575.722.81 - Principles of Air Quality Management

Environmental Planning and Management
Fall 2023


Air quality management is fundamental to human health and environmental stewardship. This course provides a systematic introduction to the air quality management cycle and how it is applied to protect both outdoor and indoor air quality as well as to mitigate climate change. Air pollutants pose risks at multiple spatial scales—from individual homes to regional and global geographies—and across various timelines—from hours to decades. This course describes the formation, transport, and transformation of air pollution and reviews the historical development of air pollution control programs. As science and technology evolve, the principles of air quality management enhance our ability to protect and restore healthful air quality and address both long-standing and emerging issues. Students will learn how air quality management principles shape and enable a variety of strategies to minimize negative impacts of traditional and newly developed air contaminants. Assignments emphasize analyzing air quality measurements and emissions data as well as comparing and contrasting regulatory approaches. Through a term project students apply knowledge of the principles of air quality management to timely and relevant air quality issues.


Profile photo of Michael Robert.

Michael Robert


Profile photo of Susan Wierman.

Susan Wierman


Course Structure

The course materials are divided into modules. A module will have several parts including readings, lectures, discussions, quizzes and/or assignments. Modules run for a period of seven (7) days; any exceptions will be noted in the Course Calendar. You should regularly check the Calendar and/or Announcements for assignment due dates.

Course Topics

Introduction to Air Quality Management

The Atmosphere

Foundations of Air Quality Management

Setting and Implementing Sulfur Dioxide Standards

The Nitrogen Cycle and Its Implications for Air Quality

Hazardous Air Pollutants

Tropospheric Ozone Formation, Effects, and Standards

Implementing the Ozone Standards

Particulate Matter Sources, Properties, Measurement, and Effects

Particulate Matter Standards and Control Programs

Indoor Air Quality

Climate Change

Course Goals

Demonstrate a substantive level of advanced knowledge of air quality management principles through the study of both theoretical concepts and active learning practical applications.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)


Sternberg, SPK (2023 or 2015) Air pollution: Engineering, science, and policy.  Glen Allen, VA, College Publishing.  717 to 813 pages

ISBN 9781932780277 (Print 2023) or 9781932780079 (Print 2015) 

        9781932780284 (E-Book 2023) or 9781932780086 (E-Book 2015)

The 2023 edition contains some new information and corrections and is recommended, but the 2015 edition is also suitable for use in this class. The 2015 printed book is less costly than the new 2023 book.
See below regarding JHU library access to the electronic version.  The textbook is available for purchase at the B&N College Virtual Bookstore 


It is also available from Amazon.com and from the publisher (College Publishing, Glen Allen, Virginia)

Additional required and optional readings will be available online through Canvas.

Required Software

PDF Viewer:

You will need the free Adobe PDF viewer software to view PDF files in this course. Go to http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep.html

Office Software:

You will need access to word processing and spreadsheet applications (e.g., Word and Excel). Microsoft Office will, of course, work - however, an open source alternative is available at OpenOffice.org. http://download.openoffice.org/other.html#en-US.


You will be using Zoom, a web-based conferencing system, to participate in real time office hours. A Zoom Quick Start Guide is posted here:  https://support.cldt.jhu.edu/hc/en-us/articles/360036907692-Zoom-Quick-Start-Guide


VoiceThread is a collaborative, interactive, multimedia slide show that holds images, documents, and videos. It allows people to navigate through the pages and leave comments in many different ways: using voice (with a microphone or telephone), text, or video (via a webcam).  

A student guide to using VoiceThread is posted here: 



This course will be presented via Canvas.  Tips and training can be found here:


EP Help Desk

If you experience problems with instructional technology and need technical assistance, please email EP support staff at ep-help-desk@jhu.edu.  Staff is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST.

Student Coursework Requirements

Student Coursework Requirements

The instructors expect that each module will take approximately 10-15  hours per week to complete. Here is an approximate breakdown: completing the assigned readings (approximately 1-2 hours per week); listening to the audio annotated slide presentations (approximately 1-2 hours per week); solving graded Assignments and Quizzes (approximately 2-3 hours per week); participating in class Discussions (approximately 1-2 hours per week); and completing the individual project that will be due at the end of the course (approximately 3-6 hours per week).

The course will consist of six basic student requirements:

Preparation and Discussion Section Participation (15% of grade)

Eight (8) instructor and/or student led dialogue sessions will require you to critically assess and discuss timely and relevant issues that pertain to the module content and/or recent developments that pertain to the use or need of air pollution models as decision making tools.

You are responsible for carefully reading all assigned material and being prepared for the discussion sessions.

The first discussion prompt is to introduce yourself.  The next six discussion sessions each last two weeks.  During the first week, post your response to the discussion prompt.  Include critical thinking question(s) for your classmates in your post.  During the second week of each session, you will review the posts of your peers and respond to at least two of them.  The 3CQ system is recommended:  Start positive with a Compliment, add a relevant Comment to add, agree, or disagree (politely), suggest a Connection to yourself/another topic/your project or theirs., and finish with a specific Question to keep the conversation going.

