ESSM Graduate Course Descriptions

See also the list of courses offered online.

600. Principles of Ecosystem Science and Management. (3-0). Credit 3. Ecological foundations for sustained use of natural resources; climatic, edaphic, biotic and cultural factors in land resource allocation; land and cover viewed with respect to population dynamics, succession and climax, gradients and graduation, equilibria and imbalance. Prerequisite: Graduate classification in agriculture or in allied subject.*

601. Ecosystem Stewardship. (2-0). Credit 2. Integrates ecological concepts of resilience, sustainability, transformation and vulnerability within a framework of ecosystem stewardship to support human well-being in a rapidly changing world; emphasizes social-ecological systems, adaptive management, and valuation of ecosystem services as mechanisms to strengthen management and policy recommendations supporting ecosystem stewardship. Prerequisite: Graduate classification.

604. Changing Natural Resource Policy. (3-0). Credit 3. Process through which environmental policies are changed; theories of social and political change; using these theories along with original research on environmental policy problems to create and implement plans for changing environmental policies in communities. Prerequisite: Graduate classification.

605. The Research Process. (2-0). Credit 2. Nature and objectives of graduate work, the scientific method and basic and applied research. Introduction to design of experiments and analysis of data; principles of organization of project proposals, theses and scientific reports. Prerequisite: Graduate classification.

610. Rangeland Resource Management. (3-0) Credit 3. Basic concepts and theories of rangeland resource management; trends in range classification, grazing management and improvement practices. Prerequisite: Graduate classification in agriculture or related subject matter areas.*

611. Grazing Management and Range Nutrition. (3-0). Credit 3. Nutritional ecology of domestic and wild herbivores on rangelands; vegetation and animal response to various grazing management practices; diet selection, quality, intake and supplementation of herbivores.*

612. Rangeland Vegetation Management. (3-0). Credit 3. Principles and recent advances in brush and weed control with mechanical, chemical, burning and biological methods; interrelationships of brush management with grazing, wildlife and watershed management; planning and economic analysis of range improvement practices.*


620. Plant and Range Ecology. (3-0). Credit 3. Investigation of community/ecosystem/landscape distribution patterns, structure, spatial/temporal organization and function, paleoecology, ecological succession, disturbance regimes, ecological diversity and classification schemes. North American rangelands (grass- lands, shrublands, deserts, wetlands, etc.) stressed but world ecosystems reviewed. Prerequisites: RENR 205; RENR 215 or equivalent; graduate classification.*

621. Physiological Plant Ecology. (3-0). Credit 3. Investigation of physiological mechanisms influencing eco-logical patterns and processes, including plant acclimation and adaptation in contrasting habitats, abiotic controls on species productivity and distribution, relevant conceptual and experimental approaches, and integration among ecological scales. Prerequisites: RENR 205 or MEPS 313 or equivalent; graduate classification.

622. Biogeochemistry of Terrestrial Ecosystems. (3-0). Credit 3. Biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorus and their interaction with biotic and abiotic processes; biogeochemical processes investigated at the global level and in several types of terrestrial ecosystems; addressing global climate change, deforestation, acid precipitation, ozone depletion. Prerequisites: RENR 205 or equivalent; graduate classification.

624. Terrestrial Ecosystems and Global Change. (3-0). Credit 3. Identify the physical and biological principles governing the structure and function of terrestrial ecosystems in an earth-system context; analyze how plants and microorganisms respond to environmental change and affect global carbon, nutrient, and water cycles; evaluate ecosystem response to global change, including rising carbon dioxide, climate warming, and human impacts. Prerequisite: Graduate classification.

626. Fire and Natural Resources Management. (2-3). Credit 3. Behavior and use of fire in the management of natural resources; principles underlying the role of weather, fuel characteristics and physical features of the environment related to development and implementation of fire plans. Prerequisites: Graduate classification and approval of instructor.*

628. Wetland Delineation. (2-2). Credit 3. Application of the 1987 Wetland Delineation Manual in use by the Army Corps of Engineers; field indicators of hydrophytic vegetation, hydric soils, wetland hydrology, methods for making jurisdictional determination in non-disturbed and disturbed areas, recognition of problem wetlands and technical guidelines for wetlands. Prerequisite: Graduate classification or approval of instructor.

