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Course Descriptions

The following are descriptions of courses in Earth & Environmental Sciences at Vanderbilt.  Not all courses are offered every semester.

EES 1001 Commons Seminar 

Topics vary. [1] (No AXLE credit)

EES 1030 Oceanography 

An introduction to the geology, biology, chemistry, and physics of the marine environment. [3] (MNS)

EES 1030L Oceanography Laboratory

Laboratory to accompany 1030. Corequisite: 1030. One three-hour laboratory per week. Satisfies the AXLE lab course requirement when completed with 1030. [1] (No AXLE credit)

EES 1070 Volcanoes 

Impacts on Earth and Society. How magmas form and volcanoes erupt; eruption processes and their hazards to society. Volcanic influence on human history and the evolution of the Earth. No credit for students who have earned credit for 115F section 3. [3] (MNS)

EES 1080 Earth and Atmosphere 

The science of the atmosphere: principles of weather and climate; the atmosphere as part of the Earth system; weather forecasting; hurricanes, tornadoes, and severe storms; human impacts, such as air pollution and climate change. [3] (P)

EES 1140 Ecology, Evolution, and Climates through Time

 Biological responses to global climate and environmental change through geologic time. Causes of climate change and its impact on biodiversity, including extinction implications. Interactions between climate, environments, and the evolution of organisms, emphasizing vertebrates during the past 65 million years. [3] (MNS)

EES 1400 Iceland’s Geology 

Processes that shape Icelandic landscapes. Volcanoes, glaciers, rivers, ocean, climate. History of interaction between the environment and Icelanders. Introduction at Vanderbilt, two weeks Icelandic field experience; laboratory includes both classroom and field work. Prerequisite: 1510, 1070, or 1111. [4] (MNS)

EES 1510 The Dynamic Earth: Introduction to Geological Sciences

Processes that have changed the earth. Relation between these processes and their products (e.g., earthquakes, minerals and rocks, mountains, oceanic features); interactions between processes affecting the solid, liquid, and gaseous components of earth; impact on humans. [3] (MNS)

EES 1510L The Dynamic Earth: Introduction to Geological Sciences Lab

Laboratory to accompany 1510. Corequisite: 1510. One three-hour laboratory per week. Satisfies the AXLE lab course requirement when completed with 1510. [1] (No AXLE credit)

EES 2110 Global Climate Change 

Science and policy of global climate change: history and causes of climate change in Earth’s past, with emphasis on the last 2 million years; evidence of human impacts on climate since 1850; future climate change and its economic, social, and ecological consequences; economic, technological, and public policy responses. Prerequisite: 1510 or 1080. [3] (MNS)

EES 2150 Science, Risk, and Policy 

Assessment and management of deadly risks: comparison of markets, regulatory agencies, and courts for managing risks; cultural and scientific construction of risk; psychology of risk perception; case studies such as Hurricane Katrina, mad cow disease, and air pollution. [3] (P)

EES 2510 Earth Systems Through Time

Effects of feedbacks between the geologic cycles on the lithosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere at diverse intervals in the Earth’s history. Present and future implications. Interpretations of evidence recorded in Earth materials. Three hours of lecture and one laboratory per week. Repeat credit for students who have completed 1020. Prerequisite: 1510 and 1510L. [4] (MNS)

EES 3220 W Life Th rough Time

Ecology, classification, and evolution of important groups of fossils, emphasizing invertebrates. Change in marine ecosystems through geologic time. Causes and effects of rapid evolution events and mass extinctions. Three hours of lecture and one laboratory period per week. Prerequisite: 1510, BSCI 1100, or BSCI 1510. [4] (MNS)

EES 3250 Earth Materials

Solid materials that make up the earth; rock, soil, and sediment - with emphasis on the minerals that are their major constituents. Hand specimen, optical, and X-ray methods of description and identification. Physical and chemical processes that form and modify earth materials and the use of these materials in interpreting earth processes of the past and present. Field trips. Three lectures and one laboratory per week. Prerequisite: 1510. [4] (MNS)

EES 3260 Petrology

Nature, distribution, and theories of origin of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. Mineralogy as a function of rockforming conditions. Laboratory emphasis on description and interpretation of rocks, using hand sample and microscope techniques. Field trips. Three lectures and one laboratory period per week. Prerequisite: 3250. [4] (MNS)

EES 3330 Sedimentology

The origin and composition of sedimentary particles, their transportation to the site of deposition, actual deposition, and the processes involved in lithifying sediments into solid rock. Emphasis on interpretation of ancient source areas and depositional environments. Terrigenous, carbonate, and other rock types will be studied. Field trips. Three lectures and one laboratory period. No credit for graduate students in EES. Prerequisite or corequisite: 2510. [4] (MNS)

EES 3340 Structural Geology and Rock Mechanics

Principles of rock deformation; mechanics, fractures, folds, foliation, primary structures, applications of principles. Interactions and feedbacks between tectonics, climate, and erosion. Field trips. Two lectures and one laboratory period per week. Prerequisite: 2510. [4] (MNS)

