American University of Central Asia - AUCA - COURSES DESCRIPTION

Courses Description

  1. Intro to Environmental and Sustainable Development (ENV 100)
  2. Eco-tourism and Environmental Conservation (ENV 100)
  3. General Chemistry (ENV 100)
  4. Environmental Chemistry (ENV 100)
  5. Applied Ecology: Iteractions, Relationships and Conservation(ENV/NTR-100)
  6. Introduction to Environmental Management System (ENV 200)
  7. Research Methods (ENV 200)
  8. Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ENV 200)
  9. Climate Change and Natural Disasters (ENV 200)
  10. Green Spaces in Urban Development (ENV 200)
  11. Programming R: Software for Statistical Computing (ENV 200)
  12. GIS Application in Environmental Management (ENV 200)
  13. Wildlife Conservation
  14. Environmental Geophysics
  15. Recourse and Environmental Economics
  16. Environmental and socio-Economics Impacts of Mining
  17. Agro-Ecology Integrated Crop Management
  18. Environmental Accounting and Management
  19. International Environmental Law and Policy
  20. Water Recourses Systems and Management
  21. Internship 1: Research work
  22. Internship 2: Field work
  23. Senior Thesis Seminar 1
  24. Senior Thesis Seminar 2


Course descriptions:  Core Courses

Introduction to Environmental Management and Sustainable Development

This course is an introduction to ecological, economic, political, and sociocultural perspectives on relationships between humans and the rest of the natural world. Environmental Management is concerned not only with the impact of humankind on the planet but also with the patterns of human behavior necessary to preserve and manage the environment in a self-sustaining way. Study is linked to the areas of new thinking in environmental management, environmental economics and the quest for alternative technologies. It provides students an interdisciplinary survey of the broad range of contemporary environmental issues and concepts. In the course, students will examine options for developing more sustainable communities and lifestyles in the face of local and global change.


 Applied Ecology: Interactions, Relationships, and Conservation 

Ecology and the environment are hot topics in today’s world.  All across the world top brands market themselves as “fair trade”, governments develop new “sustainability policies”, and people go “organic” in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint.  But what does all this have to do with our actual environment?  This course will provide you with a foundational understanding of ecology: the interactions that govern our environment.  We’ll learn about living and nonliving aspects of the environment, discover the relationships between organisms, explore local environments around Bishkek, investigate conservation methods and techniques available for ecological research, and uncover practical ways we can have a positive impact on our environment.  Are you ready to get your feet wet, your hands dirty, and your interest in nature peaked?


General Chemistry

General Chemistry is a standards-based university preparatory lab science course. It fulfills one semester of the science required at AUCA. Chemistry in the community is a major attempt to enhance science literacy through university curriculum that emphasizes the impact of chemistry on society. Each unit centers on chemistry-related technological issues now confronting our world. 

Prerequisites of the course: None


ECh-100 Environmental Chemistry 

In this course students will use the fundamental principles of chemistry to gain an understanding of the source, fate, and reactivity of compounds in natural and polluted environments. Emphasis will be placed on the environmental implications of energy utilization and on the chemistry of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere. Environmental issues that will be discussed include climate change, air pollution, stratospheric ozone depletion, pollution and treatment of water sources, and the utilization of insecticides and herbicides. Course Goals: The overall goal of this course is to gain an understanding of the fundamental chemical processes that are central to a range of important environmental problems and to utilize this knowledge in making critical evaluations of these problems.

Prerequisite of the course: General Chemistry

Eco-tourism and Environmental Conservation

After outlining the definitions and basic principles of ecotourism, we will see how, under certain conditions, ecotourism can generate income while contributing to the protection of the environment.


Part of the course will be devoted to the creation of surveys and the use of statistical tools for addressing environmental problems.

The knowledge acquired during the first classes will then be put into practice. Students will have the chance to participate in the reintroduction of an endangered or rare species in Kyrgyzstan. This reintroduction will be done in Bishkek in Elm Grove Park. Indeed, the park and its forest are targeted for protection by the French Kyrgyz Ecotourism Association (AFKE) in partnership with the American University of Central Asia (AUCA). This project was certified COP21 on the occasion of the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2015. In this context, the AFKE responded to a call for projects, which enabled the Elm Grove Forest Project in Bishkek to become a beneficiary of the PARIS2015 / COP21 label. This involved for the AFKE the signature of a charter materializing the institutional support of the COP21 Ministerial Steering Committee.


This course provides a solid understanding of ecotourism and statistics applied to the environment. In addition, students will be able to apply what they have learned by participating in the Elm Grove Forest Project and help prevent the disappearance of the largest forest in Bishkek.  


Students who successfully complete this course will receive a certificate of participation in a project certified COP21.


