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For more information, please contact us at:

Environmental Studies Program
Jeannette Rankin Hall 106A
The University of Montana
Missoula, MT 59812-4320
Tel: (406) 243-6273
Fax: (406) 243-6090

Environmental Studies Upper Undergrad Courses

Our courses use the abbreviations ENST for Environmental Studies and ENSC for Environmental Science.

Course numbers ending in 91, 94 or 95 are experimental, new or one-time course offerings. Section numbers are used to differentiate offerings among the different instructors. Example 391.01, 391.02, etc.

Semester offered is subject to change. Please check Cyberbear for the most current information as well as days and times offered.

To view a list of current courses offered each semester, visit Searchable Courses.

ENST 335L  The Environmental Vision - 3 cr
Instructor: Phil Condon

Offered each autumn. EVST 305 acquaints students with many seminal, influential, and contemporary texts in the field of nature, environmental, natural history, and place-based nonfiction writing. In format a reading survey and discussion analysis of major writings, the course provides a background and understanding of the development of key approaches, forms, themes, and concepts of environmental literature as well as of the literature's response to and influence upon important environmental events, figures, and movements.

Requirements include assigned reading according to course reading schedule; participation in class discussions and co-leading one class discussion with a partner; writing brief (1 pg, d/sp) critical responses to readings each week; and for major work, writing one longer critical response essay (10-15 pg, d/sp). Expectations for all writing assignments will be fully discussed in class.

Tentative Reading List: Being in the World: An Environmental Reader, selected essays; Land of Little Rain, Mary Austin, 1903; Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, Janisse Ray, 2000; Nature and Walking, Emerson & Thoreau; Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold; Desert Solitaire, Ed Abbey, 1968; Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World, Linda Hogan, 1995.

UG ENSC 360  Applied Ecology - 3 cr
Instructor: Vicki Watson

Offered autumn. Prereq ENST 201. Understanding the principles and concepts of ecology and how they inform real life decisions about human interactions with the environment. Emphasizes the science of sustainability and the conservation of watersheds and biodiversity. To be successful in the course, students should have had college level introductory biology, chemistry and statistics.

ENST 367  Environmental Politics and Policies - 3 cr
Instructor: Robin Saha

Offered spring. Prereq., ENST 230H (EVST 167H) or consent of instructor. This course aims to provide an understanding of political processes by which environmental problems are recognized and addressed by public institutions domestically. A major objective is to gain an understanding of the factors that shape policies which seek to protect the environment. We will not only examine factors that have influenced policy development in the past but also factors to watch in predicting policy developments in the future.

In achieving these objectives we will consider the source of the public's environmental concerns as well as the diversity, strategies, and tactics within the modern environment movement. We will also consider how society and its institutions have responded, how effective those responses have been, and how to improve them. Specific topics include: history of natural resource and environmental policy, models of the public policy process, public opinion and the role of the media, interest group behavior, environmental justice, the role of Congress, the Presidency, and the courts, agencies and policy implementation, inter-governmental relations, policy and decision making innovations.

ENST 373A  Nature Works: Writing about Nature and the Environment - 3 cr
Instructor: Phil Condon

Offered spring. Prereq: EVST 305 &/or consent of instructor at phil.condon at or x2904 or Rankin 104. If I don't know your work, please provide a short nonfiction writing sample in my Environmental Studies mailbox, online, or under office door.

EVST 373 is a writing workshop class for the creation, critique, and revision of essays about nature and the environment. Writing might include natural history, personal narrative, science interpretation, advocacy/argument, place-based essays, and others. Through reading, discussing, and writing, students will practice and understand key concepts, forms, and approaches to writing creative non-fiction about environmental concerns, awareness, and sensitivity.

Students read published essays and write short response critiques. Each student writes a minimum of 15 pgs (d/sp) in 3 required original environmental essays, 3 of which the class and reads, discusses, and responds to. Students also significantly revise one of these essays.

