Fall 2019 Course Descriptions
Registration for current students opened April 1, 2019 in OnePort. The registration access number (RAN) for current students is 201960.
CCS 560: Climate Change Science: Principles and Applications
In this course, we will examine the physical basis of regional and global climate change, grounded in observation, modeling, and prediction. We will use environmental data and information to explore climate change impacts on both the natural world and society. The course will emphasize the application of scientific inquiry, atmospheric physics, and statistical techniques.
ECS 560: Energy Systems
This course will include the study of current energy uses and demands. Since this current demand is mostly met by fossil fuels, we will first study current systems that operate on coal, oil, and natural gas. The major theme of the course is that a great transition is coming soon that will take us from the use of fossil fuels to the use of renewable, environmentally-friendly energy sources. We will study basic energy concepts, heat energy systems, and the efficiencies of those systems (including refrigerators, air conditioners, and heat pumps). Concepts of heat, energy, work, power, and entropy will be discussed. Then renewable methods of energy generation and potential sources of energy will be studied. Energy resources including carbon-based (which we’ll study leads to global warming and climate change), water-based tidal energy, wind-based, geothermal, biofuel, fuel cells, hydroelectric, and nuclear energy will be discussed in depth. This course does NOT require a science or math background. However, a basic knowledge of math is needed since we’ll be entering numbers into equations and doing simple calculations early in the course.
The course format will be primarily class discussions concerning topics raised in the readings. There will also be several guest lectures from time to time.
Readings will be assigned from the FIVE texts in the course. Readings are to be completed PRIOR to the class for which they are assigned (except for the first class meeting).
ENG 520: A Creative Prose Workshop: Fiction and Creative Nonfiction
This class will provide structure, support and constructive criticism for students who are interested in writing fiction or creative nonfiction. Students may have a project in mind or one they’re already at work on, but that is not required. In fact, part of what students may accomplish is discovering and tapping into creative veins from which to write. In that regard, we will do some in-class writing exercises.
Each student will submit short stories, novel excerpts or creative nonfiction during the semester, which I will respond to in writing, and which we as a class will discuss. Over time, as we learn what to look for and how to read like a writer, the class will become a community of supportive and insightful critics. I will also meet individually with students to discuss their writing. The backbone of the class will be the craft book The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing by Alice LaPlante, which offers insights as well as examples of published pieces that illustrate LaPlante’s points.
MLAS 520: Exploring Sustainability through Literature and Media
Students will be provided an introduction into environmental literature through the reading of the works of writers such as: Henry Thoreau, Terry Tempest Williams, Edward Abbey, Annie Dillard, and Aldo Leopold. These authors provide not only a sense of place in their writings, but also a message about the state of their world. The media portion of the course will be characterized by documentary films, video clips, still photography, paintings and other artistic media dealing with environmental and nature-related topics.
Weekly classes will consist of instructor-facilitated discussion, student-led reviews of articles and media pieces, guest lectures, and discussion of weekly reading assignments. Texts will include: American Earth–Environmental Writing Since Thoreau, and Fallen Forests–Emotion, Embodiment, and Ethics in American Women’s Environmental Writing, 1781-1924.
MLAS 540: The World Since 1945
This seminar explores three major themes in global history since the end of the Second World War: the transformative interactions between humans and the natural environment; the role of science, technology and large scale economic activity in facilitating those interactions; and the dynamic interplay between rapid economic development and global political power. In addition to tracing the antecedents to these important transnational themes, the seminar will also consider some of the implications of the post-war growth and consumption imperatives for human societies in the twenty-first century.
Independent Study Course Options
The following course listings are available by request as independent study. Students should contact their faculty advisors for guidance and required paperwork.
MLAS 610: Tutorial – 1-3 credit hours
Students may take up to 6 credit hours of 610 tutorials for elective credit.
Individual study supervised by a faculty member. Topics are chosen after consultation between student, graduate advisor and faculty member. Course may be repeated as subject matter changes for a total of 6 hours of credit. Requires permission of program director – please submit a Tutorial Request Form. Tutorials may only be used for elective credit and will appear on the academic transcript as MLAS 610.
MLAS/CCS/ENG 571-3, 671-3: Special Topics – 1-3 credit hours
Courses not otherwise included in the catalog listing but for which there may be special needs. May be repeated for credit as subject matter changes. Elective credit only. See program director.
MLAS/ENG/CCS 599: Directed Research – 1-3 credit hours
Independent research under the supervision of a faculty mentor or with an interdisciplinary team of faculty. An IP grade may be awarded at the discretion of the instructor. Students may take Directed Research twice for a total of 6 hours of credit, in any combination of MLAS 599, ENG 599 and CCS 599.
MLAS 681 Capstone Project (6 credit hours- may be taken over two semesters)
Most students enrolled in the Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences program conclude their degree requirements by writing an independent project under the direction of a faculty supervisor. The graduate project is interdisciplinary in scope and reflects an emphasis or interest that the student has discovered in the MLAS program. The Final Project, which includes but is not limited to a work of written analysis, may involve academic research, applied research or creative work. Often, students choose to amplify a paper or topic from a previous class. The Capstone Project is a formal process that requires the development and submission of a proposal, structured study with a faculty supervisor, and exit interview with faculty supervisor and the MLAS advisor (who serves as the second reader of the project). The completed project is retained in the MLAS archive in Ramsey Library. (Grading S/U/IP). Students who receive an IP grade for MLAS 690 will have two (2) additional semesters in which to complete and defend their projects.