Course Information

Mandatory Courses

The mandatory course content is designed to be followed by all students with successful Bachelor’s background in Social, Natural, or Applied Sciences with no other prerequisities. These courses provide the basic interdisciplinary knowledge and skills in environment, energy, and water resources:

SEES 501 Political Economy and Law in Sustainability (3-0)3

This course introduces the principal concepts and principles from political economy and law (especially international law) which have come to inform sustainability strategies and sustainable development. These concepts and principles have their origins across the natural and social sciences and include, but are not limited to, such notions as ecological crisis; metabolic rate; thermodynamics; discount rates; environmental Kuznets curve; market failure and market absence; transaction costs and public goods; tragedy of the commons; common property resources; moral hazard; socialization of risk; intergenerational equity; the precautionary principle; the polluter pays principle; liability; prior informed consent; and many others, as well as sustainability itself.

SEES 502 Energy Systems and Sustainability (3-0)3

Interdisciplinary exploration of environmental, scientific, economic, social, and political opportunities and impacts associated with energy systems. Main fuel technologies such as fossil, hydroelectric, nuclear, photovoltaic, wind, and biomass. The supply and use of energy systems with emphasis on sustainability. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of energy resources, combustion, conversion, distribution processes in terms of environmental, social, and economic impacts. Emerging portfolios of energy systems. Investigation of local and global options. A term paper on a topic outside thesis research area. A local field trip.

SEES 503 Sustainable Water Resources (3-0)3

Introduction to Hydrology: Hydrologic cycle, precipitation, evaporation, and stream flow; Extreme events: Floods and droughts; Water uses and quantities; Water characteristics and quality; Fresh water and sea water pollution; Groundwater use and contamination; Sewage and wastewater treatment and reuse; Effects of climate change on water resources; hydroelectric power; Sustainable water resources development: Environmental, economic and social sectors.

Elective Courses

The elective courses are selected with guidance from the Thesis committee based on student’s background and research area. The students must satisfy any prerequisites before they can enroll in an elective coruse. Elective courses are listed under two groups every semester: Social Sciences and Natural & Applied Sciences. Students are required to take at least one of their four elective courses from the alternate group before they can graduate. The elective courses are opened based on general need and availability, and may vary from semester to semester. The optional courses will include, but are not limited to the following list:

Natural & Applied Sciences Group:
CVE 535 Water Resources System Engineering (3-0)3

Systems analysis concepts, terminology, phases. System approach to solving water resource problems. Nature and objective of and mathematical models for water resource systems. Review of optimization techniques. Linear programming: Classical optimization methods, separable programming. Search techniques. Computer applications, case studies. Simulation methods for design of water resource systems introduced.

EEE 531 Probability and Stochastic Processes (3-0)3

Review of probability theory and random variables. Sequence of random variables, convergence concepts. Stochastic processes: correlation and power spectra, stationarity, linear systems with random inputs, second order processes; stochastic continuity, differentiation and integration in quadratic mean; Gaussian processes; Poisson processes, shot noise; Markov processes; orthogonal expansions, least mean square error estimation.

EEE 569 Special Topics in Power Electronics (3-0)3

Modern power semiconductors characteristics, trends. Power integrated circuits. AC-to-DC converters; unity power factor converters. DC-to-DC converters; switch mode power converters, resonant converters, DC-to-AC converters; configurations, soft switching, resonant types, pulse width modulation techniques. A review of selected applications.

ENVE 502 Modeling Soil and Groundwater Pollution (3-0)3

Mathematical models for flow and transport of contaminants in soil and groundwater systems. Analytical and numerical solutions of mathematical models. Stochastic aspects of subsurface flow and contaminants. Case studies and applications of selected computer programs to investigate problems of various complexity. Current research topics and directions.

MECH 514 Advanced Solar Energy Utilization (3-0)3

Advanced topics including passive, active and hybrid heating techniques. Thermal storage and solar ponds. Equipment in solar systems. Solar distillation and evaporation. Solar cooling and refrigeration. Solar pumping and irrigation. High temperature applications. Photovoltaic. Utilizations of other renewable energy resources; biomass, wind energy, etc.

SEES 510 Renewable Energy and Climate Change (3-0)3

Scientific data on global warming and climate change. Mitigation through renewable energy use. Conversion processes, materials and costs, planning and design, economics and ecology associated with: Photovoltaic, solar thermal systems, and wind. Socio-economic assessment of the energy supply systems, transmission and storage options. Technical and economic issues around integrating renewable energy to power systems. A term project in renewable energy on a topic outside the thesis research.

Social Sciences Group:
BUS 535 Energy Management (3-0)3

This course will address a broad scope of energy issues, including basic energy concepts, effective energy management, energy related codes standards and legislation, energy auditing, economic analysis, energy security and reliability, financing energy management projects, measurement and verification of energy savings.

ECO 667 Development Economics (3-0)3

The concept of development; historical aspects of economic development; the extent of development gap among countries, measurement of development. Major theories of development; structuralist and neoclassical approaches; dependence theories. Main policy issues; income distribution and poverty, population growth, employment, migration, trade and industrialization, agriculture, stabilization policies, external debt.

PSIR 510 International Relations of Global Environmental Change (3-0)3

A brief history of international environmental regulation; varieties of international environmental agreements (IEAs); the concept of the ‘international’ in IEAs; international environmental regulatory institutions; why is there no World Environmental Organisations; the concept of the global in global environmental change; the concept of crisis in ‘global environmental crisis’; varieties of global environmentalism; discourses of the earth; global environmental movements; linking the local and the global; sustainability and development on a global scale.

PSIR 534 Political Economy of International Oil (3-0)3

This seminar consist of two parts: The first part examines the regional and international aspects of oil, focusing on the primacy of oil in the Middle East, oil discovery and concessions, the emergence of OPEC and the structural changes in the oil market. The second part addresses the socioeconomic and political effects of oil on oil-exporting states and discusses the rentier state/rentier economy model, employing extensive case studies.

Thesis Seminars

Thesis seminars offered to all students involve discussion of interdisciplinary research methods by faculty members in the first semester. In the second semester, the students will have an opportunity to discuss their own research in seminar format.