Wilkes University

Earth and Environmental Sciences Minor

Earth and Environmental Sciences Minor

The minor in Earth & Environmental Sciences (EES) is designed for students wishing to explore the geosciences as part of career enhancement or personal development. The goals of the minor in EES are to provide undergraduate students with:

  1. An awareness of the scientific aspects of the world's environmental problems and paths toward sustainable solutions,
  2. A background for environmentally related careers in business, education, law, policy, or research,
  3. Preparation for graduate study.

The minor provides students with a framework for understanding the Earth's natural science systems and the environmental forces that influence populations and society. Students will gain knowledge of fundamental concepts in the physical, life, and interdisciplinary natural sciences that inform society about the environment in which we live. Graduates might combine the minor with a wide range of majors in the arts, humanities, social sciences, or education. Graduation with the minor equips students with excellent background for entry-level professional employment in areas such as environmental consulting, ecosystem management, private and nongovernmental science agencies, science journalism, environmental education, and environmental law.

Program highlights:

  • Required courses (18 credits) can be completed during the expected 8 semesters while fulfilling their major.
  • Applied science skills and industry-standard software training implemented into courses to teach students real-world investigations and interpretations.
  • Field-based training and research using modern mapping and investigative instruments.
  • Local and regional field trips to learn environmental science principals in real-world context.
  • Modern laboratory and field equipment.
  • Professional development opportunities through national societies and organizations.

Requirements

  1. a minimum of 18 credits of EES courses
  2. courses must be 200 level or above
  3. minimum grade of 2.0 in courses toward minor
  4. completion of a "Declaration of Minor" form

 

Earth and Environmental Sciences

EES-198/298/398. Topics in EES

Credits: Varies with topic

Departmental courses on topics of special interest, not extensively treated in regularly scheduled offerings, will be presented under this course number on an occasional basis. May be repeated for credit.

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Pre-Requisites
Varies with topic studied.

EES-105. Planet Earth

Credits: 3

The nature of our planet and how it works are examined in the context of Earth as a constantly changing dynamic system. An emphasis on global scale processes and the interaction of humans and their physical environment is coupled with in-depth coverage of how science is done and the scientific principles that influence our planet, its rocks, mountains, rivers, atmosphere, and oceans. Major sub-topical areas in the Planet Earth series may include geology (Forces of Geologic Change), oceanography (The Restless Ocean), astronomy (The Cosmic Perspective), geography (Global Regions and Geography), and the relationship between people and their physical surroundings (The Global Environment). Intended for students who are not majoring in science, engineering, pre-pharmacy, nursing, or B.S. programs in mathematics or computer science. Two hours of lecture and two hours of lab per week.

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Pre-Requisites
No previous background in science or college-level mathematics is required.

EES-201. Environmental Ethics and Sustainability

Credits: 1

This course entails an examination of the central topics of environmental ethics and sustainability as viewed from the perspectives of science.  Ethical and sustainability paradigms that all environmental scientists should be aware of will be studied.  Course is delivered online.

Pre-Requisites
EES-240 or permission of the instructor.

EES-210. Global Climate Change

Credits: 3

The nature and function of earth’s global climate are examined from a unified system perspective. Major questions focus on scientific versus public understanding of trends in global temperature, precipitation, and sea level. The course emphasizes negative and positive feedback processes that force key changes in the earth’s climate system: past, present, and future. Topics include fundamentals of global and regional heat and water balance, the role of elemental cycles in controlling climate (e.g., the carbon cycle), descriptive climate classification, long-term, short-term, and catastrophic climatic change (e.g., ice ages and bolide impacts), and human effects on climate (e.g., enhanced greenhouse, rising sea level). This course integrates a scientific understanding of climatic change and explores contemporary social and economic policy responses to change scenarios. Three hours of lecture per week.

EES-213. Climate Modeling

Credits: 1

Students will utilize software to construct basic models of Earth Systems. No prior knowledge of the software is assumed or required. Weekly assignments will consist of computer-based modeling exercises, each progressively building upon previous assignments.  Specifically, students will utilize software to construct relatively simple models of world population growth, fossil fuel consumption, the global carbon cycle, and the Earth’s energy balance.  The final modeling exercise couples the population growth, carbon cycle, and Earth energy balance assignments in an effort to explore the effect of future population growth and carbon dioxide emissions on global mean temperature.  Two hours of lab per week.