Both your initial post and your response to posts by your peers will contribute to your grade for each session.  Your critical thinking responses to posts by at least two of your classmates are required. Your initial response to a prompt is not sufficient:  the goal is for you to interact with your classmates. Be timely and detailed in your postings and in your responses to your classmates' postings. Feel free to agree or disagree with your classmates. Please ensure that your postings are civil and constructive.   The instructors will monitor discussions and may respond to some.

The 8th discussion post will be in Module 14, requiring you to post comments on your fellow students' term project Voice Threads.

Reflection Journal (5% of grade)

A separate discussion area will be provided for each student to interact with the instructors via a reflection journal.  Weekly prompts will be provided, and students may also add additional comments.  Only the individual student and the instructors will have access to this discussion area.  The goal is for you to reflect on what is important to you in each module and to realize how that content may help you prepare your term project.


Quizzes (20% of grade)

Five (5) quizzes will be given and will qualitatively and/or quantitatively assess the student’s understanding and ability to apply module concepts.

Each quiz will be made available within a specific module for a limited time:  from the date and time the module begins until the date and time that it ends. 

Questions will test knowledge of the content of one or more modules via a combination of multiple choice (single answer), multiple choice (multiple answer), matching, and/or short answer questions. 

There is no duration or time limit on the quizzes other than the due date cutoff, but each quiz may only be taken once.  Each quiz will include problems that will be auto-graded in Canvas as well as short answer questions that will be graded manually by the instructors. 

Feedback on your answers will be provided to you after all students' quizzes have been submitted.


Homework Assignments (25% of grade)

Eight (8) homework assignments will be required.  These assignments will be given to qualitatively and/or quantitatively assess the student’s understanding and ability to apply course concepts.  Most assignments will be due within the same module as assigned, but some may be due during a specific later module.  Assignments will include a mix of qualitative assignments (e.g., literature reviews, issue summaries), data presentation and analyses, quantitative problems, and project updates.

Required Assignment Format:  Submit in PDF form.  Include a cover sheet with your name and assignment identifier. Also include your name and a page number indicator (i.e., page x of y) on each page of your submissions. Each problem should have the problem statement, assumptions, computations, and conclusions/discussion delineated. All Figures and Tables should be captioned and labeled appropriately.  References should be provided as appropriate.


Course Project (20% of grade)

Each students will prepare three parts of a term project:  a paper, Power Point presentation slides, and a Voice Thread presentation.  The project will describe a timely and relevant air quality problem or issue, identify causes, who is affected, what’s been done so far, what remains, options for next steps, a recommended approach, and anticipated consequences. 

A draft of the paper will be due in Module 10 for review and comment from faculty.  (The draft paper is one of the 8 assignments for the course.) Comments will provide suggestions to help you improve the paper for final submission in Module 13.

The project should demonstrate critical thinking skills:  That is, gathering and synthesizing relevant facts and information, closely examining assumptions and reasoning, and reflecting on implications and relationships. 

Final Examination (15% of the grade)

The final examination will be a timed exam based on the entirety of the course material.  There will be a mix of multiple choice questions, qualitative short answer questions, and quantitative problems that assess the ability of the students to apply course concepts to realistic decision-making scenarios (e.g., compliance with standards, requirements for various programs, application of various principles, etc.).  Some questions may require external research.

Citation guidance for all work products
If you include direct quotes or re-use data, information or figures from any source in your discussions, written assignments, course projects or any other submission, you must provide attribution.  You should cite the original source of the information not just URLs or other pointers when possible. 

In this course we will adhere to the APA citation style guide (http://www.apastyle.org/).  You may find the following citation generator helpful http://www.citationmachine.net/apa.  

The SafeAssign tool will match all text in your submissions to a comprehensive database of available proprietary and open source references and provide a report which details matching elements.  These matching elements, at a minimum, should be properly cited.  You should also cite the use of non-original work or ideas that you paraphrase or convey in your own language.

Grading Policy


Student assignments are due according to the dates in the Calendar and Assignment items in the corresponding modules. We will post grades 1-2 weeks after assignment due dates depending on the assignment type and/or complexity.

A grade of A indicates achievement of consistent excellence and distinction throughout the course—that is, conspicuous excellence in all aspects of assignments and discussion in every week. A grade of B indicates work that meets all course requirements on a level appropriate for graduate academic work.

100–98 = A+    
97–93 = A
92–90 = A− 
89–88 = B+    
87–83 = B                     
82–80 = B−                 
79–70 = C 
69–63 = D              
<63 = F

Final grades will be determined based on the following weighting:

15% Discussions
  5% Reflection Journal
20% Quizzes
25% Homework Assignments
20% Term Project (Paper + PowerPoint + Voice Thread)
15% Final Exam

Rolling averages during the semester indicate progress on work assigned to date. 

