Environmental Science/Environmental Studies Curriculum
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 Four Year Program
First Year: 131, 132; ECON 100 or 111
Second Year: 111 and 222; MATH 121; 335 or 340
Third Year: Thematic concentration courses (on campus or abroad); additional lab science; 330
Fourth Year: 406; thematic concentration courses; internship
First Year: 131,132; ECON 111
Second Year: 222; 335 or 340; PHYS 131 and 132, OR PHYS 141 and 142; CHEM 131 and 132 OR CHEM 141 and another Chemistry course that requires 141 as a prerequisite; one Math course
Third Year: one Biology course numbered 300 or above; other theme requirement courses (on campus or abroad); 111
Fourth Year: 330 and 406; other theme requirement courses
NOTE: Students considering either major are advised to consult with a member of the Environmental Studies Department. Since courses listed for any term may be offered at the same time or not offered due to faculty availability, it is essential to be flexible in planning and choosing courses. To minimize problems, satisfy major and distribution requirements as early as possible.
The ENST Department encourages students who demonstrate maturity, motivation and academic preparedness to undertake independent research and independent study projects, as well as student/faculty collaborative research.
Independent study allows a student to pursue an academic interest outside the listed course offerings. The study may include experimental (lab or field) work, library research and reading, and may culminate in several short papers, a single paper, or any other project acceptable to the supervising faculty member and the student.
Independent research, like independent study, allows a student to pursue an academic interest outside the listed course offerings, but it involves primary research which has the potential to yield new knowledge. Typically the results of independent research are presented at a professional conference, regional meeting, or other public forum.
Student/Faculty Collaborative Research allows a student to conduct original research in close partnership with faculty collaborator(s). The project should be designed as an investigation yielding novel results that contribute to the area of study. With the faculty collaborator(s), students will develop the project and participate in all aspects of the research.
Students interested in pursuing independent study, independent research or student/faculty collaborative research should make arrangements with supervising faculty no later than the course request period.
Honors in the Major
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.
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.
ALLARM:The Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM) is a department-sponsored professional organization that partners with Pennsylvania communities who are working to document and mitigate the effects of water pollution through volunteer-based water quality monitoring programs. Founded in 1986 by Professor Candie Wilderman, ALLARM is staffed by Dickinson students under the supervision of the Director, Julie Vastine and Assistant Director Jinnie Woodward. ALLARM staff provide technical support, training and assistance to community-based watershed organizations. Staff are responsible for water quality training assistance, development of laboratory and field sampling protocols, maintenance of a quality control/quality assurance program, publicity, community presentations, office management, data management, data analysis and interpretation, and publication of a newsletter. ALLARM also supports the academic curriculum by providing opportunities for community-based research and course work. Contact Julie Vastine, email@example.com, Director of ALLARM, for internship and employment opportunities.
Dickinson College Farm: The Dickinson College Farm was started in 2007 to address the growing interest in sustainable agriculture and renewable energy on campus. The College farm is an expansion of the Student Garden (started in 1999) and continues to increase campus and community awareness on issues relating to food, health, and alternative energy. The Dickinson College Farm is located on 30 acres in the town of Boiling Springs, just six miles from campus. Students work with farm staff to raise produce for the College dining hall through field work and greenhouse production. The farm employs organic agricultural practices to ensure sustained land stewardship, as well as to support the area's biodiversity. In addition to its focus on food production for campus use, the farm serves as a living laboratory for students, faculty and local community. The farm supports academic interests through student and faculty research, hosting labs and field trips, as well as serving as an off-campus class site. For more information on this exciting Dickinson program, please contact Jennifer Halpin, Director of the College Farm Program firstname.lastname@example.org.
111 Environment, Culture, and 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.
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.
215 Jewish Environmental Ethics
Since the 1960's many writers on environmental issues have blamed our contemporary environmental 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 texts. Emphasizing the way "land" figures as an important theme in classical Jewish theology, history and ritual practice, we will also examine the ways in which this motif is re-conceptualized in modern secular contexts (i.e., 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 Environmental studies.
Offered every three years in rotation with the offering of ENST 111. This course is cross-listed as JDST 215 and RELG 215. This course fulfills the humanities requirement in the core curriculum and can substitute for ENST 111. This course fulfills the Division I.A. distribution requirement.
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, analysis, output, and presentation. The course will culminate in a final, independent project in which the students design and prepare 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
See course description with ERSC 220 listing.
Prerequisite: 131 and 132 or 130, OR two 100-level ERSC courses. This course is cross-listed as ERSC 220.
See course description with ERSC 221 listing.
This course is cross-listed as ERSC 221.
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 Contemporary Science: Energy and the Environment
See course description with SCIE 260 listing.
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 strengths 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.
See course description with BIOL 314 listing.
Prerequisite: 131, 132 or 130, OR any two 100-level BIOL courses numbered between 120 and 129. This course is cross-listed as BIOL 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: 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.
See course description with ERSC 320 listing.
Prerequisite: ERSC 220. This course is cross-listed as ERSC 320. This course fulfills the QR graduation requirement. Offered every two years.
322 Plant Systematics
See course description with BIOL 322 listing.
Prerequisite: 131, 132, OR any two 100-level BIOL courses numbered between 120 and 129. This course is cross-listed as BIOL 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 dependent 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: 131, 132 (or 130) OR two BIOL courses numbered between 120 and 129 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. Prerequisite: 131 or science major. Generally offered in the fall alternating 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: 131, 132 or 130 and any combination of two courses from among the 100-level BIOL courses. 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 Advanced Topics in Environmental Studies
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.