Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Environmental Sustainability

2019 Summer Course Descriptions

The following classes are being offered during various summer sessions and on various campuses.

The purpose of this course is to foster an in-depth understanding of ecology, the study of relationships between organisms and the environment at organizational scales ranging from genes, individuals, and populations to communities, ecosystems, and landscapes. Topics include population dynamics, species interactions, community dynamics, food webs, ecosystem functions, and landscape ecology with a strong emphasis on scientific inquiry and data interpretation. 

Outcome: Students will understand key concepts and principles concerning ecological processes in nature at the gene, individual, population, community, ecosystem and landscape scales and apply knowledge of ecological concepts to current environmental challenges.

Prerequisite: ENVS 237 or CHEM 101

Restricted to majors within IES.

Course content includes lab skills and analytical techniques commonly employed in ecological studies; emphasizes sampling, research design, field work, laboratory technique, data analysis, project development, hypothesis testing, and scientific report writing. 

Outcomes: Understand ecological principles, apply knowledge to ecological experiments, observational studies, and entry-level mathematical models; assess biotic responses to the abiotic environment and to anthropogenic impacts.

Pre-requisites: ENVS 203

Restricted to IES majors.



This course is designed as an introduction to environmental public health issues, laws, regulations, research, and advocacy. Environmental factors including biological, physical and chemical factors that affect the health of a community will be presented. The environmental media (air, water and land, and various community exposure concerns will also be presented). The course will utilize available internet resources to access environmental data, and focus related research. A team project will be completed requiring literature review and presentation and critical assessment of a successful (or unsuccessful) environmental advocacy campaign.


Restricted to Juniors and Seniors within IES

In this hands-on course, students will build knowledge and skills in agriculture and ecology through work in greenhouse, laboratory, classroom, and field settings. Students will build on the foundations of environmental science and biology by examining the challenges of food production, management decisions, and environmental change facing agroecosystems both locally and abroad.

Outcomes: Students will develop an understanding of agricultural systems as related to sustainable practices, develop skills in ecological analysis of these systems, and demonstrate proficiency in communicating scientific information to diverse audiences

Prerequisites for Environmental Science and Environmental Studies majors:  ENVS 237 & 238; OR BIOL 102 & 112; ENVS 223 is recommended.

Host University: Leuphana University of Lüneburg

This class will introduce students to the emerging field of sustainability in business and the growing focus on the social, environmental, and economic performance of businesses. The course presents the scientific, moral, and business cases for adopting sustainability. Combine with a course on government and politics in Germany. 

Pre-requisites: UCSF 137 or ENVS 137 & MGMT 201

Field ornithology is an intensive three-week engaged-learning course at the Loyola University Retreat and Ecology Campus during the peak of the migratory bird season. This class is intended to provide an introduction to the theory and practice of field ornithology. Emphasis will be on field identification and song recognition, census techniques, and avian behavior.

Prerequisite: ENVS 280/286 or BIOL 265/266. Recommended: BIOL 215 (not required). Some Saturday classes possible.

Students may register for independent research on a topic mutually acceptable to the student and any professor in the department. Usually, this research is directed to a particular course or to the research of the professor. 

Prerequisite: IES advisor approval 

This course fulfills the capstone requirement for IES majors. Through independent research experience, examine how scientific, sociological, economic and political knowledge and perspectives interact and define environmental problems and solutions/mitigation efforts. Research projects must use a multi-disciplinary perspective in analysis and interpretation.

Prerequisite: IES advisor approval and senior standing.

Students seek out and engage in a semester- or summer-long internship with a civic, business, governmental, or academic group providing hands-on experience in work on environmental issues. 

Prerequisite: IES advisor approval. 

Fulfills capstone requirement for IES majors. Through internship experience, students reflect upon academic and extra-curricular activities in their degree program and learn how scientific, sociological, economic and political knowledge and perspectives interact and define environmental problems and solutions/mitigation efforts.


Prerequisite: IES advisor approval and senior standing.

From predictions of sea level rise for coastal cities to communicating with NGO’s and policymakers, students assess the different and convergent roles that print, photography, radio, film, television and new media play in helping to address the most pressing areas of global climate change. How much does depicting catastrophe and fear help to gain an audience to address climate change issues? How can we visualize data to better persuade, inform and include general audiences? What is the role of communication for NGOs, non-profit and corporate entities?

Students will produce (both individually and in small groups) their own multimedia projects for potential and actual clients or NGOs, for conferences, events, for broadcast or the web. Students will visualize data and create narrative and informational contexts around climate change issues. Strategies for the implementation of media campaigns and plans will be researched and developed during a month of class.
Students will go on field trips to several NGOs and attend one climate change event or conference. Visits and discussions will include interviewing, strategies for reporting and crafting stories, promoting events, advocacy, broadcast media, and case studies of guerilla media, lobbying, and non-violent actions.

The circular economy strives to keep resources circulating in the economy as long as possible to maximize their value, reduce the need for resources, and decrease the accumulation of waste.  This course introduces circular economy principles and concepts, business models, metrics, and applications.  This course includes a week-long excursion to explore biodiesel’s supply chain and to visit other companies with circular business practices.

Learning Objectives

  1. Explain the circular economy, its opportunities and challenges, and its critiques.
  2. Identify business models and value creation for the circular economy.
  3. Identify system (industry and government), company, and product-level applications of the circular economy.
  4. Learn metrics and indicators for a circular economy.

Students will read, analyze, and discuss publications focusing on different aspects of a specific environmental issue or theme, and will demonstrate comprehension of, and the ability to apply information from, scientific literature and be able to synthesize information to produce a cogent, synthetic analysis of their topic based on these readings. 

Prerequisite: IES advisor approval.