This course will reinforce and extend the mathematical education that students bring to graduate studies in the environmental sciences. It will explore mathematical approaches and solutions (both analytical and numerical) that cut across environmental disciplines, and it will introduce analytical techniques that are taught infrequently in other courses. The goal is to provide students with the tools and confidence they need to apply quantitative methods in their own research. The mathematical programming language MATLAB is used to solve problems in class, to complete homework sets, and to program numerical solutions of difference/differential equations.

The MEES 609A Applied Environmental Science (AES) course is the only required course in the MEES Curriculum.  It is intended that all MEES students take AES in their second semester, after having taken a Foundation course in their first semester. 

The AES course has been designed to promote an appreciation of interdisciplinarity in natural and social sciences and to provide exposure to how science can influence and inform ongoing policy and management debates.  The course addresses the role of science and scientists in providing information to policy makers and managers on complex environmental challenges.  The course will provide training in how to work in interdisciplinary teams, using a range of synthesis and analytical approaches.  This will culminate in the development and oral presentation of a report that analyzes and evaluates a current complex environmental challenge that requires an interdisciplinary approach for progress to be made.  The course will also train students to critically evaluate and review the reports prepared by their peers and together with an expert panel of stakeholders understand their management and policy ramifications.


The last 50 years has seen many significant advances in a broad diversity of scientific fields.  These changes continue today at an even faster rate.  Collaborative teams involving many highly specialized researchers are more common now than individual researchers with broad training.  We have access to data from multiple sources including web-based distributed databases, sophisticated instruments that automate many analyses and computers that permit rapid calculations that combine to increase research capabilities. At the same time, competition to achieve precedence in a research field has intensified.  Over this period of dramatic change, the scrutiny of science and scientists has increased, leading to high profile examples of misconduct in several fields.  

In this seminar we explore the “rules of the road” for being a scientist today.  Using a case study approach, the seminar will cover concepts of how science is regulated, what constitutes misconduct, how research is planned, conducted and reported, authorship and data ownership, as well as the ethical treatment of human and animal subjects.  The seminar will focus particularly on mentor and trainee interactions.