• SAS Core: CCO
  • Credits: 4


Until 2020, that sounded like a word for the history books. Surely a worldwide epidemic spread over multiple countries and continents could never happen in the 21st century.

Now, we know we have so much to learn about what creates the conditions for a pandemic, and the effects they have on the world.

In the case of COVID-19, we know that biology plays a significant role in the making of a pandemic. Yet, to truly understand how pandemics work takes an interdisciplinary lens that incorporates biology, ecology, politics, economics, and culture, among other disciplines. To understand a pandemic is to explore how economic structures and relationships influence disease transmission and treatment; how politics influences science communication and public response; how culture shapes our perception of risk; and how global trade influences virus evolution.

This course explores past and present pandemics as socioecological phenomena by examining both the biophysical nature of diseases and the social conditions in which they emerge and proliferate.

Students from all schools and disciplines are welcome to sign up for Pandemics. The course carries credit towards the major and minor in Geography, major and minor in Environmental Studies, and the minor in International and Global Studies. 

Pandemics can be used to meet SAS Core Curriculum goals in Contemporary Challenges [CCO].