Environmental Science

Major: Environmental Science
Degree Awarded: Bachelor of Science (BS)
Calendar Type: Quarter
Total Credit Hours: 186-190 credits
Co-op Options: Three Co-op (Five years); One Co-op (Four years); No Co-op (Four years)
Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code:
03.0104
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code: 19-2041

About the Program

The Environmental Science program at Drexel University is committed to educating undergraduates for technical careers and graduate study in the diverse areas of environmental science vital to understanding, conservation, and restoration of clean and healthy natural environments in the 21st century. The affiliation between the Academy of Natural Sciences and Drexel University offers students unique opportunities to take a leadership role in ecology, environmental science, and environmental policy, and to grow the scope, capacity, and reputation of the natural sciences at the University. The philosophy of the Biodiversity, Earth & Environmental Science Department is “Experiential Learning Early and Often."

Environmental science is a multidisciplinary field designed to examine environmental problems and find solutions. This field requires understanding of a number of disciplines including biology, physics, and chemistry. Solving some of our environmental problems also requires knowledge of environmental policy, ethics, and scientific data analysis. 

The program has an integrated curricular approach designed around student laboratory and field investigations. The goal of this program is to give students not only knowledge about biology, chemistry, and ecology, but also the ability to use the tools and skills of a scientist. The program includes extensive use of computers in the laboratory and students make frequent oral and written presentations based on their laboratory projects.

Field experience electives may include trips to local aquatic and terrestrial habitats, such as streams, lakes, the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, New Jersey Pine Barrens, Delaware, Barnegat and Chesapeake Bays, and the Appalachian Mountains. Students are also encouraged to take advantage of study abroad options, including ENVS field courses. These programs often require early planning, so it is advisable for interested students to speak to their advisor about opportunities in their first year.

Concentrations are available in:

  • Ecology & Evolution
  • Applied Environmental Science

Additional Information

For more information about the program, visit the Department of Biodiversity, Earth & Environmental Science's web page.

Susan Cole
Undergraduate Advisor
Environmental Science
coless@drexel.edu or email bees@drexel.edu.

Degree Requirements

The program is designed to prepare students for careers in environmental science, environmental assessment, marine science, basic and applied ecology, biodiversity, evolutionary biology, and conservation and paleontology. The requirements for specific concentrations in Biodiversity and Evolution, Earth Science, and Ecology and Conservation, as well as Environmental Science, follow the list of degree requirements.

