Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Environmental Science (ENV)

Professor: Newman (Coordinator)
Assistant Professor: Rieck
Lecturer: Kaunert

The interdisciplinary Environmental Science major may be applied to either the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Sciences degrees. The program prepares students with the background necessary to obtain internships and employment with government agencies, educational institutions, research and conservation non-profit organizations, as well as graduate coursework in numerous interdisciplinary environmental and sustainability programs.

Major Requirements

The B.A. Degree

To complete the major, students must complete BIO 110, 111, 224; ENV 200, 220; CHEM 122/123, 124/125, one course from CHEM 219, 222/223, or 232; three courses from Group 1 and two courses from Group 2.

Group 1: Natural Science electives (choose three):

BIO 225 Plant Sciences
BIO 325 Microbial Ecology
BIO 328 Aquatic Biology
BIO 329 Tropical Marine Biology
BIO 334 Invertebrate Zoology
BIO 336 Vertebrate Biology
BIO 342 Animal Behavior
BIO 430 Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates
BIO 436 Evolution
ENV 215 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
ENV 445 Ecology and Environmental Research Methods

Group 2: Non-Natural Science electives (choose two with different prefixes):

ANTH 103 Cultural Anthropology
ANTH 232 Environmental Anthropology
BUS 200 The Business of Energy
BUS 228 Marketing Principles
BUS 300 Business and Society
ECON 225 Environmental and Resource Economics
ENGL 337 Environmental Literature
HIST 200 Energy, Security, and Global Competition
PHIL 130 Introduction to Philosophy of Science
PHIL 333 Philosophy of Natural Science
PSCI 260 Globalization and Sustainable Development

Juniors and seniors are required to successfully complete four semesters of BIO 349/449 (non-credit colloquium) and complete the capstone experiences described below. Enrollment in student teaching and/or other similar off-campus academic experiences will be accepted by the department in lieu of that semester’s colloquium requirement.

Seniors must also complete the capstone experiences described below.

The B.S. Degree

To earn the B.S. degree, Environmental Science majors must complete the major described above and pass three additional courses chosen in any combination from the following:
BIO 222 or above
CHEM 200 or above
CPTR 125 or above
ENV 215 or above
MATH 127 or above
PHYS 225 or above

Capstone Requirements

In order to graduate, all environmental science majors must demonstrate to the Department their command of environmental science by meeting the following two criteria:

  1. Practical Experience: All students must complete at least one of the experiences in the following list: Internship, Practicum, ENV 445, Relevant Summer Experience, Independent Studies, Honors, Teaching Semester, Environmental Science Laboratory Assistant, Environmental Science-related volunteer work (Summer experiences, environmental science-related volunteer work, or working as a lab assistant must be approved by the program coordinator in order to be used to meet this requirement).
  2. Research & Presentation Component: All junior and senior majors are required to successfully complete Biology Colloquia (BIO 349/449) during all their semesters on campus. Students will research an environmental science topic and make an oral presentation at the Biology Colloquium during their final year. This will demonstrate information literacy in the environmental sciences.

Writing Courses

A list of courses that, when scheduled as W courses, count toward the Writing Requirement, can be found on the Registrar’s website and in the GENERAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS section of the catalog.

Minor Requirements

A minor in Environmental Science consists of BIO 110 or CHEM 122/123, BIO 111, ECON 225, ENV 200 and 220, and one additional BIO or ENV course numbered 215 or higher.

A broad summary of the physical nature of the Earth, including its internal structure, surface processes, and natural resources. Topics may include how processes such as weathering/erosion through forces such as wind, water, landslides, and glaciers shape the earth and how internal forces such as plate tectonics cause earthquakes and volcanoes. Four hours of lecture per week. Alternate years.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is the science of linking data of various types to locations in order to explore spatial patterns and processes. While GIS applications can be used to create maps, this course focuses on tools for spatial analysis. The course covers basic approaches that use spatial data to identify locations and pathways in landscapes and to summarize characteristics of locations for basic and applied purposes. Students learn about the spatial and non-spatial data used in GIS analysis, how projections and coordinate systems affect analysis, and how to summarize spatial relationships. Many examples and topics stem from ecology and environmental science, but approaches include applications for students in public policy, anthropology, archaeology, and any discipline that requires analyses of spatial data. Four hours of lecture and three one-hour labs per week. Not recommended for first-year students.

Provides an introduction to principles and concepts of contemporary environmental problems. The effects of human population on the earth’s resources are studied against a background of principles in ecology and sustainability. Course material includes topics such as availability of food, processing of solid waste, alternative energy, clean water, and green infrastructure. Four hours of lecture and one three-hour laboratory per week.

Focuses on the principles, theories, and methods of research in the ecological and environmental sciences. Students meet three times per week to discuss research approaches, data management, experimental design, methodologies, and data analysis. Each student designs and conducts a field- or lab-based experiment that can be supervised by any member of the biology faculty. Each student prepares a research proposal, an oral presentation, a poster presentation, and a scholarly manuscript. Three one-hour seminars and six to eight hours of laboratory work per week.


Departmental studies are experimentally oriented and may entail either lab or field work.