Online Environmental Assessment Courses

The Environmental Assessment Program offers a number of courses online. These may be taken as part of a certificate or degree program, or by non-degree-seeking students on a course-by-course basis. For those interested in taking individual courses without enrolling in a degree or certificate program,  you must first enroll as a Non-Degree Studies (NDS) Student. To learn more about enrolling as an NDS student or registering for courses, visit our Apply page.

Visit NC State’s Graduate Online and Distance Education Tuition rates page for detailed information about the fee schedule for graduate courses. The current estimated cost per credit hour for 2018-2019 (North Carolina residents) is $437.

Below is a partial list of applicable courses offered online. To jump to a course description, click the course number in the table below. To view the most up-to-date course listings, please visit the Online Course website. Please note that not all courses are offered every semester, and may be cancelled due to low student enrollment. Not all courses listed in the NC State Course Catalog can be provided online.

View the 2-year and 3-year Master of Environmental Assessment Completion Schedule.


Environmental Assessment Core Courses

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
EA 501 Environmental Stressors 3 hours
EA 502 Environmental Risk Assessment 3 hours
EA 503 Environmental Exposure Assessment 3 hours
EA 504 Environmental Monitoring and Analysis 3 hours
EA 505 Environmental Assessment Law and Policy 3 hours
GIS 510 Introduction to Geographic Information Sciences  3 hours

Environmental Assessment General Electives

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
EA 590 Water Quality Assessment 3 hours
EA 590 Data Quality Analysis Assessment 3 hours
EA 590 Air Quality Assessment 3 hours
EA 590 NEPA Assessment 3 hours

Renewable Energy Electives

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
EA 590.603 Renewable Energy Policy and Economics 3 hours
EA 590.604 Fundamentals of PV Design and Installation 3 hours
EA 590 Fundamentals of Renewable Energy Site Assessment 3 hours
EA 590 Site Maintenance and Storage 3 hours

Military Lands Sustainability Electives

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
NR 510 Sustainable Military Land Management 3 hours
NR 511 Managing Natural Resources in an Arena of Conflict 3 hours
NR 512 Land Use Policy and Management 3 hours
NR 513 Field Course and Practicum for Military 3 hours

GIS Electives

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
GIS 512 Introduction to Environmental Remote Sensing 3 hours
GIS 515 Cartographic Design 3 hours
GIS 520 Spatial Problem Solving 3 hours
GIS 521 Surface Water Hydrology with GIS 3 hours
GIS 525 Web and Mobile GIS Protocols 3 hours
GIS 530 Spatial Data Foundations 3 hours
GIS 582 Geospatial Modeling and Analysis 3 hours

Statistics Electives

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
ST 511 Experimental Statistics for Biological Sciences I 3 hours
ST 512 Experimental Statistics for Biological Sciences II 3 hours

Natural Resources, Water and Soil Electives

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
BAE 580 Special Topics: Introduction to Land and Water Engineering 3 hours
FW 726 Quantitative Fisheries Management 3 hours
SSC 532 Soil Microbiology 4 hours
SSC 562 Environmental Applications of Soil Science 3 hours
SSC 570 Wetlands Soils 3 hours

Other Electives

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
EA 665 Professional Project 1-6 hours
BAE 502 Instrumentation for Hydrologic Applications 3 hours
BAE 575 Design of Structural Stormwater Best Management Practices
3 hours
BAE 576 Watershed Monitoring and Assessment 3 hours
BAE 578 Agricultural Waste Management 3 hours
FOR 595 Fire Ecology 3 hours
FW 726 Quantitative Fisheries Management 3 hours
MEA 517 Fundamentals of Climate Change Science 3 hours
PS 536 Global Environmental Law and Policy 3 hours

EA 501 – Environmental Stressors

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: One year college biology and one year college chemistry
  • Semesters offered: Fall
  • Description: Environmental Stressors introduces students to how organisms are affected by and respond to changes or stressors—both natural and human-induced—in their environment. The course covers the history and scope of the field of toxicology; absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination of toxicants; types and mechanisms of toxic action; environmental toxicology, as well as human and ecological risk assessment. During the course, students work in small groups to interact with course content and to produce deliverables.

