New and Special Courses

Fall Semester 2012-2013

The courses whose descriptions appear here are either seminar courses, experimental courses, one-time offerings, or new courses recently added to the permanent offerings at the Naval Academy. Only courses that are a part of the regular offerings at the Naval Academy are listed in the Naval Academy Course Catalog.  Midshipmen intending to take any of these courses should be aware of how they will be credited in their majors. For information about this, consult with the department concerned or the listed instructor. This listing is not static and so should be consulted from time to time since the offerings may change.  Indeed, prior to the deadline for preregistration, the list is likely to change several times. 

Courses are listed in order of their designators (EA333, FR221, NL355, SM422, etc).  Credits are listed after the the course title as an ordered triple (R-L-C), where R is the number of weekly recitation-lecture hours, L is the number of weekly laboratory hours, and C is the number of credits.


EE485F Advanced Technology (3-0-3).  The objective of this course is to explore and discuss the fundamental advances in science, engineering, and technology that under pin the equipment, operations, and tactics employed by the defense community. Topics to be discussed include: radar, sonar, lasers, optical communications, advanced materials and structures, alternate energy and energy scavenging, and space satellites. A key component of the course is the reading and analysis of current selected papers and other technological media for underlying scientific and engineering content, especially advances in the field. Once identified the students will address how these advances can be applied to the military and quantify their potential impact based on superior performance, economics, logistics, reduction in casualties, etc. Prereq: Calculus II, Physics II.

EE485S Introduction to Information Theory (3-0-3).  This course explores the fundamental limits on compression and transmission of information. Topics include limits and algorithms for lossless data compression, channel capacity, lossy compression, fundamentals of error control codes and decoding algorithms, block codes, convolutional codes and trellis codes.  Prereq: EE354 or permission of chair.

EE487B Applications of Cyber Engineering (3-2-4).  This is an introductory course in cyber engineering and will count for EE302 or EE334. Students are introduced to the fundamental computer engineering concepts associated with cyber security including networking, digital signal representation, and digital data transmission in wired and wireless protocols. The avenues of cyber attack are studied including assembly level programming, network socket programming, and buffer overflow attacks. Vulnerabilities of Windows, UNIX and Linux operating systems are explored.  Prereq: Physics II.


EM485B Mechanical System Design (3-0-3). Mechanical System Design is the first of a two course sequence intended for general engineering majors. The course considers the presentation and application of the practices and methodologies of engineering problem solving necessary to develop the skills of inventiveness, operational analysis, and decision-making critical to the implementation of the engineering design process. Practice in creativity exercise applications and evaluation of real mechanical engineering design problems together with critical analysis of relevant case studies are considered. Prereq: 1/C EGE majors.

EM424 Analytical Methods in Mechanics and Fluids (3-0-3). Broad survey of basic mathematical methods used in the solution of ordinary and partial differential equations that describe common engineering problems. Emphasis on problem solving techniques. Methods include linear algebra, power series, Fourier series, separation of variables, integral transforms, Bessel and Legendre functions, spherical harmonics and numerical methods. Intended for senior engineering students who plan to attend graduate engineering programs. Prereq: SM212.


EN486M Propulsion and Ship Systems (3-0-3). This course shows how selected shipboard machinery systems impact the ship design process and the resulting ship, as well as the characteristics of common machinery and distributive systems; design integration. Prereq: 1/C EOE or ENA major, or approval of department chair.


ES485C Cyber-Physical Systems (2-2-3). Cyber-physical Systems are composed of dynamically interdependent computational and physical processes with pervasive impact for both military and economic success. A unified approach to building smart systems which span the cyber-physical domains is introduced. Advanced shipboard engineering and damage control systems are presented as a motivating example. Laboratory exploration of Cyber-Physical Systems culminates in a final distributed microcontroller network. Prereq: (ES201 and ES303) or (ES410 and a programming course).

