Environmental Studies (ENVS) 461

The History and Politics of Ecology (Revision 1)

ENVS 461 Course Cover

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: ENVS 200 or ENSC 200 or equivalent.

Precluded Course: ENVS 306. (ENVS 461 cannot be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for ENVS 306.)

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Environmental Studies Home Page

ENVS 461 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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This is a senior level undergraduate course in Environmental Studies that is designed to acquaint students with ecological theory and how that knowledge has been applied to environmental issues. ENVS 461 is an interdisciplinary course that deals with ecological science, the social studies of science, and environmental studies. The course will be of interest to those who wish to learn more about how ecological theory understands contemporary environmental problems such as species extinction, deforestation, and global climate change. It will also appeal to those who seek to understand the interaction between science and society. That is, while ecology explores many environmental problems, it is not the only (or even most significant) factor in shaping our response to these problems.


ENVS 461 is divided into nine units.

  • Unit 1: Introduction
  • Unit 2: Intellectual Toolkit
  • Unit 3: History of Ecological Models, Part I
  • Unit 4: History of Ecological Models, Part II
  • Unit 5: History of Ecological Models, Part III
  • Unit 6: History of Ecological Models, Part IV
  • Unit 7: Politics, Ethics, and Social Production of Nature
  • Unit 8: Case Studies of Environmental Problems, Part I
  • Unit 9: Case Studies of Environmental Problems, Part II


To receive credit for ENVS 461, you must write the midterm examination, and achieve a course composite grade of at least a D (50 percent). The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1 10%
Midterm Exam 25%
Assignment 2 25%
Assignment 3 40%
Total 100%

The midterm examination for this course must be taken online with an AU approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators that can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials

All course materials for ENVS 461 are available online.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the ENVS 461 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least D (50 percent) on the exam, and an overall grade of at least D (50 percent).

Activity Weighting
Assignment 65%
Exam 35%
Total 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, May 26, 2016