Environmental Studies Major:
15 courses and an internship or research experience for transcript notation.
All majors take the core curriculum consisting of 111 or 215, 131, 132 (or 130), 222, 330, 335 or 340, 406, ECON 100 or 111, and MATH 121. Environmental Studies majors must then take an additional lab science
and five courses which form a focus thematic concentration concerning a particular challenge in environmental studies (e.g., sustainable development, watershed management, energy policy).
In addition, majors will be required to do an internship or research experience for transcript notation.
Environmental Science Major:
All majors take the core curriculum consisting of 111 or 215, 131, 132 (or 130), 222, 330, 335 or 340, 406, and ECON 111. An Environmental Science major must also develop, in consultation with her or his academic advisor, a theme consisting of eight additional courses. The theme courses must be courses in the natural sciences, computer science, or mathematics that concern a particular challenge in environmental science (e.g., climate change, effects of pollution on human health, ecological restoration). Required theme courses, which must be chosen for their relevance to the theme topic, are listed below:
At least one biology course numbered 300 or above;
At least one mathematics course;
At least one of these pairs of physical science courses:
CHEM 131, 132
CHEM 141 and another chemistry course that requires CHEM 141 as a prerequisite, including ERSC 331(Chemistry of Earth Systems)
At least two of these integrative courses from different departments:
BIOL 314 (Ecology)
BIOL 324 (Plant Geography and Ecology)
ENST 310 (Topics in Environmental Science), when approved by the department
ENST 335 (Management and Analysis of the Aquatic Environment) or ENST 340 (Forest Ecology and Applications), as long as it is not also counted in the core curriculum
ERSC 220 (Environmental Geology)
ERSC 221 (Oceanography)
ERSC 307 (Paleontology)
PHYS 314 (Energy and Environmental Physics)
And other courses as approved by the department.
The following five courses: 111 OR 215, 131, 132 or 130, 222, 406 and one of the following three courses: 330, 335 or 340.
IMPORTANT: If you intend to pursue an ENST minor, please notify the Department Chair and the Department Coordinator, Deb Peters, to ensure that you receive priority for the ENST courses.
Suggested curricular flow through the major
The Environmental Studies and Science Department offers two separate degree programs, a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a B.S. in Environmental Science. In addition, many of its required courses are provided by other departments and programs as part of its interdisciplinary emphasis. As a result, it is very hard to provide a specific template or common plan of year-to-year progress through the major. It is thus VERY IMPORTANT for students to contact the department, the department chair, their academic advisor (especially their major advisor in ES), and their ES professors for advice and information about their ES program.
In addition, our website provides a wealth of specific details about the program.
Especially valuable are the print-out sheets that provide a course-by-course breakdown for each of the two majors:
- The Environmental Studies Major (B.A.): Environmental Studies Major Worksheet
- The Environmental Science Major (B.S.): Environmental Science Major Worksheet
The distinction of Honors in Environmental Science and Environmental Studies is awarded by the Department to graduating seniors who have met the requisite academic standards. These include completion of a two-credit independent research project under faculty guidance and maintenance of a minimum GPA of 3.4 in all courses required or applied toward the major. The student's final GPA must be certified at the end of the Senior year just prior to graduation.
The honors project must have both oral and written components. The oral components consist of presentations at department seminars, a professional conference and before a faculty review committee consisting of selected Environmental Studies Department Faculty and the Faculty Research Advisor. The written component may be done with acknowledged assistance from the Faculty Research Advisor and must demonstrate deep understanding of the context and implications of the research.
Detailed guidelines for department honors are available on the department website and through the Department Chairperson.
The B.A. degree in Environmental Studies requires majors to complete transcript notation for an internship or research experience. There are many opportunities for such both on campus and in the Carlisle/Harrisburg community. Students often complete this requirement during the summer break as well.