ES487G Desktop Manufacturing and Product Design (2-4-4). In this hands-on project-based design course, students develop and produce a consumer product from concept through prototype using newly available desktop manufacturing tools such as small 3D printers and laser cutters. Topics include the tools of consumer product design, from needs assessment through usability, aesthetics, life cycle and design for large-scale manufacturing. Students will also be introduced to techniques for rapid prototyping and custom electronics design, and will be responsible for every aspect of their product, including marketing materials and hands-on fabrication of their prototype. Prereq: ES201, ESE or ESEH major


EX485C Interdisciplinary Capstone Design (2-2-3). This course is the first in a two course sequence that provides the capstone experience for an interdisciplinary team of midshipmen working on the Boeing design project. Prereq: 1/C EAS, EME or ESE major and approval of department chair.

EX485F Interdisciplinary Capstone Design (2-2-3). This course is the first in a two course sequence that provides the capstone experience for an interdisciplinary team of midshipmen working on the Formula SAE car design project. Prereq: EM371 or ES308.


FE481F Personal Finance (1-0-1). 43% of American workers have less than $10,000 in savings for retirement. This course is designed to provide studentswith an understanding of personal finance and how individual choices impact goals and future earnings potential. Real world topics include income and taxes, money management, spending and credit, investment vehicles, Post 9-11 G.I. Bill, and insurance. Students will create personal and household budgets, demonstrate knowledge of finance, debt, and credit management, retirement and estate planning. Prereq: none.


FA281A Basic Arabic Conversation (1-0-1). This weekly conversation hour supports FA101 and provides students with the opportunity to practice, implement and hone speaking skills in Arabic. The course reinforces the material covered in Basic Arabic. Coreq: FA101.

FA281B Intermediate Arabic Conversation (1-0-1)
. This weekly conversation hour supports FA201 and provides students with the opportunity to practice, implement and hone speaking skills in Arabic. This course reinforces the material covered in Intermediate Arabic. Coreq: FA201.

FA281C Advanced Arabic Conversation (1-0-1)
. This weekly conversation hour provides students with the opportunity to practice, implement and hone speaking skills in Arabic. Students will have to accomplish interactional tasks using material from advanced Arabic classes. This course supports any 300- or 400- level Arabic course. Coreq: FA301 or higher.

FA485 Arabic Conversation and Composition (3-0-3)
. In this course, students focus on the skills of speaking and writing, while building on reading skills and vocabulary acquisition. Students read and discuss each other's theses, then work on their own compositions on several topics. Prereq: FA202.

FA485A Arabic Political Discourse (3-0-3)
.  [Instr J. Owens. This advanced Arabic course presents an overview of various political movements in the Arab World beginning in the 19th century, including Pan Arabism, Islamic fundamentalism, and political discourse in the Arab diaspora. Prereq: FA302 or instructor's permission.

FC485E China in the Reform (3-0-3). 
[Asst Prof F. Yuan] This course is an English-language introduction to Chinese society and culture. The course focuses on China’s economic transformation from a planned economy to a market one over the past 30 years and its impact on the life of ordinary Chinese and on the global economy. Prereq: HE111 or instructor's permission.

FF281A Basic French Conversation I (1-0-1)
. This is a non-mandatory conversation course designed for students in FF101 who wish to develop basic conversational French. The course will reinforce vocabulary and structures from the FF101 textbook and will use the FF101 film as a springboard for conversation. Coreq: FF101.

FF281B Intermediate French Conversation I (1-0-1)
. This is a non-mandatory conversation course designed for students in FF201 who wish to develop intermediate conversational French. The course will reinforce vocabulary and structures from the FF201 textbook and will use the FF201 film as a springboard for conversation. Coreq: FF201.

FF485 Advanced French Composition and Conversation (3-0-3)
. [Prof E. Knutson] This course aims to develop midshipmen's competence in oral and written expression by integrating the study of grammar and vocabulary into communicative practice. Midshipmen work with model texts, including news media, film and narratives. Prereq: FF302 or instructor's permission.

FJ281 Study Abroad Japan: Conversation and Ethnography (1-0-1)
. This is a distance-learning course for midshipmen studying in Japan. Students will record and analyze conversations with language partners in Japan and keep language learning journals. The instructor will guide them through this process using email and video chat. Coreq: participation in SEMEX Japan.

