Online Natural Resources, Environmental Law & GIS Courses

UConn's Online Environmental Management Graduate Program Courses

The Master of Energy and Environmental Management (MEEM) program offers a Master of Science (MS) degree through an interdisciplinary partnership involving the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, Department of Geography, School of Law, and Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering.  The MEEM is designed for college graduates looking for advanced study in energy and environmental management fields, and working professionals looking to enhance their skills and knowledge in science, management, and policy.

All MEEM courses are delivered 100% online and asynchronously, meaning, you can participate in coursework 24/7. 

Requirements: The MEEM requires 27 credits of coursework and 3 credits of internship or practicum, for a total of 30 credits. The MEEM generally takes 18 to 24 months to complete and conforms to The Graduate School requirements for a Plan B Non-thesis Master Degree. After acceptance and matriculation into the program, students who are not registered for a credit course during a fall or spring term must register for GRAD 5998: Continuous Registration to ensure their enrollment in the program is not discontinued.

  NRE 5200 X X
  NRE 5220 X X
  LAW 7812 X
 NRE 5830 X X
 NRE 5850 X X X
  NRE 5205 X  
  NRE 5210 X  
  NRE 5215 X    
  NRE 5225  X
  NRE 5230   X X
  NRE 5560   X  
  NRE 5585 X    
  LAW 7356 X  
  LAW 7554 X    
  LAW 7568 X  
  LAW 7650 X    
  LAW 7806 X    
 GEOG 5500 X  
 GEOG 5510 X  
 GEOG 5512  
 GEOG 5515
 GEOG 5516 X
 GEOG 5518
 GEOG 5520 X
 GEOG 5540  
 GEOG 5600 X
 GEOG 5610 X

Please contact your advisor for more information on courses listed as TBD. 

Required Courses


Course Title: Sustainable Natural Resources Management (3 credits) - Required First Course
Course Number: NRE 5200 
Instructor: Dr. Chadwick Rittenhouse
Offered: Fall and Spring each year
Description: Explores social-ecological systems, including relationships between ecosystem services and human well-being and livelihoods; introduces systems theory for understanding disturbance, feedbacks, thresholds, directional change, adaptation and resilience in social-ecological systems; includes applied case studies in sustainable agriculture, fisheries, forestry, freshwater, marine, and wildlife.

Course Title: Environmental Planning for Sustainable Communities and Regions (3 credits)
Course Number: NRE 5220
Instructor: Dr. Chadwick Rittenhouse
Offered: Fall and Spring each year
Description: Principles of environmental planning with application to human health, natural areas, working landscapes, and built environments; basis and context for planning, including laws, regulations, zoning, compliance, uncertainty, and risk management.

Course Title: Energy Regulation and Policy (3 credits)
Course Number: LAW 7812
Instructor: Vincent Pace, J.D.
Offered: Spring each year
Description: Finding a way to more sustainably power societies around the globe may be one of the biggest challenges of our time. Focusing on the regulation and design of energy systems (i.e., the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity) and markets, this course will provide an introduction to the economic, social, environmental and policy issues raised by the current systems of energy use. We will examine the trade-offs and uncertainties inherent in evaluating and choosing different energy options and provide a framework for developing and assessing sustainable policy and regulatory solutions. (Formerly Offered as: Energy and Sustainability).


Course Title: Internship in Energy and Environmental Management (3 credits)
Course Number: NRE 5830
Instructor: Dr. Chadwick Rittenhouse
Offered: Spring, Summer, and Fall each year
Description: Integrate core concepts of the Energy and Environmental Management program with planned and supervised experience in the public or private sector. Students complete an internship or research project that applies knowledge and skills, gains professional experience, and builds networks with prospective employers.

Course Title: Practicum in Energy and Environmental Management (3 credits)
Course Number: NRE 5850
Instructor: Dr. Chadwick Rittenhouse
Offered: Spring, Summer, and Fall each year
Description: Application and synthesis of core concepts of the Energy and Environmental Management program with project-based work in student’s area of emphasis.

