Courses & Curriculum

Core Courses 2019-21

  • Introduction to Ecology & Environment
  • Environmental Economics
  • Environment and Society
  • Fundamentals of RS & GIS
  • Climate Change -I
  • Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Disaster Management
  • Water Resources Management
  • Coastal and Marine Environment
  • Climate Change -II
  • Waste Management

Introduction to Ecology and Environment

Ecology is the study of the interwoven interactions of all the living organisms with their surrounding biotic and abiotic environment. The course on Introduction of Ecology and Environment will cover the fundamental principles of ecology and environmental dynamics. In brief, the first part of the course focuses on the history of ecological thoughts, trophic level, energy flow, productivity, population structure and dynamics, competition, community structure and dynamics, and different types of ecosystems (terrestrial, aquatic ecosystems). The second part of the course focuses on the study of four different spheres of the Earth: Lithosphere, Hydrosphere, Atmosphere, and Biosphere. It establishes the connectivity of all the four spheres and how the Earth system has been developed by having constant interactions between these spheres. This course examines the scientific principles behind natural phenomena and resource cycles. The course strongly integrates the concepts of earth sciences, geological sciences, biological sciences, and chemical sciences.

Environmental Economics

The course introduces basic concepts of economics and how these are applied in the context of environmental resources and ecosystem services. The market systems and failures, benefit-cost analyses and public welfare instruments will be discussed. The economics of renewable and non-renewable resources will be illustrated through case-studies. In addition to analytical skills, the student will be exposed to different valuation techniques and policy instruments. The course covers the concepts of consumer behavior and choices, externalities, property rights, welfare maximization, discounting; option value and existence value. Valuation of non-market goods will be analyzed through various techniques; Economic policy instrument: Command-and-control vs Market-based instruments; taxes and subsidies, environmental accounting; environmental financing; green budgets, etc.

Environment and Society

Environment and Society” explores the changing relationship between nature and society in different socio-temporal contexts at multiple scales (global, regional, national, and local). There will be an emphasis on Asian experiences. The course aims to develop the capacity to think across different social science perspectives to understand complex environmental changes and challenges faced by today’s world. Students will be exposed towards major theoretical debates in social science literature around environment and society. The theoretical understanding will be supported with the help of empirical cases. Students will be encouraged to make sense of the changing society and environment relation while doing field work around the university (local level).

Fundamentals of RS & GIS

RS&GIS technologies are being applied for various management decision making. More and more countries are promoting the use of these technologies and also trying to become self-sufficient. This course would focus on understanding the basics of remote sensing, energy and matter interaction, EMR spectrum, satellite data, sensors aetc. The course will introduce the different satellites, resolutions and their characteristics which will help to choose data to map resources as per the objectives. The students will be introduced to basics of GIS, concept layers, overlays, display, database creation, etc. with hands-on-exercises. This class would also focus on understanding the integration of satellite data, understanding data procurement, data sources and selection, scales, ground truth collection, correlating image characteristics with earth surface features, etc.

Climate Change – I

Climate change is one of the most challenging problems confronting humanity across the globe, therefore, understanding the science, policy, causes and impacts related to climate change in context to sector/country are important. The course is designed in a way so that the students usually learn what climate change really means, the science and history behind it, and how humans impact it. The course also provides a multi-disciplinary understanding of climate change and its direct and indirect interactions with the development. The course consists of classroom lectures supported by case study discussions on the topics, and assignments on climate change and development. The students should be able to attain a broad understanding on the science of climate change and be able to analyze related national and international policies, especially in the context of developing countries.

Earth and Environmental Sciences

This course examines the scientific principles behind natural phenomena and resource cycles. Energy flows, and how these drive hydrological and biogeochemical cycles, will be studied in the context of various ecosystem structure and functions. The course also highlights several environmental issues in the Anthropocene and how these issues are affecting the natural processes of the Earth system. Sustaining human societies will depend upon environmental quality and sustainability of natural resources, sustaining biodiversity and ecosystems. The course strongly integrates the concepts of earth sciences, geological sciences, biological sciences and chemical sciences with the purpose of appreciating the needs for sustainability on a fragile planet.