630. Restoration Ecology. (3-0). Credit 3. Review and discuss fundamental concepts, current literature, and contemporary topics relating to ecological restoration. This includes the theoretical development of restoration ecology and its application. The relationship with conservation biology will be explored. The goal is to inform, exchange views, and develop critical thinking skills through case studies. Prerequisite: Graduate classification.*

631. Ecological Restoration of Wetland and Riparian Systems. (2-2). Credit 3. How wetland and riparian areas link terrestrial and aquatic systems and function hydrologically and ecologically within watersheds; integrated approaches for restoration of degraded wetland and riparian systems; improving water resources through vegetation management with a special interest in rangelands. Prerequisites: RENR 205 or equivalent and WFSC 428 or equivalent.

635. Ecohydrology. (3-0). Credit 3. This course will provide a framework for understanding how plants and animals affect the water cycle; the water cycle in all of its aspects will be examined and explored with the idea of understanding how changes in land cover may influence the water cycle; implications for both upland and riparian systems will be examined. Prerequisite: Graduate classification. Cross-listed with GEOG 623.

636. Wildland Watershed Management. (3-0). Credit 3. Management of range and forest water-sheds; influence of range and forest practices on runoff, interception, infiltration, erosion and water quality; current literature and research advances.*

647. Range Grasses and Grasslands. (2-3). Credit 3. Basic concepts of grass structure and classification, recent advances in agrostological research, genetic and ecological basis for patterns of variation and evolution in grasses. Offered fall semester of odd numbered years.*

648. Wetland Plant Taxonomy. (1-4). Credit 3. Interpretation of plant morphologies for keying and the identification of wetland plants from prime habitats; plant communities including the plant's adaptation to variation in salinity and soils; identification of inconspicuous flowered plant species including sedges, rushes and grasses. Prerequisite: ESSM 304 or approval of instructor. Offered fall semester of even numbered years.*

651. Geographic Information Systems. (2-2). Credit 3. Design, planning and implementation of geographic information systems; computer hardware and software evaluation; practical experience in data entry, analysis and update of spatial and characteristic data; linkages of GIS and artificial intelligence; use of maps and remotely sensed data as data inputs. Prerequisites: Graduate classification. Cross-listed with BAEN 651.

652. Advanced Topics in Geographic Information Systems. (2-2). Credit 3. Advanced GIS topics with a focus on modeling actual GIS applications including relational and database theory, design and implementation and its connection to GIS; surface analysis with digital terrain models; and an introduction to spatial statistics. Prerequisite: ESSM 651 or BAEN 651.

655. Remote Sensing of the Environment. (2-2) .Credit 3. Remote sensing for the management of renewable natural resources; use of aerial photography and satellite imagery to detect, identify and monitor forest, range and agricultural resources; utilize remotely sensed data as input to computerized information management systems. Prerequisite: Graduate classification.

656. Advanced Remote Sensing. (2-2). Credit 3. Advanced techniques for information extraction using air- borne and satellite imagery; active and passive sensors characteristics; customizing and developing image processing tools for remote sensing applications for a broad range of sensors and applications. Prerequisites: ESSM 655, ESSM 444, GEOG 651, GEOG 661.

660. Landscape Analysis and Modeling. (2-2). Credit 3. Introduction to quantitative methods of landscape analysis and modeling for applications in natural resource conservation and management; quantification of landscape composition and configuration; spatial statistical methods for characterizing landscape pattern; methods for hypothesis testing with spatial data; landscape modeling approaches and applications; current literature and software. Prerequisite: Approval of instructor.*

663. Applied Spatial Statistics. (3-2). Credit 4. An introduction to the theory and practice of spatial statistics as applied to the natural resources. Spatial analyses focusing primarily on ordinary kriging, point processes, and lattice data. Prerequisites: MATH 141, 142; STAT 651; or equivalents; ESSM 651 preferred. Cross-listed with SCSC 663.