200 level 


Environmental and Social Impact Assessment

Environmental impact assessment is a planning process that aims to predict, evaluate and mitigate the impact on the environment of a proposed project, program or policy prior to its commencement, and to approve only environmentally acceptable undertakings. EIA is hence a mechanism for avoiding or mediating some of the potential costs of development. The purpose of this course is to help students develop a comprehensive and critical understanding of the theory and practice of EIA in the world including Central Asia countries. The course examines EIA in general and in specific jurisdictions. It also examines the technical and policy issues involved in the production and the appraisal of environmental impact assessments. Using a broad definition of “environment”, various components of EIA are addressed, with an emphasis on principles, legal and institutional frameworks, stages in the process, and specific analytical techniques. Additionally, the course will focus on the ecology of human societies and the social impact of development on communities and regions. The ecology of human societies is about connections between ecological and human social, cultural, and organizational processes. It is a very broad and general subject that crosses numerous scientific disciplines. Together, readings and lectures will provide you with a "big picture" of what human ecology and social impact are about from an interdisciplinary point of view. This learning process will help us generate a new appreciation for the complex world in which we live.



Introduction to Environmental Management Systems 

The history of Environmental Management Systems, Environmental Management Systems as a basis for preventive action; the contents of the Standard EN ISO 14001 and EMAS. The introduction and implementation of ISO 14001. Principle of Environmental Management System of ISO14001. Development and setting of environmental policy, environmental management system planning, implementation and operation, checking, management review including management audit etc. Environmental legislation relevant for Environmental Management Systems. Certification; examples from companies and organizations. Other management systems, e.g., Energy management systems. Literature seminars are aimed at a critical analysis of Environmental Management Systems. Instruction consists of lectures, seminars and exercises.


GIS Applications in Environmental Management

This course introduces the underlying principles and methods of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). It examines the processes involved in the capture, storage, manipulation, analysis, presentation and output of digital geographical data in a GIS and provides opportunities for the development of practical skills in processing data using a leading Open Source GIS software package, Quantum GIS. The course comprises a series of presentations and computer-based practical sessions using Quantum GIS software.   Students will also learn how to collect and source data in addition to some use of example data sets taken from a variety of fields. The main elements of the Quantum user interface are introduced and topics covered include: data management, data visualisation, georeferencing, analysis, data presentation and reporting.  GIS is a powerful data visualization and analysis tool. This undergraduate-level seminar investigates how GIS is currently being used to better understand and address environmental problems, as well as manage and protect natural resources. Overall GIS topics include: air pollution, climate change, biodiversity conservation, forest management, cultural heritage protection, soils management and agriculture, natural hazards, water resources, environmental challenges in the urban environment, and alternative energy production. Students will learn and be practicing some of the above-mentioned topics in a computer lab.


Green Spaces in Urban Development

In 2018, the Earth has nearly 4.2 billion city dwellers and according to the latest demographic projections of the United Nations, 2.5 billion more will live in cities by 2050. This significant increase in the urban population raises many issues regarding the use of space and the living conditions of citizens, particularly in terms of environmental conservation. In this context, the easiest « solution » is often to destroy green spaces or to reduce their area in order to make room for housing, shops and roads. But what are the consequences on the living environment, the health and the social life of people living in cities? Shouldn’t we protect and foster nature in urban areas? If so, shouldn’t we favor long-term – that is, sustainable – solutions that incorporate green spaces into urban development strategies? Would it not be better to rely on these green spaces to develop a green economy in cities? 


This course will first define urban green spaces in a broad sense before looking at a variety of relevant concepts such as urban tree, green and blue corridors. We will survey the latest research on trees and examine several examples of green zones in the world in order to provide answers to various questions previously asked. Several practical aspects will be addressed such as: tree planting, tree-tree interactions, tree-insect interactions, and waste management in green spaces.


The main focus of the course will be the project of protection and renaturation of the Karagachevaya Rosha Park in Bishkek, implemented by the French-Kyrgyz Association of Ecotourism in partnership with the American University of Central Asia. Students who successfully complete this course will receive a certificate of participation in a project certified COP21. This Conference of the Parties (COP) was held in Paris, France, from 30 November to 12 December 2015. It negotiated the Paris Agreement, a global agreement on the reduction of climate change, the text of which represented a consensus of the representatives of the 196 attending parties.


300 Level ENV-303

Agro-ecology Integrated Crop Management

This is an advanced 6-credit course for students interested in the ecology of agricultural systems, the environmental impacts of crop production, agro-ecology and sustainable agriculture. An agro-ecological approach, the application of ecological concepts and principles for the improvement of cropping systems, is emphasized. Students will gain a more in‐depth understanding of inputs and outputs in agricultural systems and their relation to primary productivity, nutrient cycling, energy flows, and species interactions on farms. Topics include agricultural intensification, organic farming, forestry, agro-ecosystem structure and function, aspects of technology adoption, soil erosion and conservation, tillage systems, plant pests and diseases, weed ecology and management, nutrient dynamics and management, water quality, crop rotation, cropping system diversification.  

Water Recourses Systems and Management

The course of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) includes study of key principles and issues of water resources management, considers the process of strategy development, relevant approaches to make decisions in the sphere of water resources management with the aim of providing complex approaches to use natural resources and achieving sustainable development. Resources and data of the course adapt easily to include to other existing courses, for instance, introduction to natural resource management, environmental management etc. The resources and data of the course can be used for giving lectures and also for instructors in Institute of Education Development as well as training enterprise’s managers on water resources management. The objective of the course is to introduce students with methodology and practicing part of integrated water resources management and increase an awareness of effective water use, to educate new generation managers who possess managers’ skills in the sphere of rational use and conservation of water resources.

