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General Course Information for PHL375: Environmental Ethics

Course: PHL375 - Environmental Ethics
Textbook: For the correct edition of the textbook assigned to a specific class, go to:

Course Prerequisite(s):
Course Description: An exploration of ethical theories as they inform and are applied to contemporary environmental issues such as animal rights, habitat loss, species extinction, pollution, industrialization, population control, ecofeminism and political ecology. Western cultural and ecological assumptions are examined through the lenses of humanitarian, eco-centric, utilitarian, deontological, and ethics-of-care perspectives.
Course Learning Outcomes:
  • Articulate and critically reflect on a variety of ethical perspectives on environmental issues.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of different ethical views regarding human responsibility for their environment and the aggregations of species that inhabit it.
  • Demonstrate a familiarity with the fundamental issues addressed by ecologists and philosophers working in the field of environmental ethics such as finding a balance between development through consumption of natural resources and stewardship through conservation of resources and the possibility of establishing a common set of values that result in shared responsibilities for the environment by all stakeholders.
  • Identify the relevance of different ethical and cultural traditions throughout the world in the acknowledgement and resolution of environmental problems.
  • Identify and critically reflect on both historical and contemporary social movements and leading individuals who have had important impact on environmental issues.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how scientific principles and ethical systems can be conjoined to foster environmental awareness and develop practical solutions to environmental problems.
Specified Program Learning Outcomes:
  • Apply state of the art scientific and environmental concepts to solve environmental problems.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of natural resource policy, environmental regulations, and resource management.
  • Examine individual impacts on global resources and the patterns of unequal distribution of such resources.
  • Recognize the important effects of political, economical, social, and educational forces on environmental protection.
  • Recognize the link between healthy ecosystems and healthy human populations.
  • Recognize the major components of the earth's systems and how they function.

Students with Disabilities:
Students seeking special accommodations due to a disability must submit an application with supporting documentation, as explained under this subject heading in the General Catalog. Instructors are required to provide such accommodations if they receive written notification from the University.

Writing Across the Curriculum:
Students are expected to demonstrate writing skills in describing, analyzing and evaluating ideas and experiences. Written reports and research papers must follow specific standards regarding citations of an author's work within the text and references at the end of the paper. Students are encouraged to use the services of the University's Writing Center when preparing materials.

The following website provides information on APA, MLA, and other writing and citation styles that may be required for term papers and the like:

National University Library:
National University Library supports academic rigor and student academic success by providing access to scholarly books and journals both electronically and in hard copy. Print materials may be accessed at the Library in San Diego or through document delivery for online and regional students. Librarians are available to provide training, reference assistance, and mentoring at the San Diego Library and virtually for online or regional students. Please take advantage of Library resources:


Contact the Library:

  • (858) 541-7900 (direct line)
  • 1-866-NU ACCESS x7900 (toll free)

Use the Library Training Tools (on the Library Homepage) for additional help

  • Recorded class presentations
  • Tutorials & Guides (APA/MLA, Peer-Review, and more)

Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else's ideas or work as one's own. Students must give credit for any information that is not either the result of original research or common knowledge. If a student borrows ideas or information from another author, he/she must acknowledge the author in the body of the text and on the reference page. Students found plagiarizing are subject to the penalties outlined in the Policies and Procedures section of the University Catalog, which may include a failing grade for the work in question or for the entire course. The following is one of many websites that provide helpful information concerning plagiarism for both students and faculty:

Ethical behavior in the classroom is required of every student. The course will identify ethical policies and practices relevant to course topics.

Students are expected to be competent in using current technology appropriate for this discipline. Such technology may include word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software. Use of the internet and e-mail may also be required.

Learning to work with and value diversity is essential in every class. Students are expected to exhibit an appreciation for multinational and gender diversity in the classroom.

As a diverse community of learners, students must strive to work together in a setting of civility, tolerance, and respect for each other and for the instructor. Rules of classroom behavior (which apply to online as well as onsite courses) include but are not limited to the following:

  • Conflicting opinions among members of a class are to be respected and responded to in a professional manner.
  • Side conversations or other distracting behaviors are not to be engaged in during lectures, class discussions or presentations
  • There are to be no offensive comments, language, or gestures