Environmental Inquiry, Minor

Program Code: ENVI_UMNR

Program Description

This intercollege minor is designed for students across the disciplines who wish to prepare for addressing environmental issues or problems as professionals or citizens. The minor is available to all undergraduates regularly enrolled in a degree program at the University. The objectives are to allow students to gain the multiple perspectives necessary for understanding environmental issues as well as to increase skills in collaborating with those from very different disciplinary backgrounds to find acceptable solutions. Students will be challenged to move beyond the channels of thinking characteristic of their own discipline to new ways of knowing, new sensitivities, and new analytical approaches. The program will engage students actively in learning experiences outside their major course of study. This minor is intended not to replace existing minors but to be a true intercollege, interdisciplinary minor.

Advising for students in this minor and approval of curriculum exceptions will be available through the Environmental Inquiry adviser designated within each participating college.

What is Environmental Inquiry?

This interdisciplinary, intercollege minor can enrich all areas of academic study with essential, cross- disciplinary understanding of crucial environmental issues and how they are being framed and tackled from both scientific and policy perspectives. The minor’s coursework can give students a greater appreciation of the environment, a broader understanding of environmental issues and problems, and insight into alternative methods of inquiry. If you have a background in science but also have ambitions to do something about the environment, you might find that a lot of the decisions about the environment are made in political settings. To have success in improving the environment will require you to speak the language of policy makers. The minor can help you on this track, exposing students to both the scientific background needed to understand environmental issues as well as the social science you need to promote these issues successfully.

You Might Like This Program If...

  • You are interested in how the human impact on the environment is becoming increasingly relevant as population grows, resources are consumed, and businesses and industries become ever more productive.
  • You are interested in the complex debates that engage professionals from all fields. Now, more than ever, concerned agencies, organizations, and companies seek individuals knowledgeable about these important issues with experience communicating with people in professions outside of their own.
  • You want to be familiar with current environmental issues across all professional fields.

Program Requirements

Requirement Credits
Requirements for the Minor 18-19

Requirements for the Minor

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the minor, as specified by Senate Policy 59-10. In addition, at least six credits of the minor must be unique from the prescribed courses required by a student's major(s).

Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Introductory Course
Select one of the following: 13-4
Plant Stress: It's Not Easy Being Green Keystone/General Education Course
Cultural Diversity: A Global Perspective Keystone/General Education Course
BIOL 120N
Biology: Basic Concepts and Biodiversity Keystone/General Education Course
Environmental Science Keystone/General Education Course
Community Development Concepts and Practice Keystone/General Education Course
The Earth System and Global Change Keystone/General Education Course
Environment Earth Keystone/General Education Course
Natural Disasters: Hollywood vs. Reality Keystone/General Education Course
Water: Science and Society Keystone/General Education Course
Energy and the Environment Keystone/General Education Course
Energy Conservation for Environmental Protection Keystone/General Education Course
Out of the Fiery Furnace Keystone/General Education Course
Literature and the Natural World Keystone/General Education Course
ENT 202
ENVST 100
Environmental Factors and Their Effect on Your Food Supply Keystone/General Education Course
Food Facts and Fads Keystone/General Education Course
Environment and Society in a Changing World Keystone/General Education Course
Climates of the World Keystone/General Education Course
Geography of Developing World Keystone/General Education Course
Earth and Life: Origin and Evolution Keystone/General Education Course
The Sea Around Us Keystone/General Education Course
Technology and Society in American History Keystone/General Education Course
Horticultural Science Keystone/General Education Course
Plants in the Human Context Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to International Agriculture Keystone/General Education Course
Materials in Today's World Keystone/General Education Course
Environmental Philosophy Keystone/General Education Course
PLSC/STS 135
Population and Policy Issues Keystone/General Education Course
Environmental Sustainability Keystone/General Education Course
Introductory Soil Science Keystone/General Education Course
Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation Keystone/General Education Course
Cluster Selection
Select 9 credits from one of the following clusters:9
Biodiversity and Ecosystems
Environment and Society
Environmental Explorations
Ideas About the Environment
Water Resources
Human Settlements
Energy Resources
Final Course
Select one of the following: 23
Ecological and Environmental Problem Solving
Contemporary Issues in Science and Medicine
The Global Seminar
Air Pollution Impacts to Terrestrial Ecosystems
Climatic Change and Variability
Human Use of Environment
Ecology, Economy, and Society
Natural Resources: Origins, Economics and Environmental Impact
Special Topics
World Population Diversity
Natural Resources Conservation and Community Sustainability
Energy and Modern Society
Conservation Biology
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select one 400-level course from a cluster option other than the one you have chosen (field experience courses are encouraged)3

