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University Bulletin
Graduate Degree Programs

Environmental Pollution Control (E P C)

Program Home Page: M.S.; Program Home Page: M.E.P.C.

SHIRLEY E. CLARK, Program Coordinator
W236 Olmsted Building
Penn State Harrisburg


Degrees Conferred:

M.S., M.E.P.C. (Penn State Harrisburg, Penn State University Park)


The Graduate Faculty--Penn State Harrisburg


The Program

This intercollege master's degree program, available at Penn State Harrisburg and Penn State University Park, deals with the various aspects of air, land, and water pollution control. Graduate instruction is under the direction of an interdisciplinary faculty committee and the departments participating in the program. The EPC faculty have teaching and research interests in the area of environmental pollution control, and where projects are being funded, support opportunities may be available. Currently, faculty from sixteen departments in four colleges are participating in the program at University Park and faculty from four graduate programs participate at Penn State Harrisburg. A student is affiliated with one of these departments on the basis of his/her specific area of interest and is advised by an EPC faculty member in that department. Maximum flexibility is maintained by the program in an effort to meet both the needs of the individual student and the pollution control activity in which he/she wants to participate.

Admission Requirements

Requirements listed here are in addition to general Graduate School requirements stated in the GENERAL INFORMATION section of the Graduate Bulletin.

The EPC program is designed for students with backgrounds in science or engineering. Admission will be granted if the applicant has the necessary program prerequisites and a faculty member in the student's interest area agrees to serve as adviser. Normal admission requirements include mathematics through integral calculus plus two courses each in both general chemistry and physics.

Students with a 3.00 junior/senior average and with appropriate backgrounds in mathematics and science will be considered for admission. The best-qualified applicants will be admitted up to the number of places that are available for new students. Applicants to the Environmental Pollution Control program are required to provide a statement of objectives, three letters of recommendation, and scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Aptitude Test (verbal, quantitative, analytical) to complete the admission process. Entering graduate students for whom English is not their first language are required to have a score of at least 560 on the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) examination. There is no foreign language requirement.

Degree Requirements

All candidates are required to take a core course in each of four environmental areas--air, water, solid waste, hazardous waste management, and policy/risk--and 1 credit of the E P C 590 seminar for a minimum core requirement of 12 credits. All but 6 of the total 30 credits required must be selected from a recommended course list. If the option to prepare a thesis is selected (M.S. only), students must schedule at least 12 credits at the 500 level, take at least 6 credits of 600-level thesis research in their thesis adviser's academic department, and write a thesis on an area concerned with environmental pollution. Only 6 credits of 600-level course work may count toward the 30-credit minimum degree requirement. Students who select the nonthesis option must schedule at least 18 credits at the 500 level, which may include 1 credit of E P C 590 and a maximum of 3 paper-writing credits. The M.E.P.C. E P C degree requires submission of a scholarly master's paper.

Watershed Stewardship Option

The Graduate Option in Watershed Stewardship is a graduate option intended to provide enhanced educational opportunities for students with an interest in water resources management who are enrolled in a graduate degree program within Environmental Pollution Control at the University Park campus. The objective of the Graduate Option in Watershed Stewardship is to educate students to facilitate team-oriented, community-based watershed management planning directed at natural resources conservation and environmental problems encountered in Pennsylvania communities, especially non-point source water pollution. The Graduate Option in Watershed Stewardship requires 22 credits of graduate coursework: 12 credits of breadth courses, 2 credits of Watershed Stewardship Seminar courses (FOR 591A and FOR 591B or LARCH 510.2), and 8 credits of Watershed Stewardship Practicum I and II courses (FOR 570 and FOR 571 or LARCH 540.2 and LARCH 550.2). Breadth courses will consist of three graduate credits of coursework from each of four subject matter areas: 1) water resources science, 2) social science, public policy and economics, 3) humanities, and 4) communications and design. In the watershed stewardship practicum courses students work in teams with community, government and business leaders to analyze and understand natural resources and environmental pollution problems and creatively synthesize appropriate solutions in the form of a written watershed management plan.

A representative pattern of scheduling for the Graduate Option in Watershed Stewardship in addition to a student's other degree requirements might be:

First Year:

Fall Semester
Breadth electives - 6 credits
FOR 591A or LARCH 510.2
Watershed Stewardship Issues
Colloquium, 1 credit

Spring Semester
Breadth electives - 6 credits
FOR 591B or LARCH 510.2
Watershed Stewardship
Planning Colloquium, 1 credit

Second Year:

Fall Semester
FOR 570 or LARCH 540.2, 3 credits
Keystone Project

Spring Semester
FOR 571 or LARCH 550.2, 5 credits
Keystone Project

A list of acceptable breadth courses from each category is provided in the Graduate Option in Watershed Stewardship Handbook. Students will be allowed to petition to the Center for Watershed Stewardship to substitute higher level or equivalent courses in a major field to suit their specific backgrounds and goals. Courses taken for the Graduate Option in Watershed Stewardship may be used to satisfy other EPC degree requirements with concurrence of their adviser and graduate committee and only if such courses are approved EPC core requirements or are on the currently approved list of additional 400- and 500-level course for the EPC major. The graduate committee for a student enrolled in the Option in Watershed Stewardship must include a faculty representative from the Center for Watershed Stewardship.

Students enrolled in M.E.P.C. or M.S. degree program within Environmental Pollution Control may apply to participate in the Graduate Option in Watershed Stewardship. EPC students may prepare their thesis or paper on a topic related to their watershed management plan, but the thesis or paper must reflect independent thought and scholarly effort above and beyond the requirements of FOR 570 and FOR 571 or LARCH 540.2 and LARCH 550.2.

Student Aid

Graduate assistantships available to students in this program and other forms of student aid are described in the STUDENT AID section of the Graduate Bulletin.


Last Revised by the Department: Fall Semester 2016 (Joing Degree Removed)

Blue Sheet Item #: 33-03-311

Review Date: 11/23/04

Coordinator updated: 9/26/14

Faculty linked: 8/14/14



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