Disaster Management

This course is intended to provide fundamental understanding of different aspects of Disaster Management. The course deals with the concepts, mechanisms, processes, effects and mitigation strategies of different types of natural disasters and anthropogenic disasters. The course helps to understand the scientific and social basis of disasters and their impacts on human societies, biodiversity and geographical landscapes. The course will cover the application of RS and GIS for disaster management and will also discuss the use of optical and microwave satellite data for early warning for cyclones and landfall, agriculture droughts, forest fires and real time monitoring of floods, storms, cyclones, forest fires, etc. The concept of hazards, risks and vulnerability will be taught. Several case studies are included in the course to demonstrate as to how space technology can be used for damage assessment.

Water Resources Management

Water is a fundamental theme in Asia, be it the rapid shrinkage of wetlands and other surface water bodies such as the Aral Sea, alarming depletion of groundwater in India, or transboundary water allocation in the geo-politics of the Mekong Basin. Large rivers such as the Ganga and Yangtse have enabled the development of ancient floodplain civilizations but are today threatened by development actions by the same people. Populations in South Asia and East Asia are not only rising in sheer numbers but are thirsting for increased allocations needed to sustain rapidly growing urban economies. This course will explore the complexities arising out of the ecological context, environmental challenges, socio-economic imperatives, policy architecture and institutional mechanisms underpinning the management of water resources. It will provide insights into the multiple use of water resources critical for sustaining human health, availability of food, sustenance of livelihoods and ecosystem services.

Coastal and Marine Environment

This course will introduce the student to various coastal processes and resulting morphologies of coastal zones. These will include shifting shorelines, tides and waves, estuaries, coastal wetlands, etc. Basic marine processes such as heat budget, winds and ocean currents, and global climate linkages will be discussed. Salinity, carbonate equilibria and nutrient deficiencies will be discussed in the context of ecosystems and oceanic productivity. A broad overview of the environmental issues related to sea-level rise and sea-water intrusions, destruction of coral reefs and mangroves, ocean acidification, mining and coastal erosion, and marine pollution would be discussed with the help of case studies. Finally, an overview of coastal zone management related to the growth of ports and maritime infrastructure and laws, conservation of habitats and biodiversity, disasters and strategic risks etc. would be provided. A self-study module pertaining to environmental dimensions of the under-studied Bay of Bengal will be introduced.

Climate Change – II

The relationship between sustainable development and climate change is influencing key policy decisions across the globe and therefore there is a need of harmonization for achieving sustainable development. Recognizing this, every country is constantly innovating/modifying their adaptation and mitigation strategies to reduce the impact of climate change. This course is designed in a way so that the students are equipped with the skills to critically evaluate ongoing programmes related to natural resource management and rural development sector in context to adaptation and mitigation potential. The discussion on different relevant case studies will further enable students to apply the principles of adaptation and mitigation synergistically with multi-disciplinary understanding.

Waste Management

This course will cover fundamental principles and key technologies that are used for solid waste management. It is evident that almost all “waste” is being generated by humans, however, industrialization has contributed significantly in waste generation. So, the course will focus on identification of different types of wastes, key sources, typical quantities generated, composition, and properties of solid and hazardous wastes; learn waste disposal or transformation techniques; recognize relevant regulations to apply for facilities used for disposal, and destruction of waste; review physical, chemical, and biological treatment of hazardous waste; learn the major translocation factors of various contents of wastes; and identify the physical and chemical factors responsible for movement of micro-size fractions in soil and groundwater.

Elective Courses – Cafeteria Model (Bouquet of Courses)

  • Environmental Pollution
  • Citizen Science
  • Environmental Hydrology
  • Urban Environment: Asian Cities in a Globalizing World
  • Advance RS&GIS
  • Environmental Laws and Policy
  • Environmental Valuation and Green Accounting
  • Contaminant Hydrology
  • Agroforestry and Seed Ecology
  • Applications of RS&GIS
  • Functional Ecology
  • Toxicology & Public Health
  • Environment, Technology and Society
  • Research Methods and Communication
  • Environment Biotechnology
  • Biodiversity & Conservation
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Environment Impact Assessment

Environmental Pollution

The course has been designed to improve the understanding of different types of pollutants, measurement of pollutants, pollution control strategies, and the skills of application of remediation techniques to combat pollution in three environmental compartments i.e. water, soil, and air. It deals with major problems of pollution of the atmosphere, water, land surface, and food chain. It will also be dealing about the sources of pollution in air, soil, and water and the impacts these sources on the environment and health. In addition, the students will be given the training to develop the particular skills required for identification, quantification, and their use in pollution related structured research.