TEXTS: Writing Naturally. Petersen. Pocket Style Manual, Diane Hacker. Current issue of Environmental Studies grad-student literary journal Camas: The Nature of the West.

ENST/COMM 377  Rhetoric, Nature and Environmentalism - 3 cr
Instructor: Steve Schwarze

Offered intermittently. This course intends to help students understand the rhetorical dynamics of public discourse about nature and environmentalism.

The course has two primary objectives. First, it is intended to introduce students to the range of texts that constitute "environmental rhetoric"; that is, the words, images, arguments and symbols that advocates use to influence perceptions, attitudes and decisions about the environment. The course first examines symbols that shape public understanding of "nature," and then investigates more explicit forms of advocacy used in environmental controversies. The last section of the course focuses on rhetorical forms that attempt to expose hidden or taken-for-granted social practices, and transform assumptions about nature and environmentalism in the process.

The course intends to help students see how their own beliefs, attitudes and values regarding nature and environmentalism are influenced by these texts. A second objective of the course is to improve students' writing abilities in the context of rhetorical analysis. Over the course of the term, we will write read and write essays that use rhetorical concepts to analyze environmental texts. As a result, your writing ability should improve, as should your ability to analyze public discourse.

EVST/FOR/RSCN 379 Collaboration in Natural Resource Decisions - 3 cr
Instructor: James Burchfield

Offered intermittently. Same as FOR 379. RSCN 379. Political and social processes affecting natural resource decisions. Examination of cases of multi-party collaboration in forestry, range, and watershed management issues.

EVST 382 Biogeography of Northwest Montana - 3 cr
Instructor: Northwest Connections

Coreq., EVST/RSCN 383, EVST/RSCN 282. Offered each autumn by Northwest Connections. Examines drivers of biodiversity in northwestern Montana. Starting with basic natural history of native flora and fauna, students learn to identify various biotic communities and their distribution. Emphasizes how geology, topography, fire ecology, climate change, and human settlement influence biogeography.

ENST 382  Environmental Law- 3 cr
Instructor: Len Broberg

Offered spring. The purpose of this class is to introduce the student to the history, law and theory of environmental regulation in the United States using public and private land regulation mechanisms as case studies. Basic principles of constitutional and administrative law relevant to environmental regulation, substantive public land use law and the history of environmental problems and their regulation will be covered.

EVST 383 Conservation & Community Research Project - 3 cr
Instructor: Northwest Connections

Coreq., EVST/RSCN 382, EVST/RSCN 282. Offered each autumn by Northwest Connections. Students pursue a project of their own design relating to conservation and rural issues.

ENST 396 Supervised Internship PEAS - 2 cr. spring and fall, 6 cr. summer
Instructor: Josh Slotnick

Weekly Lecture and Linked Sections for Internship on the PEAS Farm Offered autumn, spring, and summer.

SPRING Begins in late February in the Farm's greenhouse until the ground thaws and the soil is workable. Students will work 6 hours each week in two, 3-hour sections. There will be one 1-hour linked section each week when all the students enrolled will be at the farm at the same time. In this hour of lecture we will discuss, in depth, the reasoning behind the management treatments we have been applying to the farm. During scheduled work times we will engage in informal discussions concerning field and greenhouse management practices.

In the greenhouse we will be making potting mixes, sowing seeds, transplanting and learning about greenhouse plant maintenance. We will also be building more planting flats and more greenhouse benches as well as taking care of general spring upkeep on the farm. As the weather warms and we work outside, we will learn about springtime biological and horticultural issues pertinent to raising produce, herbs and flowers. We will consider fertility and soil health, weed management, preventative as well as curative pest control, and farm planning. We will share weekend watering responsibilities for the field and the greenhouse.

SUMMER A combination of four, 4-hour days of work on the farm, with one hour of formal class and a field trip each Friday to an area farm (returning at 1:00 p.m.). The formal class portion focuses on Agro-ecology considering a production oriented system from the vantage point of ecology. Students will examine crucial scientific production issues, i.e., soil fertility, weed management, crop physiology, and pest management in light of the health of the whole system. We will attempt to consider the long-term ecological effects of common agricultural practices as they come up within different subject areas.