Cluster Course Selections

Students may not use a course from their major in their chosen cluster. In all cases/clusters, students may substitute up to 3 credits of research topics, internship, or independent studies courses focused on a relevant environmental topic in consultation with an adviser.

Biodiversity and Ecosystems

This specialization prepares a student to learn about the importance of biodiversity in ecosystems. Over the last 100 years, humans have dramatically reduced the biodiversity on the earth primarily through loss of habitat. Reducing the pressure on the world's biological resources will take political will, scientific research, and creativity in planning. A central focus is on developing effective understanding of land management practices that can enhance the prospects for biological diversity.

BIOL 127Introduction to Plant Biology Keystone/General Education Course3
BIOL 220WBiology: Populations and Communities Keystone/General Education Course4
BIOL 417Invertebrate Zoology4
BIOL 435Ecology of Lakes and Streams3
BIOL 448Ecology of Plant Reproduction3
BIOL 482Coastal Biology3
BIOL 499ATropical Field Ecology3
CE 370Introduction to Environmental Engineering3
CHEM 20Environmental Chemistry3
CHEM 301Environmental Chemistry and Analysis3
CHEM 402Chemistry in the Environment3
ENT 2023
FOR 308Forest Ecology3
FOR 401Urban Forest Management3
FORT 100Introduction to Forestry1
GEOG 110Climates of the World Keystone/General Education Course3
GEOG 123Geography of Developing World Keystone/General Education Course3
GEOG 314Biogeography and Global Ecology Keystone/General Education Course3
GEOG 310Introduction to Global Climatic Systems3
GEOSC 21Earth and Life: Origin and Evolution Keystone/General Education Course3
HORT 101Horticultural Science Keystone/General Education Course3
INTAG 100Introduction to International Agriculture Keystone/General Education Course3
LARCH 245Ecology & Plants II3
METEO 451Introduction to Physical Oceanography3
PPEM 120The Fungal Jungle: A Mycological Safari From Truffles to Slime Molds Keystone/General Education Course3
SOILS 101Introductory Soil Science Keystone/General Education Course3
SOILS 412WSoil Ecology3
STS 201Climate Change, Energy, and Biodiversity Keystone/General Education Course3
WFS/FOR 430Conservation Biology3
 
Environment and Society

This specialization provides insights into the debates and challenges about the distribution and utilization of the world's environmental resources. All people deserve to live in a safe environment regardless of their income, skin color, religion, or gender. Yet, many of the poorest people in the world live in unsafe environmental contexts. Research in many different fields of social science, as well as ethical research, is required to understand how to promote and achieve environmental justice.

ANTH 456Cultural Ecology3
CED 152Community Development Concepts and Practice Keystone/General Education Course3
CED 230Development Issues in the Global Context3
CED 309Land Economics and Policy3
CED 410The Global Seminar3
CED/CEDEV 4303
CED 201Introductory Environmental and Resource Economics3
CED 429Natural Resource Economics3
CED 4313
EARTH 101Natural Disasters: Hollywood vs. Reality Keystone/General Education Course3
ECON 428Environmental Economics3
EMSC 101Resource Wars3
ERM 411Legal Aspects of Resource Management3
GEOG 124Elements of Cultural Geography Keystone/General Education Course3
GEOG 438WHuman Dimensions of Global Warming3
GEOSC 109HEarthquakes and Society Keystone/General Education Course3
GEOSC 310Earth History4
GEOSC 402YNatural Disasters3
HIST 453American Environmental History3
INTAG 100Introduction to International Agriculture Keystone/General Education Course3
NUTR 497Special Topics1-9
PHIL 132Bioethics Keystone/General Education Course3
RSOC 11Introductory Rural Sociology Keystone/General Education Course3
SOC 423Social Demography3
SOC 450Justice and the Environment3
SOILS 71Environmental Sustainability Keystone/General Education Course3
STS 201Climate Change, Energy, and Biodiversity Keystone/General Education Course3
STS 420Energy and Modern Society3
Environmental Explorations