665. Computer Programming for Natural Resources Applications. (2-2). Credit 3. An introduction to programming concepts and applications; elements of Visual Basic programming including data types, control and program structure; introduction to objects and object-oriented programming; macro and applications development; automation of GIS programming through the use of macros. Prerequisites: Approval of instructor.

671. Ecological Economics. (3-0). Credit 3. Study of the relationships between ecosystems and economic systems; understanding the effects of human economic endeavors on ecological systems and how the ecological benefits and costs of such activities can be quantified and internalized. Prerequisite: Graduate classification. Cross-listed with RENR 659.

672. Environmental Impact Analysis for Renewable Natural Resources. (3-0). Credit 3.Analysis and critique of contemporary environmental analysis methods in current use; environmental impact statements; national policies; political, social and legal ramifications as related to development and use of renewable natural resources. Prerequisite: Graduate classification. Cross-listed with RENR 660.

675. International Sustainable Community Development. (3-0). Credit 3. Depicting global trends, paradigms and a comparative framework on sustainable community development; visioning, design, planning and developmental processes; leadership and management skills; marketing and promotion of sustainability concepts and practices; efficacies, indicators, analytic methods and case analyses; platforms for international cooperation; opportunities and careers in pertinent fields.

676. Leadership, Development and Management of Environmental NGO. (3-0). Credit 3.Trends and increasing power of NGOs in environment and sustainable development; understanding of the organizational structures, functions, planning and management processes of environmental NGOs; technical skills and leadership qualities for careers with environmental NGOs. Prerequisite: Graduate classification. Cross-listed with RENR 650.

681. Seminar. Credit 1 each semester. Reviews and discussions of current topics and advances in Ecosystem Science and Management. Prerequisite: Graduate classification.

684. Professional Internship. Credit 1 to 4. On-the-job training in fields of ecosystem science and management. Prerequisite: Graduate classification in Ecosystem Science and Management..

685. Directed Studies. Credit 1 to 4 each semester. Investigations not included in student's research forthesis or dissertation. Prerequisite: Graduate majors in Ecosystem Science and Management.

689. Special Topics. Credit 1 to 4. Selected topics in an identified area of ecosystem science and management. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Graduate classification.

691. Research. Credit 1 or more each semester. Research for thesis or dissertation. Prerequisite: Graduate majors in Ecosystem Science and Management.


659. Ecological Economics.(3-0). Credit3. Study of the relationships between ecosystems and economic systems; understanding the effects of human economic endeavors on ecological systems and how the ecological benefits and costs of such activities can be quantified and internalized. Prerequisite: Graduate Classification. Cross-listed with AGEC 659 and ESSM 671.

660. Environmental Impact Analysis for Renewable Natural Resources. (3-0). Credit 3. Analysis and critique of contemporary environmental analysis methods in current use; environmental impact statements; national policies; political, social and legal ramifications as related to development and use of renewable natural resources. Prerequisite: Graduate Classification. Cross-listed with ESSM 672.

*Field trips required for which departmental fees may be assessed to cover costs.

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Amanda Ray
Academic Advisor for Graduate Programs

979.862.6470 |






Dr. Georgianne Moore
Associate Department Head for Graduate Programs

979.845.3765 |


Contact Us

We have moved! After a restructuring that occurred in January 2020, our department and the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences disbanded. From the restructuring, two new departments were formed. Visit the new departmental sites for up-to-date information. 

Learn More:
Ecology and Conservation Biology
Rangeland Wildlife and Fisheries Management

Advising for ESSM:
Advising for students in the legacy ESSM programs is now situated under AGLS Advising Center 7

Undergraduate Advising | Ann Pool
Graduate Advising | Amanda Ray

Department Resources

College of Ag and Life Sciences

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