Senior Seminar Info and Applications


ENVS Senior Seminar Application Information

Application Timeline for Spring 2023 Senior Seminars

  • January 24: Applications open
  • February 8: Early application deadline (11:59PM PST)
  • February 9: Rolling applications begin -- there is no guarantee that applications will be considered if submitted during rolling application period; once the course fills up, no more apps will be reviewed
  • February 16-23: Early application decisions announced to students
  • March 1: Undergraduate student enrollment begins (for continuing students)


ENVS Senior Seminar Course Descriptions

Spring 2023 (Three senior seminar sections will be offered)   

1. ENVS 196 - Foundations of Applied Research in Geographic Information Systems - Barry Nickel 

Description: This course is designed to provide a project environment through which students demonstrate the ability to apply advanced knowledge and skills related to geographic information systems in a way that could make a substantial contribution to their professional work. As a capstone course, the class will draw on students’ past training in GIS to hone their critical assessment of scholarship in the field. Students will also be exposed to different methodologies and methods in the field, and develop the skills necessary to evaluate, plan, and conduct research. The course is focused on the design and practical application of GIS, demonstrating the student's ability to manage and develop a GIS product for a real world problem or situation.

Prerequisites: ENVS majors with senior standing who have passed ENVS 100/L, ENVS 115A/L, and ENVS 115B. Limited to students in the GIS concentration. Enrollment by application.

Application status: Applications will be accepted starting January 25, 2023. Students will use this google form to apply at that time. 


2. ENVS 196 - Hacking4Oceans - Anne Kapucinski - Course website

Description: This course provides students the opportunity to learn how to work with city government, nonprofits, and other organizations to better address ocean challenges. Students in this senior seminar will meet jointly with graduate students affiliated with the Coastal Science and Policy program. They will work in multidisciplinary student teams of four to address problems or challenges provided by real-world sponsors or identified by student groups. Teams learn how to apply the Lean Launchpad and Lean Startup methodologies to discover and validate customer/stakeholder needs and to continually build prototypes and hypotheses to test whether they understood the problem and solution. Weekly assignments involve working outside of class on steps or skills in the design process, speaking with stakeholders and customer segments, and then sharing learnings for peer-review in class. Involves reading and a substantial assignment each week before the next week’s session on that topic. To meet disciplinary communication requirements, students will write a full report on their projects describing project goals and findings, supported by scholarly literature.   

Prerequisites: ENVS majors with senior standing who have passed ENVS 100/L and three additional upper-division courses. Preference will be given to students who have taken ENVS 150 (Coastal and Marine Policy) or other relevant coursework. Students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA. In addition to the application, students will be interviewed.

Application status: Applications will be accepted starting in February 2023. Until then, students are encouraged to fill out this interest form to be contacted once the application is open.


3. ENVS 196 - Race and the Environment - Elliott Oakley

Description: What does race and racialization have to do with the environment? Who gets to define “nature”? How do we, individually and collectively, come to be in right relation with the planet? This course introduces students to the entangled forces of coloniality, racism, and capitalism as they shape global ecologies, and vice-versa. Drawing on sources that center the expertises of Indigenous, Black, and Brown communities, we explore how racialization occurs through imperial violence to ecologies and their inhabitants. We study long arcs of colonial science and power to understand how nature has been normalized as an object of ownership, extraction, pollution, and control. We explore whose knowledge shapes environmental discourse, how discourse shapes material realities, and under what conditions science resists colonial habits of thought or enables them to flourish. Taught as a pilot to the forthcoming lecture course, this seminar is highly reading and dialogue intensive. Class discussions will be student-led and will focus on deep analysis of written texts (including peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, popular media articles) alongside selected multimedia (podcasts, films, art, music). Students will complete a research project that culminates in a synthesis paper.    

Prerequisites: ENVS majors with senior standing who have passed ENVS 100/L and three additional upper-division courses. Enrollment by application. Priority will be given to students who have completed an upper-division environmental justice course (ENVS 130B, 140, 143, 144, 147, 152, 154, 158, 172, 173, 174, 176, CLTE 135, SOCY 185) OR who have equivalent knowledge from other courses or internships.

Application status: Applications will be accepted starting January 25, 2023. Students will use this google form to apply at that time.