Co-Requisites

EES-218. Environmental Ethics

Credits: 3

An examination of the central problems of environmental ethics as viewed from the perspectives of science and of philosophy. The value of nature and 'natural objects,' differing attitudes toward wildlife and the land itself, implications of anthropocentrism, individualism, ecocentrism, and ecofeminism, bases for land and water conservation, and other topics will be examined within a framework of moral and scientific argument. Cross-listed with PHL-218.

Pre-Requisites
PHL-101 or EES-240 or permission of the instructor.

EES-230. Ocean Science

Credits: 4

An interdisciplinary approach to the study of the fundamentals of oceanography emphasizing physical, chemical, and biological interrelationships. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab. Requirements: For CS, Engineering, Math, and Science majors only

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EES-240. Principles of Environmental Engineering & Science

Credits: 3

A study of physical, chemical, and biological components of environmental systems and a discussion of processes involved in water quality management, air quality management, waste management, and sustainability. Three hours of lecture per week.

Pre-Requisites
MTH-111 or permission of the instructor.  Requirements: for CS, Engineering, Math, and Science majors only.

EES-242. Environmental Health

Credits: 3

To provide students with an understanding of man’s impact on the environment and how those impacts can be controlled or mitigated. Students completing this course should be able to recognize environmental problems and understand control and preventative measures. Three hours of lecture.

Pre-Requisites
Introductory physics and chemistry. Students who have taken EES-240 will be admitted only with the consent of the instructor.

EES-251. Synoptic Meteorology

Credits: 4

Topics include surface and upper air weather systems, weather phenomena, climate, and local weather influences. Synoptic map analysis and interpretation are emphasized. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. Requirements: For CS, Engineering, Math, and Science majors only

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EES-261. Regional Geography

Credits: 3

Topics covered include maps and charts and basic elements of physical, cultural, historical, and economic geography as applied to specific geographic regions. Three hours of lecture per week.

EES-280. Principles of Astronomy

Credits: 4

Topics include orbital mechanics, results of planetary probes, spectra and stellar evolution, and cosmology. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. Requirements: For Science majors only

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EES-302. Science Research and Communication

Credits: 1

The aim for this course is to provide students with the necessary foundation to think critically about scientific research and communication. The course introduces students to the (1) philosophy of science, (2) design, execution, and evolution of scientific projects, (3) exploration, evaluation, and management of scientific literature, (4) methods and ethics of scientific communication, and (5) proposal design for a project to be continued into Senior Project (EES/GEO 391/392) that includes a literature review, definition of research questions, objectives, or testable hypotheses, and the methods used to carry out the project. The broader social and political context in which scientific research is situated and must respond to and interact with is also explored. More than that, this course explores the important connections between research design and communication by having students focus on the application of learned theory and skills to projects with Senior Project advisor.

Pre-Requisites
Junior standing.

EES-304. Environmental Data Analysis

Credits: 2

To acquaint students majoring in earth and environmental sciences with the techniques and methods of data acquisition and analysis, including environmental sampling methodology and data management. Emphasis will be placed on examination of real data sets from various areas of the earth and environmental sciences with particular emphasis placed on using and applying graphical and statistical procedures used in EES-391-392 (Senior Projects). Two hours of lecture per week.

Pre-Requisites
MTH-150 and Junior standing or permission of the instructor.

EES-340. Conservation Biology

Credits: 3

This course will cover the major topics of conservation biology including an introduction to biodiversity, threats to biodiversity, and solutions to diminish extinctions and population declines. Lecture: three hours per week. Cross-listed with BIO-340.

Pre-Requisites
BIO 121-122, BIO 225-226 or permission of the instructor.

EES-341. Freshwater Ecosystems

Credits: 3

A study of the biological and ecological aspects of streams, lakes, and wetlands from a watershed perspective. An initial introduction to physical, chemical, and geological principles of limnology is followed by a focus on freshwater biology. Laboratories include field-based watershed investigations and lake management assessments using geographic information systems techniques. Cross-listed with BIO-341. Two hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. Offered in alternate years.

