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Environmental Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Information for this profile was provided by Jane Dmochowski in 2009. Information is also available on the program website.

The University of Pennsylvania is a university with graduate programs, including doctoral programs .

Overview and Context

Illustration of the University of Pennsylvania environmental studies curriculum, constructed by Monica Bruckner, based on information provided by Jane Dmochowski. Click on the image to see a larger version.
The program in Environmental Studies is designed to provide students with an understanding of the breadth of contemporary environmental issues and basic skills needed to analyze them through a series of courses in environmental science, earth science, data analysis, and economics and policy, while ensuring that each student pursues a purposeful course of study in an Environmental Studies concentration.

Concentrations include Environmental Policy and Application, Global Environmental Systems, Environmental History and Regional Studies, Environmental Studies (individualized concentration), and Sustainability and Environmental Management (proposed concentration).

This is our interdisciplinary curriculum designed for students with a broad range of interests relating to the environment. Our department also offers a Geology major (with a Paleobiology and Geology track). We plan to revise the Geology major in the future to incorporate an Environmental Science track.

Program Design

This curriculum is designed to prepare students for a wide range of careers and give them the opportunity to develop an expertise. The curriculum is flexible enough to accommodate students with a variety of interests in Environmental Studies but structured enough to give students a clear path to acquiring skills necessary for success.

Goals and Assessment

The primary goal of the ENVS curriculum is to ensure that students get the basic skills and knowledge that are necessary to enter graduate school or continue in a career focused on environmental issues. These include scientific reasoning, knowledge of statistics, modeling and GIS, geoscience and environmental science background, research skills, and knowledge of economics and environmental policy. Additionally, the concentrations of the curriculum were designed to give the students expertise in a specific field of study. The mandatory senior thesis ensures that students gain research skills and deepen their knowledge in a specific field of study within Environmental Studies.

A method of assessment of the goals has not been formalized, but the student's senior thesis is used to evaluate the skills they learned in the program. If the student has acquired the requisite skills in Environmental Studies, they will successfully be able to complete and provide an oral defense of a novel, independent research project.

The primary goal is preparation for a career or graduate school after graduation, which can be assessed based on placement after graduation. While we do not have students who have graduated from the ENVS curriculum adopted in 2008 (described above), students on the old curriculum have been placed in a variety of careers and graduate schools. Plans for seniors in 2009 include: 3 continuing to a masters program in our department, 1 going to the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, 1 going to Georgetown Law School, 1 gaining employment at the Bayshore Discovery Project, 2 students continuing to graduate school in architecture, 1 gaining employment at Barclays Capital (Asia-Pacific) Investment Banking Division, 1 Fulbright Scholar, 2 students going into the Peace Corps, 1 gaining employment with the Advisory Board Company, 1 gaining employment with Mahindra & Mahindra in India, and 1 beginning a master's of public health degree program at Boston University.

Courses and Sequencing

Entry into the program

  • Introduction to Environmental Analysis
  • Introduction to Geology
  • Introduction to Oceanography
  • Natural Disturbances and Human Disasters
  • Earth and Life Through Time
  • Global Climate Change

Core courses

  • Data Analysis and Statistics*
  • Economics and Policy*
  • Geographical or Environmental Modeling*
  • Environmental Studies Seminar (Prerequisite: Introduction to Environmental Analysis)
  • Environmental Research Seminar
* A number of courses specified on the
curriculum website can fulfill this requirement.

Electives

Students take 7 course units (7 cu's, typically 7 courses) in their concentration and 20 courses for their core requirements and college electives. For each concentration, each required course unit is selected from the pre-approved list that follows the concentration descriptions.

Concentrations


Environmental Policy and Application: Courses are designed to provide a background in the social and management aspects of environmental problems. ABCS courses in EES are strongly recommended for this concentration.

  1. Environmental Policy or an ABCS course in EES: 1 cu
  2. Environmental Economics: 1 cu
  3. Global Politics and International Relations: 2 cu
  4. 3 upper division courses that are thematically related to the senior thesis and are chosen with the approval of a major advisor.

Global Environmental Systems: Course work is focused on understanding global environmental systems.

  1. Earth Systems: 1 cu
  2. Biotic History: 1 cu
  3. Geochemical Dynamics: 1 cu
  4. Global Politics and International Relations: 1 cu
  5. International Environmental Issues: 1 cu
  6. Two upper division courses that are thematically related to the senior thesis and are chosen with the approval of a major advisor. Courses in Environmental Modeling or field-based courses are strongly recommended for this concentration.

Environmental History and Regional Studies: Course work is designed to provide a temporal and spatial perspective to the study of the Environment.