Prerequisite of the course: ENV-100, MAT-130 and ENV-201


Environmental & Socio-Economic Impacts of Mining

This course aims to provide a comprehensive and practical understanding of both positive and negative impacts that mining may have on the environment, economic and society. Hence, it will focus on the environmental and social impacts of mining, with particular emphasis on mining around the world. 


We are all touched by mining, whether through the commodities we consume, the investments we make, the environmental and social impacts we experience, and/or the benefits we inherit. Therefore, the mining and mineral extraction have significant contribution to the advancement of human civilization and national economies. However, these activities also have the potential for serious environmental and social impacts.


On completion of this course, students should be able to identify and analyze the major issues and management strategies associated with environmental, social and economic impacts of mining.

Prerequisite of the course: EMSD course


International Environmental Law and Policy ENV/NTR/LAS/BUS-305

International Environmental regulation has expanded from a domestic phenomenon to one that has

both global participants and global impacts. In this course, students will get a survey of environmental issues in international law and policy. In addition to discussing the current state of international environmental law, students will also spend time addressing how that state of affairs came to be, what stakeholders are involved, and what other policy options exist for handling these concerns. The last part of the semester will address international law in other fields that impact the environment, as well as a few issues on which international cooperation has not yet emerged.


Natural Disasters and Climate Change   ENV 306

The societies we live in are regularly subjected to different types of natural and environmental disasters, both man-made and natural.  Disasters seem to be increasing in both severity and frequency as human settlements expand into new regions, we begin to exploit more resources, and our climate changes around us. The impact of climate change on our world and way of life is not to be underestimated, and the consequences of not adapting to our new reality could be disastrous. This course aims to introduce students to the concepts involved in disaster and emergency management as they relate to the natural environment and the impacts of climate change. The course will cover an introduction to the types, causes and impacts of natural and environmental disasters; an introduction to climate science and modelling; an explanation of the connections between climate change and the frequency and severity of natural disaster occurrences; an overview of risk analysis, and disaster and emergency management strategies that can be employed to mitigate the impacts of such occurrences; and the importance of not just preparing for and mitigating disasters, but adapting our societies to the new realities we face under climate change for our continued survival.


Research Methods

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to research proposal writing, research methodologies, and foundational research theories and protocols. Students in the course learn about the cyclical nature of applied research and the iterative process of research writing. The course teaches students how to write a proposal, engage in independent studies, and work collaboratively with a mentor- mentee relationship with EUS faculty advisor. The curriculum is sequential, helping students to identify a study topic, formulate inquiry questions, organize a literature review, and select appropriate research designs and methodologies. Students use the proposal they develop to establish the foundation of a summer project and the basis of a final research paper that will be submitted at the end of the summer once the study is completed. By the end of the course, students will complete a proposal that includes an introduction, problem statement (significance of study), literature review, methods section, references, and a project timeline. At the end of the summer students will convert this proposal into a full research that will include the following sections: findings, discussion, conclusions, and references.


The course enrolls students majoring in the social sciences (environmental management, social impact assessment), natural and physical sciences, engineering, and professional fields. Throughout the course, students will learn how research projects can emanate from specific intellectual interests, recognized knowledge gaps in existing scholarship, or from personal experiences or community-related matters that have broad societal implications. In summary, the course helps EUS Program undergraduate students become novice researchers, and it encourages them to continue looking for opportunities after the spring semester to further develop their research skills. This course, which is in modeled after a graduate-level introductory research methods seminar series, prepares undergraduates for future research experiences, particularly at the graduate-level. Accordingly, students will also receive advising related to and opportunities to explore postgraduate programs.


Senior Thesis Seminar 1, 2 

Environmental Studies Senior Seminar brings together majors with different course backgrounds to analyze environmental problems using an interdisciplinary approach. The seminar will guide students through key issues in research design, from choosing a topic, through selecting approaches to researching it, to conducting research, drawing conclusions and summarizing the results in written form. While the students will be able to draw on a textbook to aid them in understanding the research process in ecological science, emphasis will be placed on how such research is actually conducted. To this end, the students will review and discuss empirical articles published in a variety of social science journals. At the end of semester, students will focus mostly on completing their research and writing of the thesis. Each student will be required to present the results of their research to their colleagues at the end of the course.



An internship experience provides the student with an opportunity to explore career interests while applying knowledge and skills learned in the classroom in a work setting. The experience also helps students gain a clearer sense of what they still need to learn and provides an opportunity to build professional networks.


The internship will provide students with the opportunity to:

  • Acquire knowledge of the industry in which the internship is done.
    • Apply knowledge and skills learned in the classroom in a work setting.
    • Develop a greater understanding about career options while more clearly defining personal career goals.
    • Develop and refine oral and written communication skills.
    • Identify areas for future knowledge and skill development.


American University of Central Asia
7/6 Aaly Tokombaev Street
Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic 720060

Tel.: +996 (312) 915000 + Еxt.
Fax: +996 (312) 915 028
AUCA Contacts