Degree Requirements
Humanities and Social Science
CIVC 101Introduction to Civic Engagement1.0
COM 230Techniques of Speaking3.0
COM 310 [WI] Technical Communication3.0
COOP 101Career Management and Professional Development *1.0
ENGL 101Composition and Rhetoric I: Inquiry and Exploratory Research3.0
or ENGL 111 English Composition I
ENGL 102Composition and Rhetoric II: Advanced Research and Evidence-Based Writing3.0
or ENGL 112 English Composition II
ENGL 103Composition and Rhetoric III: Themes and Genres3.0
or ENGL 113 English Composition III
PHIL 340Environmental Ethics3.0
or PHIL 341 Environmental Philosophy
Humanities/Social Science electives6.0
UNIV S101The Drexel Experience1.0
UNIV S201Looking Forward: Academics and Careers1.0
Mathematics, Statistics & Computing21.0
Select one of the following sequences:
Calculus sequence
Calculus I
Calculus II
Calculus III
Analysis sequence
Introduction to Analysis I
Introduction to Analysis II
Mathematics for the Life Sciences
Additional required math & computing courses:
Scientific Data Analysis I
Scientific Data Analysis II
Computer Programming I
Physical Sciences
CHEM 101General Chemistry I3.5
CHEM 102General Chemistry II4.5
CHEM 103General Chemistry III5.0
Choose two chemistry electives from:5.0-7.0
Organic Chemistry I
Environmental Chemistry Laboratory
Introduction to Environmental Chemistry
Physics sequence
PHYS 152Introductory Physics I4.0
PHYS 153Introductory Physics II4.0
PHYS 154Introductory Physics III4.0
Biological Sciences
BIO 131Cells and Biomolecules4.0
BIO 132Genetics and Evolution4.0
BIO 133Physiology and Ecology4.0
BIO 134Cells and Biomolecules Lab1.0
BIO 135Genetics and Evolution Lab1.0
BIO 136Anatomy and Ecology Lab1.0
Geoscience Requirements
GEO 101Physical Geology4.0
GEO 103Introduction to Field Methods in Earth Science2.0
GEO 201 [WI] Earth Systems Processes3.0
Environmental Science Core Requirements
ENVS 101Introduction to Environmental Science5.0
ENVS 102Natural History, Research and Collections2.0
ENVS 201Practical Identification of Plants and Animals2.0
ENVS 212Evolution4.0
ENVS 284Physiological and Population Ecology3.0
ENVS 286Community and Ecosystem Ecology3.0
ENVS 308GIS and Environmental Modeling3.0
ENVS 441 [WI] Issues in Global Change I: Seminar2.0
ENVS 442Issues in Global Change II: Research2.0
ENVS 443Issues in Global Change III: Synthesis2.0
Choose one of the following:3.0-4.0
Introduction to Environmental Policy
Cities and Sustainability
Delaware River Issues and Policy
Environmental Politics
Environmental Science Lab Requirements2.0
Environmental Concentration Requirements14.0-15.0
See list of concentration requirements below.
Environmental Electives12.0
Free Electives24.0
Total Credits186.0-190.0

Environmental Science Concentrations

Ecology & Evolution Concentration14.0-15.0
Choose 5 from below:
Tree of Life
Systematic Biology
Conservation Biology
Advanced Topics in Evolution
Genetics I
Population Genetics
Total Credits14.0-15.0
Applied Environmental Science Concentration14.0-15.0
Required Courses
The Watershed Approach
Global Climate Change
Environmental Assessment
Choose 2 from below:
Environmental and Ecological Remediation
Chemistry of the Environment
Environmental Geology
Total Credits14.0-15.0


Notes about Environmental Science opportunities:

  • Field experience electives include quantitative environmental measurements in local aquatic and terrestrial habitats, such as streams, lakes, the Delaware Bay, the Poconos, and the New Jersey Pine Barrens (for example, Field Botany: NJ Pine Barrens; Ecology of the Pine Barrens; Marine Field Methods).
  • Students are required to consult frequently with their academic advisors for curriculum planning. Many of the graduate courses in environmental science are also open to qualified seniors who wish to become familiar with some of the applications in the field. Prerequisites and descriptions of available graduate courses appear in the graduate catalog.
  • The Equatorial Guinea: Bioko Island Study Abroad Program offers a unique opportunity for undergraduates and recent graduates to study tropical biodiversity and its conservation, with an emphasis on field work that takes advantage of Bioko Island's pristine rainforests ranging from sea level to over 10,000 feet in altitude, its seven species of rare monkeys, and its four species of nesting sea turtles. For more information, please visit the Drexel Study Abroad Office.

Writing-Intensive Course Requirements

In order to graduate, all students must pass three writing-intensive courses after their freshman year. Two writing-intensive courses must be in a student's major. The third can be in any discipline. Students are advised to take one writing-intensive class each year, beginning with the sophomore year, and to avoid “clustering” these courses near the end of their matriculation. Transfer students need to meet with an academic advisor to review the number of writing-intensive courses required to graduate.

A "WI" next to a course in this catalog may indicate that this course can fulfill a writing-intensive requirement. For the most up-to-date list of writing-intensive courses being offered, students should check the Writing Intensive Course List at the University Writing Program. Students scheduling their courses can also conduct a search for courses with the attribute "WI" to bring up a list of all writing-intensive courses available that term.

