Academic Catalog 2023-2024

Slippery Rock University

Environmental Geoscience, Bachelor of Science (BS) - Concentration in Environmental Science

Environmental science is the integration of scientific knowledge from many disciplines in order to understand the interrelationships between human activities and the environment. Environmental science majors are exposed to the general principles of biology, chemistry, geology, geography, meteorology, and physics. Thus, it is not a focus on one of these disciplines, but involves all of them and their interaction within environmental systems.

Environmental science majors could enter several general fields:

  • Industry and Consulting, monitoring and investigating the contamination of the air, land and water. Responsibilities could range from working to reduce potential environmental contamination in an industrial setting, to remediating contamination that resulted from past disposal practices.
  • Local, State, or Federal Environmental Agencies, working to monitor, enforce, and develop environmental policy and regulations.
  • Environmental Research, working to understand and solve environmental problems. Students would continue their education in a graduate program focusing on an area of interest to them.

The program is rich in laboratory and field experiences that support our lecture classes. Students gain important practical experience working in the field studying environmental systems and problems. In addition, students are required to complete an approved internship or research project. We train our students not only with a liberal arts education and a broad-based scientific background, but with the skills that will enable them to succeed in a competitive work force. The department encourages undergraduate student research. Opportunities abound for students to work directly with the faculty on independent research projects.

ENVS 450 or ENVS 480 must be completed during the summer after your Junior or Senior year.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Outcome 1 (EGEO):  Each graduate shall develop general knowledge and understanding of the composition, history, and structure of the planet, and of the physical, chemical, and biological processes involved in the interactions between the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere.
    • Each graduate will demonstrate an understanding of plate tectonic theory and be able to describe how it operates
    • Each graduate will demonstrate an understanding of the geologic time scale and the timing of major events in Earth history
    • Each graduate will demonstrate the ability to characterize and identify important rocks and minerals, and to interpret the processes by which they formed
    • Each graduate will demonstrate an understanding of the history, causes, and effects of global climate change
    • Each graduate will demonstrate an understanding of evolutionary theory and its evidence in the fossil record
    • Each graduate will demonstrate an understanding of the internal structure of Earth
    • Each graduate will be able to explain the fundamental principles of the hydrologic cycle

Geology, Geology, and the Environment, Overall

  • Outcome 1:  Each graduate will develop strong written and oral communication skills, demonstrate the ability to work in a collaborative environment, and exhibit professional attitudes and behavior.
    • Each graduate will deliver oral presentations, demonstrating the ability to effectively communicate discipline-specific concepts
    • Each graduate will write scholarly papers using acceptable format and organization with proper citations to appropriate literature.
    • Each graduate will actively participate in collaborative projects and in academic field trips
    • Each graduate will demonstrate professionalism and integrity in his/her academic conduct
    • Each graduate shall develop the ability to respect and integrate diverse worldviews in problem-solving frameworks
  • Outcome 2:  Each graduate shall possess and apply critical thinking and problem solving skills.
    • Each graduate will demonstrate the ability to develop valid research questions and hypotheses
    • Each graduate will demonstrate the ability to apply proper techniques for data acquisition and interpretation in a problem-solving context
    • Each graduate will demonstrate the ability to solve open-ended problems using scientific methodology
    • Each graduate will develop the ability to make informed, scientifically-based decisions regarding environmental issues
  • Outcome 3:  Each graduate shall develop skills in quantitative, qualitative, technological, laboratory, and field procedures.
    • Each graduate will learn and employ accepted laboratory and field techniques, protocols, and safety procedures
    • Each graduate will learn to read, construct, and comprehend thematic maps and derive perspective output from a map
    • Each graduate will demonstrate the ability to apply knowledge, concepts and techniques from complementary disciplines to solve problems

Related Links

Environmental Geoscience - Environmental Science, BS Program Page

Geography, Geology, and the Environment Department Page

Professional Licensure/Certification Page

Curriculum Guide

GPA Requirement

Major GPA: 2.0 or higher
Overall GPA: 2.0 or higher


Rock Studies 2 Requirements45
Other Basic Requirements0-3
Computer Competency0-3
Major Requirements60-63
Natural Science and Math College-Wide Requirements12

* All undergraduate degree programs require a minimum of 120 credits.  Some courses meet multiple requirements, but are only counted once toward the 120 credit total required to graduate.