 


EA502 – Environmental Risk Assessment

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: Two semester sequence of college biology & college chemistry
  • Semesters offered: Spring
  • Description: This course provides students with an appreciation and understanding of the principles of environmental risk assessment including: Hazard Identification, Toxicity Assessment, Exposure Assessment, and Risk Characterization. Emphasis is placed on contemporary problems in human health and the environment, and it will be based on the most current methodologies described in the “Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund.” Enrollment in the course requires graduate standing or consent of the instructor. Two semester sequence of college biology & college chemistry.

 


EA 503 – Environmental Exposure Assessment

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: Two semester sequence of college biology & college chemistry
  • Semesters offered: Fall
  • Description: Provides students with an appreciation and understanding of the principles of environmental exposure assessment including the sources, transport and fate of chemicals in the environment. Emphasis is on contemporary problems in human health and the environment, covering topics such as: transformation and degradation processes, classes of contaminants a well as predicting environmental fate and exposure. Enrollment in the course requires graduate standing or consent of the instructor. Two semester sequence of college biology & college chemistry.

 


EA 504 – Environmental Monitoring and Analysis

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: One year college biology and one year college chemistry
  • Semesters offered: Summer
  • Description: Monitoring and analysis of chemical and biological impacts to the environment. Theory of chemical, physical, biological, and ecological monitoring. Planning and conducting environmental sampling and monitoring programs. Management, analysis, and quality assurance and control. Enrollment in the course requires graduate standing or consent of the instructor.

 


EA 505 – Environmental Assessment Law and Policy

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: EA 502 and EA 503
  • Semesters offered: Spring
  • Description: Provides students with an appreciation and understanding of the principles of environmental law and policy. Emphasis is on the US legal system and litigation process relevant to environmental law, covering topics such as: the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Pollution Prevention Act (PPA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), and the Clean Air Act (CAA). A case study is integrated into the conceptual lecture and supplemental material of the course to provide practical examples for conceptual material.

 


EA 590 – Water Quality

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite:
  • Semesters offered:
  • Description: This course introduces students to topics fundamental to the understanding of aquatic systems and the processes that influence water quality. The course covers the hydrologic cycle, water chemistry, aquatic ecology, aquatic toxicology, water quality laws and standards, water quality assessment and techniques, and water pollution control and treatment. Emphasis is on contemporary water quality issues such as nutrient enrichment, introduced species, contaminants, and climate change.

 


EA 590 – Data Quality Analysis in Environmental Assessment

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite:
  • Semesters offered: Fall
  • Description: This course provides students with an appreciation and understanding of the principles of environmental data analysis. Topic areas range from simple descriptive statistics and basic graphical presentations upwards data transformations and regression diagnostics. Numerous case-study analyses are used to demonstrate concepts using publicly available data that support research publications. Emphasis is placed on practical applications commonly used in analyzing environmental and health data and will be focused on tools provided in spreadsheet programs (e.g., Microsoft Excel™) and statistical analysis software (e.g., SAS ® , R).

 


EA 590 – Air Quality Assessment

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite:
  • Semesters offered: Summer
  • Description: Students will learn about assessment of air quality. The course will begin with a review of the criteria air pollutants, including sources, chemistry, transport, and dispersion. The majority of the course will focus on environmental assessment of the criteria pollutants. Units will include requirements of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), emissions data, monitoring methods and their biases, air
    pollution monitoring networks, and evaluation of compliance at the state level based on data from monitoring networks. Students will have the opportunity to work with air quality data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) database.

 


EA 590 – NEPA Environmental Assessment Process

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite:
  • Semesters offered: Spring
  • Description: Procedures and requirements for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when projects involve a federal nexus, including permitting and consultation among agencies in the planning process. Illustrating the five NEPA mandates and examining implications for data generation and monitoring that result from responsibilities vested in the Council of Environmental Quality.

 


EA 590.603 – Renewable Energy Policy and Economics

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite:
  • Semesters offered:
  • Description: Renewable Energy Policy and Economics is a policy and economics course that will cover local, utility, state, federal and global policy that foster renewable energy implementation. It will also go over basic finance and economic principles that will help students build a project model to show how these policies affect the profit margins of a project. At the end of the course, students will present a renewable energy project that includes technical and financial specifications.

