*E-PSCI 168. Human Environmental Data Science: Agriculture, Conflict, and Health


  • Professor: Peter Huybers
  • Term: Fall
  • Days: M, W
  • Time: 3:00-4:15
  • School: Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • Course ID: 216421
  • Subject Area: Earth and Planetary Sciences

The purpose of this course is to develop understanding and guide student research of human and environmental systems. In class we will explore agriculture, conflict, and transmissible disease. Study of each topic will involve introduction data, mathematical models, and analysis techniques that build toward addressing a major question at each interface: Have agricultural systems been adapted to climate change? Has drought caused conflict? And does the environment influence the spread of COVID-19? These questions are diverse, but are addressed using common analytical frameworks. Analytical approaches include simple mathematical models of feedback systems, crop development, and population disease dynamics; frequentist statistical techniques including linear, multiple linear, and panel regression models; and Bayesian methods including empirical, full, and hierarchical approaches. You will be provided with sufficient data, example code, and context to come to your own informed conclusions regarding each of these questions. Furthermore, topics covered in class will pro-vide a template for undertaking independent research projects in small teams. Research will either extend on topics presented in class or address other human-environmental questions. Historically, such student projects have sometimes led to senior theses or publication in professional journals.

Notes: The course is designed for upper-level undergraduates. Enrollment is by instructor permission. This course fulfills the EPS sub-discipline requirement of Atmosphere(s) and Oceans.

Recommended Prep: There are no specific prerequisites but a background in environmental, physical or life sciences; experience in coding or statistical analysis; and/or facility with differential equations is useful.