Rock Studies 2 Requirements

The Rock
SUBJ 139Foundations of Academic Discovery 13
ENGL 102Critical Writing3
ENGL 104Critical Reading3
MATH 225Calculus I4
Select one of the following:3
Civil Discourse: Theory & Practice
Ethics and Civil Discourse
Civil Discourse and Democracy
Integrated Inquiry
Creative and Aesthetic Inquiry
Select 3 Credits3
Humanities Inquiry
Select 3 Credits3
Social Science Inquiry
Select 3 Credits3
Natural Sciences Inquiry
CHEM 107
CHEM 111
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry I Lab 2
Physical Science Inquiry
PHYS 216University Physics 1 with Lab 24
Thematic Thread
Select 12 Credits 312
Total Hours45

Course offered in multiple subjects; cannot take course in first major subject.


Course counts for 50% of Major requirements and Major GPA


One course from each category; six credits must be 300-level or above; no more than 4 credits from one subject area; specific courses required in first major, regardless of prefix of course, cannot be used to satisfy thread requirements; any course with same prefix as first major cannot be used to satisfy thread requirements, even if it is not a course in the first major.

Basic Math Requirement

Check with your adviser or a current degree audit report to see if you have been exempted from this course. The credit earned in this course will not be counted toward the 120 credit hour minimum needed to earn a degree.

Complete one of the following:0-3
Meet required minimum SAT or ACT math score OR
Beginning Algebra
Total Hours0-3

Computer Competency

Demonstrate "computer competency" by one of the following:0-3
Pass Computer Competency Exam OR
Select one of the following at SRU or another post-secondary institution:
Introduction to Computing for Liberal Arts
Computer Concepts
Introduction to Computing and Programming
Technology for Wellness
Total Hours0-3


Students must take and pass a course with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) designation prior to graduation.  Students can meet this requirement by taking any DEI - designated course in any program at any time during their undergraduate career. 

Major Requirements

  • 30 major credits must be taken at SRU or PASSHE
  • 30 major credits must be taken at the 300 level or above
Environmental Geoscience Core
EGEO 131Oceanography3
EGEO 201Earth Materials and Processes/Lab 24
EGEO 202Earth History/Lab 24
EGEO 203Quantitative Methods 23
EGEO 272Introduction to Georeports/Lab 21
Environmental Science Core Requirements
EGEO 121Meteorology/Lab 14
EGEO 360Introduction to Hydrology/Lab 23
EGEO 451Geochemistry/Lab 24
BIOL 104
BIOL 401Ecology with Lab 23
CHEM 200Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry3
or CHEM 201 Organic Chemistry I
GES 324Environmental Law and Policy 23
GES 355Earth's Changing Climate3
Electives - Environmental Science
18 credits required18
ENVS 450Environmental Science Internship (Optional)0-3
Air Pollution Meteorology
Environmental Monitoring and Sampling
Environmental Systems Analysis
Earth's Changing Climate Laboratory
Air Quality Assessment
Structural Geology
Glacial Geology/Lab
Water Quality Assessment
Marine Science Summer Course
Wetlands and Aquatic Plants/Lab
Freshwater Biomonitoring/Lab
Environmental Microbiology with Lab
Field Investigations in the Geosciences
Field Investigations in the Geosciences
Cartography I
Introduction to UAS for Remote Sensing and Monitoring
Introduction to Geographic Information Science
Remote Sensing
Environmental Modeling
Biostatistics and Experimental Design with Lab
Women in Science
Economic Geography
Environmental Justice
Population Analysis
Gender and the Environment
Applications in Sustainability
World Environmental Cultures
Total Hours56-59

Course counts for 50% of Major requirements but not for Major GPA


Course counts for 50% of Major requirements and Major GPA


Some courses may require pre-requisites. Please see course descriptions to determine if there are any pre-requisites for that specific course.

