Skip to Content

Graduate Courses

Environmental Studies Course Descriptions and Syllabi

Please note that the following lists only include descriptions of courses with the ENVS prefix. Graduate students may take classes in other programs and departments as well. Please consult the UO Class Schedule and the UO Catalog for other course options.


FALL 2014


Fall 2016

ENVS 550 Political Ecology (4 cr) Syllabus Walker
Political ecology examines the politics, in the broadest sense of the word, of the environment. Whereas “environmental politics” courses often focus on the role of government and interest groups in shaping environmental policies, political ecology expands our understanding of politics to examine the roles of: globalized capitalism; relations of power and inequality between and among social actors (differentiated, for example, by class, race, or gender); social institutions, such as land tenure; government, nongovernmental organizations, and social movements; and language, symbolism, and discourse as they shape human interactions with the physical environment. Although much political ecology research comes from studies of the less-developed ‘third world,’ this course also emphasizes the political ecology of the ‘first world’.
ENVS 567 Sustainable Agriculture (4 cr) Syllabus Martin
The purpose of the class is for students to develop an informed critique of agricultural production.  We will review traditional non-industrialized, modern industrialized, modern organic, and GMC (genetically modified crops)-based systems through the lens of sustainability.  For our purposes, sustainability includes not only environmental, but also economic and cultural considerations.  While holding a holistic perspective, the course examines the various material components of production systems.  In each unit we will highlight problems and explore alternatives to current methods of production.  Finally, we will discuss food policy and food security.  The greatest single share of the course material stems from North American experience but the class is decidedly global in scope.
ENVS 607: Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Food Studies (4 cr) Syllabus Wald
This course explores the wide ranging and inherently interdisciplinary field of food studies. As academic interest in the realm of food studies has developed, it has become clear that there are key approaches and insights in disciplines across the social sciences, the humanities, and the sciences. Each broad academic realm has its focal concerns and approaches. By design this course provides a survey of food studies scholarship across this intellectual continuum, examining key issues and themes as well as methodologies in each realm. Upon completion, you will have a working knowledge of and a foundational fluency with food studies scholarship writ large and will be able to see how your own interests fit within the larger field. The course establishes a foundation for the new graduate specialization in Food Studies. The course is also designed to help you develop critical reading, writing, and oral presentation skills.
ENVS 631 Theory and Practice (4 cr) Syllabus Norgaard
Course Goals:


  • Introduce the field of environmental studies via classics and current material
  • Introduce the University of Oregon faculty and program
  • Discuss key themes within environmental studies including interdisciplinarity, methodological tensions, engagement/applied scholarship, and representation.
  • Provide resources for program success, professional development and planning for the future.

Fall 2014

Top of Page

ENVS 511 Tribal Climate Change (4 cr) Course Flyer Syllabus Lynn
This course will give an in depth examination of the impacts of climate change on tribal culture and sovereignty in the United States, and exploration the role of traditional ecological knowledge in understanding climate change impacts and solutions, and climate justice.
ENVS 577 Soil Science (4 cr) Syllabus Walker
This course will introduce students to the wonderful world of soils that exist, often
forgotten, beneath our feet. Soils are one of the most fundamental ecological constraints
on patterns and processes such as plant distribution, nutrient cycling, and cycling of water between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere. Soils are also an important
component of many current and historical environmental problems.
ENVS 607 Theory and Practice (4 cr) Syllabus Dickman
This course is designed to facilitate Environmental Studies graduate students in getting to know some of the core and affiliated faculty of the Environmental Studies program and to encourage graduate students to gain exposure to a range of interdisciplinary work being done at the University of Oregon or by visitors to the UO.  This course may be used for one of the twelve credits of electives required for the Masters degree in ENVS.
ENVS 631 Theory and Practice (4 cr) Syllabus Dennis
Introduction to various disciplinary perspectives that contribute to environmental studies, including their research methods, vocabularies, and core concepts.

Winter 2015

ENVS 535 Environmental Justice (4 cr) Syllabus Norgaard
How and why are environmental problems experienced differently according to raced, gender and class? How do different communities experience and respond to environmental problems? Why does it matter that there is unequal exposure to environmental risks and benefits? What do we learn about the meaning of gender, race and class by studying the patterns of exposure and creative resistance of different communities to environmental hazards? In other words, what does the study of environmental risks tell us about racism, classism, sexism in our nations and world today? What is environmental privilege and why does it matter? These are some of the questions we will take up in this course.
ENVS 567 Sustainable Agriculture (4 cr) Syllabus Martin
 Examines traditional non-industrialized, modern industrialized, modern organic, and genetically modified crop-based systems through the lens of sustainability.
ENVS 601 Food Talks (1 cr) Wooten
Description Coming Soon
ENVS 607 Pedagogy (2 cr) Vazquez
Description Coming Soon
ENVS 607 Food Matters (4 cr) Wald
Description Coming Soon
ENVS 610 Graduate Seminar (2 cr) Walker
Description Coming Soon
ENVS 610 Graduate Seminar (2 cr) Walker
Description Coming Soon

Top of Page

Spring 2015

ENVS 607: Graduate Seminar in Political Ecology (4 cr) Course Flier Walker
Political ecology examines the politics—in the broadest sense of the word—of the environment.  Political ecology examines the historical role of political-economic systems, science, language and discourse, ideology, gender, property and resource access systems, and the everyday politics and culture of the community and the household in shaping human relationships with the environment. This year’s seminar examines the political ecology of environmental degradation and conservation in Africa; urban political ecology in the United States; fair trade and sustainability in Mexico; the broader questions of globalization and political-ecological marginalization; and the politicized nature of environmental science. This seminar is open only to graduate students, meaning that there will (usually) be no lecture by the professor: rather presentation, discussion, and analysis of readings will be lead by students, with ‘lead’ discussants chosen for each class period. In the 10-week term we will read eight books (see below) and students will write a ten-page term paper.

Top of Page

Summer 2015


Top of Page

2013-2014 Course Description, Information & Syllabi

2012-2013 Course Description, Information & Syllabi

2011-2012 Course Description, Information & Syllabi

2010-2011 Course Descriptions, Information & Syllabi