Online Natural Resources, Environmental Law & GIS Courses

UConn's Online Environmental Management Graduate Program Courses

The MEEM degree is 30 credits with three required courses (totaling 9 credits) and one required internship or practicum experience (3 credits). The remaining coursework (18 credits) is selected from one or more of the three MEEM concentrations: Sustainable Environmental Planning and Management, Energy and Environmental Law, and Geographic Information Systems.

Students may earn a graduate certificate in Sustainable Environmental Planning and Management and/or in Geographic Information Systems concurrent with the MEEM degree if they complete required coursework for the certificate.

  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 X
  NRE 5225 Odd Even
  NRE 5230   Even Odd
  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 5515 Odd
 GEOG 5516 Even
 GEOG 5518 Even
 GEOG 5530 X
 GEOG 5620   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 (Spring); Dr. Piyumi Obeysekara (Fall)
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
Prerequisites: Completion of one or more of the following: NRE 5200, NRE 5220, LAW 7812
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
Prerequisites: Completion of all of the following: NRE 5200, NRE 5220, LAW 7812
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. Piyumi Obeysekara
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. Amy Cabaniss
Offered: Fall 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: Geospatial Techniques for Environmental Management (3 credits)
Course Number: NRE 5215
Instructor: Dr. Thomas Meyer
Offered: Fall and Spring 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: Even-year Summers, Odd-year Springs
Description: Introduction to the marine environment and associated environmental, social, and economic issues. Topics include marine ecology and ecosystem services, human drivers of change and trends related to the ocean, ocean-based industries and activities, coastal and marine pollution, ocean policy and law, sustainable use of living marine resources, and ecosystem management strategies to aid conservation efforts.

Course Title: Sustainability Leadership in Organizations (3 credits)
Course Number: NRE 5230
Instructor: Dr. Amy Cabaniss
Offered: Even-year Springs, Odd-year Summers
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: Python Scripting for Geospatial Analysis (3 credits)
Course Number: NRE 5585
Instructor: Dr. Thomas Meyer
Offered: Fall each year
Recommended Preparation: NRE 5215 or GEOG 5500
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
Recommended Preparation: LAW 7812, LAW 7806, LAW 7650
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 as 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: Paschaline Nsiah-Asare, LL.B., LL.M.
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: Paschaline Nsiah-Asare, LL.B., LL.M.
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 Geographic Information Science (3 credits)
Course Number: GEOG 5500
Instructor: Dr. Dan Wanyama
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 of Geographic Information Systems (3 credits)
Course Number: GEOG 5510
Instructor: Richard Mrozinski
Offered: Spring and Fall each year
Recommended Preparation: GEOG 5500
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: Web GIS (3 credits)
Course Number: GEOG 5515
Instructor: Dr. Weidong Li
Offered: Odd-year Falls
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: Even-year Falls
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: Even-year Springs
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 for Health and Environment (3 credits)
Course Number: GEOG 5530
Instructor: Dr. Debarchana Ghosh
Offered: Fall each year

Recommended Preparation: GEOG 5500
Description: An exploration of how spatial data and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can be used to understand and improve human and environmental health.

Course Title: Computer Applications in Spatial Analysis (3 credits)
Course Number: GEOG 5620
Instructor: Aaron Nash
Offered: Spring each year

Description: Advanced seminar in the design of Geographic Information Systems software for solving problems in spatial analysis.