RES Graduate Course Information

course-info-2

(Last updated on May 25, 2017)

 

All RES students must register in the appropriate RES thesis course below for every term of their program, including all summer terms:

  • RES 599 for master’s students
  • RES 699 for doctoral (PhD) students

 


 

2017W Term 1 (September 2017 – December 2017)

 


 

RES 500A: Global Aspects of Ecohydrology

Instructor: Mark Johnson

Day/Time: Wednesdays 9:30am-12:30pm

Location: TBA

Enrollment: Graduate Students (or advanced undergraduates with instructor approval and completed G+PS form)

 

Description

Water is at the centre of many sustainability-related issues, from trade-offs between hydropower generation and in-stream flow requirements for ecological functioning, to innovations in water provisioning for projected growth in urban regions, to carbon sequestration initiatives. In this course, we will use tools and concepts in ecohydrology to consider empirical, experimental and modeling-based approaches to water and sustainability. As an interdisciplinary field of study, ecohydrology is concerned with the interactions between ecological systems and the water cycle. We will use ecohydrology as a framework to evaluate interactions between human and natural systems in resource management questions, in urban issues, and in policy frameworks including consideration of future climate scenarios.

Course Objectives

During this course, students will develop an understanding of feedbacks between hydrologic and ecological processes, explore research techniques to elucidate ecohydrologic processes, and will gain experience in testing hypotheses from interdisciplinary perspectives. Students will develop skills in evaluating water-related aspects of sustainability.

Note to potential students
In past years, students from a range of graduate programs have taken the course (Geography, Geology, Forestry, RMES). This resulted in interesting mix of students and backgrounds, allowing for a better understanding of approaches and applications for ecohydrology.

Several students developed their coursework into papers that were published in the peer-reviewed literature. While this is not an expected outcome for the course, it is something that can be discussed if it is of interest.

 


 

RES 507: Human Technological Systems

Instructor: Milind Kandlikar and Terre Satterfield

Day/Time: Tuesdays 2:00pm – 5:00pm

Location: TBA

Enrollment: Graduate Students (or advanced undergraduates with instructor approval and completed G+PS form)

 

Description

This course introduces students to the role and influence of science and technology in society, and its relationship to public policy, human development and the environment. The influence of science and technology on public policy is bidirectional. Science and technology (S&T) is influenced by policy decisions (policy for science) and in turn influences public policy (science for policy). The course introduces students to basic models for understanding this bidirectional interaction. The approach is multidisciplinary, drawing upon literature in a wide range of disciplines including environmental studies, philosophy of science, economics of technological change, social studies of science, and history of technology. We will also rely upon the extensive literature written by scientists and engineers in their role as policy observers and advisors. While this literature draws heavily on the North American and European cases, the course will also incorporate findings from the developing world.

 Previous RES 507 Course Outline

 


 

 

RES 520: Climate Change: Science, Technology and Sustainable Development

Instructor: Hadi Dowlatabadi

Day/Time: Mondays 9:30am – 12:30pm

Location: TBA

Enrollment: Graduate Students (or advanced undergraduates with instructor approval and completed G+PS form)

 

Description

This course will introduce students to the policy debates and responses created by climate change, which has emerged as the most complex environmental challenge facing the planet. On the one hand, changes in global climate are likely to have significant impacts in many parts of the world, and while a small number of regions / sectors may benefit many others could be devastated. On the other hand, reducing greenhouse gas emissions poses significant technological, economic and political challenges. Reductions of greenhouse gas gases will be made in the presence of incomplete information and continued scientific and economic uncertainty. Changes in human behaviour and technological innovations of the magnitude needed to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions may be difficult to achieve.

Previous RES 520 course outline

 


RES 500B: Directed Studies

Directed Studies courses are designed by a student and faculty instructor to meet the needs of a student in an area that is not addressed in the current curriculum. RES students may register in an RES Directed Studies course with the approval of their supervisor and the RES Graduate Advisor. You must have an approved RES Directed Studies Form prior to registering in this course.

