Undergraduate Students

If you are interested in the environment, search for Environment Theme courses within OneStop. You can also find additional courses related to sustainability here, and courses related to environmental justice here.

If you are looking for courses on the UMN Duluth campus, you can find a list on this map.

    EEB 3811W: Introduction to Animal Behavior at Itasca Biological Station and Labs – Summer Session 13 week course

    This course introduces the principle concept of animal behavior through hypothesis-driven inquiry of animal systems in the field. Learn more, including info on scholarships.

    EEB 4839: Field Studies in Mammalogy at Itasca Biological Station and Labs – Summer Session 13 week course

    Techniques for studying small mammals. Lectures/field projects emphasize identification, distributions, community interactions, ecophysiology, population ecology. Learn more, including info on scholarships.

    EEB 3407: Ecology at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve – May Session 3 Week Course

    The goals of the course are to improve your ability to understand, apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate: biological population dynamics, community diversity, and ecosystem processes; theoretical, experimental, and observational approaches used in ecology; and many ways in which people influence and depend on biodiversity and ecosystems. Click here for more information.

    SUST courses immerse undergraduates in the exploration of real-world problems from a variety of academic perspectives, incorporating disciplines from across the natural, social and applied sciences.

    • SUST 3003: Sustainable People, Sustainable Planet

      Students will explore the scientific, cultural, ethical, and economic concepts that affect environmental sustainability and global economic justice.

    • SUST 4004: Sustainable Communities

      Students will learn public processes and metrics, engage with community members, and make a tangible difference in the Twin Cities Metro Area with their class projects.

    • SUST 4096: Sustainability Internship & Leadership

      Students will be part of a supportive cohort for developing professional and leadership skills & exploring strategies for leading social change in regards to sustainability through leadership projects and internships. We encourage students with financial need to apply for an Ecolab Scholarship to receive up to $2,100 in funding (depending on credits enrolled) for your internship.

    Grand Challenge Curriculum courses immerse students in complex issues facing the world. Register for a GCC course and prepare to grapple with important societal challenges from multiple disciplinary perspectives.

    • GCC 1903: Sustainable Development with Environmental Justice

      This freshman seminar will discuss sustainable development with environmental justice via the nexus approach, managing the interlinked resources, increasing efficiency, reducing trade-offs, building synergies and improving governance across sectors.

      Meets Environment LE requirement

    • GCC 1909: Introduction to Ecosystem Health: Challenges at the Intersection of Human, Animal, and Environmental

      This course will focus on the emerging discipline of Ecosystem Health, and associated approaches and technologies that support solutions to grand challenges of health at the interface of humans, animals, and the environment; introduce a toolset for approaching, defining, and responding to these grand challenges, including systems thinking, complexity science, and integrative leadership; interrogate the conflicts that exist between differing conceptions of health, through the study of several complex cases.

      Meets Environment LE requirement

    • GCC 3003: Seeking Solutions to Global Health Issues

      In this course, students will work in teams to examine the fundamental challenges to addressing complex global health problems in East Africa and East African refugee communities here in the Twin Cities.

      Meets Global Perspectives LE requirement

    • GCC 3005: Innovation for Changemakers: Design for a Disrupted World

      In this project-based course, students will work in interdisciplinary teams to develop entrepreneurial responses to current social and environmental problems while developing the tools, mindsets, and skills that can help them become leaders in addressing any complex grand challenge. This course will focus on seeking ways to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact in meaningful ways.

      Meets Global Perspectives LE requirement

    • GCC 3017: World Food Problems: Agronomics, Economics and Hunger

      This course provides a multi-disciplinary look at problems (and some of the possible solutions) affecting food production, distribution, and requirements for the seven plus billion inhabitants of this planet.

      Meets Global Perspectives LE requirement

    • GCC 3027: Power Systems Journey: Making the Invisible Visible and Actionable

      This course explores the integration of science-based environmental education, with art-led, place-based exploration of landscapes and creative map-making to address this challenge. All will share the common exploration of power systems through field trips, and contribute to a multi-faceted story of power, presented in a group map and individual GIS Story maps. No prior knowledge of GIS story maps or electricity issues is needed.

      Meets Technology & Society LE requirement

    • GCC 3041: Can Psychology Help Facilitate Global Sustainability?

