Department of Environmental Science

Course Descriptions

ESH 331 Applied Toxicology
This course introduces students pursuing careers in environmental science, engineering, and safety to the basics of organic chemistry and the basics of toxicology. Organic chemistry emphasis includes prevalence, identification, and nomenclature. Toxicology concepts include dose-response, target organs, and biological mechanisms. Principles of toxicology will be introduced using organic chemical examples as possible. Emphasis is on how to use, understand, and interpret readily available public information in the toxicology literature. Prerequisites: ESP 101 /102, ITP 320 or ITS 320, CHY 113/114 or permission of instructor.Cr 3.

ESH 332 Industrial Hygiene
This course will cover the general concepts and principles of industrial hygiene with direct application to workplace environments. Direct topic coverage will include: common health hazards, air contaminates, biological hazards, an introduction to air quality, noise, respiratory control, ventilation, hygiene sampling equipment/techniques, OSHA, and related standards. Prerequisites: CHY 113 /114 or equivalent, and MAT 140. Cr 3.

ESH 342 Safety and Risk Management
This course is about the risk management process for industrial and commercial safety. Students will learn how to analyze the exposures to accidental losses facing individuals and organizations; describe, analyze, and apply alternative risk management techniques; and apply practical analysis of loss management. This course contains a unit on Process Safety Hazard Analysis. This course is equivalent to the prior offerings of ITS 342 Loss Control Management, and is required of environmental science students choosing the environmental safety and health option. Business majors should inquire of their advisors if this course can fulfill specific degree requirements. Prerequisites: ESP 101/102, CHY 113/114, ITP 320 or ITS 320 or permission of the instructor. Cr 3.

ESH 350 Industrial Processes and Permitting
This class addresses issues of industrial waste control, including manufacturing processes and resultant air pollutants, water pollutants, and hazardous waste generation. Emphasis is on environmental permitting. Prerequisites: ESP 101/102, CHY 113/114 and ESP 340. Cr 3.

ESH 430 Environmental Practicum
The course places the senior-level student in the workplace for the purpose of completing his/her study of environmental principles. The opportunity to apply the materials covered in environmental policies, basic toxicology, industrial hygiene, and environmental air quality now can be put into practice. Students will be placed at various work site locations and will be assigned an environmental project within that site. To be included in the project are problem identification, hazard analysis, and problematic corrective actions. Each student practicum will be assigned a faculty advisor. Prerequisite: advisor permission. Cr 3.

ESP 101 Fundamentals of Environmental Science
This Science Exploration course is an examination of the science of environmental problems, processes, and solutions. Students will explore the interrelationships of the natural world, the environment, and impacts from humans. Specific topics will include land, air, and water pollution; biodiversity; global climate change; energy; public health; and sustainability. Prerequisites: successful completion of the University's writing and mathematics proficiency requirements. Corequisite: ESP 102. Cr 3.

ESP 102 Fundamentals of Environmental Science Laboratory
This Science Exploration laboratory course is designed to provide applied experience with some of the tools and techniques used in environmental science. Students will examine a variety of environmental issues using field kits, lab equipment, and computers. Prerequisites: successful completion of the University's writing and mathematics proficiency requirements. Corequisite: ESP 101. Cr 1.

ESP 108/GEO 108 Introduction to ArcGIS
An introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS), stressing the practical applications of popular graphical user interface (GUI) software packages such as ArcView. Topics covered include displaying, downloading, editing, analyzing, and printing public domain and user-created geographical data sets. The main emphasis of the course is on the acquisition of system operations skills. Cr 3.

ESP 125 Introduction to Environmental Ecology
This Science Exploration course is an introduction to the study of the interactions between organisms and their environments. Students will study the basic principles of ecology and systems and study specific ecosystems including forests, wildlife, freshwater, marine, urban, and humans. Prerequisites: successful completion of the University's writing and mathematics proficiency requirements. Prerequisites: ESP 101/102 or BIO 105/106. Corequisite: ESP 126. Cr 3.

ESP 126 Introduction to Environmental Ecology Laboratory
This Science Exploration laboratory course surveys the identification, measurement, and function of various ecosystems. A focus will be on the impact of human activity on ecosystems. Prerequisites: successful completion of the University's writing and mathematics proficiency requirements. Prerequisites: ESP 101/102 or BIO 105/106. Corequisite: ESP 125. Cr 1.