The final grade will be strongly affected by the Term Project and Final Exam, which count for 35% of the grade and will not be reflected in earlier rolling averages. 

Ongoing work during the semester on homework, quizzes, discussions, and journal entries will amount to to 65% of the grade, providing a necessary and strong foundation for the final grade.  

Course Evaluation

JHU conducts formal course evaluations once during the semester and once at the end of the semester.  Students are encouraged to submit evaluations.

During the semester instructors will also provide informal opportunities for feedback from students.  Students may volunteer comments at weekly office hours and are encouraged to respond to optional questions included as part of quizzes and exams.

Course Policies

Policies and Guidelines


Late Penalty – Assignments up to one week late will be penalized up to 50% as listed below. Assignments over 14 days late may be reviewed for comment at the instructor’s discretion but will not earn points.


1st day late - 10% penalty 
2nd day late - 20% penalty          
3rd day late - 25% penalty
4th day late – 30% penalty         
5th day late - 35%  penalty       
6th day late - 40%  penalty                              
7 to 14 days late - 50% penalty  
over 14 days late – not accepted

Citation Guidance

If you include direct quotes or re-use data, information, or figures from any source in your discussions, written assignments, course projects or any other submission, you must provide attribution.  You should cite the original source of the information not just URLs or other pointers when possible. 

In this course we will adhere to the APA citation style guide (http://www.apastyle.org/).  You may find the following citation generator helpful http://www.citationmachine.net/apa.  

The SafeAssign tool will match all text in your submissions to a comprehensive database of available proprietary and open source references and provide a report which details matching elements.  These matching elements, at a minimum, should be properly cited.  You should also cite the use of non-original work or ideas that you paraphrase or convey in your own language.

Academic Policies

Deadlines for Adding, Dropping and Withdrawing from Courses

Students may add a course up to one week after the start of the term for that particular course. Students may drop courses according to the drop deadlines outlined in the EP academic calendar (https://ep.jhu.edu/student-services/academic-calendar/). Between the 6th week of the class and prior to the final withdrawal deadline, a student may withdraw from a course with a W on their academic record. A record of the course will remain on the academic record with a W appearing in the grade column to indicate that the student registered and withdrew from the course.

Academic Misconduct Policy

All students are required to read, know, and comply with the Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences (KSAS) / Whiting School of Engineering (WSE) Procedures for Handling Allegations of Misconduct by Full-Time and Part-Time Graduate Students.

This policy prohibits academic misconduct, including but not limited to the following: cheating or facilitating cheating; plagiarism; reuse of assignments; unauthorized collaboration; alteration of graded assignments; and unfair competition. Course materials (old assignments, texts, or examinations, etc.) should not be shared unless authorized by the course instructor. Any questions related to this policy should be directed to EP’s academic integrity officer at ep-academic-integrity@jhu.edu.

Students with Disabilities - Accommodations and Accessibility

Johns Hopkins University values diversity and inclusion. We are committed to providing welcoming, equitable, and accessible educational experiences for all students. Students with disabilities (including those with psychological conditions, medical conditions and temporary disabilities) can request accommodations for this course by providing an Accommodation Letter issued by Student Disability Services (SDS). Please request accommodations for this course as early as possible to provide time for effective communication and arrangements.

For further information or to start the process of requesting accommodations, please contact Student Disability Services at Engineering for Professionals, ep-disability-svcs@jhu.edu.

Student Conduct Code

The fundamental purpose of the JHU regulation of student conduct is to promote and to protect the health, safety, welfare, property, and rights of all members of the University community as well as to promote the orderly operation of the University and to safeguard its property and facilities. As members of the University community, students accept certain responsibilities which support the educational mission and create an environment in which all students are afforded the same opportunity to succeed academically. 

For a full description of the code please visit the following website: https://studentaffairs.jhu.edu/policies-guidelines/student-code/

Classroom Climate

JHU is committed to creating a classroom environment that values the diversity of experiences and perspectives that all students bring. Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Fostering an inclusive climate is important. Research and experience show that students who interact with peers who are different from themselves learn new things and experience tangible educational outcomes. At no time in this learning process should someone be singled out or treated unequally on the basis of any seen or unseen part of their identity. 
If you have concerns in this course about harassment, discrimination, or any unequal treatment, or if you seek accommodations or resources, please reach out to the course instructor directly. Reporting will never impact your course grade. You may also share concerns with your program chair, the Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, or the Office of Institutional Equity. In handling reports, people will protect your privacy as much as possible, but faculty and staff are required to officially report information for some cases (e.g. sexual harassment).

Course Auditing

When a student enrolls in an EP course with “audit” status, the student must reach an understanding with the instructor as to what is required to earn the “audit.” If the student does not meet those expectations, the instructor must notify the EP Registration Team [EP-Registration@exchange.johnshopkins.edu] in order for the student to be retroactively dropped or withdrawn from the course (depending on when the "audit" was requested and in accordance with EP registration deadlines). All lecture content will remain accessible to auditing students, but access to all other course material is left to the discretion of the instructor.