      Despite understanding the consequences of not acting to curb unsustainability, why do people fail to act? This course explores the ways that behavioral psychology has a critical role to play in creating a sustainable society.

      Meets Environment LE requirement

    Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management courses train the next generation of environmental professionals and leaders through a strong focus on interdisciplinary knowledge, research, and enrichment experiences. We have highlighted several courses below – check out schedule builder to see all ESPM courses!

    • ESPM 3012: Tribal Natural Resource Management

    This course is designed to develop and refine your understanding of tribal and Indigenous natural resource management, tribal and Indigenous perspectives, and responsibilities natural resource managers have for tribal and Indigenous communities.

    • ESPM 3601: Sustainable Housing: Community, Environment, and Technology

      This course will focus on how sustainable housing practices build community, how community growth has impacted the environment and how natural events impact our communities, and what science and technology is required to build high performance houses.

    • ESPM 3603: Environmental Life Cycle Analysis

      This course will study concepts/issues relating to inventory, subsequent analysis of production systems. Production system from holistic point of view, using term commonly used in industrial ecology: “metabolic system.”

    • ESPM 3921: Science and Critical Thinking for Understanding Our World

      In this course, students will develop critical thinking tools and cultivate scientific skepticism for evaluating claims encountered in peer-reviewed scientific papers, popular press articles, or on social media.

    • ESPM 5071: Ecological Restoration

      In this course, students will learn about the ecological and social factors that affect ecosystem recovery and how people intervene to reverse ecosystem degradation.

    • ESPM 5603: Environmental Life Cycle Analysis

      This course will study concepts/issues relating to inventory, subsequent analysis of production systems. Production system from holistic point of view, using term commonly used in industrial ecology: “metabolic system.”

    Duluth Campus courses are specific to in-person classes on Duluth campus. If you are looking for courses on the UMN Duluth campus, you can find a list on this map.

    • ANTH 4633: Ethnobotany – Duluth Community Plant Story Map

      Students in this course will work to answer the questions: What plants to people pay attention to? What plants have a traditional use as food or medicine? Students will integrate their research into a Story Map that will serve as a community resource, and be added to by future ethnobotany students and local residents.

    These are other courses taught by Institute affiliated faculty that welcome students from across the University.

    • CFAN 3527: J-Term Study Abroad in Chile 2023

      Co-production of sustainable knowledge: An exploration of human wildlife conflict and a community artistic expression in southern Chile. This is a new study abroad class in Chile: Natural history of Patagonia. It is offered J-Term (Dec 26 – MLK Day). Contact Jim Perry (jperry@umn.edu) if you are interested in this opportunity.

    • COMM 1922: Music and the Environment

      This seminar will emphasize the ways in which musical composition, production, performance, and listening intersect with environmental movements, community organizing, ecological science, environmental philosophy, media, political institutions, and policy making.

    • CPSY 1301: Nature-Based Learning in Early Childhood

      In this course, students will develop an understanding of the connection between early childhood, development, and nature-based learning and play.

    • CUE 1001: Introduction to Creative Economy

      This course is an introduction to the history and contemporary scope of the culture industry, and the closely associated creative economy. Topics discussed include tourism, sports, arts and entertainment, mass media, and the food and beverage industry.

    • CSCI 5715: From GPS, Google Maps, and Uber to Spatial Data Science

      This course introduces the fundamental ideas underlying the geo-spatial services (e.g. Uber, Google Maps, Doordash), systems (e.g., GPS, Spatial Database Management System), and sciences (e.g., Spatial Data Science).

    • EE 1701 and EE 1703 Lab: Climate Crisis – Implementing Solutions

      The mission of this course is to make students go beyond the awareness of climate change; rather, it is to make them an advocate/champion and doers to utilize the latest technology to harness energy from renewables and for conservation.

      EE 1701 meets Technology and Society LE requirement / EE 1703 meets Physical Sciences LE requirement

    • ENGL 3071: The American Food Revolution in Literature and Television

      This class will trace the American food revolution with the intent of understanding how our current system came to be and thinking through the ethical implications of our daily actions.

    • GLOS 3305: Life for Sale – Global Debates on Environment, Science, and Society

      This class uses a social justice lens to explore the interrelations of scientific discoveries, unequal global economies, and commodification and the impact on the health, well being, and valuation of particular populations

    • HSEM 2803H: Making Your Voice Heard on Climate Change

      In this course learn how can you make your voice heard to help your community and workplace adapt to, and mitigate, the effects of climate change and associated Grand Challenges. And how can you do so in a fair and equitable manner.

