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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

Earth and Mineral Sciences

In the COLLEGE OF EARTH AND MINERAL SCIENCES, instruction and research are aimed at increasing our understanding of the Earth and human interactions with the environment; the production and utilization of fuels and mineral resources; and the science and technology of engineered materials.

Study in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences covers an unusually wide range, from practical industrial problems, fundamental science, and advanced technology to global environmental issues and human responses to changing social conditions. Degrees are offered in science, engineering, and social science. Programs dealing directly with the Earth and environment include Geosciences, Geobiology, Meteorology, Geography, and Earth Sciences. They also include Energy Business and Finance, as well as Environmental Systems Engineering, which focuses on technologies for environmental clean-up and preservation. The production and utilization of energy and natural resources are the focus of Mining Engineering, Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering, and Energy Engineering, while Materials Science and Engineering deals with engineering materials, like ceramics, metals, polymers and composites.

The following baccalaureate engineering programs are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, 415 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 20201; telephone 410-347-7700: Mining Engineering, Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering, Environmental Systems Engineering, Energy Engineering, and Materials Science and Engineering.



PROFESSOR YVETTE P. RICHARDSON, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education

The undergraduate programs of the college provide students with a personal and individual educational experience that helps prepare them for a variety of professional careers. They gain a fundamental understanding of their chosen area, acquire the basic skills and attitudes required to become members of their profession, and have opportunities to meet professionals in their field. Students are challenged to maximize their abilities and prepare for a future in which they will welcome continuous learning and professional growth. Undergraduate student services in the college’s Ryan Family Student Center reflect a strong emphasis on communications and mathematics skills, housing full-time faculty tutor-instructors in both writing and math. Research and scholarship are encouraged through participation in capstone design courses, undergraduate theses, or research projects. Field work experience is emphasized in several of the earth science-related majors.

CONCURRENT MAJORS IN LIBERAL ARTS AND EARTH AND MINERAL SCIENCES--For a student who wishes to earn a liberal arts degree combined with technical preparation for a career in the earth, mineral, or materials sciences, the college offers a concurrent major program, requiring ten semesters of study, the first six in the College of the Liberal Arts and the last four in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Upon completion of the program, a B.A. is awarded by the College of the Liberal Arts and a B.S. by the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. The latter degree may be earned in any of the college's science or engineering programs.

3-2 PROGRAM WITH OTHER INSTITUTIONS AND EARTH AND MINERAL SCIENCES--In the cooperative liberal education 3-2 Program, the student completes three academic years of study in one of the EMS engineering programs at one of several cooperating liberal arts colleges and then transfers to Penn State for two additional academic years (four semesters). Upon completion of the program, the student is awarded the B.A. degree by the liberal arts college and the B.S. degree by this university. Arrangements for the cooperative program are in effect with several colleges in the state. Inquiries concerning admission should be made at the Earth and Mineral Sciences Ryan Family Student Center in 14 Deike Building, University Park campus. 

TEACHER CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS--It is possible, with careful planning, for students to satisfy requirements for the provisional certificate for teaching in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania while also satisfying requirements for the bachelor's degree in any major in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Students who want to prepare for teaching certification should consult the certification officer of the College of Education or the Office of the Associate Dean for Education.



Recommended Academic Plans provide, in table form, the courses students might schedule semester by semester as they pursue a specific undergraduate degree. Each college or campus maintains Recommended Academic Plans for its own majors/degree programs. Links to these plans are on the Division of Undergraduate Studies website at: Questions concerning the Recommended Academic Plans should be directed to the college or campus involved or the Division of Undergraduate Studies.  



There are many ways students may take advantage of a global education, through education abroad opportunities, international internships, and focused international experiences for outstanding juniors and seniors. For more information refer to:


Students enrolled in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences engineering programs are eligible for opportunities to pursue up to one full year of career-related experience while earning their undergraduate degree through the Engineering Cooperative Education and Professional Internship Program. For additional information refer to:



Penn State students may acquire course credit in a number of ways in addition to classroom instruction.  The World Campus, Penn State's online campus, offers a number of General Education and U.S. and International Cultures courses. See the World Campus Web site ( for information regarding prerequisites, registration, and payments. Through the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute (, students may pursue certificate programs through the Departments of Geography and Meteorology: Post-baccalaureate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems; Post-baccalaureate Certificate in Geospatial Intelligence; and Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting. Effective fall 2010, the John A. Dutton e-Education Institute, in conjunction with the Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering and the World Campus, will offer an online bachelor of arts degree in Engery and Sustainability Policy.



Diversity among students and faculty is a top priority for the dean and the faculty of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. We are committed not only to recruiting and retaining our students, but also to helping them to develop professionally and to graduate. Initiatives to enhance diversity include enhancing educational opportunities for underrepresented students; creating alliances by partnering with HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions; and enhancing the EMS cultural environment to promote educational equity. 




JOHN R. HELLMANN, Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Research

YVETTE P. RICHARDSOIN, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education

VICTORIA E. SANCHEZ, Associate Dean for Educational Equity



Energy and Mineral Engineering
SETH BLUMSACK, Associate Head for Undergraduate Education
LUIS F. AYALA H., Associate Head for Graduate Education

CYNTHIA A. BREWER, Department Head
LORRAINE DOWLER, Associate Head for Undergraduate Programs
BRIAN KING, Associate Head for Resident Graduate Programs

TIMOTHY BRALOWER, Interim Department Head
MAUREEN FEINEMAN Associate Head for Undergraduate Programs

Materials Science and Engineering
SUSAN SINNOTT, Department Head
R. ALLEN KIMEL, Associate Head for Undergraduate Studies

DAVID J. STENSRUD, Department Head
JON M. NESE, Associate Head for Undergraduate Programs


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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

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