New and Special Courses

Fall Semester 2013-2014

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.




EM485A Fundamentals of Nuclear Engineering (3-0-3). An introductory course in the basics of nuclear engineering and radiological sciences. Subject areas include the basics in radiation physics, nuclear core physics, nuclear plant design, the fuel cycle and radiological health physics. Prerequisite: SP211 (or equivalent)

EM485B Fluid flow in Biology and the Environment (3-0-3) This course is a survey of fluid flow in natural systems. Major themes include the propulsion of fish and marine organisms, the human respiratory system, and turbulence in the ocean and atmosphere. The course will introduce both experimental and computational approaches to studying fluid flow, and will build the vocabulary and physical understanding required to analyze selected flows. Prerequisite: 1/C Engineering major.


EN485A Offshore Platform Engineering (3-0-3)
This course covers the design and operational engineering of offshore platforms and their related infrastructure. Topics include fixed platforms, compliant towers, semi-submersible platforms, jack-up drilling rigs, drillships, floating production systems, tension-leg platforms, gravity-based structures, and spar platforms. Subsea production, risers, and pipelines are also considered. While primarily focused on design, the course also covers historical, safety, environmental, and operational factors related to offshore engineering. Prereq: 1/C EOE or ENA major, or approval of department chair.



FE285A Terrorist Financing (3-0-3)  This course will examine the vital components of Terrorist Financing (TF): namely sources and methods. Sources of TF will mainly focus on the roles of charities, legitimate businesses, and crime. Methods of TF will focus on moving and storing money, the use of formal banking systems, hawala funds / informal value transfer systems, and money laundering. It will cover national and international structures, laws, regulations, tools, and efforts to (1) identify, (2) track, (3) capture, and (4) eliminate terrorists and their financial support through their transactions. Finally, the course will take a look at current efforts already utilized and make recommendations for improvement. Case Studies and Guest Lectures will be utilized. Offered: Fall 2013-2014 Requisites: Prereq: FE210 

FE285B Title: Survey of Economics Credits: 3-0-3. An introduction to basic economic principles to include: an analysis of how individuals, firms, and nations make choices given limited resources; determinants of decision making in market economies; business cycles, unemployment, and inflation; fiscal & monetary policy; international trade. The course will emphasize application of economic theory to policy decisions and real-world problems. Offered: Fall 2013-2014 Requisites: Prereq: none.


FA281A BASIC ARABIC CONVERSATION  (1-0-1) Description: This weekly conversation hour supports FA101 by providing students with the opportunity to practice, implement, and hone speaking skills in Arabic. Offered: Fall 2014 Corequisite: FA101

 FA281B INTERMEDIATE ARABIC CONVERSATION (1-0-1) Description: This weekly conversation hour supports FA201 by providing students with the opportunity to practice, implement, and hone speaking skills in Arabic. Offered: Fall 2014 Corequisite: FA201

FA281C ADVANCED ARABIC CONVERSATION (1-0-1) Description: This weekly conversation hour provides students with the opportunity to practice, implement, and hone speaking skills in Arabic. Students will accomplish interactional tasks using material from advanced Arabic classes. Offered: Fall 2014 Corequisite: Enrollment in 300-level Arabic class or higher

FA485A ARABIC POLITICAL DISCOURSE (3-0-3) Description: An overview of various political movements in the Arab World beginning in the 19th century: Islamic Modernists from the Arab Renaissance, Muslim Brothers, Pan Arabism, the Ba`thist movement, Islamic fundamentalism, and political discourse in the Arab diaspora. Texts are accompanied by worksheets and AV materials. Offered: Fall 2014 Prerequisite: FA302

FA485B ARABIC CONVERSATION AND COMPOSITION (3-0-3) Description: Students focus on speaking and writing in Arabic while building their reading skills, vocabulary acquisition, and more advanced syntactical and idiomatic structures that contribute to stylistic competence. In each unit, students will read a selection on a topic and, using the new vocabulary, respond with a thesis to discuss and anaylze. Offered: Fall 2014 Prerequisite: FA202

FF281B INTERMEDIATE FRENCH CONVERSATION (1-0-1) Description: This course will activate vocabulary and structures from FF201 textbook materials. Assessment will be based on group oral presentations, class participation, and individual interviews. Offered: Fall 2014 Corequisite: FF201

FJ281 STUDY ABROAD JAPAN: CONVERSATION & ETHNOGRAPHY (1-0-1) Description: Midshipmen will reflect on their learning of Japanese while improving their communication skills during study abroad in the host country. Offered; Fall 2014 Corequisite: Study abroad in Japan.

