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Environmental Studies

Content Objectives of the Environmental Studies Major

Upon graduation, Environmental Studies graduates understand how humans and ecosystems interact with the dynamic Earth. They understand the basic physical and chemical processes and are knowledgeable about the atmosphere and climate change, the rock cycle, natural hazards, and the earth’s hydrologic and biogeochemical cycles. Environmental Studies graduates also have knowledge and basic skills in environmental economics, environmental health, sustainability, renewable resources, and environmental management. In addition, they have an in-depth understanding of the human-environment interconnection, knowledge of international and domestic environmental issues, and are well-versed in environmental policies and how these policies are set and changed. 

Skill Set Objectives of the Environmental Studies Major

Graduates are able to contribute to society and effectively work on challenging problems that face humanity (e.g., climate change, renewable resources). They are able to critically analyze scientific literature, interpret scientific data, understand the scientific process, and conduct a basic research project. Graduates can also develop basic models of geographic, environmental or geologic systems. Graduates can collect and manage a complex data set. They can also manipulate environmental data with computer software. They know which basic statistical and graphical tests should be used and how to perform them to interpret the results, and apply the results to solve a question. Graduates are able to communicate complex information in written and oral form, and make a clear and compelling presentation in front of both technical and non-technical audiences. They also have the skills and knowledge to achieve admission to graduate school, professional degree programs, or gain employment.

Concentrations within the Environmental Studies Major

  • Environmental History & Regional Studies
  • Environmental Policy & Application
  • Global Environmental Systems
  • Sustainability & Environmental Management
  • Individualized Concentration 

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