 

 

 


 

course-info-2-OPTION-2

 

2017W Term 2 (January 2018 – April 2018)

 


 

RES 500T: Global Food Security and Sustainability

Instructor: Navin Ramankutty

Day/Time: Mondays 2:00pm – 5:00pm

Location: TBA

Enrollment: Graduate Students (or advanced undergraduates with instructor approval and completed G+PS form)

 

Description

Achieving food security for 10 billion while enhancing the sustainability of our food production system is a major challenge of the next century. This graduate seminar course will discuss papers on the multiple dimensions of this challenge, including biophysical, economic, nutritional, socio-political, and institutional. We will take a global perspective on the issues, drawing upon both global-scale research as well as case studies from different regions of the world to understand the geography of agricultural production, its environmental footprint, and of malnutrition.

Previous RES 500T Course Outline

Previous RMES 500T course poster

Previous RMES 500T course outline

 


RES 500X: Survey Design for the Environmental Social Sciences

Instructor: Terre Satterfield

Day/Time: Tuesdays 2:00pm – 5:00pm

Location: TBA

Enrollment: Graduate Students (or advanced undergraduates with instructor approval and completed G+PS form)

 

Description

Faculty and students from different disciplines act as an interdisciplinary team studying specific resource problems with ecological, economic, demographic and social dimensions. Techniques and methods are emphasized to show their value in integrating knowledge, defining policy and facilitating communication. Several sections with different emphasis offered each year.

 


 

RES 502: Interdisciplinary Case Analysis and Research Design

Note: there are two sections of this course:

  • RES 502 – 201 (Doctoral level)
  • RES 502 – 202 (Master’s level)

Instructors:

  • RES 502 – 201: Jiaying Zhao (Doctoral level)
  • RES 502 – 202: Stephanie Chang (Master’s Level)

Day/Time:

  • RES 502 – 201: Tuesdays 9:00am – 12:00pm (Doctoral level)
  • RES 502- 202: Wednesdays 9:ooam-12:oopm (Master’s level)

Location for both classes:

  • RES 502-201 (Doctoral level) will take place in AERL 419
  • RES 502-202 (Master’s level) will take place in TBA

Enrollment: Graduate Students (or advanced undergraduates with instructor approval and completed G+PS form)

 

Description

This is a course in which case studies are used to teach how sustainability questions are turned into researchable topics and what research methods (qualitative and quantitative) are used to arrive at answers.  The case studies will reflect the various foci of research at IRES.  The case studies will begin with simple questions and grow in sophistication and complexity.  Case studies will be used to explore similarities and differences in how questions in different domains are structured and researched. The students in the class will then be encouraged to develop the research questions and proposed methods for their own thesis by work-shopping their ideas in the class setting and through one-on-one mentoring with class instructors.

The case studies will be selected with the aim of highlighting key features of good research design, how different perspectives (theoretically, conceptually and methodologically) can lead to different kinds of research and how there is value in these different approaches, and foster the search for even better hybrid approaches.

Given the wide range of incoming academic and professional backgrounds among the students, peer mentoring will be used within the class to help bolster knowledge of and familiarity with qualitative and quantitative methods.
The goals of this course are to:

  • foster literacy in research methods and bring about familiarity with good research design;
  • initiate design of the research proposals for every student.

 

Previous RES 502 Course Outline *Master’s

Previous RES 502  Course Outline *Doctoral

 


 

RES 505: Qualitative Methods in Interdisciplinary Contexts

Instructor: Leila Harris

Wednesdays 1:00pm – 4:00pm

Location: TBA

Enrollment: Graduate Students (or advanced undergraduates with instructor approval and completed G+PS form)

 

Description

This course offers an introduction to qualitative research approaches and their practical applications in interdisciplinary research related to socio-ecological sustainability. Using a student-led learning format, we will undertake original research as well as read and critically assess qualitative research conducted in interdisciplinary contexts. We will discuss the relationship between research motivations, paradigms, and methodological choices, the process of ethics review, and fieldwork experiences in both academic and applied research settings. Careful examination of representation, voice, reflexivity and researcher positioning will form an important part of the course. The course includes activities and assessments related to qualitative research design, ethics approvals, fieldwork methods (including observation and fieldnotes, interviewing, oral history, focus groups, visual methods, archival research) and approaches to qualitative data analysis, including coding and writing up qualitative research. Students will design and carry out an original field research project incorporating qualitative methods.