FJ485A Socio-cultural approaches to understanding Japanese folktales (3-0-3)
.  [Asst Prof S. Anzai] This course examines Japanese culture through Japanese folktales. In reading Japanese folktales, students will explore and examine historical, social, and psychological dimensions of Japanese culture. The course will be conducted in Japanese. Prereq: FJ202 or instructor's permission.

FJ485B Japanese for Naval Officers (3-0-3)
.  [CAPT Tanaka]. This Japanese-language course introduces political and social issues surrounding the Japanese Self-Defense forces and the Japanese public attitude towards the military and war. The course will also examine the language and culture of the Japanese military. Prereq: FJ202 or instructor's approval.

FS485 Latin American Culture through Film (3-0-3)
. This Spanish-language course satisfies either HUM/SS or core elective requirements. Midshipmen examine cultural phenomena and perceptions affecting contemporary Latin American societies and their relations with the U.S. through criticism and analysis of Latin American films. Prereq: FS301.


FP485A Elections and Voting Behavior (3-0-3).  This course analyzes elections and voting behavior.  Topics include patterns of voter turnout and vote choice, mobilization methods, electoral institutions, voting technology, campaign effects, and public opinion.  Methods of measurement of individual and mass political behavior will also be discussed within the context of various topics.  Prereq: FP220.

FP485C, Central Asian Politics (3-0-3). This course will survey Central Asia and South Asian politics to include India. The primary focus of the course is how ethno-nationalism influences emergent national identities of the Former Soviet Central Asia and South Asia. Prereq: FP210.


HE360 How to Tell a True War Story: The Fiction of Tim O'Brien (3-0-3).  [LCDR W. Bushnell] "That's what fiction is for. It's for getting at the truth when the truth isn't sufficient for the truth." --Tim O'Brien. This course will seek many truths suggested by Tim O'Brien's stories. It will survey the body of his work and examine his legacy not only as a writer known primarily as a chronicler of the Vietnam War, but as a prominent figure in contemporary American literature. We will look at his eight major publications, most likely in chronological order. "And in the end, really, there's nothing much to say about a true war story, except maybe 'Oh.'" --from "How to Tell a True War Story." Prereq: HE112.

HE461 Modernism in the Trenches: Literary Landscapes of World War I (3-0-3). [CDR M. Larabee] World War I posed a unique challenge to the representative power of words, maps, and visual art. This course explores a compelling story of responses to that challenge, showing particularly how modernist topographies of war in fiction by Ford Madox Ford, Virginia Woolf, Edmund Blunden, Richard Aldington, Rebecca West, and others shaped the meaning of the Great War and offered reconstructions of self and culture. Restoring their writing to a context of spaces and places recorded in archival materials, the course will range across literature, cartography, geography, art history, and aesthetic philosophy to reorient our knowledge of modernism, revealing its promise of healing and redemption. Moving outward from this historical instance, the course will show midshipmen how their ability to read maps and interpret landscapes, combined with a new awareness of the ways that literature maps the imagination and creates meaning, will give them techniques for understanding the wars in which they may serve. Restricted enrollment: to preregister, sign up outside Sampson 212. Prereq: one 300-level English course and permission of the Chair.

HE463 Readings from the Best of Charles Dickens (3-0-3). [Prof. E. Johnston] Marking the two hundredth anniversary of Charles Dickens' birth, this seminar addresses three of the author's long masterpieces--David Copperfield, Bleak House, and Our Mutual Friend. While all three novels appeared in serialized parts, they differ significantly in their narration. David Copperfield, a semi-autobiographical Bildungsroman, is told from a first-person point of view. It was, by the way, the novel closest to Dickens' heart ("Of all my books, I like this the best"). Bleak House may be unique among Victorian novels in featuring two very different narrators, Esther Summerson, who is one of the main characters, and an unnamed third-person omniscient narrator. The contrasts in tone, outlook, sensibility, and degree and kinds of awareness between the two narrators are compelling. Our Mutual Friend, Dickens' last finished novel, is a multiplot novel told by a single third-person omniscient narrator. Students will explore Dickens' choices about structure and narration; his famous methods of characterization; his increasingly severe critiques of aspects of Victorian society, particularly its obsession with class and wealth and its faulty social and political institutions; and his evocative use of figurative language and symbolic settings. The course aims to develop students' understanding of the art of fiction, the world of Victorian England, and the nature of what has come to be called "Dickensian". Restricted enrollment: to preregister, sign up outside Sampson 212. Prereq: one 300-level English course and permission of the Chair.

