GES Courses

The School is home to a range of interdisciplinary courses focused on various aspects of sustainability. A GES course will approach the subject material from multiple viewpoints, with social, economic and environmental consideration.

Offered on campus and online

GES 101 introduces the student to the complex and broad nature of sustainability. The course begins to develop skills in analyzing problems and solutions with respect to sustainability.  Topics covered include ecology, food and agriculture, energy, the built environment, metrics of sustainability, art and sustainability, poverty, and public health. Students work on a group project and can earn extra credit by volunteering in community-based sustainability initiatives.

Offered on campus

This course, worth 3 credits, combines an overview of energy-related science with the societal, economic, and environmental aspects of energy. The science portion of the course will cover fossil fuels, alternative fuels, extraction, generation, distribution, and storage. The societal context of energy will focus on human behavior, political constraints, and geographic considerations.  The course will also cover the environmental impacts of energy production and use, as well as the economics of energy.  The concepts of sustainability will be introduced as a unifying theme for considering our energy future.

Offered on campus

Energy as a critical resource and its connection to climate change, food production, and water resources. This course examines methods of evaluating sustainable energy technologies, including life cycle assessment, energy return on investment, technoeconomic analysis, and political ecology.

Offered on campus

This new course is designed for undergraduate and graduate students from all backgrounds to explore current issues in sustainability and how they relate to individual, public and global health. Students will participate in didactic lectures, group discussions and mini projects that will both educate and empower them to understand the relationship between sustainability and health.

Offered on campus

This course is an introduction to the domestic and international laws that influence and interact with the implementation of sustainability in the U.S. and abroad.

Offered on campus and online

This course will integrate and apply the foundations of environmental sustainability (the environmental, social, and economic dimensions) to achieve a holistic understanding of environmental issues, practices and problem solving. These three dimensions will serve as the sustainability foundations for the course.  Students will learn and apply tools for assessing environmental issues and best practices for working in interdisciplinary teams.  Case studies demonstrating sustainability principles will be evaluated through discussion and writing, and students will conduct a team project that addresses and dissects an important issue related to global environmental sustainability.  Finally, students will assess their personal academic program (Interdisciplinary Minor) in sustainability, and set goals for their future sustainability endeavors.

Offered on campus and online

GES-520 is a graduate level course open to all graduate students across campus. Like GES 470, this course covers a range of topics in sustainability. While similar to GES 101 in overall format, the course accepts a much smaller class size and delves more deeply into a smaller set of topics. Graduate students read from a range of primary literature as a basis for class discussions and lectures. The students develop an understanding of the complexity of problems in sustainability and how to place these issues in a context that structures solutions in economic and social frameworks.