Citizen Science

The involvement of non-professionals in scientific research, environmental monitoring, and biodiversity observations is termed as Citizen Science (CS). The CS has now become a mainstream approach to collect real-time, large-scale, primary data on earth and ecosystem processes, such as mentoring of temporal and spatial changes in biodiversity, phonology, and migration of species. The modern technological tools such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Smartphone Apps that helps to gather real time data will be used for the course. The students will be informed, how to engage the community in democratisation of science. This course will provide students basic methodological steps how to recruit, manage, care, motivate and retain the citizen scientists and how to deal with present challenges and future opportunities of CS.

Environmental Hydrology

This course has been designed to present the various principles of hydrological processes. At the end of the course, it is expected to have a thorough understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of components of the hydrological cycle e.g. atmospheric water, rainfall, infiltration, evaporation, surface flow, hydrograph analysis; hydrological processes in different climatic zone; water fluxes between earth and atmosphere; water and energy balance; and dissolved and suspended materials in rivers. It also deals with variability of physical & chemical features of surface water, precipitation, evaporation processes.

Urban Environment: Asian Cities in a Globalizing World

The course aims to explore the different dimensions of contemporary Asian urbanization. Firstly it will introduce theories and conceptual frameworks to understand multiple aspects of urbanisation and its relationship/influence with/on local and regional environment; then major metropolitan areas and lastly focus on small urban centres. The course will draw insights from multiple disciplines, such as urban studies, geography, planning and policy studies, environmental studies, science and technology studies, economic sociology, and development studies. Students would be able to answer questions on environmental challenges; factors at different levels; interventions and policies to tackle those challenges; dominant models of urbanisation and alternatives.

Advance RS&GIS

After having completed the fundamentals of RS&GIS this course will offer the current and future trends in technological aspects of other remote sensing data types and sensors such Optical, Microwave, Hyperspectral, Lidar, etc. In optical remote sensing advance processing techniques such as PCA, Fourier transformation techniques, ratio indices and transformation techniques, data segmentation, etc. will be discussed. Potential of Microwave remote sensing during the day, night, cloudy, rainfall, etc. will be taught This technology plays a very important role during monsoon season for flood mapping, relief and rescue operations, when optical data is either not available or is cloudy. Application of Hyperspectral for identification of mineral, plant species, etc. and application of LiDAR for height measurement of objects, forest biomass will be discussed. Advance GIS for modelling, WebGIS, etc. will be taught.

Environmental Laws and Policy

Environmental laws prescribe legal obligations to protect the environment and environmental policies provide defined roadmaps for environmental governance. Global environmental problems or environmental crimes such as climate change, biodiversity degradation, desertification, marine pollution, etc., led to proliferation of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). This course will analyze the role of law as a tool to protect the environment and promote sustainable development. At the end of the course, the students will be able to evaluate the central role played by international environmental law in protecting the global environment, the fundamental principles and implementation mechanisms under MEAs.

Environmental Valuation and Green Accounting

Environmental services play a very crucial in supporting human, animal, plant, and microbial populations. The course is designed to familiarize the students with valuation methods and application to environmental services. In this course, students will learn various techniques (Cost-Benefit analysis, Travel Cost, Hedonic Pricing, Contingent Valuation, Distance function method, Input-Output analysis, Mitigation costs, Replacement/Restoration costs, Damage costs etc.) to provide monetary value to the non-marketed goods. Further, the course introduces the concept of green accounting, conventional methods of GDP calculation ignores environment. Green accounting considers environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity and loss of ecological in calculating the Nations GDP. To understand the domestic and international environmental policies and accounting the Green Gross Domestic Product.