HE503 Slavery and American Culture (3-0-3).  [Prof. M. McWilliams] From the first literature by African Americans to epic treatment by some of America's greatest writers, from work songs and field hollers to gospel and the blues, from minstrelsy to recent films, slavery has haunted the imagination of the United States. In this course we will examine how writers, musicians, artists, and thinkers have explored this central tragedy of American history. Restricted enrollment: to preregister, sign up outside Sampson 212. Prereq: HEGH majors only. Coreq: HE521.

HE521 Honors Supplement (1-0-1). Focused study of a topic generated in HE503. Prereq: HEGH majors only. Coreq: HE503.


NL285 Psychology of Intimate Relationships (3-0-3). [LT D. Grow] This course will provide an in-depth understanding of the psychological processes involved in intimate relationships through the application of psychological theory to our own lives in the context of interpersonal attraction, friendship development, affiliation, loneliness, shyness, theories of love, courtship, sexual relationships, commitment, violence in close relationships, marital conflict, divorce, and marital therapy. Counts for 200-level humanities-social science credit. Prereqs: 3/C standing.

NL485B Biological Basis of Behavior (3-0-3).  [LT D. Grow] This is an advanced independent study course in the biology of human behavior.  The course will focus on the brain and its interrelations with the mind and behavior.  This course was developed for future officers.  Many of its activities apply principles of human behavior to effective leadership in the Navy and Marine Corps.  The course will cover several prominent domains of neuropsychological research.  At the end of this course, the student will have an understanding of the central nervous system’s functioning as it relates to mental illness, developmental disabilities, and trauma.  The student will also have an understanding of how physiological events within the body contribute to perception, mood and behavior and a solid foundation for further study of the biological basis of behavior and psychopharmacology.  Counts for 300-level humanities-social science credit.  Prereq: NL310.

NP485 Christian and Islamic Just War Theory (3-0-3). [Assoc. Prof. M. Skerker] Christianity and Islam have robust traditions of moral reflection on warfare. This course will study and compare the two traditions with a main focus on primary texts from classical to modern times. Counts for 300-level humanities-social science credit. Prereq: (NE203 or NP230) and 2/C standing

NP485A Philosophy of Law (3-0-3). [Assoc. Prof. D. Garren] It is often said that ours is “a government of laws, and not of men.” But is that a good thing? What are laws, after all? Where do they come from? What purpose do they serve? Why are we obligated to obey them? What recourse do we have if we don’t agree with them or think them immoral or unjust? For example, what if the law requires us to do something that we don’t wish to do (buy health insurance), or forbids us from doing something that we do wish to do (marry a member of the same sex)? Must we follow such laws, or is it permissible to break them? Through a careful reading of texts and cases, weekly writing assignments and robust discussion and debate, students will explore these and other fundamental questions in the philosophy of law. Counts for humanities-social science credit. Prereqs: (NE203 or NP230) and 2/C standing.

NP485B Philosophy of Film (3-0-3). [Dr. S. Baker] This course will examine perennial problems or themes in the history of philosophy through the medium of films. Topics we will explore: skepticism, personal identity, philosophy of mind, relativism, utilitarian and deontological ethics, the meaning of life, and the problem of evil. Counts for 300-level humanities-social science credit. Prereqs: NE203 or NP230 and 2/C standing.

