Course Description

Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying, "Some people are weatherwise, but most are otherwise." Ol' Ben understood that weather can have a great effect on our everyday lives, and he knew the importance of having an understanding of what makes the atmosphere work (and not just knowing when it's safe to fly a kite). In Meteo 3, we will examine all aspects of the weather. You'll learn the fundamental processes that drive the atmosphere, along with some of the tools we use to measure those processes.

Coastal Processes, Hazards and Society

Credit: Wave 2444043 by TimHill is licensed under CC0

Course Description

Has your attention recently been caught by news of coastal catastrophes such as hurricanes and tsunamis? Do you wonder why so many coastal communities in the world are vulnerable to flooding and other coastal hazards? Have you considered what coastal flood protections cities like Houston and Miami will need in the future to protect their residents? This course will provide a better understanding of these phenomena.

two fingers touching behind a lightbulb

Credit: Home Energy by George Hodan is licensed under CC0 1.0

Course Description

Our world runs on energy - without it, things come to a screeching halt, as the recent hurricanes have shown. Ever stop to wonder what our energy future is? What are our options for energy, and what are the associated economic and climatic implications? In "Energy and the Environment" we explore these questions, which together represent one of the great challenges of our time - providing energy for high quality of life and economic growth while avoiding dangerous climate change.

Energy Conservation

Credit: Lightbulbs by Dreamstine is licensed under CC0

Course Description

Much of the general population believes that the energy sources we depend on are perpetual. While people believe that energy use is the culprit for environmental damage, they are not aware of the methods and principles by which energy conversion devices operate. This course will provide you with knowledge and information on the main operating principles of devices/appliances in common use and will help you in making energy efficient and economical choices.

Course Description

EMSC 302 provides an orientation of the Energy and Sustainability Policy (ESP) degree program, preparing students for further study in the five program learning outcome areas: energy industry knowledge, global perspective, analytical skills, communication skills, and sustainability ethics. It also provides an introduction to the basic skills necessary to be successful in higher-ed online learning, including communication and library skills.

Advanced Energy Policy

Credit: Solar Powered Landscape by Dennis Dimick is licensed under (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Course Description

Energy policy is typically evolutionary as opposed to revolutionary. We can look to historical policies to understand how we've inherited the policies governing our energy use today. But looking backward only tells us part of the story. In the face of climate change, we need to look ahead and instead envision a more revolutionary change to our energy systems and the policies that govern them. This class takes you on that journey to energy policies past, present, and future.

Human Dimensions of Global Warming

Credit: Sunny Day Tidal Flood by User B137 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Course Description

GEOG 438W is a writing-intensive course that concentrates on the human-environment interactions involved in contemporary and future global warming. The course comprises two broad topical areas: global warming impacts, which takes place in the first half of the course, and global warming mitigation and policy, which encompasses the second half of the course. Each week highlights a theme, such as the impacts of climate change on human health or greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, that weaves through the course lecture, reading assignment, class discussion, and writing activity.

Energy Policy

Credit: Purple Flowers by winterseitler is licensed under CC0

Course Description

Energy policy sits at the crossroads of science and policy. And now, energy and climate policy are inextricably linked; the policies we choose have very real consequences for our climate. This intersection of science and policy is chaotic and bustles with activity motivated by various competing (and conflicting) interests and factors. We must understand the motivations driving them and bridge the divides between our reliance on fossil fuels and our need to transition to less carbon-intensive and renewable alternatives.

Course Description

Increasingly volatile climate and weather; vulnerable drinking water supplies; shrinking wildlife habitats; widespread deforestation due to energy and food production. These are examples of environmental challenges that are of critical importance in our world, both in far away places and close to home, and are particularly well suited to inquiry using geographic information systems. In GEOG 487 you will explore topics like these and learn about data and spatial analysis techniques commonly employed in environmental applications.

Geographic Perspectives on Sustainability and Human-Environment Systems

Credit: Ariel view of a flooded neighborhood near New Orleans by Petty Officer 1st Class Matthew Schofield is Public Domain

Course Description

What factors lead to a natural disaster? What causes a famine? Why do cities flood? According to a recent article in The Atlantic, Houston's flooding during the 2017 Hurricane Harvey was primarily caused by impervious pavement which prevents the absorption of water into the land. This example illustrates how nature and society are interlinked, which is the main focus of Geography 30, Penn State's introductory course to nature-society geography.

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Course Spotlight

From Advanced Python Programming for GIS (GEOG 489), learn advanced applications of Python for developing and customizing GIS software, designing user interfaces, solving complex geoprocessing tasks, and leveraging open source.Visit the course.

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Tim Bralower standing on a research ship

Dr. Tim Bralower (Ph.D. 1986, Earth Sciences, University of California) is Professor of Geosciences at Penn State. He studies ancient climate change and mass extinction from the geological record. He has participated in five expeditions with the International Ocean Discovery Program and conducted field studies from Europe to the Caribbean and South America. He is a former Fulbright Scholar and a Fellow of the Geological Society of America. Bralower was Head of the Department of Geosciences for nine years. See what Dr. Bralower has to say about online education in Earth Sciences.