Elective Courses

Take Six Courses (18 Credits) From One or More Concentrations

Gain interdisciplinary knowledge in the sustainable environmental arena, including sustainable agriculture, fisheries, forestry, freshwater, marine, water, and wildlife resources. Investigate different perspectives and gain the negotiation, communications, and facilitation skills required to bring divergent populations together in order to build consensus. Courses integrate aspects of social sciences and the humanities relevant to sustainability.

Students completing NRE 5200 and NRE 5220, as well as two of the following courses, are eligible for the Sustainable Environmental Planning and Management online graduate certificate.

Course Title: Decision Methods in Natural Resources and the Environment (3 credits)
Course Number: NRE 5205
Instructor: Dr. Chadwick Rittenhouse
Offered: Spring each year
Description: Aspects and methods of decision making for individuals, organizations, and institutions, including structured decision making, adaptive resource management, and organizational learning; concepts and techniques for managing risk and uncertainty, model-based and experience-based approaches to link alternative actions and consequences, tradeoff and optimization approaches, and monitoring and evaluation of resulting outcomes.

Course Title: Communications for Environmental Decision Makers (3 credits)
Course Number: NRE 5210
Instructor: Dr. Chadwick Rittenhouse
Offered: Spring each year
Description: Methods and techniques for effective communication with diverse audiences using written, spoken, and digital media; includes conflict resolution, crisis situations, persuasion, negotiation, marketing and advocacy.

Course Title: Introduction to Geospatial Analysis with Remote Sensing (3 credits)
Course Number: NRE 5215
Instructor: TBD
Offered: Fall each year
Description: Introduction to collecting, managing, displaying, and analyzing geospatial data. Topics include coordinate systems, finding and using existing sources of geospatial data, analysis of vector and raster data, creating geospatial data with remote sensing, concepts of Global Positioning System (GPS), topographic and landscape analyses, and spatial interpolation.

Course Title: Sustainable Use of Ocean Resources (3 credits)
Course Number: NRE 5225
Instructor: Dr. Amy Cabaniss
Offered: Summer/Spring alternating years
Description: Despite knowledge that the health and resiliency of the ocean and its natural resource services are extensively connected to our livelihoods and well-being, adverse impacts on this ecosystem continue to intensify, putting it, and us, in peril. This interdisciplinary course investigates environmental, social and economic connections with the marine environment, taking a systems thinking approach to environmental management and conservation practices.

Course Title: Sustainability Leadership in Organizations (3 credits)
Course Number: NRE 5230
Instructor: Dr. Amy Cabaniss
Offered: Summer/Spring alternating years
Description: Organizational leadership strategies for adopting sustainability practices to develop a culture of sustainability and a commitment to advancing environmental, social, and economic benefits for multiple stakeholders, (e.g., employees, partners, society, and the environment). Viewed through an interdisciplinary lens, students will examine challenges and opportunities that organizations face in various sectors, covering topics such as pollution prevention, circular economy, “triple bottom line,” “greening” the supply chain, UN SDGs, key performance indicators (e.g., customer satisfaction, return on investment), and assessment of progress toward achieving sustainability goals, among other topics. Case studies and practical applications will be emphasized.

Course Title: High Resolution Remote Sensing: Applications of UAS & LiDAR (3 credits)
Course Number: NRE 5560
Instructor: Dr. Chandi Witharana
Offered: Spring each year
Description: Introduction to high-resolution remote sensing data and collection platforms. The first half of the course focuses on unmanned aerial systems (UAS) including operations, data collection, and post-processing of acquired data. Topics include laws, safety, and ethical considerations; mission planning, sensor selection, and photogrammetric processing of the collected data in commercial software. The second half of the course focuses on the fundamentals of light detection and ranging (LiDAR) and applications of LiDAR in mapping and environmental analysis. Topics include LiDAR point-cloud visualization and interpretation, creation of digital elevation and surface models, and feature extraction using ArcGIS and LAS Tools.

