Summer Sessions | Courses | Earth and Environmental Sciences

Course information is posted for 2021. Please check back at a later time for updated 2022 course offerings.

Earth and Environmental Sciences

Check the Directory of Classes for the most up-to-date course information.

Summer 2021 Session Information

  • SESSION A courses are May 3–June 18, 2021
  • SESSION B courses are June 28–August 16, 2021
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Dinosaurs and the History of Life
EESC1004S001 3 points.

Dinosaurs  explores how science works and provide practical knowledge about the history of life and how we have come to understand it. We learn how to analyze the evolutionary relationships of organisms and examine how dinosaurs came to be exemplars of a very successful group of organisms dominant on land for 140 million years. We will delve deeply into how direct descendants of small carnivorous theropod dinosaurs evolved into birds, still more diverse than mammals, dominating the air. The Mesozoic, a “hot-house world”, with no ice caps and was the kind of world we are hurtling towards because of our input of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and we will look at how their time is a natural experiment for our future. The non-avian dinosaur met their end in a remarkable cataclysm discovered by detective work that we will delve deeply into as a paradigm of the scientific method  Finally, they are fun and spectacular - monsters more fantastic than any person has invented in legend or religion - and they are still with us!  

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
EESC1004S001 001/11006 Summer B Subterm We 01:00 PM–04:10 PM
Mo 01:00 PM–04:10 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Paul Olsen
3 Open for Enrollment
(auto-fill waitlist)
On-Line Only
Earth and Environmental Science in Today's World
EESC1007X001 3 points.

In responding to the environmental issues we face today, it is critical to recognize the science behind them. This course will teach students the basic concepts in earth science/geology essential to understanding the mechanisms of our current climate crisis. These foundational concepts are crucial for any student who is interested in not only the natural sciences, but for those who wish to pursue careers related to environmental justice, sustainability, and other social science fields. Students will explore how and where natural resources form, as well as how we are rapidly depleting these reserves. Students will also learn about natural disasters and how these affect certain communities more than others. Students will gain an understanding of the formation of rocks and minerals and their economic significance. Students will be able to use the cumulative knowledge they gained during the first weeks of class to have a better understanding of the global climate issues we face and to use this information to conduct presentations on an environmental topic of their choice. The format of the course will be as follows:  Primarily lecture, followed by class discussions, group activities and at least one lab component.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
EESC1007X001 001/00168 Summer B Subterm Th 09:00 AM–12:15 PM
Tu 09:00 AM–12:15 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Sedelia Rodriguez
3 Open for Enrollment
(auto-fill waitlist)
EESC1030V001 3 points.

Explore the geology of the sea floor, understand what drives ocean currents and how ocean ecosystems operate. Case studies and discussions centered on ocean-related issues facing society.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
EESC1030V001 001/10986 Summer A Subterm Tu 09:45 AM–11:00 AM
Th 09:45 AM–11:00 AM
Tu 01:45 PM–03:00 PM
Th 01:45 PM–03:00 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Baerbel Hoenisch
3 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
EESC2200W001 5 points.
Prerequisites: high school algebra, chemistry, and physics. Exploration of how the solid Earth works, today and in the past, focusing on Earth in the Solar system, continents and oceans, the Earth's history, mountain systems on land and sea, minerals and rocks, weathering and erosion, glaciers and ice sheets, the hydrological cycle and rivers, geochronology, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, energy resources. Laboratory exploration of topics through examination of rock samples, experimentation, computer data analysis, field exercises, and modeling. Columbia and Barnard majors should plan to take W2200 before their senior year to avoid conflicts with the Senior Seminar.
Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
EESC2200W001 001/10997 Summer A Subterm Tu 01:10 PM–02:25 PM
Mo 01:10 PM–02:25 PM
Th 01:10 PM–02:25 PM
We 01:10 PM–02:25 PM
Tu 04:00 PM–07:00 PM
Th 04:00 PM–07:00 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Alberto Malinverno
Maria Tolstoy
5 Closed for Online Registration Hybrid
EESC3010W001 3 points.

