RES Graduate Course Information

course-info-2

(Last updated on January 3, 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

 


 

2016W Term 1 (September 2016 – December 2016)

 


 

RES 500A: Global Aspects of Ecohydrology

Instructor: Mark Johnson

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

Location: AERL 419

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 500N: Behavioural Foundations in Public Policy

Instructor: Jiaying Zhao

Day/Time: Mondays 9:00am – 12:00pm

Location: AERL 107

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

 

Description

What does psychology have to offer to future policy makers? How does behavioural science inform policy design? Decades of research suggest that successful policy depends on a thorough understanding of human behaviour. This course explores how basic concepts in social and
cognitive psychology, judgment and decision making, and behavioural economics can shape policy formation and implementation. This course covers a wide array of policy-relevant topics geared towards the applications of experimental findings and concepts emanating from
behavioural research to the design and implementation of policy. Central themes include a detailed analysis of human judgment and decision making, and how a variety of motives and situational forces can affect people’s choices and behaviour. Combined, these topics have important implications for policy design that affects individuals as well as the functioning of the organizations that determine those policies.

This course is intended to expose people who are preparing a career in public service, business leaders, legal, ethical, and health professionals, as well as students interested in societal, domestic, and international challenges, to a perspective that can shed new light, generate novel
ideas, and provide effective solutions. Each weekly seminar will involve an overview of the behavioural research, and in-depth discussions of the implications and the applications of the research for policy and management.

By the end of this course, all students should be able to do the following:

  1. Critically evaluate current psychological research on policy issues
  2. Identify several important policy questions to which a behavioural analysis can significantly contribute
  3. Evaluate the validity of the behavioural assumptions of policy
  4. Apply psychological perspectives and principles to policy design and implementation
  5. Design a behavioural intervention to promote constructive and beneficial behaviour

Previous RES 500N Course Outline

 


 

RES 507: Human Technological Systems

Instructor: Milind Kandlikar

Day/Time: Tuesdays 2:00pm – 5:00pm

Location: AERL 107

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.

RES 507 Course Outline

 


 

RES 508: Ecosystem Services

Instructor: Kai Chan

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

Location: AERL 419

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

 

Description

This course will prepare researchers and future decision-makers to foster sustainable management of ecosystem-based activities, for the competing and complementary ends of sustaining and enhancing human well-being and protecting biodiversity. The concept of ‘ecosystem services’ (ES, the processes by which ecosystems render benefits for people) is not a framework for valuation (e.g., “putting a price tag on nature”), although it has been applied and understood as such. Rather, ES provides one novel approach for putting a ‘human face’ on ecosystem change, facilitating trade-off evaluation, and identifying ‘win-win’ opportunities. But management is never the simple implementation of any approach; accordingly, students will learn about the following facets of the concept from ecological, economic, ethical, and also institutional (law, policy, and business) perspectives: philosophical underpinnings, debates and controversies, analytical tools and approaches, recent developments, limitations, and opportunities.

ES—as the provision of benefits—can be understood as the nexus of two processes: ecosystem provision (e.g., how watersheds yield clean water) and human consumption or appreciation (e.g., how people access water). Study of ES is therefore inherently interdisciplinary, involving an integration of the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Students will work in diverse teams, learn from peers, and integrate across disciplines to analyze real-world cases in partnerships with government agencies, NGOs, etc., of their choosing.

Previous RES 508 Course Outline

 


 

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

Instructor: Hadi Dowlatabadi

Day/Time: Tuesday 2:00pm – 5:00pm

Location: AERL 107

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.

Updated RES 520 course outline for September 2016

 


 

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

 

2016W Term 2 (January 2017 – April 2017)

 


 

RES 500T: Global Food Security and Sustainability

Instructor: Navin Ramankutty

Day/Time: Mondays 2:00pm – 5:00pm

Location: AERL 107

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.

RES 500T Course Outline

Previous RMES 500T course poster

Previous RMES 500T course outline

 


 

RES 500W: Leading the Way Towards a Low-Carbon Future

Instructors: Naoko Ellis and Milind Kandlikar

Day/Time: Mondays 1:00pm – 4:00pm

Location: CHBE 102

Enrollment: Registration in this course is restricted. To be considered for taking this course, you must submit two items directly to the course instructors, Naoko Ellis and Milind Kandlikar:

(1) a one page summary of your background and interest in this topic, and

(2) an unofficial copy of your Academic History (accessible via SSC).

The course instructors will review all documents and select those who will be registered in the course. For undergraduate students who are selected to take this course, you must also provide a completed G+PS form.

 

Description

We are at a pivotal point in the history of humankind. Climate change, driven by a dramatic increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations, poses a real threat to global society. In response to this threat, scientists from around the world and across disciplines agree that we must begin to dramatically reduce GHG emissions while also preparing society for a future marked by climate change and uncertainty. However,
achieving GHG reduction and climate adaptation is not simple. These issues are complex and marred by uncertainty, requiring a multitude of synergistic solutions that engage with the problem from different angles and at different scales (ex. technological solutions, policy mechanisms, or the social license to adapt).

We bring together scientists, engineers, political scientists, decision makers, economists and social marketers to discuss how we can engage the next generation of scholars and the public in leading society towards a lowcarbon future. This graduate course will bring together a team of interdisciplinary scholars from across the disciplines and sectors to:

  • Stimulate conversations and foster engagement among students, professionals, and the public.
  • Grapple with how to communicate science and policy around climate change and carbon management to the public.
  • Promote professional identities in graduate students through formulating inquiry and direction in the context of societal relevance.
  • Cultivate a community that produces graduates who are engaged, responsible global citizens. We aim to create a vibrant intellectual community in which students become experts through intentional and multiple relationships during their study.

Short Course Description

Website: lowcarbonfuture.ubc.ca

 


 

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 AERL 107

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.  Two 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 prepared by teams of faculty and post-docs 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.

Current RES 502 Course Outline

Previous RES 502 Course Outline

 


 

RES 505: Qualitative Methods in Interdisciplinary Contexts

Instructor: Hannah Wittman

Wednesdays 1:00pm – 4:00pm

Location: AERL 107

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.

RES 505 Course Outline

Previous RES 505 Course Outline

 


 

RES 510: Social Ecological Systems

Instructor: Terre Satterfield

Day/Time: Tuesdays 2:00pm – 5:00pm

Location:  AERL 107

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. 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.

Current RES 510 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.

 

 


2017S Summer Session (May 2017 – August 2017)

 

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