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Environmental Science concentration

The Environmental Science concentration within the Earth Science major integrates geology, biology, chemistry, and physics in an effort to have students undertake a scientific study of the environment and the effects of humans on Earth systems. The concentration/major is made up 15 credits from several groups of courses outlined below. Click on the title of each of the headers below to show/hide more details.

(Minimum 15 credits for Major / 35 credits total)

ENVS 100: Introduction to Environmental Science (1 CU)

and one of the following courses:

ENVS 204: Global Climate Change (1 CU)
ENVS 301: Environmental Case Studies (1 CU)
GEOL 100: Introduction to Geology (1 CU)
GEOL 103: Natural Disturbances and Disasters (1 CU)
GEOL 125: Earth and Life Through Time (1 CU)
GEOL 130: Oceanography (1 CU)

Preparation in chemistry, mathematics, biology and physics is essential for an Environmental Science Major, and courses in these subjects should be included in the first and second year of the program. Students must take three course units from the following list, with at least one course from two different groups (Math, Physics, Chemistry) (Note that 3 CU is the minimum requirement. More is certainly encouraged, and may be required for admission to graduate school. Please see your advisor for recommendations.)


MATH 104: Calculus, Part I (1 CU)
MATH 114: Calculus Part II (1 CU)
MATH 115: Calculus Part II with Probability and Matrices (1 CU)
STAT 111: Intro Statistics (1 CU)


PHYS 101/150 or 170 and corresponding lab: General Physics I (1.5 CU)
PHYS 102/152 or 171 and corresponding lab: General Physics II (1.5 CU)
GEOL 420: Introduction to Geophysics (1 CU)


CHEM 101 or CHEM 001 and corresponding lab: Chemistry I (1.5 CU)
CHEM 102 or CHEM 002 and corresponding lab: Chemistry II (1.5 CU)
GEOL 418: Geochemistry (1 CU)

Students must take five course units from the pre-approved Earth and Environmental Systems course list.
At least 2 CU should be 300-level or above, and at least 1 CU must be ENVS and at least 1 CU GEOL.

Option 1:
BIOL 101 Intro to Biology A lecture and lab (1.5 CU)
BIOL 102 Intro to Biology B lecture and lab (1.5 CU)
BIOL 240 Ecology: from individuals to ecosystems (1 CU)
1 elective course from the pre-approved Living Systems course list.

Option 2:
AP BIOLOGY credit (1 CU)
BIOL 121 Intro Bio-Molec Bio Life (1 CU)
BIOL 240 Ecology: from individuals to ecosystems (1 CU)
2 elective courses from the pre-approved Living Systems course list.

Each student is required to attend a summer Environmental Science Field Course or complete a similar curriculum-related practical experience. (No course units are attached to this requirement.)

(Minimum 19 credits for the major / 35 credits total)

Qualifying students preparing for graduate study in the environmental sciences should select the honors option. A senior thesis must be completed, a GPA of 3.25 in the major must be earned, and four additional CUs taken to achieve the Honors distinction in the major.

Students will follow the regular Environmental Science curriculum above, and in addition take:

2 CU from any of the following categories outlined above: Earth and Environmental Systems, Living Systems, Math, Physics and Chemistry

Plus, complete a senior thesis by taking the following senior thesis seminars:

ENVS 399 Environmental Research Seminar (1CU)
ENVS 498a and b (0.5 CU each; 1.0 CU total)

Department of Earth and Environmental Science / University of Pennsylvania, 251 Hayden Hall, 240 South 33rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6316