Course Title: Python Scripting for Geospatial Analysis (3 credits)
Course Number: NRE 5585
Instructor: Dr. Thomas Meyer
Offered: Fall each year
Description: GIS scripting techniques in Python for geospatial analyses, enabling students to pursue integrated research in earth resources data geoprocessing applications.

Global energy demands, climate change, environmental degradation, and a growing world all place pressure on both energy and environmental policy. Develop substantive knowledge in energy and environmental law, as well as strengthen your analytical, lawyering, legal research, and writing skills.

Course Title: Energy Law and the Courts: Renewables, the Grid, and FERC (3 credits)
Course Number: LAW 7356
Instructor: Amber Stone, J.D.
Offered: Fall each year
Description: The Regulatory contours of the energy industry are being shaped through today's litigation. These battles seek to redefine the jurisdictional boundary between state and federal jurisdiction - a line that, while once fairly clear, has grown increasingly blurred ae our electric grid has advanced. The questions at the center of this debate - who decides what generation is built, how best to incentivize development of renewable energy and demand-side technologies, and how these technologies are compensated - will shape the future of our grid, our environment, and our economy. This course will take a court-centric approach to examining these questions. Through readings, drafting briefs, and a final exam, students will explore the policy questions that will define the future of energy law.

Course Title: Compliance Law (3 credits)
Course Number: LAW 7554
Instructor: Peter Lindseth, J.D.
Offered: Fall each year
Description: This course examines the basic principles, rules, and standards governing the burgeoning field of compliance that cut across particular regulatory domains. The focus will be on the basic legal framework and actors driving the emergence of the compliance function in business organizations. There are no pre/co-requisites for the course, though the advance preparation of Business Organizations (LAW 7605) or Administrative Law (LAW 7600) is strongly suggested.

Course Title: Climate Law (3 credits)
Course Number: LAW 7568
Instructor: Joseph Macdougald, J.D.
Offered: Spring each year
Description: The law, like nature, abhors a vacuum. However, into the federal government's climate change policy void have rushed a series of state, local, and international policy and legal initiatives. With law firms creating departments devoted to climate issues, the time seems right to develop across the country a cohesive framework for the study of "Climate Law". The course will study changes in law and policy ranging from the Clean Air Act and the Kyoto Protocol, to the law of nuisance, land use, securities regulation, and energy. The readings will be organized chronologically, beginning with a thorough review of the Clean Air Act, through the successful cap & trade systems for sulfur-dioxide, to the Kyoto Protocol, Massachusetts v. EPA, the current litigation making its way through the federal system, and the area of local and state laws and initiatives that have been enacted over the last several years. Guest speakers in climatology, energy law, and climate practice will, schedules permitting, supplement the syllabus. Given the timing of the course offering (during the first 100 days of a new presidential administration), it is likely that substantial time may be devoted to new federal proposals. Students will be graded in three parts: in-class participation, an in-class project, and a final paper (which accounts for the majority of the grade).

Course Title: Environmental Law (3 credits)
Course Number: LAW 7650
Instructor: Joseph Macdougald, J.D.
Offered: Fall each year
Description: This course is an introduction to the law of environmental protection, with an emphasis on air and water pollution as well as the control of toxic substances and toxic wastes. It will examine the different strategies for environmental protection, including public regulation, common law doctrines, and economic incentives such as taxes and subsidies. The course will consider the roles of legislative, administrative and executive bodies (local, state and federal) and judicial review of their actions, including federal and state administrative procedures relevant to protecting the environment and intergovernmental problems of control.

Course Title: Renewable Energy Law (3 credits)
Course Number: LAW 7806
Instructor: Kirt Mayland, J.D.
Offered: Fall each year
Description: This course will examine the law, policy, and economics of renewable energy both in the United States and internationally. A major focus of the course will be the state and federal laws affecting the use of each major source of renewable energy. Specific topics will include renewable portfolio standards, subsidies, feed-in-tariffs, siting, and project financing. Class discussions will be held against the backdrop of climate change, energy security, nuclear power policy, and the market disrupting rise of “fracked” natural gas and shale oil.

