Credit: 3 graduate 
Instructor(s): Bob Peterson

Course Description

The course covers the principles of risk analysis, including risk assessment, perception, communication, and management. Content emphasizes human toxicology, ecotoxicology, dose-response relationships, exposure analysis, environmental fate and deterministic and probabilistic risk assessment. Case studies include examples from natural resource management, pesticides, biotechnology, resource extraction, food safety and invasive species. Course activities include discussion, literature readings, written assignments, risk assessment exercises, and a term project.

Meeting Place and Times

Participants login to the course at a time of day that best fits their schedule. It is necessary to connect at least 4 - 6 times per week and spend 8 - 10 hours per week while the course is in session, either online or offline working on course related assignments, to stay current and successfully complete this 3 credit graduate course.


Bob Peterson, PhD. is Professor of Entomology at Montana State University, where he leads the research, teaching, and outreach program in Agricultural and Biological Risk Assessment. More specifically, the program is centered on comparative risk assessment and includes biotechnology risk, invasive species risk, infectious disease risk, and pesticide risk. Additional areas of research emphasis include plant-stress ecophysiology and integrated pest management. Bob teaches undergraduate and graduate courses, including environmental risk assessment, insect ecology, various special-topics graduate courses, and principles of living systems.

1987. B.S. Entomology and Pest Management. Iowa State University

1991. M.S. Entomology. Universityof Nebraska

1995. Ph.D. Entomology, minor in Plant Physiology. University of Nebraska

1995-2001. Research Biologist. Dow AgroSciences

2002-present. Montana State University


A Bachelors degree, courses in General Biology, General Ecology, General Chemistry, General Statistics.

Target Audience

Federal agency employees, environmental consulting firm employees, environmental law professionals, non-governmental organization employees, high school science teachers, and others interested in environmental science.

Time Commitment:

8-10 hours per week. If you are unfamiliar with this field of study and/or method of delivery, you may require more time.

Tuition and Fees

See the Online Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid page.

If you are also taking a face-to-face course, please refer to the MSU Fee Schedules.

Required Books/Materials

  • No book is required. All required readings will be posted inside of D2L.

Computer Requirements:

  • Internet access
  • A device and browser that pass the system check for Brightspace LE, MSU's learning management system.

This course uses a learning management system. You will learn more closer to the course start date.

For More Information

For more information: Please contact Marni Rolston at


How to Register

You must be accepted as a student to Montana State University to take this course.

Learn how to apply.

After your application has been accepted, you will register via MSU's online registration system, MyInfo.

Registration requires a PIN number. Learn how to find your PIN.

Once you have your PIN, learn how to register through MyInfo.