 


EA 590.604 – Fundamentals of PV Design and Installation

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite:
  • Semesters offered:
  • Description: PV Design and Installation is a technical course that will cover design considerations of photovoltaic systems such as load analysis, system sizing, wiring, and component specifications, among other things. The course is aligned to the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Associate’s learning objectives and prepares students to take the optional NABCEP Associate Exam. At the end of the course, students will be designing a solar installation.

 


EA 590 – Fundamentals of Renewable Energy Site Assessment

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite:
  • Semesters offered: Spring
  • Description: This course will cover solar site assessment, wind assessment, and bioenergy with required exercises using current industry tools to assess the viability of the resource.

 


EA 590 – Site Maintenance and Storage

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite:
  • Semesters offered: Spring
  • Description: This course will cover evaluating performance of systems, including specific data collection and evaluation, as well as protocols for collection; Prepares students to develop an O&M safety plan. Covers topics on integrating various power systems and load centers.

 


EA 665 – Professional Project

  • Credits: Up to 6 credits
  • Prerequisite: EA 502, EA 503, and EA 504
  • Semesters offered: Spring, Summer and Fall
  • Description: Environmental assessment project conducted under the mentorship of a member of the graduate faculty.

 


NR 510 – Sustainability Military Land Management

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: Four-year undergraduate degree
  • Semesters offered: Fall
  • Description: An introduction and overview of the factors that influence natural resource conservation and management on Department of Defense (DoD) lands within a temporal, geographic and environmental context and perspective. Students will gain knowledge of natural resource management and military land sustainability by reviewing (1) military land uses and training/test requirements, (2) major policies/laws impacting training/testing activities on DoD lands, and (3) planning approaches to military sustainability.

 


NR 511 – Managing Natural Resources in an Arena of Conflict

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: Four-year undergraduate degree
  • Semesters offered: Spring
  • Description: With limited resources and many unique stakeholders, conflict resolution is an important topic for natural resource managers. This online course aims to introduce conflict resolution theory as it pertains to public agencies, to identify key stakeholders and their objectives involved with natural resources, to generalize how the theories apply to military case studies, and to apply specific conflict resolution techniques for interacting positively with outside stakeholders and the media.

 


NR 512 – Land Use Policy and Management

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: Four-year undergraduate degree
  • Semesters offered: Spring
  • Description: Online graduate course reviewing formation and implementation of major natural resource laws and policies that impact land uses. This course will provide an overview of natural resource laws/policies followed by student presentations of a selected case study. Current natural resource management (including forestry, air, water, wildlife, climate change and energy) programs and institutions are discussed, analyzed and related to current natural resource policy challenges.

 


NR 513 – Field Course and Practicum for Military

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: Four-year undergraduate, be enrolled in the Certificate for Military Land Sustainability, completed with a minimum of a grade of C in NR 510, NR 511 and NR 512.
  • Semesters offered: Summer I
  • Description: This graduate-level course is a field-oriented one-week course in military land sustainability followed by a week of independent research and writing (topic to be developed with instructors during week one). Course participants will have the opportunity to analyze current natural resource management practices and challenges through interactive videos and field visits to select military installations and nearby lands. During the course, students will interact with natural resource professionals and develop solutions to challenges related to climate change, habitat management, renewable energy and population growth.

 


BAE 502 – Instrumentation for Hydrologic Applications

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: MA 341, BAE 401 or ECE 331, ST 370 or ST 511
  • Semesters offered: Spring
  • Description: Basic theory of instruments and measurements. Physical parameters of interest, available methods and sensors for assessment. Sensor characteristics. Dataloggers and sensor-datalogger communications. Data transfer, management, and processing. Emphasis on hydrologic and water quality research applications.

 


BAE 575 – Design of Structural Stormwater Best Management Practices

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: BAE 471 or CE 383
  • Semesters offered: Spring of alternating odd years
  • Description: The design of structural stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) used in the urban and suburban environments is reviewed, including stormwater wetlands, bio-retention areas, sand filters, innovative wet ponds, green roofs, permeable pavement, and reinforced grass swales. The course is application oriented and includes a pair of field trips.