This specialization scrutinizes the range of debates, practices, and possibilities guiding discussions of how to achieve equitable and sustainable development. Global and national discussions are beginning to probe how we can move toward a future where resources are more effectively utilized and the environment is maintained while achieving well-being for the whole world. A cross-disciplinary approach is necessary to promote an understanding of these broad discussions.

Students must take 3 credits each of social science, natural science, and arts and humanities courses.

Social Science
ANTH 40Biocultural Evolution3
or ANTH 146 Indigenous North America Keystone/General Education Course
CED 201Introductory Environmental and Resource Economics3
CED 429Natural Resource Economics3
CED 4313
CED 410The Global Seminar3
ECON 428Environmental Economics3
FDSC/PHIL 2803
GEOSC 451Natural Resources: Origins, Economics and Environmental Impact3
LARCH 65Built Environment and Culture: Examining the Modern City Keystone/General Education Course3
NUTR 497Special Topics1-9
PLSC 412International Political Economy3
or PLSC 420 State Making
SOC 422World Population Diversity3
TURF 425Turfgrass Cultural Systems3
Select one of the following:3
Hunters and Gatherers
Cultural Ecology
Select one of the following:3
Human Geography: An Introduction Keystone/General Education Course
Human Dimensions of Natural Hazards
Human Use of Environment
Natural Science
BIOL 220WBiology: Populations and Communities Keystone/General Education Course4
BIOL 427Evolution3
EARTH 106The African Continent: Earthquakes, Tectonics and Geology Keystone/General Education Course3
EMSC 121Minerals and Modern Society Keystone/General Education Course3
ERM 300Basic Principles and Calculations in Environmental Analysis3
FOR 308Forest Ecology3
GEOG 110Climates of the World Keystone/General Education Course3
or GEOG 115 Landforms of the World Keystone/General Education Course
GEOSC 320Geology of Climate Change3
or GEOSC 340 Geomorphology
METEO 4Weather and Risk Keystone/General Education Course3
PPEM 120The Fungal Jungle: A Mycological Safari From Truffles to Slime Molds Keystone/General Education Course3
WFS/FOR 430Conservation Biology3
or WFS 408 Mammalogy
Select one of the following:3
Ecology of Lakes and Streams
Population Ecology and Global Climate Change
Field Ecology
Physiological Ecology
Select one of the following:3-5
BIOL 450
Contemporary Issues in Science and Medicine
Tropical Field Ecology
Select one of the following:3
Environmental Chemistry
Environmental Chemistry and Analysis
Chemistry in the Environment
Select one of the following:3
Geology of the National Parks Keystone/General Education Course
Planet Earth Keystone/General Education Course
Introduction to Environmental Geology
Arts and Humanities
AMST 50The Literature and Lore of Mining Keystone/General Education Course3
CED 410The Global Seminar3
COMM/STS 408Cultural Foundations of Communications3
COMM 411Cultural Aspects of the Mass Media3
or COMM 459 Cultural Effects of Interactive and Online Media
EMSC/STS 150Out of the Fiery Furnace Keystone/General Education Course3
ENGL 88Australian/New Zealand Cultural Perspectives Keystone/General Education Course3
or ENGL 233N Chemistry and Literature Keystone/General Education Course
ENGL 402/404Literature and Society3
ENGL 430The American Renaissance3
FDSC/PHIL 2803
GEOG 434Politics of the Environment3
or GEOSC 310 Earth History
HIST/STS 428The Darwinian Revolution3
HIST 453American Environmental History3
LARCH 60Cultural History of Designed Places Keystone/General Education Course3
Select one of the following:3
Nature and Environment Keystone/General Education Course
Bioethics Keystone/General Education Course
Seminar in Environmental Ethics
Ideas About the Environment

This specialization engages the philosophical and political challenges underpinning concerns of modern environmentalism. People have always contemplated the meaning of the world around them and the ways in which their reality is shaped by the environment. The meaning and value of the "environment" therefore depends on a person's range of understandings, ideas, and representations about the physical world. To operate effectively, civil society must be based on open discussions including environmental concerns, and this requires basic levels of ecological literacy.