EES 3841 Directed Study 

Readings in related fields and/or laboratory research in pursuit of a scholarly project conceived and executed under the supervision of a faculty member. Open to senior majors and graduate students or by consent of the department chair. Does not count toward minimum requirements for the major. May be repeated for credit more than once if there is no duplication in topic, but students may earn only up to 2 credits per semester of enrollment. [1-2] (No AXLE credit)

EES 3842 Directed Study 

Readings in related fields and/or laboratory research in pursuit of a scholarly project conceived and executed under the supervision of a faculty member. Open to senior majors and graduate students or by consent of the department chair. Does not count toward minimum requirements for the major. May be repeated for credit more than once if there is no duplication in topic, but students may earn only up to 2 credits per semester of enrollment. [1-2] (No AXLE credit)

EES 3851 Independent Study 

Readings with related field and/or laboratory research in pursuit of a scholarly project conceived and executed under the supervision of a faculty member. Open to senior majors and graduate students. Other students must have consent of department chair. Does not count toward minimum requirements for the major. May be repeated for credit more than once if there is no duplication in topic, but students may earn only up to 3 credits per semester of enrollment. [1-3] (No AXLE credit)

EES 3852 Independent Study 

Readings with related field and/or laboratory research in pursuit of a scholarly project conceived and executed under the supervision of a faculty member. Open to senior majors and graduate students. Other students must have consent of department chair. Does not count toward minimum requirements for the major. May be repeated for credit more than once if there is no duplication in topic, but students may earn only up to 3 credits per semester of enrollment. [1-3] (No AXLE credit)

EES 3865 Field Investigations 

Content varies according to location and disciplinary focus. May be repeated for credit more than once if there is no duplication in topic. Students may enroll in more than one section of this course each semester. [3] (MNS)

EES 3891 Special Topics 

Topics vary. May be repeated for credit more than once by permission of the director of undergraduate studies. Students may enroll in more than one section of this course each semester. Prerequisite: 1510. [3] (No AXLE credit)

EES 4420 Geomorphology 

Analysis of the Earth’s landforms, their morphology, history, and the processes that form them. The building of relief and its subsequent transformation by geologic processes on hillslopes, rivers, coasts, wetlands, and glaciers. The natural history and human impacts on land forms. Field trips. Familiarity with basic physics (mechanics) is expected. Prerequisite: 1510. [3] (MNS)

EES 4550 Transport Processes in Earth and Environmental Systems 

Principles of conservation and constitutive transport laws; classic and emerging styles of modeling natural systems. Prior study of basic calculus (functions, derivatives, integrals) and physics (mechanics) is expected. Prerequisite: senior or graduate standing with a major in Earth and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, or the School of Engineering. [3] (MNS)

EES 4600 Geochemistry 

Application of chemistry to study the distribution and cycling of elements in the crust of the earth. Includes chemical bonding and crystallization, phase rules and phase diagrams, chemical equilibria, theories on the origin of elements, earth, ocean, atmosphere, and crust. Prerequisite: 3250 and CHEM 1602. [3] (MNS)

EES 4680 Paleoclimates 

Fluctuations in Earth’s climate with an emphasis on the past 700 million years. Forcings and feedback that influence climate and drive change. Techniques used to reconstruct past climate change using marine and terrestrial geologic deposits and geochronologic methods. Prerequisite: 1510 and 2510. [3] (MNS)

EES 4750 Sustainable Systems Science 

A system dynamics approach to examining principles, problems, and solutions pertaining to the links among the environment, society, and economy. Components of sustainable systems. No credit for students who earned credit for 390 section 3 in spring 2010. Prerequisite: at least junior standing with a major in Earth and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Physics, or the School of Engineering. [3] (MNS)

EES 4820 Paleoecological Methods 

Tools used to interpret past environments and climates, including plant microfossils, pollen and phytoliths, vertebrate morphology, and dental microwear and mesowear. Geochemical tools such as stable isotopes and rare earth elements. Integrating methods for paleontological and anthropological studies, including the use of databases and meta-analyses. Readings from primary sources. Serves as repeat credit for students who completed 6891 section 4 in spring 2010. Prerequisite: 1510. [3] (MNS)

EES 4830 Volcanic Processes 

Nature, behavior, and origin of volcanoes. Magmatic processes that lead to eruptions. Eruptive processes and volcano construction. Impacts of volcanism on Earth’s surface environment. Prerequisite: 3260. [3] (MNS)

EES 4961 Senior Seminar

Integrating concepts and information from diverse fields. Offered on a graded basis only. Limited to seniors in the final semester of the major. [1] (No AXLE credit)

4998 Senior Honors Research 

Independent research under faculty supervision that culminates in an oral presentation and written thesis submitted to the faculty. Open only to departmental honors candidates. Does not count toward minimum requirements for the major. [2] (No AXLE credit)

4999 Senior Honors Research 

Independent research under faculty supervision that culminates in an oral presentation and written thesis submitted to the faculty. Open only to departmental honors candidates. Does not count toward minimum requirements for the major. [2] (No AXLE credit)

For more information, contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies:

Lily Claiborne   
Office: 6738B Stevenson Center 
Phone: (615) 343-4515 
lily.claiborne@vanderbilt.edu

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