 


BAE 576 – Watershed Monitoring and Assessment

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: AES 323 (SSC 323/BAE 323) or BAE 471 or FOR 429 (NR 420) or CE 586, ST 311 or ST 361 or ST 511
  • Semesters offered: Fall
  • Description: Water measurement and structure sizing. Identification of water quality problems and water quality variable selection. Monitoring design, water quality sampling equipment, and sample collection and analysis. Statistical analysis and presentation of water quality data.

 


BAE 578 – Agricultural Waste Management

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: Biology or Engineering background
  • Semesters offered: Fall
  • Description: This course covers principles of managing, handling, treating and applying animal and poultry manures and organic byproducts from an engineering perspective. Topics include waste characterization, descriptions of systems and technology, land application principles, preparation of waste management plans, biochemical/biological processes, and potential impacts to the environment. Assignments include homework, quizzes, projects, and discussions that emphasize problem solving and analysis.

 


BAE 580 – Special Topics: Introduction to Land and Water Engineering

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: MA241 or instructor consent
  • Semesters offered: Fall
  • Description: This distance course introduces students to concepts of the hydrologic cycle, water quality, precipitation, evapotranspiration, infiltration, watershed delineation, surface runoff and open channel flow. Students will apply these concepts to an engineering design problem. This course is designed for non-engineering distance graduate students and lifelong education students and students from engineering disciplines outside of BAE.

 


FOR 595 – Fire Ecology

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite:
  • Semesters offered: Fall
  • Description: The course will study the relationship between
    wildland fire and ecosystems. All terrestrial ecosystems, made up of plants and animals, have evolved with variable
    environmental characteristics of temperature, moisture, mineral structures and fire.

 


FW 726 – Quantitative Fisheries Management

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite:
  • Semesters offered: Fall of alternating even years
  • Description: Current methods for assessment and management of exploited fish populations, including sampling methods, data analysis and modeling. A required research paper or project.

 


GIS 510 – Introduction to Geographic Information Sciences

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite:
  • Semesters offered: Spring, Summer and Fall
  • Description: Overview of the operations and functions of computerized spatial display and map analysis processes (Geographic Information Systems), production of effective computer-generated maps and spatial displays, concepts for spatial modeling. Extensive independent learning and computer experiences including on-line virtual laboratory sessions.

 


GIS 512 – Introduction to Environmental Remote Sensing

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite:
  • Semesters offered: Fall and Spring
  • Description: Principles and hands-on techniques for processing and analyzing remotely sensed data for natural resource applications. Topics include review of the electromagnetic spectrum, pre-processing [georectification, enhancements and transformations], processing [visual interpretation, indices, supervised and unsupervised classification] and post-processing [masking, change analysis and accuracy assessment] of digital image data. This course will provide students with fundamental concepts and skills needed to pursue further studies in digital processing of remotely sensed data.

 


GIS 515 – Cartographic Design

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: GIS 510
  • Semesters offered: Fall and Spring
  • Description: Principles of cartographic design and how to apply them to produce high-quality geographic information system [GIS] based maps. Successful students will acquire an understanding of map design and experience applying it with GIS software. Students produce project maps in both print and web media.

 


GIS 520 – Spatial Problem Solving

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: GIS 510 or SSC 440
  • Semesters offered: Spring, Summer, and Fall
  • Description: This course follows GIS 510 (NR 531), Introduction to Geographic Information Science, with a focus on applied geospatial analytics. Students will further enhance their geospatial analyses skills and their understanding of the analysis capabilities of geospatial technology and learn to effectively communicate the results to guide decision making. This is accomplished through weekly themes and assignments in which students learn to integrate data from various formats, analyze data, and display results for decision making processes. This course is designed as an internet-based course.

 


GIS 521 – Surface Water Hydrology with GIS

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: GIS 510 or PA 541 or SSC 440
  • Semesters offered: Fall
  • Description: Application of Geographic Information Systems in Water Resources. Digital mapping of water resources information. Spatial coordinate systems. Terrain analysis using digital elevation models. River and watershed networks. Soil and land use mapping. Flood hydrology modeling and flood plain mapping. Terrain analysis for hydrologic modeling. Integration of time series and geospatial data. Hydrologic Information Systems.

