2019-2020 Course Catalog

Environmental Science

The Environmental Science BS major provides students with an interdisciplinary, scientific perspective to help them develop an evidence-based approach to environmental challenges. Foundational courses in biology, chemistry, ecology, hydrology, climate science, and geology are coupled with skills-based courses (statistics, GIS) and labs that prepare them for jobs in the public, private, or nonprofit sectors or for further graduate study.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the major, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the broad range of environmental science disciplines and their contribution to our understanding of environmental issues
  • Apply evidence-based scientific theory, concepts, and processes to propose creative, sustainable, and productive solutions to environmental challenges
  • Understand and use analytical approaches to environmental tasks, including statistical, geospatial, and laboratory skill sets
  • Effectively identify problems, generate testable hypotheses, design and document repeatable experiments, analyze data, and assess the implications of their findings
  • Communicate scientific ideas and data in clear, precise, and understandable written, oral, and graphic formats


+Major Requirements

65 credits, including:

SUS201 Integrative Biology

This course will introduce traditional biological concepts from molecules to organisms within an integrative and applied framework. Students will learn the interdisciplinary nature and common approaches of biology through applied topics relevant to sustainability such as human and ecological health, freshwater and marine fisheries, energy sources, and climate dynamics.

SUS201L Integrative Biology Lab

Laboratory exercises including data collection, small-scale experimentation, data modeling, and simulation will be experienced to complement the material covered in SUS 201. Two hours of laboratory will be held per week at the Eden Hall Campus aquatic science lab. Additional Fee(s): Laboratory fees = S50.

SUS202 Dynamic Earth Systems

The earth is a dynamic, evolving system. This course provides an introduction to earth's formation, its materials composition and distribution, and the processes of the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere that interact to shape surface and subsurface features and conditions. The complex adaptive systems framework will be applied.

SUS2xx GIS (3)
SUS301 Global Change Science

The climate system of Earth is rapidly changing due to complex and interacting phenomena. This course offers an in-depth investigation of the science behind climate change, including a survey of model forecasts. Emphasis will also include the current and projected consequences of climate change on natural resources.

ENV147 Environmental Geology

Fundamental earth science concepts are used to assess the impact of increasing global population and development on the Earth’s natural resources as well as to examine how natural processes interact with human activities. Aspects of environmental geology that are particularly applicable to western Pennsylvania are emphasized. Three hours lecture and two hours lab per week. Additional Fee(s): Laboratory fee.

ENV147L Lab: Environmental Geology

Lab: Environmental Geology

ENV327 Writing about Environmental Science

This course is designed for students with some basic scientific skills, who might become scientists professionally, but all of whom will be communicating about science, often to non-scientists. In this course, we will read, discuss, and practice a variety of methods of communicating about environmental science, from popular culture to news to government reports. Students will competently translate scientific results into written journalistic English and will be able to evaluate scientific results from the news in terms of its scientific accuracy and clarity. Cross-listed as ENG327.

ENV3xx Hydrology (3)
INTENV303 Internship - Environmental Studies

Internship - Environmental Studies

ENV451 Soil Science

Study of soils as natural bodies, media for plant growth, and ecosystem components. Topics include soil morphology and characteristics, composition, formation, conservation, and soil erosion. Physical, chemical, and biological properties of soils are related to the production of plants, the functioning of hydrologic and nutrient cycles, and the protection of environmental quality. Cross-listed as LNS 551

ENV490 Capstone (4)
BIO224 Botany

An introduction to the structure and function of plants. Topics include the evolutionary rise of green plants, plant life cycles and development, plant physiology, plant ecology, and the morphology and taxonomy of vascular plants. The importance of plants fro humans is discussed, including their use for food and medicine. Three hours of lecture per week.

BIO224L Lab: Botany

Experiments to complement the material presented in BIO224. Four hours of laboratory or field experience per week. Corequisite: BIO224. Additional Fee(s): Laboratory fees.

BIO248 Ecology

A study of the interrelation between organisms and their environment. Three hours of lecture per week.

BIO248LW Lab: Ecology

Experiments to complement the material presented in BIO248. Four hours of laboratory or field experience per week. Corequisite: BIO248. Additional Fee (s): Laboratory fee.

BIO303 Applied and Environmental Microbiology

This course will focus on the importance of microorganisms in environmental and industrial processes, and the role of scientific research in finding solutions to applied problems. Areas that will be covered include basic microbiology, soil and water microbiology, agricultural and food microbiology, and public health microbiology.

CHM107 Chemistry I

This class begins with a study of atomic structure, then expands to cover chemical naming, patterns of reactivity, thermochemistry, the interaction of light and matter, atomic orbitals, ionic and covalent bonding, and molecular shapes. This class concludes with an introduction to organic chemistry and biochemistry. Three hours of lecture per week. Co-requisite: CHM 109

CHM109L Chemistry I Laboratory

Introduction to the basic experimental procedures and laboratory techniques in chemistry. Experiments are correlated with the lectures in Chemistry 105 and Chemistry 107. Three hours of laboratory per week. Corequisite: CHM 105 or 107. Additional Fee(s): Laboratory fee.

CHM108 Chemistry II

The second semester of general chemistry continues exploring the structure, properties, and bonding of atoms and molecules, with emphasis on the physical characteristics of gases, liquids, solids and solutions, chemical equilibria, thermodynamics, and kinetics. Three hours of lecture per week.

CHM110L Chemistry II Laboratory

Continued introduction to the basic experimental procedures and laboratory techniques in chemistry. Experiments are correlated with lectures in Chemistry 108. Three hours of laboratory per week. Corequisite: CHM 108. Additional Fee(s): Laboratory fee.

CHM205 Organic Chemistry I

Development of the structural theory of organic compounds. Relationship of structure to reactivity, stereochemistry, types of organic reactive intermediates, and the chemistry of alkanes, alkenes, and aromatic compounds are covered. Three hours of lecture per week. Co-requisite: CHM 215.

CHM215L Elementary Organic Laboratory

Basic manipulative skills, including introduction to several chromatographic techniques, are followed by chemistry of alkenes and aromatic compounds. Four hours of laboratory per week. Additional Fee(s): Laboratory fee.

MTH110 Elementary Statistics

Topics include statistical measures and distributions, decision making under uncertainty, application of probability to statistical inference, linear correlation, introduction to nonparametric statistical methods, and application to problems drawn from the natural and social sciences. Three hours of class per week. Three hours of class per week.

IND350W Scientific Research Methods

This course serves as an introduction to research literature and research methodology in the sciences. Topics include professional writing, experimental design, presentation techniques, and professional and research ethics. Credit is not given for both IND350W and EXS301W.

AND one restrictive elective:
SUS305 Environmental Toxicology

To be determined

CHM443 Environmental Chemistry

This course is an advanced study of the chemical principles underlying common environmental problems. It aims to deepen the student's knowledge of chemistry and its role in the environment and shows the power of chemistry as a tool to help us comprehend the changing world around us. Three hours of lecture per week. Cross-listed as ENV 443.



Robert Lettan

Department Chair


(412) 365 - 1222