    • HIST 3514W: Water and Oil: An Environmental History of the Middle East

      This course teaches students about the far‑reaching impacts of environmental change upon Middle Eastern societies, culture, politics, economic development or underdevelopment, and violence. It offers a narrative of the Middle Eastern past that is not framed by a specific place, ethnic group, religion, or intellectual tradition.

    • HORT 5131: Student Organic Farm Planning, Growing, and Marketing

      Organic fruit and vegetable production has been one of the fastest growing segments of the US economy for almost two decades, stimulating an overwhelming number of biological and ecological innovations to produce food using organic approaches. This course aims to increase student’s knowledge of ecological concepts as applied to managing organic systems, with an emphasis on soil nutrient cycles and plant-soil-microbe interactions that serve as the cornerstone of organic systems.

    • HSCI 3244: Nature’s History: Science, Humans, and the Environment

      Students will examine environmental ideas, sustainability, conservation history; critique of the human impact on nature; empire and power in the Anthropocene; how the science of ecology has developed; and modern environmental movements around the globe. Case studies include repatriation of endangered species; ecology and evolutionary theory; ecology of disease; and climate change.

    • PA 5920: Advocacy Lab: Skills for Social Change

      This class will focus on the practical skills and applications of creating effective advocacy campaigns. The course will cover essential steps in designing and planning a campaign, including articulating a theory of change, creating a strong value proposition, targeting key audiences, mobilizing members, identifying tactics, raising funds, and evaluating success. Students will apply their knowledge to contemporary policy contexts and explore their own identity as an advocate.

    • PUBH 3561: Environmental Health and Environmental Justice

      This course examines environmental health issues and the complex challenges that occur within our communities that affect human health. Includes community engagement with learning opportunities to assess current and past environmental conditions throughout the Rochester, MN area.

    • SSM 2003: Systems Thinking – Development and Applications in Sustainability

      This course will provide introduction to basic systems thinking fundamentals: defining a systems perspective about any situation or problem, solving problems with that perspective, describing and modeling problems, and designing and improving upon system solutions.

    SUST courses immerse undergraduates in the exploration of real-world problems from a variety of academic perspectives, incorporating disciplines from across the natural, social and applied sciences.

    • SUST 3003: Sustainable People, Sustainable Planet

      Students will explore the scientific, cultural, ethical, and economic concepts that affect environmental sustainability and global economic justice.

      Meets Environment LE requirement

    • SUST 3017: Environmental Justice

      The course focuses on understanding the interconnections between health, economic, and environmental disparities as it applies to environmental justice.

      Meets Diversity and Social Justice in the U.S. LE requirement

    • SUST 4004: Sustainable Communities

      Students will learn public processes and metrics, engage with community members, and make a tangible difference in the Twin Cities Metro Area with their class projects.

    • SUST 4096: Sustainability Internship & Leadership Projects

      Students will be part of a supportive cohort for developing professional and leadership skills & exploring strategies for leading social change in regards to sustainability through leadership projects and internships. We encourage students with financial need to apply for an Ecolab Scholarship to receive up to $1,750 in funding (depending on credits enrolled) for your internship.

    Grand Challenge Curriculum courses immerse students in complex issues facing the world. Register for a GCC course and prepare to grapple with important societal challenges from multiple disciplinary perspectives.

    • GCC 1907: Environmental Grand Challenges: What Impact Will You Have?

      What does it mean to live a life that aligns with your values in a time of rapid global environmental transformations? In this class, explore how we can live sustainably, as individuals and societies, and what disciplines and approaches we will need to achieve this. Throughout the course, we will meet with campus and community leaders who are working to address these challenges in innovative and successful ways.

      Meets Environment LE requirement

    • GCC 3011: Pathways to Renewable Energy

      The course will closely examine the Realpolitik of energy and the technical, legal, regulatory, and policy underpinnings of renewable energy in the US and Minnesota.

    • GCC 3013: Making Sense of Climate Change: Science, Art, and Agency

      This course will examine climate change science, with a particular focus on how climate change is expected to affect key ecological systems such as forests and farms and resources for vital biodiversity such as pollinators.