AG 160Introduction into Ethics and Issues in Agriculture Keystone/General Education Course3
BIOL 419Ecological and Environmental Problem Solving3
BIOL 438Theoretical Population Ecology3
BIOL 461Contemporary Issues in Science and Medicine3
CED 450International Development, Renewable Resources, and the Environment3
ECON 428Environmental Economics3
EMSC/STS 150Out of the Fiery Furnace Keystone/General Education Course3
ENGL 88Australian/New Zealand Cultural Perspectives Keystone/General Education Course3
ENGL 430The American Renaissance3
ENVE 460Environmental Law3
FDSC/PHIL 2803
GEOG 123Geography of Developing World Keystone/General Education Course3
GEOG 434Politics of the Environment3
HIST 110Introduction to Global Environmental History Keystone/General Education Course3
HIST/STS 428The Darwinian Revolution3
HIST 453American Environmental History3
LARCH 60Cultural History of Designed Places Keystone/General Education Course3
NUTR 497Special Topics1-9
PHIL 403Seminar in Environmental Ethics3
SOC 450Justice and the Environment3
SOILS 71Environmental Sustainability Keystone/General Education Course3
STS 100Science, Technology, and Culture Keystone/General Education Course3
STS 101Modern Science, Technology, and Human values Keystone/General Education Course3
Water Resources

This specialization emphasizes basic literacy required to understand the debates surrounding water as a resource and offers insights into what people can do to protect and maintain its integrity on a worldwide basis. Water and water resources are central to human life, and yet modern industrialization and human settlement patterns are creating untenable competition for water between humans, and other flora and fauna. Basic science is required to ascertain problems of supply. Social science understanding is required to understand challenges facing water supply and utilization and the search for wise utilization of the world's water resources.

ASM 327Soil and Water Resource Management3
BE 307Principles of Soil and Water Engineering3
BIOL 220WBiology: Populations and Communities Keystone/General Education Course4
BIOL 435Ecology of Lakes and Streams3
CE 370Introduction to Environmental Engineering3
CE 371Water and Wastewater Treatment3
CE 461Water-resource Engineering3
CE 475Water Quality Chemistry4
EARTH 111Water: Science and Society Keystone/General Education Course3
EMSC 440Science Diving4
ENVE 411Water Supply and Pollution Control3
ENVE 415Hydrology3
ERM/WFS 450Wetland Conservation3
FOR 470Watershed Management3
GEOG 431Geography of Water Resources3
GEOSC 40The Sea Around Us Keystone/General Education Course3
GEOSC 440Marine Geology3
GEOSC 452Hydrogeology3
METEO 451Introduction to Physical Oceanography3
PLANT 217Landscape Soil and Water Management3
WFS 422Ecology of Fishes3
WFS/ERM 435Limnology3
Human Settlements

This specialization examines human settlement patterns and their interaction with the environment. Particular emphasis is placed on patterns of development, human movement and migration patterns, as well as environmental impacts. As population increases worldwide, land is increasingly taxed beyond proper capacity. Zoning regulations, suburban sprawl, and uneven settlement that replaces fertile agricultural land have all become major issues within the policy spectrum that must be dealt with to ensure a positive future for the entire world population.