  1. Earth Systems: 1 cu
  2. Biotic History: 1 cu
  3. Environmental History: 1 cu
  4. Environmental Geology: 1 cu
  5. Field Course: 1 cu
  6. 2 upper division courses that are thematically related to the senior thesis and are chosen with the approval of a major advisor

List of pre-approved courses for the concentrations:


Biotic History:

  • ANTH 003: Intro to Human Evolution
  • BIOL 140: Humans & the Environment
  • BIOL 240: Ecology: from individuals to ecosystems (Prerequisite: Intro to Biology)
  • GEOL 125: Earth & Life through Time
  • GEOL 205: Intro to Paleontology
  • GEOL 415: Paleobotany (Prerequisite: Intro to Geology or Intro to Biology)

Earth Systems:

  • ENVS 204: Global Climate Change
  • GEOL 100/109: Intro to Geology
  • GEOL 130: Oceanography: Oceans and Climate
  • GEOL 206: Stratigraphy (Prerequisite: Introduction to Geology)
  • GEOL 305: Earth Surface Processes (Prerequisite: Intro to Geology or Intro to Environmental Analysis)
  • GEOL 421: Biogeochemistry (Prerequisite: Intro to Geology or Intro to Environmental Analysis)
  • GEOL 453: Introduction to Hydrology
  • GEOL 501: Pleistocene Geology (Prerequisite: Intro to Geology)
  • GEOL 503: Earth Hazards and Earth Systems (Prerequisite: Intro to Geology)
  • GEOL 546: Regional Geologic and Environmental Analysis

Environmental Economics:

  • ECON 50: International Economics
  • ENVS 412: Economics and the Environment
  • ENVS 413: Business and the Environment
  • GAFL 180: Budgeting & Financial Management for Gov. and Nonprofits
  • MGMT 111: Multinational management (Prerequisite: Intro to Management or Leadership and Communication in Groups)
  • MGMT 208: Global and International Politics (Prerequisite: Intro to Management or Leadership and Communication in Groups)

Environmental Geology:

  • CHEM 012: Environmental Chemistry
  • ENVS 400: Environmental Studies Seminar (Prerequisite: Intro to Environmental Analysis)
  • ENVS 507: Wetlands
  • GEOL 401: Environmental Geology
  • GEOL 453: Introduction to Hydrology
  • GEOL 503: Earth Hazards and Earth Systems (Prerequisite: Intro to Geology)
  • GEOL 511: Soils (Prerequisite: Intro to Geology)

Environmental History:

  • ANTH 133: Native Peoples & the Environment
  • ANTH 139: Ancient Civilizations of the World
  • ANTH 242: World Ethnography
  • AAMW 414: Ancient Cities
  • ENVS 179/STSC 179: Environmental History
  • GEOL 103: Natural Disturbances and Human Disasters
  • HSPV 538: Fundamentals of the American Landscape
  • URBS 121: Origin and Cultures of Cities

Environmental Policy:

  • ECON 030: Public Policy Analyses
  • ENVS 414: Conservation & Land Management
  • ENVS 431: Current EPA Regulatory Practices & Future Directions
  • ENVS 645: Planning and Land Preservation
  • GAFL 490: Public Policy Process Theories and Actors

Field Courses

  • GEOL305: Earth Surface Processes (Prerequisite: Intro to Geology or Intro to Environmental Analysis)
  • BIOL400: Field Botany (Prerequisite: Intro to Biology)
  • BIOL415: Freshwater Ecology (Prerequisite: Intro to Biology)
  • ANTH 456: Practicum in Archaeological Field Methods and Problems
  • GEOL 511: Geology of Soils (Prerequisite: Intro to Geology)
  • ENVS 507: Wetlands
  • ENVS 530: Rocky Mountain Field Geology & Ecology
  • ABCS course in Environmental Science
  • Relevant summer or semester abroad programs

Geochemical Dynamics:

  • CHEM 012: Environmental Chemistry
  • GEOL 421: Elemental Cycling in Global Systems (Prerequisite: Intro to Geology or Intro to Environmental Analysis)
  • GEOL 418: Geochemistry (Prerequisite: Mineralogy)
  • GEOL 511: Geology of Soils (Prerequisite: Intro to Geology)

Geographical or Environmental Modeling:

  • URBS 230: GIS Applications in Social Science
  • GEOL 305: Earth Surface Processes (Prerequisite: Intro to Geology or Intro to Environmental Analysis)
  • GEOL 451: Geocomputations
  • ENVS 541: Modeling Geographical Objects
  • BIOL 535: Ecological Modeling
  • GEOL 453: Introduction to Hydrology

Global Politics and International Relations:

  • INTR 101: Introduction to International Relations
  • ANTH 136: Culture & Conflict in International Relations
  • PSCI 050: International Politics
  • PSCI 154: Politics of the Global Environment
  • GAFL 139: Politics of Poverty and Development
  • GAFL 135: The Politics of Food
  • PSCI 001: Intro to the Study of Politics
  • PSCI 154: Politics of the Global Environment
  • PSCI 181: Modern Political Thought
  • PHIL 079: Environmental Ethics
  • PSCI 138: Public Policy Process Theories and Actors

International Environmental Issues:

  • ECON 050: International Economics
  • ENVS 437: Global Water Issues
  • GAFL 135: The Politics of Food
  • GAFL 139: Politics of Poverty and Development
  • PHYS 016: Energy, Oil, Global Warming

Other required courses

Aside from the core ENVS requirements above and the general education requirements for the College (courses in Society, History & Tradition, Arts & Letters, Humanities & Social Sciences, The Living World, The Physical World, Natural Sciences & Mathematics, Writing, Foreign Language, Quantitative Data Analysis, Formal Reasoning, Cross-Cultural Analysis, and Cultural Diversity in the U.S.), there are no other required courses for this curriculum.

Capstone

Additional comments

Each student is required to attend a summer field course or to seek a summer internship, summer employment, and/or academic-year practical experience/research related to his/her individual curriculum. This is referred to as the "curriculum related practical experience" requirement.

Additional Materials




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