ESP 150 Environmental Science Field Immersion Session
This field immersion session is designed to teach basic natural science field skills and build community in a long weekend format. The course includes components on forest, soil, aquatic, wildlife, and urban systems. Basic orienteering and map reading, topographical surveying, global positioning system operation, aerial photo interpretation, and dichotomous key use are emphasized. This required course is intended for students between the first and second year of the environmental science major. Students must be present for the entire immersion session. Prerequisite: ESP major/minor or permission of instructor. Cr 3.

ESP 197 Research Skills Lab
This ten-week, lab-style course is designed to develop students' study and research skills to foster academic success as a major in the Department of Environmental Science.  Topics will include literature searching, website evaluation, peer review process, critical thinking, finding articles and books, plagiarism, proper citation, primary and secondary sources, and the writing process. The final project is a written literature review on a selected environmental topic. Cr. 1.

ESP 200 Environmental Planning
This course introduces the central concepts of environmental planning theory and practice, including components of rural, regional, and community planning. Concepts and issues studied include planning history and regulations, natural resources inventory, spatial patterns and analysis, zoning techniques, growth management, and planning research. The course meets the Ethical Inquiry core requirement and is a prerequisite for ESP 305 Community Planning Workshop. Prerequisite: ESP 101/102 or permission of instructor. Cr 3.

ESP 203 Environmental Communication
Students study environmental communication to understand the influence of socio-economic, political, and scientific factors on the social construction of environmental problems. Topics include basic communication theory and its application to the social definition of environmental problems and the perception and communication of risk, how communication is used to persuade/dissuade the public regarding environment problems, and how the environment is used to manipulate consumer behavior. Students also will explore the basics of social science research and its application to environmental communication. Prerequisites: College Writing, ESP 101/102, ESP 197, and sophomore standing. Cr 3.

ESP 207/GEY 207 Atmosphere: Science, Climate, and Change
Students will be introduced to the physical and chemical processes active in the earth's atmosphere. Specific topics include atmospheric circulation, atmospheric chemistry, climate patterns, storms, natural atmospheric change in recent geologic time, human-induced atmospheric change, and atmospheric pollution. Prerequisite: CHY 113. Cr 3.

ESP 212/PHI 212 Environmental Ethics
This course analyzes the relations between human beings and the environment in terms of the concepts of justice, the good, and human responsibilities. It attempts to provide a new cosmological model for adjudicating between conflicting rights and duties. Issues to be discussed include animal rights, environmental protection, and ecological harmony. Prerequisite: any PHI 100-level course. Cr 3.

ESP 220 Introduction to Environmental Policy
This course is an intensive introduction to the field of applied environmental policy within the framework of the rational policy process. The course will focus on the policy process, including environmental problem identification, solution analysis, analysis and use of environmental policy tools, decision making, and policy implementation. Particular emphasis is given to air and water pollution and solid waste management. Prerequisites: ESP 203. Cr 3.

ESP 223/REC 223 Nature-based Tourism
This course covers the basics of nature tourism–a fast-growing, broad category that covers ecotourism and adventure tourism. An emphasis is placed on a variety of tourist activities and programs involving the outdoors in Maine and northern New England. This is a required course for a minor in nature tourism. Cr 3.

ESP 250 Soils and Land Use
Study and description of soils as natural materials in the landscape. The course includes an examination of physical, chemical, and biological properties of soils as they affect soil-plant-water relations. Other topics include soil classification and suitability for agriculture, urban development, and contaminant remediation. Laboratory exercises include field examinations of soils and physical and chemical soil analyses. Prerequisites: ESP 101/102 and one semester of chemistry lecture/lab or permission of instructor. Cr 4.

ESP 260 Soil and Water Conservation Engineering
A study of the utilization, improvement, and protection of two essential resources–soil and water. Primary focus is on applying scientific and engineering principles to the problem areas of soil erosion and flood control. Students will design practical solutions to remediate these problems. Prerequisite: math proficiency. Cr 3.

ESP 275 Energy Use and Societal Adaptation
This course focuses on the topic of energy, its utility, its use, and its impact on society and the environment. Subjects to be explored include: 1) traditional, modern and future energy resources; 2) energy consumption; 3) energy technologies; 4) energy and the environment and 5) sustainable development. The class will consist of a combination of lectures and seminars using a variety of media, including textbooks, technical articles, print, and video. Prerequisites: ESP 101/102. Cr 3.

ESP 280 Research and Analytical Methods
A focus on analytical and research techniques for environmental science and policy. The course is centered on the use of instrumentation and investigative research to address a thematic environmental issue. Topics include defining research problems, experiment design, measurement, sampling, and analysis. Students will complete group research projects. Prerequisites: ESP 203 and one semester chemistry lecture/lab. Cr 4.