Sample Plan of Study 

The plan of study below is a generic plan, suited for all four concentrations. Contact the program advisor for additional details.

4 Year, No co-op

First Year
FallCreditsWinterCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
CHEM 1013.5BIO 1324.0BIO 1334.0VACATION
ENGL 101 or 1113.0BIO 1351.0BIO 1361.0 
ENVS 1015.0CHEM 1024.5CHEM 1035.0 
MATH 101 or 1214.0CIVC 1011.0GEO 1032.0 
UNIV S1011.0ENGL 102 or 1123.0MATH 239 or 1234.0 
 MATH 102 or 1224.0  
 16.5 17.5 16 0
Second Year
FallCreditsWinterCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
BIO 1314.0CS 1713.0ENVS 2124.0VACATION
BIO 1341.0ENVS 2863.0GEO 1014.0 
ENGL 103 or 1133.0GEO 2013.0PHYS 1524.0 
ENVS 1022.0Concentration Course3.0PHIL 340 or 3413.0 
ENVS 2012.0Free Elective4.0Concentration Course2.0-3.0 
ENVS 2843.0   
 15 16 17-18 0
Third Year
FallCreditsWinterCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
COM 2303.0MATH 4103.0MATH 4113.0VACATION
ENVS 3083.0PHYS 1544.0Concentration Course3.0 
PHYS 1534.0Concentration Course3.0ENV CHEM Elective2.0-3.0 
UNIV S2011.0CHEM Elective3.0-4.0ENSS Elective3.0-4.0 
ENVS Elective3.0Humanities/Social Science Elective3.0Free Elective3.0 
Free Elective3.0   
 17 16-17 14-16 0
Fourth Year
FallCreditsWinterCreditsSpringCredits 
COM 3103.0ENVS 4422.0ENVS 4432.0 
ENVS 4412.0Environmental Science (ENVS) Elective3.0Environmental Science (ENVS) Electives6.0 
Concentration Course3.0Humanities/Social Science Elective3.0Free Electives6.0 
Environmental Science (ENVS) Lab Elective2.0Free Electives6.0  
Free Elective3.0   
 13 14 14 
Total Credits 186-190

4 Year, 1 co-op

First Year
FallCreditsWinterCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
CHEM 1013.5BIO 1324.0BIO 1334.0VACATION
ENGL 101 or 1113.0BIO 1351.0BIO 1361.0 
ENVS 1015.0CHEM 1024.5CHEM 1035.0 
MATH 101 or 1214.0CIVC 1011.0COOP 1011.0 
UNIV S1011.0ENGL 102 or 1123.0GEO 1032.0 
 MATH 102 or 1224.0MATH 239 or 1234.0 
 16.5 17.5 17 0
Second Year
FallCreditsWinterCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
BIO 1314.0CS 1713.0ENVS 2124.0COM 2303.0
BIO 1341.0ENVS 2863.0GEO 1014.0ENVS 3083.0
ENGL 103 or 1133.0GEO 2013.0PHYS 1524.0PHYS 1534.0
ENVS 1022.0Concentration Course3.0PHIL 340 or 3413.0UNIV S2011.0
ENVS 2012.0Free Elective3.0Concentration Course2.0-3.0ENVS Elective3.0
ENVS 2843.0  Free Elective3.0
 15 15 17-18 17
Third Year
FallCreditsWinterCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
MATH 4103.0MATH 4113.0COOP EXPERIENCECOOP EXPERIENCE
PHYS 1544.0Concentration Course3.0  
Concentration Course3.0ENV CHEM Elective2.0-3.0  
CHEM Elective3.0-4.0ENSS Elective3.0-4.0  
Humanities/Social Science Elective3.0Free Elective3.0  
 16-17 14-16 0 0
Fourth Year
FallCreditsWinterCreditsSpringCredits 
COM 3103.0ENVS 4422.0ENVS 4432.0 
ENVS 4412.0Environmental Science (ENVS) Elective3.0Environmental Science (ENVS) Electives6.0 
Concentration Course3.0Humanities/Social Science Elective3.0Free Electives6.0 
Environmental Science (ENVS) Lab Elective2.0Free Electives6.0  
Free Elective3.0   
 13 14 14 
Total Credits 186-190