Opportunities for off-campus study
Environmental Studies students are encouraged to participate in the following programs abroad: School for Field Studies, where students can participate in a field-based integrated environmental studies curriculum in one of five locations around the world; the Dickinson Science Program in Norwich, England, where environmental studies and science majors can take courses at an internationally-known environmental science center at the University of East Anglia; the Semester in Environmental Science at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where students can participate in a rigorous field-based program in aquatic sciences; and the Dickinson Program in Queensland, Australia, which offers a wide variety of excellent Environmental Studies and Science courses. Information on many other opportunities for Environmental Studies students is available at the Center for Global Study and Engagement.
The Environmental Studies department has numerous employment, internship, and research opportunities in our two major community outreach co-curricular programs: The Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM) and the College Farm. Detailed information on these programs can be found on the department website.
Students majoring in Environmental Studies or Environmental Science also often find employment, internship, and research opportunities with the Center for Sustainability Education.
111 Environment, Culture & Values
A study of the effects of scientific, religious, and philosophical values on human attitudes toward the environment and how these attitudes may affect our way of life. By focusing on a particular current topic, and by subjecting the basis of our behavior in regard to that topic to careful criticism, alternative models of behavior are considered together with changes in lifestyle and consciousness that these may involve.
This course fulfills the Division I.a. distribution requirement.
130 Introduction to Environmental Science: Energy, Waste, and Human Health
An integrated, interdisciplinary study of environmental disruption and management where the application of natural science principles informs an understanding of human-environmental interaction. Emphasis will be on the study of energy procurement and use, waste management, and human population dynamics and environmental health. Field study includes travel to industrial, mining, and agribusiness sites. Laboratory work includes using public databases for documentation of toxic releases and human health effects; and the generation, measurement, and use of renewable energy resources.
Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week. Offered in Spring semester.
131 Introduction to Environmental Science: Natural Ecosystems and Human Disruption
An integrated, interdisciplinary study of natural environmental systems and human impact on them. Basic concepts of ecology, such as biogeochemical materials cycling, energy flow, biotic interactions, and ecosystem regulation will be examined and utilized to study natural resource management, population dynamics, loss of biodiversity, and environmental pollution. Field study, including measurement of parameters in natural aquatic and terrestrial systems, data analysis, and data interpretation will be emphasized.
Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week. Offered in Fall semester.
132 Foundations of Environmental Science
An integrated, interdisciplinary study of environmental disruption and management. Emphasis will be on the study of energy procurement, waste management, and human environmental health. Field study includes travel to industrial, mining, and agribusiness sites. Laboratory work includes using federal databases for documentation of toxic releases and human health effects and the generation, measurement, and use of renewable energy resources. This course is designed for students with a special interest in Environmental Studies and will focus on quantitative and qualitative methods for environmental analysis and critical thinking in preparation for future study.
Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week. Prerequisites: 131, OR, one course in BIOL, CHEM, ERSC, or PHYS, OR, AP credit in one of these areas. Offered in Spring semester.
151 History of Environment
Examines the interaction between humans and the natural environment in long-term global context. Explores the problem of sustainable human uses of world environments in various societies from prehistory to the present. Also serves as an introduction to the subfield of environmental history, which integrates evidence from various scientific disciplines with traditional documentary and oral sources. Topics include: environmental effects of human occupation, the origins of agriculture, colonial encounters, industrial revolution, water and politics, natural resource frontiers, and diverse perceptions of nature.
This course is cross-listed as HIST 151. This course fulfills the DIV II social sciences distribution requirement.
202 Energy Resources
The study of the origin, geologic occurrence, and distribution of petroleum, natural gas, coal, and uranium. Discussions include the evaluation and exploitation, economics, law, and the environmental impact of these resources and their alternatives, including geothermal, wind, solar, tidal, and ocean thermal power.
Prerequisites: Any DIV III lab science (not MATH). This course is cross-listed as ENST 202. Offered every other year.
206 American Environmental History
Examines the interaction between humans and the natural environment in the history of North America. Explores the problem of sustainable human uses of the North American environment from the pre-colonial period to the present. Also serves as an introduction to the subfield of environmental history, which integrates evidence from various scientific disciplines with traditional documentary and oral sources. Topics include: American Indian uses of the environment, colonial frontiers, agricultural change, industrialization, urbanization, westward expansion, the Progressive-Era conservation movement, changes in lifestyle and consumption including their increasingly global impact, shifts in environmental policy, and the rise of the post-World War II environmental movement.