ESP 303 Wetlands Ecology
This lecture course examines wetlands from the perspectives of science and policy. Topics will include basic wetlands ecology and biology, wetland definitions, classification, and regional and national trends in habitat destruction and management. Prerequisites: ESP 101/ 102, one semester chemistry lecture/lab, or permission of instructor. Cr 3.

ESP 305 Community Planning Workshop
This online course provides a practical approach to local community planning problems. Students will conduct field work to explore community decision-making processes regarding the use of natural, social and economic resources. Basic planning concepts are refined and applied to real-world problems in a collaborative manner. Prerequisites: ESP 101, ESP 102, and GEO 209 or ESP 200, or permission of instructor. Cr 3.

ESP 308 Global Environmental Problems and Sustainability
This course is a thorough examination of global environmental problems and the need for the principles of sustainability to solve these problems. Topics will include frameworks, tools, and applications of sustainability including life cycle assessment, zero waste, industrial ecology, pollution prevention, natural step, and community-based social marketing. Prerequisites: ESP 101/102 ESP 203, or permission of instructor. The course meets the Ethical Inquiry and International core requirements. Cr 3.

ESP 311 Energy Efficiency/Renewable Energy I
This course provides students with an understanding of how to identify opportunities for energy savings and renewable energy at the residential building level. The course blends in-class and on-line lectures with group exercises of an applied nature.  The course culminates with a student-driven case study of a completed energy project in Maine. Pre-requisite ESP 275, or permission of instructor. Cr. 3.

ESP 313 Energy Efficiency/Renewable Energy II
This course uses the basic principles learned in ESP 311 and allows students to apply them to energy use relevant to Maine.  Students will be expected to propose, develop, and work on a semester-long project related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, or an allied field.  The course will culminate with a final report and presentation.  Prerequisite: ESP 311, or permission of instructor. Cr 3.

ESP 326/ECO 326 Environmental Economics
This course considers the economic aspects of resource and environmental issues, such as pollution, the use and management of natural resources, environmental justice, and global climate change. In addressing each of these issues we will investigate the implications of various public policy responses such as regulation, marketable permits, and tax incentives. Prerequisite: ECO 102 or permission of instructor. Cr 3.

ESP 327/ECO 327 Natural Resource Economics
In this course, we will consider the economic aspects of natural resource management and use, including the economically sustainable management of fisheries, forests, water resources, and biodiversity, with applications to Maine and beyond. We will investigate the implications of public policy responses such as regulations, marketable permits, and tax incentives. Prerequisite: ECO 102 or instructor permission. Cr 3.

ESP 340 Environmental Regulations
This online course is an intensive introduction to the federal and Maine environmental regulatory structure. This course is designed to provide basic competency in the knowledge and application of environmental regulations, including air, surface water, drinking water, worker protection, spill reporting, and hazardous and solid waste. Cr 3

ESP 341 Limnology
The study of inland waters with emphasis on the identification and ecology of aquatic organisms. This course meets on Fridays to allow time for extended field trips to local streams and lakes. Students will conduct independent research projects as part of the course. Prerequisites: BIO 105/106 or ESP 101/ 102 or ESP 125/ 126, and one semester chemistry lecture/lab, or permission of instructor. Cr 4.

ESP 360 Water Quality Assessment and Control
A study of water-related legislation, methods for determining compliance with statutes, and control methods used for water quality attainment. Regional topics addressed include: waste-water treatment, drinking water standards, storm water runoff, lake eutrophication, best management practices, and biomonitoring for water quality assessment. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. Prerequisites: one semester chemistry lecture/lab or permission of instructor. Cr 4.

ESP 375 Environmental Risk Assessment and Management
The focus of this course is to provide students with a competency in quantitative human health risk assessment–an organized, multidisciplinary approach to evaluating scientific data by studying basic toxicology and fate and transport of contaminants using generally accepted principles and terminology used in the field. Students will examine the limitations of current risk assessment methods and be introduced to the basics of public and community health. Finally, students will study the scientific, political, social, ethical, and economic dimensions of managing risks. Prerequisites: ESP 101/102, ESP 203, or permission of instructor. Cr 3.