Required Related

These credits DO NOT count towards the major
CHEM 108General Chemistry II3
CHEM 112General Chemistry II Lab1
PHYS 217University Physics 2 with Lab4

Course counts for 50% of Major requirements and Major GPA

Natural Science and Math College-Wide Requirements

CHEM 107General Chemistry I3
CHEM 111General Chemistry I Lab1
MATH 225Calculus I4
PHYS 216University Physics 1 with Lab4
Total Hours12

Co-curricular and Experiential Learning

Students are encouraged to explore additional curricular and co-curricular opportunities. There is a strong correlation between long-term student success and participation in the following types of programs and activities:

  1. International study programs (short-term, semester, and year-long)
  2. Student-faculty research
  3. Service Learning Courses
  4. Internships
  5. Volunteering

Concentration in Environmental Science (ENSC)
This program is effective as of Effective Fall 2020
Revised 12.06.2021
UCC 10.26.2021

Important Curriculum Guide Notes

This Curriculum Guide is provided to help SRU students and prospective students better understand their intended major curriculum. Enrolled SRU students should note that the My Rock Audit may place already-earned and/or in progress courses in different, yet valid, curriculum categories. Enrolled SRU students should use the My Rock Audit Report and materials and information provided by their faculty advisers to ensure accurate progress towards degree completion. The information on this guide is current as of the date listed. Students are responsible for curriculum requirements at the time of enrollment at the University.

PASSHE - Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Institutions

Recommended Four-Year Plan

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
GES 115 Introduction to Geospatial Technologies 3
EGEO 131 Oceanography 3
SUBJ 139Foundations of Academic Discovery 1 3
ENGL 102 Critical Writing 3
ESAP 101 FYRST Seminar * 1
ENGL 104 Critical Reading 3
EGEO 201 Earth Materials and Processes/Lab 4
BIOL 104 4
CHEM 107
CHEM 111
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry I Lab
Second Year
EGEO 202 Earth History/Lab 4
Social Science Inquiry 3
EGEO 121 Meteorology/Lab 4
MATH 225 Calculus I 4
Creative & Aesthetic Inquiry 3
Declare a Thematic Thread 2
EGEO 203 Quantitative Methods 3
EGEO 272 Introduction to Georeports/Lab 1
Select one of the following: 3
Civil Discourse: Theory & Practice
Ethics and Civil Discourse
Civil Discourse and Democracy
Humanities Inquiry 3
Major elective 4
Third Year
EGEO 451 Geochemistry/Lab 4
EGEO 360 Introduction to Hydrology/Lab 3
CHEM 200 Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry 3
PHYS 216 University Physics 1 with Lab 4
GES 324 Environmental Law and Policy 3
PHYS 217 University Physics 2 with Lab 4
Thematic Thread Requirement 3
Major elective 3
Major elective 3
Fourth Year
BIOL 401 Ecology with Lab 3
BIOL 357 Environmental Microbiology with Lab 4
Thematic Thread Requirement 3
Thematic Thread Requirement 3
Free elective/minor 3
BIOL 325 Biostatistics and Experimental Design with Lab 3
Major elective 3-4
Thematic Thread Requirement 3
Free elective/minor 3
Free elective/minor 2-3
 Total Hours**120-122

Course offered in multiple subjects; cannot take course in first major subject


Work with your Academic Adviser to declare a Thematic Thread by the end of your fall semester in your second year.


Students are encouraged to take ESAP 101 as a Free Elective.

** This document is meant to serve as a guide. Some planners may show more than 120 credits because faculty have created flexibility in choosing courses.  However, only 120 credits are required to obtain a degree. Please consult with your academic adviser and refer to your curriculum guide prior to registering for courses. This plan should be reviewed, and verified, by you and your academic adviser at least once each academic year. 

Major Code: 6124
Concentration Code: ENSC
Revised: 08.27.2021