NP485C Philosophical Reflections on Christian Faith (3-0-3).  [Assoc. Prof. C. Eberle] The Christian faith tradition includes many metaphysical claims regarding the nature of reality as well as moral claims regarding the human condition. This course will help students critically reflect on those claims. Topics covered include the nature of justice, love and forgiveness, the existence of God, the relation between religion and science, the moral assessment of war. Authors covered include: St. Augustine, Vitoria, C.S. Lewis, Nicholas Wolterstorff. Counts for 300-level humanities-social science credit. Prereq: NE203 or NP230 and 2/C standing.


SB453 Neuroscience and Developmental Biology (3-2-4).  This course offers an advanced treatment of neuroscience and developmental biology that builds on both the molecular and cellular background provided in SB251 and the basic principles underlying nervous system function introduced in SB252 and applies them to topics including both somatic and special sensory modalities, initiation, execution and coordination of motor programs and the neuro-anatomical organization of the pathways that control these functions. Additional special topics will be introduced on a rotating basis. The course will also use the examples set by studies performed in model organisms to elucidate the mechanisms by which normal development proceeds in higher eukaryotes with an emphasis on neural development. The course does not count as a chemistry major elective. Prereq: SB252.

SC287 Art Conservation Chemistry (3-2-4).  This course will deal with the chemical aspects of art conservation as well as the philosophy and ethics of science involved in art conservation. Investigating the physical content of art and artifacts can give us insight into the mind and culture of the people who created the object.  State of the art analytical techniques will be used to determine the composition of artifacts and the effects of time. Prereq:  Chemistry I.

SC412 Environmental Chemistry (3-0-3).  Many analytical chemistry techniques can be used to learn more about the chemistry of our environment. In this course students will be exposed to specific applications of these techniques to various environmental systems (i.e. water, air, soil, etc.). Topics to be explored may include the bio- and geo-chemical cycles, the effect of military activities on the environment and the use of "green chemistry" in industry. Prereq: SC262 or SC264 or permission of the chair.

SC485A Computational Methods for Chemists (3-0-3).  This course will explore the use of numerical methods that are utilized by theoretical chemists to solve problems on computers.  The students will write programs in FORTRAN or C to solve equations, do matrix manipulations, do curve fitting, do numerical integration, etc. These techniques will be applied to chemical problems. The use of advanced techniques, such as Spartan, Gaussian, or molecular dynamics programs, that utilize prewritten software, may also be explored for various problems. Prereq: SM212.

SC485C The Organic Chemistry of Biological Pathways (3-0-3).  Organic Chemistry is the study of the reactions of carbon compounds. Biochemistry is the study of the chemical reactions in living systems. This course will explore the connection between these two sub-disciplines of chemistry by looking at the organic reactions involved in many biological pathways. Among other topics, we’ll examine the biosynthesis of steroids and the metabolism of amino acids; looking at the intermediate compounds and mechanisms of their formation from the organic point of view, writing mechanisms and showing how the reactions are examples of what you learned in organic chemistry. This course will fulfill the elective requirement of the biochemistry option. Prerequisites SC226 and SC335.

SC485E Chemical and Biological Warfare Agents (3-0-3).  This course will give students a working knowledge of potential chemical and biological threats to US Forces as well as the civilian population. Students will also learn the effects that chemical and biological agents have on the human body, learn how to recognize symptoms of attack by specific agents, and learn about the available treatments and their mechanisms of action. Prereq: SC112 and (SB201 or SB211 or SB251 or permission of chair).


IT485D Mobile OS Development (2-2-3). Are there military applications based on using toady's mobile computing devices? This course will focus on application development on Android devices, and how mobile computing devices can be used in military applications. We will cover the technical programming aspects of client-server systems, graphics capabilities using OpenGL, and how these and other mobile technologies can be leveraged by military forces. Prereq: IC322.

SI485I Natural Language Processing (2-2-3). Can computers learn languages like children naturally do? How realistic are HAL, the Terminator, and C-3PO? Natural language processing is the study of a machine's ability to understand a human language. This course will cover computational algorithms that interpret and understand human languages; possible topics include: parsing, question answering, information retrieval, data mining, and machine translation. We will emphasize systems that learn from large datasets of text and communications. Prereq: IC312.