From healthcare and urban planning to transportation and natural resource mapping, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provide incredible strategic value by helping profit and non-profit organizations alike perform location and demographic analyses that enhance decision-making, manage their infrastructure, reduce costs, save resources – and much more. Courses range in content from GIS software fundamentals to analyses in various environments - from dense urban zones to highly remote areas of the earth.

Students completing GEOG 5500 and GEOG 5510, and two of the remaining GIS courses, are eligible for the GIS online graduate certificate.  

Course Title: Fundamentals of GIS (3 credits)
Course Number: GEOG 5500
Instructor: Dr. Amy Burnicki
Offered: Spring and Fall each year
Description: An introduction to the theory and methods for representing, acquiring, storing, manipulating, displaying, and analyzing geographic features in relation to the surface of the earth.

Course Title: Application Issues of GIS (3 credits)
Course Number: GEOG 5510
Instructor: Richard Mrozinski
Offered: Spring and Fall each year
Description: Operational and management issues in geographic information systems (GIS). Implementation of traditional planning and management theories and techniques in GISs. Topics include problems of data exchange standards, implementation of GIS in an institutional setting including benchmarking a GIs, applications of GIS in various fields, social impacts and legal aspects of GIS. Practical work includes analytical exercises using GIS culminating in an application project.

Course Title: Introduction to Spatial Data Science (3 credits)
Course Number: GEOG 5512
Instructor: Dr. Weidong Li
Offered: Spring each year
Description: Introduction to the fundamentals of spatial data science. Students will also learn how to apply a high-level programming language, R, for spatial data analysis, visualization, and modeling.

Course Title: Web GIS (3 credits)
Course Number: GEOG 5515
Instructor: Dr. Weidong Li
Offered: Fall each year
Description: Introduction to Internet GIS. The basics of system architecture, geospatial web services, mashups, key elements of mobile GIS solutions, the functionality of geoportals and web technologies, web mapping interoperability using universal data standards such as OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) web services, and the current state of e-business and e-government web mapping interests.

Course Title: Fundamentals of Spatial Database Systems (3 credits)
Course Number: GEOG 5516
Instructor: Dr. Xiang (Peter) Chen
Offered: Fall each year
Description: The theories and principles behind Spatial Database Systems. Students will learn how to design and implement spatial databases.

Course Title: Mobile GIS (3 credits)
Course Number: GEOG 5518
Instructor: Dr. Xiang (Peter) Chen
Offered: Spring each year
Description: This course covers how to develop, test, and publish mobile GIS web and native apps across multiple mobile platforms (Android, iOS, etc.).

Course Title: GIS Modeling of the Urban Environment (3 credits)
Course Number: GEOG 5520
Instructor: Dr. George Bentley
Offered: Fall each year
Description: Survey of GIS methods and spatial analysis for studying spatial patterns of land use and human activity in an urban environment.

Course Title: Social Dimensions of Renewable Energy Technologies (3 credits)
Course Number: GEOG 5540
Instructor: Dr. Carol Atkinson-Palombo
Offered: Summer
Description: Geographic concepts and methodological tools guiding decision-making between potential energy futures. Spatial patterns of economic and social activity in the transition to low carbon energy.

Course Title: Spatial Data Analysis (3 credits)
Course Number: GEOG 5600
Instructor: Dr. Chuanrong (Cindy) Zhang
Offered: Spring each year
Description: Univariate statistics focused on the use of spatial statistics, including geostatistics in geographical research. Problems specific to spatial data analysis are addressed.

Course Title: Spatial Statistics and Modeling (3 credits)
Course Number: GEOG 5610
Instructor: TBD
Offered: Fall each year
Description: Advanced study in the methods and practice of multidimensional statistics and spatial modeling.