Environmental Inquiry Minor

The Environmental Inquiry minor was created to enrich all areas of academic study with essential, cross-disciplinary understanding of crucial environmental issues and how they are being framed and tackled from both scientific and policy perspectives.

The Environmental Inquiry minor introduces students to different ways of thinking about and studying the environment.

The minor will give students a greater appreciation of the environment, a broader understanding of the environmental issues and problems, and insight into alternative methods of inquiry.

The minor permits students to:

  • Explore environmental interests
  • Provides additional perspectives
  • Uses a participatory approach and interactive learning style

Human impact on the environment is an increasingly relevant issue as populations grow, resources are consumed, and businesses and industries become ever more productive.

Addressing this issue is controversial and involves complex debates that engage professionals from all fields. Now, more than ever, concerned groups seek individuals knowledgeable about these important issues with experience communicating with people in professions outside of their own.

Not only is being familiar with current environmental issues important for all professional fields it is part of being a well-informed citizen.

The dual perspective of nature and society is really important when trying to understand environmental issues in our world today. The Earth really needs interdisciplinary people!

The environment provides many exciting, interesting, and satisfying career choices stretching across a tremendous range of fields and disciplines. Working in the environmental field is rewarding because students can contribute to the maintenance and conservation of essential life systems necessary for our human survival.

"Customers prefer doing business with companies who maintain clean shops and protect the environment" - Pam Evans, Coordinator for green businesses, Alameda County, CA.

"Talented writers who can handle highly specialized scientific or technical subjects have an advantage" - U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics

If a student has a background in science but also has ambitions to DO something about the environment, he/she might find that a lot of the decisions about the environment are taken in politics. To have success in improving the environment will require one to speak the language of policy makers.

The minor can help students on this track, exposing them to both the scientific background they need to understand environmental issues as well as the social science needed to promote these issues successfully.

A total of 18 credits are required, of which 6 are circumscribed and 12 are elective.
Course substitutions are encouraged! Consult Dr. Laura Guertin to explore the options.

(Detailed Course List)

  1. Take a 3-credit introductory course. Pick an introductory course from the approved list. 
  2. Take nine credits from one of the following seven specialty clusters that best suits your needs and interests:
    • Biodiversity and Ecosystems
    • Environment and Society
    • Environmental Explorations
    • Ideas About the Environment
    • Water Resources (available only at University Park)
    • Human Settlements
    • Energy Resources (available only at University Park)
  3. Take an additional 3-credit course: To provide greater breadth to the curriculum, select one environmentally related 400-level course from outside your chosen cluster and major. Field experiences are encouraged! 
  4. Take a 3-credit final course: Pick a capstone course from the list to tie all of your coursework together. 

Campus minor coordinator: Laura Guertin, Earth Science
Please direct all inquiries to Laura Guertin (610-892-1427, [email protected])