Monday though Thursday 8:00 - 12:00 students will do the work necessary to run a diverse and productive 4-acre vegetable farm. As the season progresses students assume more of the decision-making responsibility at the farm. Throughout the season students will manage the irrigation on the weekends. By August students will know the major vegetable crop families and understand their culture. They will be familiar with common techniques for building soil, and dealing with local pest populations. Students will also gain an appreciation for the tight Western Montana growing season and learn some strategies to work within those limits. The class runs 8:00 - 12:00, but students don't leave immediately at noon. Each day two students make lunch for the rest of class from the food we have been growing. The lunch portion of the class is optional.

AUTUMN For fall semester the course ends the last week of October. Students work 6 hours each week in two, 3-hour sections. There will be one 1-hour linked section each week when all the students enrolled will be at the farm at the same time. Fall completes the growing season. Students gain first hand experience with harvest and post-harvest care of mainstay storage crops grown for the Missoula Food Bank: carrots, onions, potatoes, and winter squash. Biologically and ecologically fall is both the end and the beginning of the farming year. Just as students are getting in the last of the winter storage crops they are planting cover crops for the next year. Students are also involved in the farm's city wide pumpkin sale/cider pressing event the weekend before Halloween, picking up wheat straw (next year's mulch) from local wheat growers, and recycling manure from the Missoula Livestock Auction for compost. The course gives students a perspective absolutely necessary for understanding how the farm works both ecologically and as part of the greater community.

The Rattlesnake farm is part of the Garden City Harvest (GCH) project. GCH is a collaborative effort involving the City of Missoula, The University of Montana and a myriad of other public and private agencies. The GCH mission is to grow high quality produce for low-income Missoulians, to provide education in ecologically conscious food production, and to use our sites for the personal restoration of troubled youth and adults. In coordination with the University, GCH operates the Rattlesnake Farm. In partnership with other agencies, GCH also manages a network of community gardens. As PEAS students you are also GCH volunteers working at the Ratttlesnake Farm and the food you help to grow will go to low-income people and to sustain the project.

ENST 391 (EVST 395) Special Topics/Exp Courses- variable credit
Instructor: Varies

Offered intermittently. Experimental, new or one-time course offering of current environmental topic.

ENST 395 (EVST 311)
Field Studies in Human/Ecological Communities and Public Lands Issues - 2-3 cr
Instructor: Wild Rockies Field Institute

Offered autumn, winter, spring, summer. Repeatable up to 12 credits. Courses taught in the backcountry while camping, backpacking and/or kayaking. Experiential examination of cultural history and public lands management, and how these affect ecosystem integrity. Also, investigation of our personal roles in, and relationships with, human and ecological communities. To register and for more information, visit the Wild Rockies Field Institute's web page.

ENST 398  Cooperative Education/Intern - variable credit
Offered autumn and spring. Prereq., six credits in EVST and consent of instructor. Practical application of classroom learning through internship with governments, organizations or industry. A maximum of 6 credits of Internship may count toward graduation.

ENST 420  The U.S. Environmental Movement - 3 cr
Instructor: Varies

Offered intermittently face to face and on-line. The environmental movement has had a profound impact -- from passage of major legislation to changes in the way people live their daily lives to disruptions of global trade meetings. Despite clear successes and broad public support, whether the movement can effectively bring about the changes necessary to meet its goal of environmental protection and restoration is still an open -- and a vital -- question. The purpose of this course is to study the environmental movement as a social movement, that is, as collective activity designed to promote (or resist) social change. We will examine different approaches to environmental protection and restoration in view of the movement's historical roots, as well as contemporary debates.

EVST/PHIL 427E Ethics and the Environment - 3 cr
Instructor: Deborah Slicer

Offered autumn. Prereq., PHIL 202 or 300. Same as PHIL 427E. Critical exploration of selected philosophical and literary texts pertinent to the ethics of human relationships with the natural environment.

