour lab per week. Prerequisite(s): GEO 100 or GEO 113, GEO 102, and MTH 105.

Corequisite(s): GEO 407L.

GEO 407L Hydrology and Water Resources Lab 0 Credits

This lab is a co-requisite and must be taken with the corresponding course.

Corequisite(s): GEO 407.

HIS 224 American Environmental History 3 Credits

Surveys the history of the North American environment from pre-Columbian times through the 20th century. Topics include Native American uses of the environment; the reshaping of ecosystems under European colonization; U.S. frontier expansion; the ecological impact of industrialization and urbanization; and the rise of the environmental movement.

IND 316 Nature's Business 3 Credits

This interdisciplinary, team-taught, experiential learning course brings together various science, liberal arts, and business perspectives in examining the relationships among biological, social, environmental, economic, geological, and political issues. Topics to be discussed and researched by students can include, but are not limited to, ecotourism, sustainable development, biodiversity, local and regional environmental and historical geology, cultural norms, and the legal and political systems of the country being visited. The study tour component of the course provides students with a first-hand opportunity to observe and record field data from settings outside of the United States and in their discipline of interest. Typically, there are approximately 12 hours of pre-trip lectures, seminars, and/or faculty/student presentations during the fall semester, an international study tour, 9-14 days in length, during January (exact dates and length depend on the international location), and approximately three hours of post-trip meetings, seminars, and student presentations during the spring semester. Students enroll in the course during the spring semester. Note: This course is cross-listed as CBA 316; Students may not get credit for both CBA 316 and IND 316. For Business students who take the course as CBA 316, the course will count as a business course. If taken as IND 316, the Business student will receive credit as a liberal arts and science course.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of Instructor.

PHL 215 Environmental Ethics 3 Credits

A comprehensive introduction to environmental ethics that examines the major theoretical approaches, including anthropocentric (human-centered), zoocentric or sentientist (animal-centered), and biocentric or ecocentric (nature-centered) value systems, as well as the most important critiques of these ethical approaches. We will examine and analyze several classical ethical theories that are particularly relevant to a study of contemporary environmental controversies. We will also address specific issues such as biodiversity and wilderness preservation; human use of animals as food, entertainment, and research subjects; environmental racism and toxic dumping; sustainable development, population and consumption. Students will analyze and discuss the ethical dimensions of several contemporary environmental controversies.

POL 328 Environmental Politics 3 Credits

Environmental Politics examines how policymakers deal with the political challenges of unsustainable resource consumption, which is a primary determinant of environmental problems such as climate change, adverse health effects, and biodiversity loss. The course introduces students to environmental politics and policies at the local, state, national, and international levels. The course is designed to provide students with a framework for understanding how varied interests compete within political institutions in order to transform contending ideas into public policy. With that in mind, students will not only become more informed consumers of political information, but will also become more effective at analyzing and advocating for policies as it relates to the environment.

POL 329 Comparative Environmental Policy 3 Credits

Comparative Environmental Policy analyzes cross-national approaches in developing, implementing, and evaluating policy responses to environmental problems. The course analyzes the political factors, actors, and tools that help and explain why some societies have been more likely to develop effective responses to environmental threats. Note: This course is cross-listed as GLS 329. Students may not get credit for both GLS 329 and POL 329.

POL 330 Geopolitics of Energy 3 Credits

Geopolitics of Energy Security explores the role of energy in shaping global politics, natural resource management practices and volatility in economic markets. The course begins with an overview of energy security and explores issues associated with energy production, national security, energy consumption, and environmental conservation. Throughout the course students will become familiar with basic data, trends, issues and options in the exploration and production of renewable and non-renewable energy sources.

SOC 225 Population Study 3 Credits

Demography; its definition, historical emergence, and growth; population as a social problem in developing and developed nations; population theories, sources and methods of demographic data, population composition, and distribution; demographic processes including fertility, mortality, and migration.

Prerequisite(s): SOC 101.