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Pre-Requisites
GEO-211 or EES-240 or BIO-121-122 or permission of the instructor.

EES-343. Marine Ecology

Credits: 3

An examination of the biology of marine life within the context of modern ecological principles. The structure and physiology of marine organisms will be studied from the perspectives of adaptation to the ocean as habitat, biological productivity, and interspecific relationships. Emphasis will be placed on life in intertidal zones, estuaries, surface waters, and the deep sea. Two hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. Cross-listed with BIO-343. Offered in alternate years.

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Pre-Requisites
EES-230 and BIO-121-122 or permission of the instructor.

EES-344. Ecology

Credits: 4

Ecology examines contemporary ecological thinking as it pertains to the interrelationships of organisms and their environments. Interactions at the populations and community level are emphasized. Two hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. Cross-listed with BIO-344. Offered in alternate years.

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Pre-Requisites
BIO-121-122, 223-224, or permission of the instructor.

EES-366. Field Botany

Credits: 3

This is a specialized summertime field course, which emphasizes a taxonomic, phylogenetic, and ecological survey of higher plants indigenous to Northeastern Pennsylvania. Due to the extensive field work, enrollment is somewhat more restricted than in other courses; therefore, written permission from the instructor is the primary prerequisite for those upperclassmen who wish to register for the course. Cross-listed with BIO-366. Offered in alternate years.

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Pre-Requisites
BIO-121-122, 223-224, or permission of the instructor.

EES-390. Environmental Science Seminar

Credits: 3

This course is presented seminar-style, focusing on Environmental Science topics relevant to current problems, trends, and news. The course serves as an open and constructive venue where students will have an opportunity to delve into themed topics and more holistically discuss environmental science issues. The theme of the course will change each term, but will remain within the Environmental Sciences: ecology, environmental chemistry, sustainability, climate change, hazardous waste, etc. Students are required to read and actively discuss scientific literature, assemble and analyze relevant data, formulate and criticize quantitative/qualitative theories, and explore case studies. Three hours of seminar per week.  Requirement: students with senior standing only.

EES-391. Senior Projects I

Credits: 1

Design and development of selected projects in earth and environmental sciences and other related fields under the direction of a staff member. Technical as well as economical factors will be considered in the design. A professional paper and detailed progress report are required. Requirements: Senior standing in Earth and Environmental Sciences and department permission. (See the department for more details about the department permission.)

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Pre-Requisites
Department permission

EES-392. Senior Projects II

Credits: 2

Design and development of selected projects in earth and environmental sciences and other related fields under the direction of a staff member. Technical as well as economical factors will be considered in the design. A professional paper to be presented and discussed in an open forum is required.

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Pre-Requisites
EES-391 or department permission. (See the department for more details about the department permission.)

EES-394. Field Study

Credits: 1-3

On-site study of an earth or environmental problem or situation incorporating field documentation and investigative techniques.  May be repeated for credit when no duplication of experience results.  One hour of lecture, plus field trips. 

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Pre-Requisites

EES-395. and 396. Independent Research

Credits: Varies with topic1-3 credits.

Independent study or research of specific earth or environmental science topic at an advanced level under the direction of a departmental faculty member. 

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Pre-Requisites

Upper class standing and approval of academic advisor, research advisor, and department chairperson.

EES-399. Cooperative Education

Credits: 1-6

Professional cooperative education placement in a private or public organization related to the student’s academic objectives and career goals. In addition to their work experience, students are required to submit weekly reaction papers and an academic project to a Faculty Coordinator in the student’s discipline. See the Cooperative Education section of this bulletin for placement procedures.

Pre-Requisites
Sophomore standing; minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA; consent of the academic advisor; and approval of placement by the department chairperson.

EES-498. Topics

Credits: Varies with topic

Departmental courses on advanced topics of special interest, not extensively treated in regularly
scheduled offerings, will be presented under this course number on an occasional basis. Available for either undergraduate or graduate credit. May be repeated for credit.


Click here for fee for courses with a lab.

Pre-Requisites

Senior or graduate standing


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