Contaminant Hydrology

This course covers the subsurface flow and contaminant transport processes, emphasizing the role of groundwater, the relation of groundwater flow to geologic structure, and the management of contaminated groundwater. It covers the topics related to Darcy equation, flow nets, mass conservation, aquifer properties, heterogeneity and anisotropy, storage properties, regional circulation, unsaturated flow, recharge, well hydraulics, flow through porous media, contaminant transport processes, and numerical/mathematical models. It includes laboratory and computer exercises as a core requirement for Ecology and Environment Studies program.

Agroforestry and Seed Ecology

To feed the growing population of human beings and its associated livestock, existing biodiversity of our farmland also needs to grow many folds to increase the diversify of our daily food in order to get more diverse and balanced diets. We have already crossed the threshold limit of our modern agricultural technology to enhance crop production, however agroforestry practice can make our farmland more diverse through production of different kinds of edible fruits, fibers and fodder. To cultivate different wild relatives of crop, fruit and fodder plants in agroecosystem, it is important to have basic knowledge of their seed ecology to ensure their successful regeneration of healthy plants. Thus, this course focuses on sustainable use of farmland through agroforestry intervention using knowledge of seed ecology, and different models of agroforestry systems.

Applications of RS & GIS

The course will deal with the application of geospatial technologies such as Remote Sensing, GIS, Global Navigation Satellite Systems, and Information and Communication Technology for natural resources management. Some of the key resources such as vegetation (forests, biodiversity, etc.), animals (insects, birds, mammals, etc.), fresh water (rivers, ponds, lakes, biodiversity, etc.), soil (sand, dunes, wasteland, ushar, ravines, etc.), snow, Ice, glaciers, atmosphere – environment (air, gases, etc.) have been impacted raising concern of their sustainability for posterity. Satellite data has been used world-wide to map and monitor these natural resources and phenomenon and try to understand the impact of human activities. This course will focus on the application of satellite data for mapping and monitoring different types of natural resources for information generation for appropriate decision making.

Functional Ecology

This course will focus on how functional traits, physiological mechanisms, life history strategies, abiotic constraints, and biotic interactions influence plant distribution and abundance. The course will develop the basic skills of the students to understand both field and laboratory techniques to measure different traits and the eco-physiological role they play in plant community assemblage and ecosystem processes. Students through their independent dissertation projects will be able to explore how plants from different habitats, with different life-cycle, and life-forms responds to local environments. The course will also cover other functional aspects such as vegetation carbon sequestration and primary productivity and application of satellite data for the geospatial assessment of phytomass/carbon and primary productivity through case studies.

Toxicology and Public Health

This course covers the fundamental concepts of toxicology as applied to public health perspectives. The main objective of this course is to understand the major risk factors that affect human and global environmental health and the critical understanding of the interrelation between hazardous materials with global environmental health problems. The topics include fundamentals of toxicology, the responses of biological systems to different environmental pollutants, mechanisms of toxic action, carcinogenesis, biomarkers and risk analysis, human and ecological risk assessment. The course focuses on several case studies related to health and toxicological perspectives of pathogens, heavy metals, pesticides etc.; analytical methods; and policy and actions.

Environment, Technology and Society in Asia

This course examines the dynamic relationship among environment, technology and society in Asia. During the first seven weeks, the students would be exposed to the major theoretical, conceptual and analytical frameworks for the study of interactions between society and technology. Themes covered during this period will include: what is technology? How our understanding of technology has evolved over the years? How society’s influence on the environment was/is mediated through the use of various technologies? In the last seven weeks, the course will focus on case studies from Asian regions/countries to develop a nuanced understanding of major environmental challenges/issues in Asia. The course will draw upon theoretical and empirical literature from multiple disciplines, such as science and technology studies, environmental studies, economic sociology, and development studies.

Research Method and Communication

This coursewill introduce students to the basic elements of research design, data exploration, motivation and data analysis; and also the formulation of research objectives, framing of research questions, hypotheses and arriving at appropriate sampling techniques. The analyses of both qualitative and quantitative data will be explored. The presentation of research and communication of findings is important in any scientific endeavour. In order to publish in good-quality journals, the research should not only be good, but the research results should be written up and presented well. Scientific writing is an area in which students are seldom trained; most of them find it an intimidating challenge to prepare their manuscripts for high-quality journals. Just like any other area of professional expertise, scientific writing is a skill that can only be perfected by constant and dedicated efforts.