This course is cross-listed as HIST 206. This course fulfills the DIV II social sciences distribution requirement.
214 Ecological Anthropology
An examination of human adaption to changing environments with an emphasis on systems analysis. Special attention to development and current environmental problems.
This course is cross-listed as ENST 214. This course fulfills the DIV II social sciences distribution requirement. Offered every other year.
215 Jewish Environmental Ethics
Since the 1960's many writers on environmental issues have blamed our contemporary enviornmental crises in part on a so-called "Judeo-Christian" worldview, rooted in the Hebrew Bible. Such writers assert that the biblical heritage shared by these two religious traditions, advocates an unhealthy relationship between humanity and nature, one in which human beings are destined to conquer the earth and master it. In this course we will explore Jewish perspectives on nature and the natural world through close readings of biblical and other classical Jewish theology, history and ritual practice, we will also examine the ways in which this motif is re-conceptualized in modern secular contexts (ie, Zionism, and the kibbutz movement). We will conclude by studying contemporary varieties of Jewish environmental advocacy. In addition to texts focused specifically on Judeo-Christian traditions, the syllabus will include other classic works of Environmental ethics foundational to the field of Environmentla studies.
Offered every three years in rotation with the offering of ENST 111. This course is cross-listed as RELG 215 and ENST 215.
218 Geographic Information Systems
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a powerful technology for managing, analyzing, and visualizing spatial data and geographically-referenced information. It is used in a wide variety of fields including archaeology, agriculture, business, defense and intelligence, education, government, health care, natural resource management, public safety, transportation, and utility management. This course provides a fundamental foundation of theoretical and applied skills in GIS technology that will enable students to investigate and make reasoned decisions regarding spatial issues. Utilizing GIS software applications from Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), students work on a progression of tasks and assignments focused on GIS data collection, manipulation, anaylsis, output and presentation. The course will culminate in a final, independent project in which the students design and perepare a GIS analysis application of their own choosing.
Three hours of classroom and three hours of laboratory per week. This course is cross-listed as ERSC 218 and ARCH 218. This course fulfills the QR distribution requirement.
220 Environmental Geology
A survey of humankind's interaction with the physical environment focusing on geologic processes. The importance of geologic materials such as soils, sediments and bedrock, and natural resources will be discussed in the context of world population. Natural hazards (floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, coastal erosion, and landslides) will be studied to understand how we can minimize their threat. Land use and abuse including natural resource exploitation and pollution will be discussed in the context of geologic information for proper land-use planning. Labs will emphasize field study of environmental problems in the Cumberland Valley.
Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory per week. Prerequisite: 141 or 142 OR ENST 131or 132 or 130. This course is cross-listed as ENST 220. This course fulfills the QR graduation requirement.
An interdisciplinary introduction to the marine environment, including the chemistry of seawater, the physics of currents, water masses and waves, the geology of ocean basins, marine sediments and coastal features, and the biology of marine ecosystems. Topics include the theory of plate tectonics as an explanation for ocean basins, mid-ocean ridges, trenches, and island arcs. The interaction of man as exploiter and polluter in the marine environment is also considered.
Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory per week. Prerequisite: One introductory science course (not MATH). This course is cross-listed as ENST 221. This course fulfills the QR graduation requirement. Offered every other year.
222 Environmental Economics
A study of human production and consumption activities as they affect the natural and human environmental systems and as they are affected by those systems. The economic behavioral patterns associated with the market economy are scrutinized in order to reveal the biases in the decision-making process which may contribute to the deterioration of the resource base and of the quality of life in general. External costs and benefits, technological impacts, limits to economic growth, and issues of income and wealth distribution are examined. A range of potential policy measures, some consistent with our life style and some not, are evaluated.
Prerequisite: ECON 100 or 111. This course is cross-listed as ECON 222.