The centerpiece of this course is a field trip that will take place during Spring Break in Barbados. During the term-time the class will meet before the trip to prepare for it and after the trip to synthesize what was learned and to create a field guide. Subjects to be covered: Plate tectonics / convergent plate margins and accretionary prisms / Barbados geology; ice ages / Milankovitch cycles / sea level; introduction to coral reefs and fossil coral reef geology; Barbados terrestrial ecology; limestone caves / hydrology; dating methods; overview of Barbados history, economy, culture. In order to observe the modern day coral reef (the modern day live analog to the fossil coral reefs) the class will go snorkeling. In order to observe the effects of cave formation and water flow in limestone terrains the class will visit a cave. The class will also participate in an exercise in geological mapping of a series of coral reef terraces.

Priority is given to junior and senior majors and concentrators in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia College and the School of General Studies, and Barnard Environmental Science majors and minors. Barnard students must receive permission from the Barnard Environmental Science department chair in order to receive the subsidy. All others require the instructor's permission. Interested sophomores planning to major or concentrate in Earth Sciences or Environmental Sciences are encouraged to contact the instructor. By necessity (number of van seats) the course is limited to 20 or 21 students.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
EESC3010W001 001/10999 Summer A Subterm
Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Sidney Hemming
Steven Goldstein
3 Closed for Online Registration Hybrid
EESC4113W001 4 points.

Prerequisites: introductory geology or the equivalent, elementary college physics and chemistry, or the instructors permission. Minerals come in dazzling colors, amazing shapes and with interesting optical effects. But mineralogy is also an essential tool for the understanding of Earth evolution. Minerals represent fundamental building blocks of the Earth system and planetary bodies. Minerals form through geological and biological processes such as igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary from high to low temperatures, from the deep interior to the Earth’s surface and related to volcanism, tectonics, weathering, climate and life. Minerals are one of our most important sources of information on such processes through Earth’s history. Minerals also represent important natural resources and are fundamental to the global economy and modern technology as we know it. The goal of this class is to (1) understand the physical and chemical properties of minerals, (2) learn techniques of mineral identification with an emphasis on optical mineralogy, (3) understand the relationship between minerals and the broader geological context.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
EESC4113W001 001/11003 Summer A Subterm Tu 09:00 AM–10:30 AM
We 09:00 AM–10:30 AM
Mo 09:00 AM–10:30 AM
Th 09:00 AM–10:30 AM
Tu 02:30 PM–04:30 PM
Th 02:30 PM–04:30 PM

Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Yves Moussallam
4 Closed for Online Registration Hybrid
Summer Internship in Climate and Society
EESC5406G001 6 points.

Prerequisites: enrollment in the M.A. Program in Climate and Society. During the third and final term of study for the 12-month M.A. Program in Climate and Society, students must complete either a thesis or internship and simultaneously enroll in EESC W4405. The summer internship requires a minimum of 140 hours of professional participation during the Summer Term in a position related to core issues of concern to the Program. The selected position must be approved by the Director of the M.A. Program by a specified date in the Spring Semester preceding the Summer Term. The position must be substantive in nature and must constitute a practical, professional experience. Students will be evaluated on the basis of oral and written updates on the work, a student internship report to be submitted at the end of the Summer Term, and on the basis of a supervisor report form to be submitted by the site supervisor for the internship.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
EESC5406G001 001/12426 Full Trm Crs
Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Ben Orlove
Catherine Vaughan
Aisha Owusu
6 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only
EESC5408S001 6 points.

In this course, students will work jointly with a client organization in the climate and society field. Under the guidance of the instructors, they will take a short request from the organization for a specific product (data analysis, program development, curricular and training material, or other related items), develop a work plan, implement the work plan, and present the final product to the client. This course gives students direct experience in the co-production of knowledge in the climate and society field, a valuable skill in the contemporary world. It extends the training in the integration of natural science and social science that is a hallmark of the Climate + Society program. It includes training in the construction of a boundary object--a final product--conducted jointly with the client organization; this training includes instruction in project design, implementation and evaluation, and in communication between organizations.

Course Number Section/Call Number Session Times/Location
EESC5408S001 001/12425 Full Trm Crs
Instructor Points Enrollment Method of Instruction
Ben Orlove
Catherine Vaughan
Aisha Owusu
6 Closed for Online Registration On-Line Only