    • GCC 3016: Science and Society: Working Together to Avoid the Antibiotic Resistance Apocalypse

      This course provides an overview of how antibiotic use leads to antibiotic resistance, including in depth discussions of antibiotic resistant microorganisms and the impact of globalization on this exploding problem.

    • GCC 3025: Seeking the Good Life at the End of the World: Sustainability in the 21st Century

      This course will attempt to answer questions of how to live “the good life” in a time of rapid climate changes, mass extinction of plant and animal species, and the increasing pollution of our oceans, atmosphere, and soil, how to to live sustainably, as individuals and societies, in what scientists are calling the Anthropocene, and whether or not sustainability requires that we sacrifice the gains humanity has made in our quality of life.

      Meets Civic Life and Ethics LE requirement

    • GCC 3031: The Global Climate Challenge: Creating an Empowered Movement for Change

      The course will use a strategy of grassroots empowerment to help students connect to the heart of what they really value; to understand the threat of climate change; to examine how they feel in the light of that threat; and to take powerful action together. 

      Meets Civic Life and Ethics LE requirement

    • GCC 3032: Ecosystem Health Leadership at the Intersection of Humans, Animals, and the Environment

      This class will focus on the emerging discipline of ecosystem health, and how these theories, methods and computational technologies set the stage for solutions to grand challenges of health at the interface of humans, animals, and the environment.

      Meets Environment LE requirement

    • GCC 3043: Regenerative Game Studio: Playing for the Future

      In this course, students will design games where winning is achieving multiple UN Sustainable Development Goals, which prepares them to become system teachers, leveraging organizations and networks for change.

      Meets Environment LE requirement

    • GCC 5501: Knowledge to Impact: Creating Action with Your Grand Challenge Project Idea

      Do you have an idea that could address a social or environmental issue? GCC 5501 will help you develop your idea into a financially viable solution-whether it is a student group, non-profit or for-profit venture or program intervention. This course will prepare you to compete for up to $5,000 to pilot your idea.

    Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management courses train the next generation of environmental professionals and leaders through a strong focus on interdisciplinary knowledge, research, and enrichment experiences. We have highlighted several courses below – check out schedule builder to see all ESPM courses!

    • ESPM 3601: Sustainable Housing: Community, Environment, and Technology

      This course will focus on how sustainable housing practices build community, how community growth has impacted the environment and how natural events impact our communities, and what science and technology is required to build high performance houses.

    These are other courses taught by Institute affiliated faculty that welcome students from across the University.

    • BBE 2201: Renewable Energy and the Environment

      In this course, students explore our wide range of traditional and renewable energy sources and how these options impact our environment and society. Students are also exposed to the complex and compelling ethical issues raised by global, national, and local changes in how we produce and use energy.

      Meets Technology and Society LE requirement | Online and open to all locations

    • BBE 3201: Sustainability of Food Systems: A Life Cycle Perspective

      What dietary choices are truly the most sustainable when we consider that what we eat affects not just our health but also the environment and the well-being of others? This online course will provide you with an overview of our world’s food system and its many impacts from the individual to the global scale.

      Meets Global Perspectives LE requirement | Online and open to all locations

    • CEGE 1501: Environmental Issues and Solutions

      Open to students from all colleges. Importance of science in understanding/solving various environmental problems. Case studies. Laboratory exercises. This course meets the environment theme and the physical sciences liberal education requirement.

    • CI 5442: Adolescent Literature, Youth Activism and Climate Change Literacy

      This course explores how contemporary adolescent literature engages with the developmental and identity challenges faced by a generation whose lives are framed by anthropogenic climate change, biodiversity loss, mass migrations, and other forms of slow violence inherent in the unsustainable carbon-intensive civilization.

      Online and open to all locations

    • COMM 4251: Environmental Communication

      In this course, students will understand environmental communication as well as develop communication strategies that lead to more sustainable social practices, institutions, and systems.

      Meets Environment LE requirement

    • EE 2701: Sustainable Electricity Supply: Renewables and Conservation

      This course looks closely at electricity generation, delivery, and its use for a sustainable future. This course will help you consider the potential societal benefits such as reduced energy bills, cleaner air and water, increased economic opportunities, and prepare you for exciting and meaningful careers in renewable energy and sustainability.

      Meets Technology and Society LE requirement

    • EEB 3001: Ecology and Society

      This course introduces key concepts in the science of ecology and places them in the context of questions we face as a society. The course has been developed for students who will use ecological knowledge rather than those who plan to do ecological research.