ENST 430  Culture and Agriculture - 3 cr
Instructor: Josh Slotnick

Offered spring. Class ends third week of April. Surveys the treatment of farmers and farming in the humanities. The course is divided into three parts:1) specific agricultural crops and their effect on social and environmental history, 2) artistic commentary on agricultural life and 3) farmer philosophy. Themes range from the tea and opium wars, to Wendell Berry's poetry to David Orr's Philosophy.

EVST/GPHY 432 Human Role in Environmental Change - 3 cr
Instructor: Staff

Offered autumn, even-numbered years. Prereq., upper-division or graduate standing. A systematic examination of the ways in which the major physical systems and ecosystems of the earth have been modified by human activity, and approaches to the rehabilitation of these systems.

EVST/ECNS 433 Economics of the Environment- 3 cr
Instructor: Helen Naughton

Offered autumn. Prereq., ECNS 201S, 202S or consent of instructor. Outlines a theoretical framework for the analysis of environmental problems, including concepts of market failure and externalities, materials balance and property rights. The policy implications of this analytical model are explored for a range of topics including pollution and the preservation of natural environments and species. Consent of instructor required. Same as EVST 440. (was ECON 440, Environmental Economics)

EVST/RSCN/CSS 449 Climate Change Ethics and Policy- 3 cr
Instructor: Dane Scott

Offered spring. This course focuses on the ethical dimensions of climate change policy. It will cover the following major topics: (1) climate change, personal and collective responsibilities, (2) ethics, climate change and scientific uncertainty, (3) distributive justice and international climate change negotiations, (4) intergenerational justice and climate change policy.

EVST 460 Introduction to Alternative Energy - 1 cr (R-2)
Instructor: Josh Slotnick

Offered autumn odd-numbered years. Survey of alternative technologies currently available to address energy problems and their environmental and economic impacts.

EVST 470 Appropriate Technology- 1 cr (R-2)
Instructor: Josh Slotnick

Offered autumn even-numbered years/spring odd-numbered years. Problem assessment, project design, fund-raising and implementation of technical resource issues at the PEAS farm to gain practical skills in small scale community development projects, creative problem solving, and working in groups.

ENST 476  Environmental Citizenship/Service Learning - 3 cr
Instructor: Robin Saha

Offered spring. Prereq., open to juniors and seniors only or by consent of instructor. Develops environmental citizenship through student-initiated projects informed by principles of social marketing.

ENST 480  Food, Agriculture, and Environment - 3 cr
Instructor: Neva Hassanein

According to Wendell Berry, "eating is an agricultural act." But most of us know very little about how the food we eat each day is produced or how it reaches our plates. Food is central to our lives, and it has the capacity to profoundly connect us with nature and the place where we live. In this course, we will explore the premise that the sustainability of the food and agriculture system requires practices, policies, and social arrangements that balance concerns of environmental soundness, economic viability, and social justice among all sectors of society. We will look at the conditions created by the dominant, "industrial" food and agricultural system, as well as investigate emerging alternatives – such as "sustainable agriculture" and "local food systems." The purpose is to introduce you to some of the central contemporary issues in the study of food and agriculture in the U.S. and to demonstrate an approach to broad, interdisciplinary study and practice. Through a research paper or a project, you will also have the opportunity to improve your research, communication, organizing, and presentation skills.

ENST 487  Globalization, Justice and the Environment - 3 cr
Instructor: Dan Spencer

Offered autumn. Study of current trends in economic globalization and its effects on efforts to work for social justice and environmental sustainability, particularly in the Global South. Examination of different models and theories of globalization, analysis of ethical issues raised, and assessment of alternatives proposed.

ENST 489S  Environmental Justice Issues and Solutions - Service Learning- 3 cr
Instructor: Robin Saha

Offered autumn. This course, open to graduate students and upper division undergraduates, explores how and why environmental risks - such as exposure to toxic chemicals and vulnerability to "natural" disasters - and benefits -such as access to natural resources, environmental amenities, and environmental protection - are inequitably distributed among various segments of society.

