Environmental Psychology (ENVS 3031)
Humans have a complicated relationship with the natural environment. For many, the natural world inspires creativity, spirituality, and meaning in life. Natural resources support the livelihoods of billions of people around the world. Yet, humans have profoundly shaped our planet and current patterns of human behavior are leading to environmental degradation and instability in the earth’s climate. What are the psychological, social conditions, and physical conditions that lead us to behave the way that we do? How can these insights be incorporated into approaches and policies that will protect the well-being of people and the environment? This course covers theory, research, and methods from the field of Environmental Psychology. We examine how individuals and groups make decisions that impact the environment, and how the environment shapes those decisions. We also discuss methodologies that allow us to better understand and predict human behavior, including survey design, behavioral experiments, and an introduction to analyzing social scientific data.
*Typically offered in spring semesters*
Applied Social Research (ENVS 4100)
Today’s most pressing environmental challenges require evidence-based solutions. How do we gather, interpret, and use evidence to improve our understanding of environmental problems and their solutions? This a project-based course that will provide students with core social scientific research skills used by sustainability professionals to acquire, analyze, and interpret data. Students will collaborate with environmental organizations in the Boulder community to design and carry out a research project. Over the course of the semester, students will learn how to develop a research question, collect data using various methods (e.g., qualitative interviews, surveys, and experiments), analyze data, and synthesize empirical evidence. We will also hear about the career paths and perspectives of several professionals who conduct or use research in their careers. This course is especially designed for students who are considering graduate school or careers that involve doing or using social science research.
Methods in Environmental Studies (ENVS 5100)
Designed in collaboration with current ENVS MS and PhD students, this class will offer an introduction and orientation to research methods used in the field of environmental studies and sciences. The topics and methods covered will span the social and natural sciences, and basic vs. applied research. The course will provide students with a conceptual understanding of the diverse methodological traditions used in environmental research, when and why specific methods are deployed, and an appreciation of their relative strengths and weaknesses. This course is especially well-suited for students who are pursuing interdisciplinary environmental careers, and who are looking for a broad foundation in environmental research methods prior to specializing in a particular methodological approach. This course will also emphasize foundational skills for early career researchers, including the process of developing a research question, planning a research project, scientific writing, proposal development, interdisciplinary collaborations, and science communication.
*New course offered in Fall 2020*
Survey Methodology (ENVS 5120)
This course will give students an introduction to the design, implementation, and analysis of quantitative surveys. The course is designed for graduate students from multi-disciplinary backgrounds (a background in the social sciences is not assumed). We will cover topics such as:
Together we will work through the process of designing a questionnaire, collecting data, managing data, and preparing data for analysis. Students may work with their own data, newly collected data, or one of a number of publicly available datasets.
*Typically offered in spring of alternating years*