ESP 400 Internship
The internship provides professional experience related to a student's chosen option within the major. The emphasis is on understanding the host organization's structure and function within the environmental area. In addition to satisfactory work experience, an oral presentation and written report are required. Offered as pass/fail only. Intended to be taken between the junior and senior year. Prerequisites: sophomore standing or higher, faculty approval of host organization, work plan, and completed "Internship Approval" Form. Cr 3.

ESP 401 Environmental Impact Assessment and Lab
An overview of methods used to analyze the environmental impact of human decisions. The course will emphasize U.S. requirements for impact assessment as outlined in NEPA. Federal documents (DEIS, EIA, EIS, FONSI, and ROD) filed for past and on-going projects are reviewed. A laboratory session is taken concurrently and is writing-intensive. Focus is on the application of assessment procedures to a thematic environmental issue. This is a capstone course. Prerequisite: Senior standing, ESP 280 or permission of instructor. Cr 4.

ESP 403 Bioremediation and Phytoremediation
A study of the interaction of soils and groundwater with organic and synthetic contaminants, and the role of soils in pollution control. Students investigate the physical, chemical, and microbiological properties of soil and water and compare conventional remediation with bioremediation techniques. Special emphasis is placed on regional pollution problems including agricultural runoff, landfill leachates, and leaking underground storage tanks. Prerequisites: ESP 101/ 102, one semester chemistry lecture/lab, and ESP 250, or permission of instructor. Cr 3.

ESP 406/POS 406 Research in the European Union
Advanced course on the political, environmental, economic, and cultural aspects of the European Union, offered exclusively for students who enroll in the summer abroad program, "The European Union in Brussels." Participants will travel to Brussels and The Hague for presentations at the EU institutions, NATO, and the International Criminal Court. Prerequisite: recommended, but not required, POS 205, or any other course with an international content. Cr 3.

ESP 412 Field Ecosystem Ecology
This course provides a fundamental understanding of ecosystem ecology, with an emphasis on forested and aquatic ecosystems and impacts of the physical and chemical environment on ecosystem functioning. The course is writing intensive and includes hypothesis generation, field research, computer analysis, and journal article interpretation and writing. The laboratory is field intensive and includes local field trips, team research exercises, and independent field research projects. Prerequisites: MAT 120 and ESP 125/126, or permission of instructor. Cr 4.

ESP 413 Forest Ecology
This course provides students with an understanding of what constitutes a healthy forest ecosystem and a sustainable forest environment. Special emphasis is placed on the function, spatial variability, evolution of forest ecosystems, and the need for forest ecology as the foundation of forest management. The laboratory session is field intensive. Prerequisites: ESP 125/126 or permission of instructor. Cr 4.

ESP 417 Site Planning and Assessment
An introduction to environmental planning and assessment concepts and skills associated with the development of sites for human use. Emphasis is given to the development of particular tracts or parcels of land in Maine. Prerequisites: ESP/GEO 108 or GEO 308, and GEO 209 or ESP 200, or permission of instructor. Cr 3.

ESP 421 Natural Resource Policy
This course focuses on the formulation, analysis, and implementation of natural resource based policies through the framework of the rational policy process. Subject areas will include alternative energy, commercial fisheries, river restoration, wildlife, and recreation. Special focus will be on open access conflicts and stakeholder resolutions. Prerequisite: ESP 220. Cr 3.

ESP 445 Environmental Education and Interpretation
Students explore the basics of classroom and non-formal environmental science education and interpretation using an inquiry-based approach. Topics include teaching ecosystem and environmental science principles, selecting and designing environmental curricula, and applying the Maine Learning Results to environmental education. Prerequisite: 12 credits of science or permission of instructor. Cr 3.

ESP 450 Research Practicum
Organized research experiences in ongoing faculty research projects or a mutually arranged special topic involving substantial skills development. Research will be conducted under the direct supervision of the faculty member. Permission of instructor required in semester prior to registration. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits. Cr 1-3.

ESP 470 Solid Waste Planning & Policy
An examination of traditional and innovative policy approaches involved in managing municipal solid waste. Includes identifying capacity, siting locations, transportation, and economic needs for management strategies (e.g., recycling, reuse, composting). Students will work a local solid waste planning project to identify cost-effective approaches to reducing disposal. Prerequisites: College Writing and Quantitative Reasoning. Cr. 3.

ESP 475 Topics in Environmental Science/Senior Seminar
Topics in environmental science not regularly covered in other courses. The content will vary based on current local and regional environmental issues. The course also includes resume and cover letter writing and practice of interview skills. The course may, with permission of the Department, be taken more than once. Prerequisite or corequisite: ESP 401 or permission of instructor. Cr 3.