Environmental Biotechnology

The course describes the principles, applications and future prospects of environmental biotechnology. It includes perspectives of cell biology, structure and functions of biological molecules, applications of biological organisms and biological molecules in environmental remediation, etc. It also deals with the molecular tools and techniques required for research in environmental biotechnology such as Gel electrophoresis, Polymerase chain reaction, Cloning etc.. The course highlights the debates on genetically modified organisms and genetically modified foods. It also discuss the current societal issues like bioethics, biopiracy, bioprospecting etc. The course also deals with the basic principles of cancer biology. The course highlights the role of microorganisms in the environment and bioremediation.

Biodiversity and Conservation

Biodiversity Conservation is an important subject for the national and international communities, not just for promoting ecological sustainability but also for cultural and economic values. The loss of biodiversity has become a global concern and many international conventions seek to link biodiversity conservation to local livelihood promotion while balancing conservation and development imperatives with an interdisciplinary approach. The course, therefore, will equip students in understanding ecological, social and economic interactions existing between different components of biodiversity conservation and techniques related to its assessment, monitoring and conservation strategies.

Environmental Ethics

Environmental Ethics are the systematic examination of our rights, our responsibilities and the consequences of our conduct towards nature. The course will deal with ethical problems surrounding environmental protection. It will highlight the ethical justification and moral motivation across the communities, societies, countries and continents for the cause of the global environmental protection. It encompasses the man, animals, whole nature – biosphere, its action and future likely impacts. It will also touch upon the related perspectives in the areas such as environmental politics, environmental economics, environmental science and environmental literature. The course will offer insights into ethics related to environmental degradation Climate Change, Biodiversity and public participation in environmental protection. Contemporary environmental activism, such as Chipko, Narmada Bachao, and Navdanya are important in the present context Some recent trends in environmental ethics are (a) Libertarian extension (b) Ecologic extension and (c) Conservation ethics. Various approaches to environment are (a) Anarcho-primitivism, (b) Anthropocentrism, (c) Biocentrism, (d) Ecocentrism, (d) Ecofeminism, (e) Deep ecology, (f) Environmentalism and (g) Environmental virtue ethics

Environmental Impact Assessment

The purpose of this course is to discuss the impact of developmental activities on environment, social and health sectors and effects of a future development activity on biodiversity, arable land, forest, waterbodies, etc. and ecosystem services. It thrives to identify and assess the physical, biological and socio-economic effects of a development in a form that permits a practical and rational decision to be made. The objective of environmental impact interpretation and assessment is to make available information on the environmental repercussions before commencement using past and current satellite data, climatic data, etc. The course will discuss the need of EIA and evaluation system. The application of RS&GIS technologies in EIA will be taught.

Courses and Curriculum of SEES

Sl. No. Course title Course type Credit
Semester I
1 Introduction to Ecology and Environment Core 3
2 Field and Quantitative Techniques in Environmental Studies Core 3
3 Earth Processes and Biogeography Core 3
4 Atmospheric Science and Meteorological Processes Core 3
5 Essential Mathematics for Ecology and Environment Studies Elective 3
6 Citizen Science Elective 3
7 Seminar-I Core 1
Semester II
1 Environmental Pollution Core 3
2 Conservation Biology Core 3
3 Geospatial Technology Core 3
4 Agroforestry and Seed Ecology Elective 3
5 Environmental Economics and Natural Resource Management Elective 3
6 Environmental Hazards and Disaster Management Elective 3
7 Seminar-II Core 1
Semester III
1 Hydrology and Water Management Core 3
2 Energy Studies and Global Climate Change Core 3
3 Life Cycle Assessment and Circular Economy Elective 3
4 Environmental Legislation and Policy Elective 3
5 Seminar-III Core 1
Semester IV
1 Waste Management Core 3
2 Oceanography Elective 3
3 Restoration Ecology Elective 3
4 Dissertation Core 9
5 Seminar-IV Core 1
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