Initial Publication Date: June 11, 2015

Earth and Environmental Science, Virginia Wesleyan College

Information for this profile was provided by Elizabeth Malcolm in 2009. Information is also available on the program website. Virginia Wesleyan College is a private four-year institution, primarily undergraduate. Students in this program are pursuing a BA or BS degree.

Program Design & Assessment


The Earth and Environmental Sciences program at Virginia Wesleyan College takes a "systems approach," in which all parts – lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere – are viewed as an integrated system. The curriculum also explores the many ways that humans have impacted this system.

The B.A. program is designed to provide a broad background in the fundamentals of Earth Science for students who intend to have careers in secondary education, business, law, other areas, or double major. The B.S. program is intended for students who plan to pursue a graduate degree in earth or environmental sciences and has additional mathematics requirements. These are the only two majors available in the Earth and Environmental Science Department.

Strengths of this program

The earth and environmental sciences curriculum is designed to provide a solid foundation in both earth science and environmental science as well as supporting coursework in chemistry, biology and physics. The BA prepares students for certification and a career in secondary education for earth science or a wide range of careers in the earth and environmental fields. The BS was recently created to better prepare students for graduate school.

Types of students served

Program Goals

The goals of this program are as follows:

A primary goal is to provide students with hands-on skills, preparing them for their career or graduate school, including field methods, laboratory techniques, GIS and research.

The learning goals were informed by the following resources:

How program goals are assessed

We track the success of graduates through formal college-wide surveys and informal conversations.

Design features that allow goals to be met

Alumni Careers

Graduation rate

Careers pursued by our alumni

Courses and Sequencing

Diagram of course sequencing and requirements

Entry into the program

  • Physical Geology with lab
  • Environmental Geology with lab
(Both are required)

Core courses

  • Oceanography or Meteorology
  • Environmental Chemistry or Analytical Chemistry
  • Geology of Mountain Belts
  • Energy and the Environment
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Ecology
  • Watershed Hydrology
  • Global Environmental Cycles


Students are required to take at least 2 courses (6-8 credits) of electives, chosen from the following list:
  • Internship in the Natural Sciences
  • Research in the Natural Sciences
  • Climatology (Prerequisite: Oceanography or Meteorology)
  • Limnology
  • Marine Biology
  • Microbiology (Prerequisite: Genetics)
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry

Other required courses

  • Principles of Biology I or Environmental Biology
  • College Chemistry I
  • College Chemistry II
  • Physics

Additional requirements for the BS

  • Calculus II
  • Introduction to Statistical Modeling

Other key features of this program:

Supporting Materials