Pre-College Programs

Environmental Studies Courses (26)

Migration, Free and Forced

This course provides an introduction to anthropology and migration studies. We will ask: How are humans freed or forced to move from one place to another? How do these circumstances affect the power of governments and social groups?Whether between cities or continents, migration is a common feature of human life. Yet there are enormous differences in the ways that...

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Conservation of Endangered Species

We always hear about endangered species all over the world. What exactly is being done to protect these animals and their habitats? Most people do not realize it, but every endangered species has a recovery plan that maps the road to successfully increasing populations and saving habitats. Zoos are a huge part of these recovery plans by being a place for breeding and increasing...

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How to tell stories about science, medicine and the environment to the rest of the world

Based on a popular and longstanding course at Brown for students in the sciences who want the skills to explain the science and technology that shape our lives, the overarching goals of this course are to learn how to make complicated issues more understandable and to learn how to communicate best to the general public in a world of facts and "alternative facts,"...

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The Secret Lives of Animals: A View into their Brains and Behaviors

Humans have the ability to learn, communicate and problem-solve. But are we alone? This hands-on, field trip and lab-based course will change the way you think about nature. We will investigate innate and learned behaviors, including but not limited to imprinting, social structures and animal communication. This course provides an introduction and overview of animal behavior....

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Alternative Energy Engineering: An Introduction

One of the most pressing issues of modern times is how we will satisfy our future energy needs and what influence this might have on global warming. This course pursues developing intuitive insights into the benefits and limitations of various approaches to energy generation, and how to differentiate between hype, scientific analysis, and political interference. This course...

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Materials Engineering: A Revolution in the Making

What do you think will be the greatest, coolest invention of this century? Many of the greatest scientists and technologists believe that this will be in the field of Materials research: "of new materials that have amazing properties,” and what’s more, “are capable of changing themselves to suit their requirements.” Though we know of an amazing...

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Renewable Energy Engineering: Wind and Solar Power

The demand for energy is expected to grow 30% by 2040. What role can engineers play in developing renewable energy sources? In this course, you will explore some of the science, math, and technology that is used to extract energy from renewable resources. You will:
Apply engineering concepts and principles to solving renewable energy issuesExamine...

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Materials Science and Engineering: Where Would the World Be Without Them?

Virtually every segment of our everyday lives - be it transportation, housing, clothing, communications, recreation, sports, and so on - is influenced by materials in one way or another. In our contemporary era, sophisticated electronic devices, such as laptops and cell phones, rely on components that are made of semiconducting materials. Automobiles would not have been...

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Exploring the World of Marine Science

Have you ever wanted to be a marine biologist? How about exploring the ocean and understanding the world of marine science? Come join us and learn about Narragansett Bay in-depth by using Save The Bay’s waterfront Bay Center laboratory, classroom, shoreline and dock space. Conduct field work aboard Save The Bay’s education vessels.Serving directly as...

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Marine Life in the Balance: Protecting a Changing Estuary Ecosystem

Eelgrass, seaweed, crabs, fish and seals are part of a large community of plants and animals living in a unique home; Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island’s huge and important estuary. An estuary, where river meets ocean, is the foundation of life in marine systems and is considered to be one of the most productive and biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. Today scientists...

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Global Climate Change: Fact or Fiction?

So what's really going on? Climate change is an important issue that affects many aspects of our lives, including politics, science, the economy, and more. How can we understand what's happening? How do we gauge how important it is to us? How do we make sense of everything we hear from the media, or from our families and friends?This is a topic that we can't...

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Brown Environmental Leadership Lab: Environmental Science and Social Action

BELL Rhode Island is a unique outdoor learning experience. The academic content of this course centers on understanding the causes, impacts, and solutions to climate change both globally and locally. In order to appreciate the many facets of our modern challenges, our curriculum draws from both environmental science and environmental studies including biology, chemistry,...

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Brown Environmental Leadership Lab: Alaska

Study with Brown University in Alaska!

BELL is a unique outdoor learning laboratory. The courses draw their curricula from many different disciplines: history, biology, geology, economics, environmental studies, and leadership theory. In this course, students will travel to southern Alaska to experience, first-hand, the beauty and complexities of present-day Alaska. Learning...