230 International Environmental Challenges
Environmental problems, human perceptions of environmental problems, and approaches to solving environmental problems differ around the world. This course will compare environmental challenges in different countries and examine the factors that make each country's environmental situation unique. The international nature of many environmental problems and their solutions will also be explored.
Prerequisite: Two natural science courses or permission of the instructor.
260 Energy and the Environment
A lecture course on the role of conventional and alternative energy sources, nuclear energy, and nuclear weapons in modern society. Topics may include the relationship of scientific principles to an understanding of the greenhouse effect, the thinning of the ozone layer, the disposal of nuclear waste, and the technology, effects, and proliferation of nuclear weapons.
This course fulfills the QR graduation requirement.
310 Special Topics in Environmental Science
An interdisciplinary intermediate-level approach to the study of environmental problems and policy analysis. The course is project-oriented, with students bringing the experience and perspective of their own disciplinary major to bear on a team approach to the analysis and proposed resolution of an environmental problem. Topics vary depending on faculty and student interests, and on the significance of current affairs.
Three hours of classroom and three hours of laboratory a week. Prerequisite: Dependent upon topic or permission of instructor.
311 Special Topics in Environmental Studies
An interdisciplinary course on special environmental studies topics to be offered on the basis of faculty interest, need, and demand. Recent topics have included loss of biodiversity, sustainable agriculture, forests, air pollution, and climate change.
No laboratory. Prerequisite: Dependent upon topic or permission of the instructor.
314 Ecology w/Lab
Study of the interactions of organisms with each other, and with their environment, at the level of the individual, the population, the community, and the ecosystem. Lectures and readings consider both the theory of ecology and data from empirical research in the classic and current literature. Laboratory and field studies explore how ecologists perform quantitative tests of hypotheses about complex systems in nature.
Six hours classroom a week. Prerequisites: two Biology courses numbered between 120 and 129 or ENST 131, 132 (or 130). This course is cross-listed as ENST 314.
318 Advanced Applications in GIS
The course is intended as a continuation of the introductory course on Geographic Information Systems, 218, and will concentrate on more advanced discussions and techniques related to spatial analysis and GIS project design. The main focus of the course will be on using higher-level GIS methods to investigate and analyze spatial problems of varying complexity; however, the specific project and topical applications will vary depending on student interests. Students will be required to develop and complete an individual spatial analysis project that incorporates advanced GIS techniques.
Prerequisite: ENST 218 or ERSC 218 or ARCH 218 or equivalent GIS experience. Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory per week. This course is cross-listed as ERSC 318 and ARCH 318. Offered every two years.
An in-depth study of the interrelationships of geologic materials and processes with the occurrence, distribution, movement, and chemistry of water on and near the earth's surface. Topics include the hydrologic cycle; recharge, flow, and discharge of groundwater in aquifers; groundwater quality, contamination, development, management, and remediation. Practical experience will be gained in siting, drilling, testing, and monitoring water wells at the college's water well field laboratory.
Prerequisite: 220. This course is cross-listed as ENST 320. This course fulfills the QR graduation requirement. Offered every two years.
322 Plant Systematics w/Lab
A systematic survey of the plant kingdom through the collection and study of living plants. Frequent field trips are conducted as weather permits. An herbarium of named plants is prepared. Emphasis will be placed on the diverse features of plants which permit effective study of fundamental biologal problems.
Six hours classroom a week. Prerequisites: two Biology courses numbered between 120 and 129 or ENST 131, 132 (or 130). This course is cross-listed as ENST 322.
330 Environmental Policy
This course examines the effect of environmental policies on environmental quality, human health and/or the use of natural resources at local, national and international levels. It considers the ways scientific knowledge, economic incentives and social values merge to determine how environmental problems and solutions are defined, how risks are assessed and how and why decisions are made. The course examines a range of tools, processes and patterns inherent in public policy responses and covers issues ranging from air and water pollution and toxic and solid waste management to energy use, climate change and biodiversity protection. A combination of lectures, case studies, and field trips will be used.