We explore the premise that a socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable society at the local, national, and global levels cannot be achieved unless the reasons for environmental and social inequity are understood and both root and superficial causes addressed. Thus, through various case examples, including those in Montana, we look at the historical, sociocultural, political, and economic processes by which environmental inequities by race, socioeconomic status, and gender are believed to have arisen and continue to persist.

We also think deeply and strategize about what can be done about these problems. To do so, we consider interactions among the evidence from empirical research, claims of environmental justice advocates, and policy responses of government, industry, and traditional environmental organizations. Students will investigate and critique these responses and propose means of addressing the limitations and challenges facing those seeking environmental justice (EJ) for all communities.

ENST 491  Special Topics/Exp Courses - variable credit
Instructor varies

Offered intermittently. Experimental, new or one-time course offering of current environmental topic.


Fall 2014 Upper Division Undergrad Special Topics offerings:

ENST 391.01 Earth Ethics: Moral Dimensions of Environmental Issues, 3 cr

Instructor: Dan Spencer

TR 9:40-11:00 a.m.

We often think of environmental issues primarily as issues of science and politics:  what does science tell us about problems facing the environment, and how can politics help us respond?  But environmental issues are simultaneously ethical issues with several moral dimensions: because each issue raises questions of how we should respond, exploring the moral dimensions of environmental issues can help us to discern better or worse responses, and to understand why we choose to respond as we do.  In this course we will use a case study approach to examine a range of contemporary environmental issues from an eco-justice perspective, and students will have the opportunity to develop their own responses within a moral framework.  By the end of the course students will know how to examine the moral dimensions of a range of environmental issues and how to ground their own perspectives within an ethical framework.  Meets undergraduate Humanities course requirement in Environmental Studies.


UG  ENST 491.01 Nature and Native Americans, 3 cr

Instructor: Rosalyn LaPier

Offered for undergraduate and graduate level credit.

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  An examination of environmental knowledge of Native Americans and their relationship with nature by analyzing ethnographic sources, to provide a foundation for understanding contemporary environmental issues within Native American communities.


PURPOSE: This course will emphasize the environmental knowledge of Native peoples of the Northern Great Plains before significant contact with Americans and Europeans. Although the course will explore several different groups, it will compare and contrast the lives of two groups, the Blackfeet (as hunter/gatherers) and the Hidatsa (as agriculturalists). It will explore how Native peoples shaped their different environments whether they were hunters or farmers, how they utilized domesticated or wild (plants and animals), and the various societal roles of women and men. The course will also examine how Native peoples found meaning within nature and how nature helped shape their reality. 


ENST 492  Independent Study - 1 to 6 credits
Offered autumn and spring.

ENST 493  Study Abroad: Environmental Justice in Latin America - 3 cr
Instructor: Dan Spencer

Offered summer. Two week travel seminar to one or more Latin American countries to examine Latin American perspectives on environmental justice and efforts toward sustainable development within the context of the global economy and U.S. foreign policy. Required one-credit seminar offered spring semester to provide background readings.

ENST 494  Seminar/Workshop - 3 cr
Instructor varies

Offered intermittently. Prereq., ENSC 101N (EVST 101N) or consent of instructor. A seminar on a current environmental topic.

Fall 2014 Upper Division Undergrad Seminar/Workshop offerings:

ENST 494.01 Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture Education 3 cr

Instructor: Jason Mandala

Meets at the PEAS Farm, 3010 Duncan Drive

Open to graduate and upper division undergraduate students, offering a practical experience teaching Missoula's school-age youth in a hands-on environment. Students will lead two field trips each week for five weeks with school groups visiting the PEAS Farm, teaching fun-filled educational activities focused on the social, scientific, and nutritional components of sustainable agriculture and the food system. Class will meet each Friday morning at PEAS to practice lessons, share teaching experiences, and discuss related readings. Prior experience as a PEAS Farm intern is helpful.


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