AMST 50The Literature and Lore of Mining Keystone/General Education Course3
ANTH 45NCultural Diversity: A Global Perspective Keystone/General Education Course3
ARCH 316Analysis of Human Settlements: Cities Keystone/General Education Course3
BIOL 120N3
CED 230Development Issues in the Global Context3
CED 309Land Economics and Policy3
CED 409Land Use Planning and Procedure3
CED 4313
COMM/STS 408Cultural Foundations of Communications3
COMM 411Cultural Aspects of the Mass Media3
EARTH 101Natural Disasters: Hollywood vs. Reality Keystone/General Education Course3
EARTH 106The African Continent: Earthquakes, Tectonics and Geology Keystone/General Education Course3
ENGL 88Australian/New Zealand Cultural Perspectives Keystone/General Education Course3
ENGL 402Literature and Society3
FDSC/PHIL 2803
GEOG 20Human Geography: An Introduction Keystone/General Education Course3
GEOG 333Human Dimensions of Natural Hazards3
GEOG 436Ecology, Economy, and Society3
GEOSC 109HEarthquakes and Society Keystone/General Education Course3
LARCH 60Cultural History of Designed Places Keystone/General Education Course3
LARCH 65Built Environment and Culture: Examining the Modern City Keystone/General Education Course3
METEO 4Weather and Risk Keystone/General Education Course3
NUTR 497Special Topics1-9
SOILS 71Environmental Sustainability Keystone/General Education Course3
TURF 425Turfgrass Cultural Systems3
WFS/ERM 450Wetland Conservation3
Energy Resources

This specialization offers a glimpse into the emerging technology that exists in the energy sector. As the worldwide supply of fossil fuels diminishes, and the demand for those fuels increases, new energy technology must be developed to power our planet. In recent years, energy sustainability and the use of infinite resources have been considered serious options for the first time. Thus, this cluster option employs an interdisciplinary strategy with the goal of educating individuals on a broad range of emerging technologies in relation to energy resources.

CED 201Introductory Environmental and Resource Economics3
CED 429Natural Resource Economics3
CED 4313
CED 450International Development, Renewable Resources, and the Environment3
EGEE/MATSE 101Energy and the Environment Keystone/General Education Course3
EGEE 102Energy Conservation for Environmental Protection Keystone/General Education Course3
EGEE 401Energy in a Changing World3
EGEE 464WEnergy Design Project3
EMSC 101Resource Wars3
EMSC/STS 150Out of the Fiery Furnace Keystone/General Education Course3
GEOSC 451Natural Resources: Origins, Economics and Environmental Impact3
MATSE 81Materials in Today's World Keystone/General Education Course3
 

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.

READ SENATE POLICY 32-00: ADVISING POLICY

University Park

Jodi Vender
Undergraduate Advising Coordinator
305 Walker Building
University Park, PA 16802
814-863-5730
advising@geog.psu.edu

Brandywine

Laura Guertin
Professor of Earth Sciences
25 Yearsley Mill Road
Media, PA 19063
610-892-1427
uxg3@psu.edu

Career Paths

The environment provides many exciting, interesting, and satisfying career choices stretching across a tremendous range of fields and disciplines. Working in the environmental field is rewarding because you can contribute to the maintenance and conservation of essential life systems necessary for our human survival.

Careers

Students in the Environmental Inquiry Minor are well-positioned to find employment with diverse organizations spanning business, government, and nonprofit sectors. Such organizations may include (but are not limited to): American Red Cross, Amnesty International, Conservation International, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Heifer International, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Park Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. State Department, local, regional, and state planning agencies, environmental and engineering consulting firms, policy research institutes, private corporations, and humanitarian organizations.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT POTENTIAL CAREER OPTIONS FOR GRADUATES WITH A MINOR IN ENVIRONMENTAL INQUIRY

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

A minor in Environmental Inquiry is useful for students who are interested in pursuing graduate degrees in the environmental and social sciences. Alumni enter graduate and professional studies in a variety of programs, including (but not limited to) geography, planning, international development, urban studies, sustainability, environmental sciences, ecology, public policy, emergency management, and law. They sometimes begin graduate or professional programs directly after finishing undergraduate studies, but often get several years' work experience before returning to school, either full-or part-time.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRADUATE STUDIES

Contact

University Park

DEPARTMENT OF GEOGRAPHY
302 Walker Building
University Park, PA 16802
814-865-3433
geography@psu.edu

http://www.envi.psu.edu

Brandywine

ACADEMIC AFFAIRS
25 Yearsley Mill Road
Media, PA 19063
610-892-1427
uxg3@psu.edu

http://brandywine.psu.edu/environmental-inquiry