Prerequisite: 131 and 132 or 130, or permission of instructor. This course fulfills the WR graduation requirement.
332 Natural History of Vertebrates
An exploration into the lifestyles of vertebrates heavily focused on field biology. Natural history is strongly dependant on descriptive anatomy and systematics and therefore this course will cover the evolutionary relationships among vertebrates highlighting unique features that facilitated the success of the major groups. In field labs, students will develop observational skills such as how to identify a bird by its song, a frog by its call, a mammal by the color of its pelage, and a snake by its shed skin. Indoor labs will focus on identifying species from preserved specimens as well as providing students with the skills necessary to preserve vertebrates for future study. Preservation methods could include preparing museum-quality mammal and bird skins, formalin fixation of fish, and skeletal preparations.
Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week. Prerequisite: two BIOL courses numbered between 120 and 129 OR ENST 131, 132 (or 130) OR ERSC 307. This course is cross-listed as BIOL 332. Offered every two years.
335 Analysis and Management of the Aquatic Environment
An interdisciplinary study of the aquatic environment, with a focus on the groundwater and surface waters of the Chesapeake Bay drainage basin. This course provides a scientific introduction to the dynamics of rivers, lakes, wetlands, and estuarine systems as well as an appreciation of the complexity of the political and social issues involved in the sustainable use of these aquatic resources. Students conduct an original, cooperative, field-based research project on a local aquatic system that will involve extensive use of analytical laboratory and field equipment. Extended field trips to sample freshwater and estuarine systems and to observe existing resource management practices are conducted.
Three hours classroom and four hours laboratory a week. Generally offered in the fall in a two-year alternating sequence with 340.
340 Forest Ecology & Applications
An exploration of the structure and function of forests with a focus on trees. Levels of organization from organs to the biosphere are considered. A set of topics, such as leaf-atmosphere interactions, whole-tree physiology, stand dynamics, energy flows, and biogeochemical cycles, are examined in depth. The effects of human interventions in forests are considered as these provide insights into the processes operating within forests. The course includes quantitative analysis and a substantial field component.
Three hours lecture and four hours laboratory each week. Prerequisite: Any combination of two courses from among the 100-level BIOL courses and ENST 131, 132 or 130. This course is cross-listed as BIOL 320. Generally offered in the fall alternating with 335.
348 Computer Simulation Modeling
Computer simulation modeling is a way to develop scientific understanding. A key element of computational science, computer simulation modeling is the representation of systems with mathematics; computers do the mathematical calculation. This course considers biological, chemical, and physical systems, with interdisciplinary applications in environmental science and other fields. For the course project, students model systems related to their individual interests. No experience with computer programming or calculus is required.
Six hours of integrated lecture and laboratory each week. Prerequisites: Any three courses in natural science and/or mathematics. This course is cross-listed as BIOL 348. This course fulfills the lab-science distribution requirement.
406 Seminar in Adv Top in Env St
A keystone seminar designed to integrate and apply students' past coursework, internships, and other educational experiences, and to provide a basis for future professional and academic endeavors. The course format varies depending on faculty and student interests, and scholarly concerns in the field. Course components may include developing written and oral presentations, reading and discussing primary literature, and defining and performing individual or group research. Students in this course will be particularly responsible for acquiring and disseminating knowledge. This course is not equivalent to an independent study or independent research course.
Prerequisite: Senior standing or permission of the instructor. Normally offered in Spring semester.
The following course is offered during Summer School only.
110 Wild Resource Management
This course will examine the management of natural resources (the manipulation of the environment to achieve human goals) at the state, national, and global levels. The course will examine natural resource management in Pennsylvania by studying the role of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources as managers of Pennsylvania's 17 million acres of state forest and park land. The course will also examine the nature of wildlife management conducted by the Game Commission and the Fish and Boat Commission. These state management practices and policies will be compared with national and global trends. Other topics will include: soil resources, farming technologies, water resources, and the current political controversy over water and wetlands at the state and federal levels. Other issues pertaining to natural resources will be discussed as appropriate.