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Climate & Climate Change: Scientific, Societal, and Global Implications

What is climate change? How do humans interact with the climate system? How can science inform action? This course is designed to provide you with an understanding of the climate system on Earth, interactions between climate and human society, and how climate science is communicated and interpreted from various perspectives.

Topics include:
An introduction...

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The Tropical Coast: Florida Keys

Study with Brown University in Key Largo, Florida!

Brown University offers curious high school students a unique opportunity to explore marine biology, conservation, and leadership skills in the Florida Keys. Focusing on the ecology of three main coastal habitats-- coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrasses-- students will practice many of the methods and skills used by marine...

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Leadership for Environmental Justice

Around the world, the brunt of environmental inequality has disproportionately impacted developing countries, low-income communities, and people of color. Too often, environmental efforts fail to adequately address these pressing realities. Environmental justice, however, strives to provide equal and fair treatment for all people with respect to the development, implementation,...

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From Farm to Table: Animal Agriculture & Society

You have all heard you are what you eat, but do we stop to think about where our food comes from or how the food we eat is raised, genetically engineered or processed? Our food supply is largely dependent on animal agriculture, the rearing of poultry, livestock, fish, and shellfish. How does food get from the farm to table? What are the downstream effects of using antibiotics...

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Arctic Geopolitics: A multidisciplinary approach

Climate change dramatically affects the Arctic environment and raises new challenges whether physical, environmental, economic, social or political. This course aims at exploring these complex changes from a multidisciplinary perspective.In the context of climate change, the Arctic environment is facing significant changes. With the melting of the Arctic sea ice,...

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Habitable Worlds: Possible Places for Life in the Solar System and Beyond

Does life exist anywhere else in the Solar System or galaxy? If you have ever looked at the sky and wondered if habitable worlds like (or unlike) ours exist elsewhere, then this is the class for you. This week-long course explores possible habitats for life on Mars, the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn, and exoplanets (planets around other stars). Along the way, you will...

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Bridging the Gap Between Math Class and the Real World

More often than not, the things we learn in math class seem to have no other use except in math class: the quadratic formula, finding domain and range, the Pythagorean Theorem... Yet these very techniques can give us a deep understanding of the world around us and even enable us to do things like create basic computer animation and predict the weather. This course will offer...

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The Grand Tour: Our Solar System Up Close and Personal

Strange worlds exist within our solar system. On Saturn’s moon Titan, methane falls instead of rainwater. Mars is home to both the deepest canyon and the tallest mountain. Pluto has mountains made of ice that may still be actively forming today.

Humans have explored the Earth and our moon, but the other planets are millions of miles away. How do we learn about...

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Introduction to Nanotechnology

Introduction to Nanotechnology provides a broad overview of nanotechnology, discussing the fundamental science of nanotechnology and its applications to engineering, biomedical, and environmental fields. We will discuss the interdisciplinary nature of nanotechnology and how the different basic sciences merge to create the field.The course provides a background of...

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Foundations of International Relations: What Lies Ahead?

Why do we fight? How is peace built? Is democracy good? Is it possible everywhere? How shall we deal with global challenges like terrorism, nuclear weapons, climate change, and cybersecurity? The course will explore answers to some of these most pressing questions of our time.The course is a daily discussion seminar that examines many of the central concepts, theories,...

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A new study shows.....How to handle conflicting evidence

Have you ever read an article that relies on a scientific study to draw conclusions, only to learn of another study with contradicting results? One day eating chocolate is good for you, the next it is not. How do we reconcile these conflicting messages - or are they conflicted at all? This course will help students critically assess and synthesize evidence to inform decision-making...

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The Theory and Practice of Sustainable Investing

21st century businesses and investors face a broadening and deepening array of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) risks and opportunities. Climate change, water scarcity, community conflicts, resource depletion, supply chain breakdowns, worker well-being and economic inequality pose present material challenges that make sustainability an imperative for successful...

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Geology in the Real World: Intersections Between Geology and Society

Do you know how the Earth and its processes affect you? If you want to learn how geology influences the lives of everyone on Earth, this is the class for you. We will use case studies, like the Tohoku earthquake that displaced 200,000 people, to guide our exploration. Along the way, you will learn to critically evaluate how science is presented in the media. Ten years from...

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