IT485E Building Ocean Sensor Networks (2-2-3). What are the challenges in building software solutions to real-world problems? This project-based class will walk the students through a complete product build, including identifying the problem, designing a solution, building the system, and testing the results. Students will work closely with Oceanography students and faculty to learn about the problem set and get user-feedback on their solutions. We will cover integrating a sensor into a network, databases, display and manipulation applications, and program management.
Prereq: IC322


SM421 Finite Difference Methods for Science and Engineering (3-0-3). This course is designed for students in applied mathematics, engineering, and the sciences to learn the basic theories and algorithms of finite difference methods for differential equations including elliptic, parabolic and hyperbolic partial differential equations. Emphasis will be given to making judgments on the accuracy, efficiency and implementation of numerical methods. While theoretical foundations will be described, prominence will also be placed on algorithm design and implementation. This course counts as a track elective for SMP, a math elective for SQE, a breadth elective for SMO, and a major or breadth elective for SMA. Prereq: (SM212 or SM222) and experience with MATLAB and (SM315 or permission of department chair).

SM421A Mathematics of Light (3-0-3). This course, motivated by the Navy’s critical need to use lasers for ship-to-ship communication in the maritime domain as well as high-energy weapons, has three components to it. First, we introduce the fundamental mathematics for modeling light – in this part we study solutions of Maxwell’s partial differential equations in the context of laser beam propagation. The second part involves field measurement where we will take instruments on the Yard and collect data related to how light beams interact with the atmosphere. In the third part of the course we introduce some of the basic notions of data processing to analyze the collected data and compare these findings to the solutions of Maxwell’s equations from the first part of the course. This course counts as a track elective for SMP, a math elective for SQE, a breadth elective for SMO, and a major or breadth elective for SMA. Prereq: (SM212 or SM222) and SM261 and SP212.

SM439 Classification Methods in Statistics (3-0-3). Classification methods involve using measured data about objects to assign them into relevant groups. Classification problems exist everywhere. The USNA admissions board might want to classify applicants into two groups -- those they should accept and those they should not accept -- based on their SAT scores, high-school GPA, information on extracurricular and athletic activities, etc. A doctor may need to determine which cancer treatment to prescribe for a patient, based on his age, general health, and severity of illness. In this class,
you will learn some standard classification techniques, including logistic regression, discriminant analysis, and regression trees. You will also learn how to compare classification schemes based on error rates. As a final project, you will apply the techniques from this class to a classification problem of your choosing. This course counts as a track elective for SMO, a math elective for SQE, a track elective for SMP for the class of 2013 only, and a major or breadth elective for SMA. Prereq: SM339 or permission of department chair.

SM450 Signal Processing (3-0-3). This course will cover the basics of Fourier series, Fourier transforms, wavelets, sampling, and compression. This course counts as a track elective for SMA or SMP and a breadth elective for SMO. Prereq: Calculus III and SM261.


SP481 Science of Music & Sound (1-0-1).  This seminar will focus on the technical aspects of music and sound. Topics will start with a review of basic definitions of waves and oscillations, followed by an in-depth look at sound generation on strings and pipes. Modes of plates and volumes will be discussed as a prelude to putting all the elements together to form musical instruments. The relationship between a source, medium and detector responses will complete the picture as to what exactly is being heard when we perceive sound. A mathematical discussion about the nature of music and its relationship to harmonies will lead to a closing discussion about music theory. This course has a lab component which is held 7th period as it will involve making loud sounds. Prereq: none.

SP487 Computational Physics (3-2-4).  During the first 6-8 weeks, this course will provide an introduction to structured programming (via BASIC or MATLAB) as well as model building, differential equation systems and basic matrix theory. For the last 6 weeks, modules (collected from the physics department) will be presented as a grounds for model building and data fabrication. Once students have data sets, the focus will switch to statistical analysis and presentation (plotting as well as some LaTeX). Prereq: SM212.

Go to descriptions of all courses.