      Meets Environment LE requirement

    • ENGL 3501: Public Discourse: Coming to Terms with the Environment

    This course explores significant environmental issues (such as biodiversity loss, climate change, and pollution) through the analysis of texts from diverse literary genres (such as fiction, memoir, and nonfiction journalism). It focuses as much on issues of language and meaning as it does on the subjects these texts concern. Students examine the formal dimensions of these texts, as well as their social and historical contexts. In addition, students are introduced to the underlying scientific principles, the limitations of technologies, and the public policy aspects of each of these issues, in order to judge what constitutes an appropriate response to them.

    Meets Literature Core and Environmental Theme LE Requirements

    This course examines the geological processes that give rise to natural hazards, including climate change, and the emerging technologies that allow societies to mitigate their effects.

    Meets Technology and Society LE Requirements

    Theory of groundwater geology, hydrologic cycle, watershed hydrology, Darcy’s law, governing equations of groundwater motion, flow net analysis, analog models, groundwater resource evaluation/development. Applied analysis of steady and transient equations of groundwater motion and chemical transport. Chemistry of natural waters.

    • FDSY 4101: Holistic Approaches to Improving Food Systems Sustainability

      Students in this capstone course address food system sustainability challenges both in the classroom and via service-learning, where they spend 45 hours engaged with a food justice-based community organization. Requires off-campus work at the community partner site.

    • FW 4012: Principles of Conservation Biology

      Hands Principles of Conservation Biology meets the Liberal Education Environmental Core Theme. The course provides an introduction to the major themes and concepts of this diverse, dynamic, and interdisciplinary field. We will focus on the biological underpinnings of the field—including origins and variation of biodiversity, the value of biodiversity, how human activities threaten the world’s biological systems, and potential solutions to conservation problems. Issues faced by conservation biologists pose biological, legal, economic and ethical challenges, and this course addresses all of these areas. Prerequisites: An introductory biology course.

    • HIST 1364: Introduction to Global Environmental History

      This introductory course focuses on human-environment interaction and the role of environmental factors in the shaping of world history. Beginning with the idea of environmental history and its broad themes, including climate, volcanic eruptions, landscape, plants, crops, animals, insects, disease, pestilence, energy, and technology, the course will enable students not only to understand the complex relationship between human societies and non-human species but also the changing nature and structure of this relationship throughout history.

      Meets Environment & Historical Perspectives LE requirements

    • HIST 3514: Environmental History of the Middle East and North Africa

      This course introduces students to the environmental history of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Beginning with a description of the historic, environmental zones of this part of the world, its topography, flora and fauna, as well as its varied ecosystems, the course directs students to consider the relationship between human societies and non-human species. Over the semester, we will highlight the involvement of animals, both domesticated and wild, and other life forms, from vegetation and pathogens to mosquitoes and locusts in the region’s transformation.

    • HSCI 1212: Life on Earth: Origins, Evolution & Ecology

      How have people explained where life came from and how it has developed over time? We examine controversies over life’s origins, the Holocene extinction, human population growth, the Dust Bowl and soil conservation, DDT and falcon repatriation, and disease and responses to pandemics.

      Meets Environment & Historical Perspectives LE requirements

    • IDES 4617: Lighting Design Innovations and Technological Advances

      This course deepens students’ understanding of the relationship between interior and architectural lighting design issues, strategies, and methods in contemporary practice. It investigates an integrated approach to lighting design to consider lighting innovations and emerging trends in health and well-being, smart technologies, energy and performance, metrics and standards, and assessment processes and tools.

    • PA 4790: Climate Policy and Energy Transition

      Can we use policy to achieve a carbon neutral future? This course will investigate climate change policy from a variety of perspectives, emphasizing economic logic, ethical principles, and institutional feasibility. It will focus on energy transition, particularly in MN.

    • PMB 5802: Field Microbiology at Itasca Biological Station and Labs – May Term 3 week course

      Hands-on microbiology, including real-time high-throughput DNA sequencing in the north woods on a lake. Small class sizes – experiential learning – memories, not memorization. Learn more, including info on scholarships.

    • PMB 5812: Field Mycology at Itasca Biological Station and Labs – May Term 3 week course

      Hands-on mycology in the north woods on a lake. Small class sizes – experiential learning – memories, not memorization. Learn more, including info on scholarships.