In the age of Anthropocene, environmental degradation linked to land development patterns (e.g., urban sprawl), ecosystem disturbances (e.g., wetlands, woodlands, wildlife habitats, invasive species), and materials and energy consumption, have dramatic cumulative impacts on people, flora and fauna in all cities and regions. Those patterns contribute to climate warming, worsening the frequency and scale of natural disasters (e.g., floods, fires, hurricanes, heat waves) from the local to the global scale.

In cities, humans experience unequal environmental quality, with declining and gentrifying neighborhoods, food deserts, varying access to parks and green infrastructure, and areas of concentrated pollution, toxic sites and brownfields. Non-human species struggle with habitat fragmentation and loss, the major causes of species extinction.

Transition towns, densification projects, eco-cities, green urbanism, ecological landscaping, renewable energy districts and microgrids, and other models seeking to “design with nature” and reduce cities’  environmental footprints offer creative alternatives. Students pursuing this concentration acquire the knowledge, skills and techniques to develop plans and policies designed to protect, preserve and regenerate ecosystems, and to promote sustainable, just, ecologically sound, and health-supportive environments.


Students in this area of concentration generally pursue careers in local, regional, state or federal government agencies, such as states’ Departments of Natural Resources, the EPA, FEMA, or the National Park Service, in consulting firms, and in environmental advocacy nonprofit organizations.

Planning Courses

  • The Land Development Process
  • Growth Management
  • Environmental Policy
  • Transportation and Land Use Planning
  • Planning for Disaster Mitigation and Recovery
  • Megacities Seminar
  • Environmental Impact Analysis
  • Environmental Economics and Policy
  • Sustainable Development: The Kerala Experience

Geography and Sustainability Sciences Courses

  • Landscape Ecology
  • Wetlands: Function, Geography and Management
  • Ecosystem Services: Human Dependence on Natural Systems
  • Urban Ecology
  • Sustainable Development and Green Building
  • Introduction to Environmental Remote Sensing
  • Hazards and Society
  • Health and Environment: GIS Applications
  • Advanced Remote Sensing
  • GIS for Environmental Studies: Application
  • Environmental Justice
  • Seminar in Environment, Conservation and Land Use

Civil and Environmental Engineering Courses

  • Resilient Infrastructure Emergency Response
  • Solid and Hazardous Wastes
  • Air Pollution Control Technology
  • Politics of FEWS (Food, Energy and Water resources)

Other Courses

  • Integrated Watershed Analysis
  • Risk Communication
  • Global Environmental Health
  • Global Water and Health