 


GIS 530 – Spatial Data Foundations

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: GIS 510 or PA 541 or SSC 440
  • Semesters offered: Fall and Spring
  • Description: This course focuses on geospatial information systems from a mathematical and information science perspective. We discuss theoretical frameworks for conceptualizing geographic data, including levels of measurement, data control, and the vector data and raster data paradigms. Then we discuss the geometric underpinnings of geospatial systems: representing data with geographic elements, spatial referencing systems, and projection. Next, we explore map-related topology and computational geometry concepts. Finally, we survey the algorithms for core spatial manipulations, such as interpolation and polygon operations.

 


GIS 582 – Geospatial Modeling and Analysis

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: Knowledge of GIS principles at introductory level or strong computational background, GIS 410 or GIS 510 or GIS 530 are recommended
  • Semesters offered: Spring
  • Description: The course explains digital representation and analysis of geospatial phenomena and provides foundations in methods and algorithms used in GIS analysis. Special focus is on terrain modeling, geomorphometry, watershed analysis and introductory GIS-based modeling of landscape processes (water, sediment). The course includes analysis from lidar data, coastal change assessment and 3D visualization.

 


MEA 517 – Fundamentals of Climate Change Science

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: Graduate standing
  • Semesters offered: Fall
  • Description: This course will present the basic science of climate change, including chemical and physical systems and processes. The students will be introduced to how the climate system works and the role of greenhouse gases in the climate system. Students will learn about climatological data, climate models and how predictions/projections are made. Emphasis will be placed upon relating predicted/projected changes to manifestations such as sea level rise and changes in the distribution and character of precipitation. Topics include the primary climate components, ocean-atmospheric teleconnections, decadal and multi-decadal climate indices, natural and anthropogenic climate variability, and climate model projections.

 


PS 536 – Global Environmental Law and Policy

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: Graduate standing or PBS status
  • Semesters offered: Summer
  • Description: International organizations, laws and policies addressing global environmental problems including: population growth, atmospheric pollution, climate change, use of oceans, forests and biodiversity. Relationship between environment and Third World economic development.

 


SSC 532 – Soil Microbiology

  • Credits: 4
  • Prerequisite: BIO 181, SSC 200 or equivalent
  • Semesters offered: Spring
  • Description: This course is designed to cover basic concepts and theories on microbial occurrence, distribution, and activity in the soil environment, develop comprehensive knowledge on fundamental microbial functions including, but not limited to organic and inorganic transformations, introduce a variety of techniques and methods in environmental soil microbiology, and challenge students with real-world issues and problems in relation to agricultural production and environmental quality.

 


SSC 562 – Environmental Applications of Soil Science

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: SSC 200 or equivalent
  • Semesters offered: Spring
  • Description: This course is designed to: relate basic soil properties to land-based waste disposal systems and to the fate of pollutants in the soil environment; provide an understanding of the process of soil and site assessment for designing waste disposal systems and for evaluating transport of pollutants through soils.

 


SSC 570 – Wetlands Soils

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: One course in Soil Science is recommended, but not required
  • Semesters offered: Fall
  • Description: Wetland definitions, concepts, functions and regulations; chemical, physical and morphological characteristics of wetland soils. Wetland soil identification using field indicators and monitoring equipment; principles of wetland creation, restoration and mitigation. Special project required for SSC 570. Two mandatory field trips. Field trips for distance education students are not required but optional. Credit will not be given for both SSC 470 and SSC 570.

ST 511 – Experimental Statistics for Biological Sciences I

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: ST 311 or Graduate standing
  • Semesters offered: Fall, Spring and Summer
  • Description: Basic concepts of statistical models and use of samples; variation, statistical measures, distributions, tests of significance, analysis of variance and elementary experimental design, regression and correlation, chi-square.

ST 512 – Experimental Statistics for Biological Sciences II

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: ST 511
  • Semesters offered: Fall, Spring and Summer
  • Description: Covariance, multiple regression, curvilinear regression, concepts of experimental design, factorial experiments, confounded factorials, individual degrees of freedom and split-plot experiments. Computing laboratory addressing computational issues and use of statistical software.