FJ481 POST-LSAP JAPAN SEMINAR 2013 Credits: (1-0-1) Description: Returning LSAP participants will advance their understanding of Japanese language and culture as they reflect on their personal, social, and cultural encounters in Japan. Offered: Fall 2014 Prereq: Participation in LSAP Japan (Summer 2013).

FJ485A ADVANCED KANJI AND COMPOSITION Credits: (3-0-3) Description: This course will help students develop competence in reading and writing kanji, with a focus on writing compositions. Includes techniques for composing more complicated Japanese sentences and strategies for constructing paragraphs and essays. Offered: Fall 2014 Prerequisite: FJ202 or permission of the instructor.

 FS485 SPANISH FILM: HISTORY AND VISUAL CULTURE (3-0-3) Description: Through film students acquire an in-depth appreciation of key moments and themes in Spanish history. Films are accompanied by critical readings and class discussion. Offered: Fall 2014 Prerequsitie: FS301 and FS304 or permission of instructor.



HE360: The Great Game: Why America Plays (3-0-3). [CDR Fermo] ‘The Great Game’ was a term used to describe the conflict between the British and Russian empires for supremacy in Central Asia until the Anglo-Russian convention in 1907. But the game continues, and the United States is still playing. From the three Anglo-Afghan wars, to the rise of the Mujahedeen, to ISAF’s commitment to the “reconstruction” of the war-torn nation of Afghanistan, the question lingers: why are we playing in a game that no one can win? To explore the culture of the region, we will begin with Kipling’s, Kim, and then study the history of Afghanistan from the mid-1800’s to the present by using The Great Game anthology to consider the perspective of its major players, with particular focus on the experiences of American soldiers and of the Afghan people themselves. Prereq: HE112.

HE463A: I Can't Go On. I'll Go On. The Plays of Samuel Beckett (3-0-3). [Prof. Drew] This course focuses on the plays of Samuel Beckett. Beginning with Aristotle’s Elements of Drama, we’ll move on to Endgame, Happy Days, Krapp’s Last Tape, Footfalls, Ohio Impromptu, Rockaby, and Not I. Then, after reading key parts of Brustein’s Theatre of the Absurd, we will end with Waiting for Godot. Since all plays are both text and script, we will examine the written word and the dramaturgy of these plays. Relying on Beckett’s own prompt books, we will examine the painstaking detail he demanded of himself and producers of his plays. Studying both French and English versions of Waiting for Godot, we will pay attention to the musicality of his work. Along the way, we’ll discuss the performance history of these plays, including the haunting performance of Waiting for Godot by San Quentin prisoners. Throughout we’ll hear the echoes of the now-iconic words: “I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” Restricted enrollment: to preregister, sign up outside Sampson 212. Prereq: one 300-level English course and permission of the Chair.

HE463B: Milton (3-0-3). [Asst. Prof. Ward] This class is designed to take students through John Milton’s major works. In addition, critical readings will help students get a sense for currents of thought and debate within the field of Milton scholarship as well as for Milton’s impact on critical reading practices more generally. While reading Paradise Lost will, of necessity, occupy the bulk of our time, we will also examine Milton’s early poetry and prose tracts in order to understand Milton as more than simply the author of his great epic. Restricted enrollment: to preregister, sign up outside Sampson 212. Prereq: one 300-level English course and permission of the Chair.

HE503: Building Modernity: Architecture and World Literature (3-0-3). [CDR Larabee] This course explores intersections of literature and architecture, broadly construed to include domestic space, landscape design, urban planning, and the city experience. Texts include readings in world literature (featuring English country houses, Paris under Napoleon III, and the twentieth-century metropolis), spatial theory, methods of comparative analysis, and the history of architecture and urban design. Students will study how literature not only describes landscapes and buildings, but also participates in the cultural production of those spaces. In the words of some key critics, for example, “(social) space is a (social) product,” landscape is “a medium of exchange,” modernity is a state of mind created by cities, landscape is not pre-existing but instead the result of living that takes place within it, and spaces both reflect and enact relations of power. Prereq: HEGH majors only. Coreq: HE521.