Previous RES 505 Course Outline

 

 


 

RES 510: Exploding* Social Ecological Systems

Instructor: Kai Chan

Day/Time: Thursdays 9:30am – 12:30pm

Location:  TBA

Enrollment: Graduate Students (or advanced undergraduates with instructor approval and completed G+PS form)

 

Description

At the core of many environmental issues are intertwined social and ecological processes that drive changes for both ecological systems and human communities at multiple scales. The multiple causes of environmental problems have long troubled traditional academic approaches because social and ecological systems have generally been studied separately. Increasingly, interdisciplinary socio-ecological approaches are being developed in order to consider these processes together, providing important insights regarding the complex dynamics of diverse and interlinked processes operating across temporal and spatial scales. This course investigates both disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches that are important to understanding connections and linkages across social and ecological realms, going well beyond and reflecting on the ‘social-ecological systems’ literature. This will include exposure to several case studies, and also to fields of study, their key constructs, and their methods that focus on coupled systems and the integration of socio-ecological perspectives. Attention will also be paid to the evaluation of perspectives where such integration does not yet occur and why this matters. Students will leave the course with an understanding of (i) how these interlinked systems and dynamics function (or are dysfunctional), (ii) how existing policies, economic incentives, governance regimes, behaviors (individual and collective), and preferences affect these systems and processes and (iii) how new policies and institutions might learn from available research to better promote sustainable trajectories.

* ‘Exploding’ is used in several senses: (a) throwing wide open (the conversation around); (b) showing the components of a mechanism as if separated by an explosion but in the normal relative positions. We will also consider seriously (c) efforts to show (a belief or theory) to be false or unfounded.

A relevant old syllabus: https://www.dropbox.com/s/7zu9923wgy78l95/RMES%20510%20syllabus%202015-6T2%202016.3.6.docx?dl=0

Previous RES 510 Course Outline

 

 


RES 542: Integrated Assessment of Global Change: an introduction to quantitative systems model design and development

 

Instructor: Hadi Dowlatabadi

Day/Time: Mondays 9:30am – 12:30pm

Location:  TBA

Enrollment: Graduate Students (or advanced undergraduates with instructor approval and completed G+PS form)

 

Description

This course is about developing an appreciation of the broader context and dynamics of global change issues. In general, Integrated Assessments (a.k.a. systems modelling) are developed to address long-term multi-faceted public policy challenges.

Integrated Assessment approaches are suitable for such applications because the problems span many different disciplines – each with its own fortes and foibles.  There are many insights leading to this approach to research:

  • disciplinary knowledge will only provide insights for a small fraction of real problems;
  • if the intention is to modify a “system” we need to focus effort on points of leverage in that system;
  • traditional research approaches concentrate on deepening knowledge in a an ever narrower field, IA is about deepening knowledge iteratively and only where it can provide insights relevant to the intended outcomes.

In summary, Integrated Assessment is a trans-disciplinary (whatever that term may mean) approach to solving technically/scientifically complex real world challenges.

We will consider many different change processes as platforms for learning.  The specific examples will be selected from discussions in class to ensure they are relevant to the class participants.  For example, we can consider emergent new diseases (human, computer, etc.)  We could consider the rise of unemployable graduate students.  The key insights are that the dynamics of these change processes are identifiable and can be characterised in terms of aspects that are known, unknown and perhaps unknowable until it is too late to intervene effectively. This course is about understanding the complexity of the many interactions that shape the world we live in and identifying policy responses that are more likely to succeed in guiding us towards our objectives.

 

 


 

RES 500B: Directed Studies

Directed Studies courses are designed by a student and faculty instructor to meet the needs of a student in an area that is not addressed in the current curriculum. RES students may register in an RES Directed Studies course with the approval of their supervisor and the RES Graduate Advisor. You must have an approved RES Directed Studies Form prior to registering in this course.

 

 


2018S Summer Session (May 2018 – August 2018)

 

No formal RES courses taught in the summer session.

 

All RES students must register in the appropriate RES thesis course below for every term of their program, including all summer terms:

  • RES 599 for master’s students
  • RES 699 for doctoral (PhD) students