Course Work and Requirements (as of February 2012)
Also available for download: The GES Survival Manual (971 KB)
B. Course Requirements
B2. University Graduation Requirements
B3. GES Core Basic Sciences Requirements
B4. GES Core Derivative Sciences Requirements
B5. GES Foundation Course Requirements
B6. GES Coupled Systems Courses: minimum of 4 courses required
B7. Senior Research Courses
D. Computing Requirement and Data Collection
E. Course Work and Sequencing
We provide here a sample program for a major in Global Environmental Science (GES). This is the most efficient way to gain an appreciation for the depth and extent of the curriculum in GES. Beyond the core requirements, the specific curriculum for a student will be tailored to his or her needs. An advisor from the GES faculty will be assigned to each student who declares a major in the program. The advisor will closely track the student's progress through the program, and will be available for student consultations.
Aside from core university requirements, the GES program has core requirements of two basic types: basic sciences and derivative sciences. The former provides the foundation to understand and appreciate the latter in the context of basic skills in mathematics, biology, chemistry, and physics. A minimum grade of C must be obtained in all GES required courses.
Both GES core requirements provide the necessary cognitive skills to deal with the higher academic level courses within the GES curriculum. These include required foundation courses in GES and coupled systems courses. It is within this latter category of course work that the formal course program will be tailored to the individual student's needs.
For example, we anticipate that most students will follow closely a natural science track of study. However, because of the human dimensions issues involved in the subject matter of environmental change, some students may wish to expand their academic program into the social sciences that bear on the issues of global change.
1. Foundation Requirements
A. Written Communication (FW) One course = 3 credits
B. Symbolic Reasoning (FS) One course = 3 credits
C. Global and Multicultural Perspectives (FG) Two courses = 6 credits
2. Diversification Requirements
A. Arts (DA), Humanities (DH), and Literatures (DL) Two courses = 6 credits
B. Natural Sciences: Biological (DB), Physical (DP) and lab (DY) Two courses plus one lab = 7 credits
C. Social Sciences (DS) Two courses = 6 credits
1. Focus Courses
A. Hawaiian, Asian, and Pacific Issues (H) One course
B. Contemporary Ethical Issues (E) One course
C. Oral Communication (O) One course
D. Writing Intensive (W) Five courses
2. Hawaii or Second Language Two courses
For course descriptions, please visit: http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/oceanography/courses.html
Biology 171, 172, 171L, 172L = 8 hrs
Geology and Geophysics 101, 101L = 4 hrs
Geography 411 Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change = 3 hrs
Astronomy 240 Foundations of Astronomy = 3 hrs
Oceanography 490 Communication of Research Results = 2 hrs
In addition to the above course work, two courses are required for the senior research paper (Oceanography 490 Communication of Research Results, 2 credits, and Oceanography 499 Undergraduate Thesis, 3 credits) will be required of all students in order to graduate from the GES program. In general this paper will be the result of research done under the auspices of one or more of the GES faculty members in SOEST, although other faculty within the University are available to mentor a student. In either case, the faculty research mentor would coordinate with the advisor assigned to the student upon entrance into the program.
The Department of Oceanography and SOEST have many ongoing research programs, including those of a theoretical, field (observational), and experimental nature. The student would be expected to act as an apprentice in one of these programs or another of his or her choosing in consultation with their advisor.
It is anticipated that a number of GES students will do research at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology at Coconut Island (including using facilities of the Edwin W. Pauley Marine laboratory and the Pauley-Pagan Science Library) to satisfy their Senior Thesis requirement. This includes research in the He'eia Ahupua'a land-coastal margin ecosystem.D. Computing Requirement and Data Collection
All students within the GES program will become facile with computers and software packages designed for scientific work. There are various avenues for satisfying this requirement, including formal course work, tutorial, and individual student effort. Oceanography 363 is a course required of all GES students that will deal with the utilization of large databases in global and environmental sciences, including those available from NOAA, NASA, etc. The course will use the databases in the context of problem solving. Good computing skills will be necessary to work with these databases in this context.
SOEST currently has a satellite remote sensing laboratory to download oceanographic, terrestrial, and atmospheric data from NASA, NOAA, and other agencies. This laboratory operates three satellite receiving systems, two for tracking polar orbiting satellites and a third for geostationary satellites. We also have an internal communications network for email and the Internet and a newly installed student computer classroom/laboratory equipped with a Sun server system and several computer terminals. Every faculty member has a computer terminal with access to the Internet and a wide variety of computer software, including those designed for very sophisticated calculations. Our students either have their own terminal or access to rooms designed to serve student computer needs. We also have access to the Maui High Performance Computing Center.
The coursework and sequencing should be clear from the presentation above for the university general education core and graduation requirements (B1 and B2), the GES core basic sciences requirement (B3), and the GES core derivative sciences requirement (B4). Students should take the core requirements in sciences before progressing to the foundation courses (B5). The foundation courses then act as the cornerstone for the coupled systems courses (B6). As noted above, 5 courses from the university and GES core (B1, B2, B3, and B4), the foundation (B5), coupled systems (B6), and the senior research (B7) course lists must be taken as writing intensive courses.
After completing the various core and foundation requirements in B1-5 above, the coupled systems (B6) course work is elective and can be tailored to the individual student. At this stage, the student has the opportunity to take relevant courses in Economics (e.g. 358, Environmental Economics), Sociology (e.g. 412, Analysis in Population and Society), and other sciences (e.g. Biology 265, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology). Research for the senior thesis (OCN 499) will generally be conducted during the senior year, and the Communication of Research Results (OCN 490) will be taken during the student's final semester.
The GES core requirement courses and the foundation courses are taught a minimum of once per year. Many of the coupled systems courses are also taught every year. Precalculus is required for admission to the GES program and appropriate high school preparation in mathematics and science, including biology, chemistry, and physics, is highly recommended.
The following sample schedule would allow an incoming freshman to complete the GES BS degree in four years. The schedule shown below serves only as an example of how a freshman may complete a BS in four years. Students should consult with their advisors to discuss options to meet their individual needs. Students who have not fully completed the lower division mathematics and science foundation classes in their first two years and students who work at a job with a significant number of hours per week may find this schedule very difficult to meet; a four year plan may not be realistic for those students in one of these positions. Taking some classes during the summer would ease the load during the fall and spring semesters. Students who can obtain credit for the first year of language based on their high school classes should do so. Note that to graduate in eight semesters one must average 16 credits per semester (16 credits per semester x 8 semesters = 128 credits). Also note that 60 credits (i.e., 4 full semesters) of classes with college-level pre-requisites (upper division) are needed.
* Assumes student places in Math 241 (Calculus I).