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


NL285 The Art and Science of Love and Intimacy (3-0-3). [LT D. Grow] This is an advanced psychology seminar course on the study of love and intimacy. The major goal of this course is to gain an in-depth understanding of the psychological theory and processes involved in close relationships, with a specific focus on intimate/romantic relationships. There will be a heavy focus on critical analysis of how psychological theory has conceptualized and measured key aspects of intimate relationships through assignments and in-class discussions. This course was intentionally developed for college aged adults. The course will emphasize the application of psychological theory to everyday living situations utilizing activities that bridge theory to understanding relationships in everyday life and across diverse cultures. Counts for Humanities-Social Science Credit. Prereqs: NL110 and 3/C standing.

NP485 Religion and Politics (3-0-3). [Assoc. Prof. C. Eberle] This course introduces students to the various moral principles that regulate the use of religion to justify coercion. We will reflect in detail on the right to religious freedom, the proper role of religion in the military profession, the nature of political authority, and the use of religion to justify war. Students will have the opportunity to reflect in detail on particular political conflicts involving religion, including conscience rights, homosexuality, and abortion. Counts for upper-level humanities-social science credit. Prereq: NE203.

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 upper-level Humanities-Social Science Credit. Prereqs: NE203 or NP230 and 2/C standing.

NP485B Virtue and Leadership (3-0-3). [CDR J. McInerney] What does the western philosophical tradition have to say about virtue and leadership? This course will seek to answer that question first by examining the idea of virtue in the thought of authors such as Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Hume, and Nietzsche. It will then turn to an examination of leadership in the thought of these same authors, as well as that of Plato and Machiavelli. The course will culminate in a comparison of Augustine's approach to leadership through the virtue of charity and Machiavelli's conception of leadership in the context of fear. Counts for upper-level humanities-social science credit. Prereq: NE203.

NP485C Ethics and the War on Terror (3-0-3). [Assoc. Prof. M. Skerker] The War on Terror has seen American personnel resorting to the nightmare palette of harsh responses to terrorism and insurgency: assassination, torture, secret detention, military tribunal. This course will seek answers to the moral questions occasioned by the last decade of war. How can a state justly fight non-state actors employing terrorism and suicide attacks? Can there be a just insurgency? How can terrorism suspects be interrogated in a morally upright manner? Does torture work? Should irregular fighters like al-Qaeda operators get POW status or should they be treated as common criminals? Should they get civilian trials? Should they be Mirandized? Curriculum will include philosophical, historical, legal, and journalistic texts Counts for Humanities-Social Science Credit. Prereqs: NE203 or NP230 and 2/C standing.



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.


SM421 Inverse Problems (3-0-3). In most math courses, students solve direct problems, in which exactly enough information is given to get a unique solution through a well-defined process. Given an input and a process (or model), the student finds the output. However, every direct problem suggests an inverse problem: given a model and an output, can one find the input? This course will introduce inverse problems starting with a historical approach (Archimedes’ Bath). Inverse problems in calculus, differential equations and linear algebra will be covered next. A wealth of examples will demonstrate how the theory is intertwined with applications. Some problems require the use of MATLAB, but not as intensely as SM233. Students will be encouraged to make presentations of some sections of the text, and are required to complete a project from the book or other sources. Prereq: SM233.

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 Multivariate Analysis (3-0-3). This course covers standard techniques for multivariate analysis and will include a review of matrix algebra, characterization and display of multivariate data, the multivariate normal distribution, tests on mean vectors, MANOVA, and multivariate regression. Time permitting, the course may also introduce methods of dimension reduction, such as principle components analysis (PCA) and factor analysis. Prereq: SM339 or permission of department chair.

SM450 Computational Fourier Transforms (3-0-3). Possible topics include convolution, Shannon's sampling theorem, Parseval's identity, Poisson's summation formula, filters and applications of Fourier transforms. Prereq: SM261 and (SM212 or SM222).

SM463 Topics in Geometry (3-0-3). Why do flowers tend to have 3, 5 or 8 petals? What shocking discovery overturned the entire basis for Greek geometry? How many ellipses pass through 5 points? All these questions will be answered in the Topics in Geometry class. The course will survey many types of geometry: classical, algebraic, tropical and polytopal. Classical geometry has many connections with number theory and both tropical and polytopal geometry are recently discovered research areas that have strong connections to operations research (OR). We'll explore these connections, as well as the studying material that two former Trident Scholars (MIDN Andy Bashelor and MIDN Tom Paul) worked on under the direction of Professor Traves. Grades will mainly be determined by homework and student projects. The course will count as a Track elective for SMA majors and a breadth elective for SMP and SOR majors. Prerequisites: SM261 and one of SM291 or SA405 (or permission of the department chair).