5 Year, 3 Co-ops

First Year
FallCreditsWinterCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
CHEM 1013.5ENGL 102 or 1123.0BIO 1334.0VACATION
ENGL 101 or 1113.0BIO 1324.0BIO 1361.0 
ENVS 1015.0BIO 1351.0CHEM 1035.0 
MATH 101 or 1214.0CHEM 1024.5COOP 1011.0 
UNIV S1011.0MATH 102 or 1224.0GEO 1032.0 
 CIVC 1011.0MATH 239 or 1234.0 
 16.5 17.5 17 0
Second Year
FallCreditsWinterCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
BIO 1314.0CS 1713.0COOP EXPERIENCECOOP EXPERIENCE
BIO 1341.0ENVS 2863.0  
ENGL 103 or 1133.0GEO 2013.0  
ENVS 1022.0Concentration Course3.0  
ENVS 2012.0Free Elective3.0  
ENVS 2843.0   
 15 15 0 0
Third Year
FallCreditsWinterCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
ENVS 2124.0COM 2303.0COOP EXPERIENCECOOP EXPERIENCE
GEO 1014.0ENVS 3083.0  
PHIL 340 or 3413.0PHYS 1534.0  
PHYS 1524.0UNIV S2011.0  
Concentration Course2.0-3.0ENVS Elective3.0  
 Free Elective3.0  
 17-18 17 0 0
Fourth Year
FallCreditsWinterCreditsSpringCreditsSummerCredits
MATH 4103.0MATH 4113.0COOP EXPERIENCECOOP EXPERIENCE
PHYS 1544.0Concentration Course3.0  
Concentration Course3.0ENV CHEM Elective2.0-3.0  
CHEM Elective3.0-4.0ENSS Elective3.0-4.0  
Humanities/Social Science Elective3.0Free Elective3.0  
 16-17 14-16 0 0
Fifth Year
FallCreditsWinterCreditsSpringCredits 
COM 3103.0ENVS 4422.0ENVS 4432.0 
ENVS 4412.0Environmental Science (ENVS) Elective3.0Environmental Science (ENVS) Electives6.0 
Concentration Course3.0Humanities/Social Science Elective3.0Free Electives6.0 
Environmental Science (ENVS) Lab Elective2.0Free Electives6.0  
Free Elective3.0   
 13 14 14 
Total Credits 186-190

Co-op/Career Opportunities

Environmental scientists pursue careers in environmental assessment, environmental health, ecology, conservation, marine science, and atmospheric science.

Co-op Opportunities

Co-op and research opportunities will be available with the scientists at the Academy of Natural Sciences. In addition, recent co-op experiences have included:

CHPlanning, Center City Philadelphia
Lakes Environmental Assn., Maine
US Environmental Protection Agency, Center City Philadelphia
Criterion Lab Inc, Philadelphia, PA Suburbs
Philadelphia Water Department, Philadelphia
Temple University, Philadelphia
Fairway Testing Co., NYC
University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska
Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program, Equatorial Guinea
React Environmental Professional Services Group Inc., Philadelphia
Air Management Services, Philadelphia
Exelon Corporation, Philadelphia

Graduate Opportunities

Graduates in this major typically work for government environmental agencies, in environmental consulting firms, and in environmental departments of various industries. Additional training at the graduate level is an option for many students.

Visit the Drexel Steinbright Career Development Center page for more detailed information on co-op and post-graduate opportunities.

Environmental Science Faculty

Ted Daeschler, PhD (University of Pennsylvania) Associate Curator of Vertebrate Zoology; Vice President for Systematic Biology and the Library: Academy of Natural Sciences. Associate Professor. Vertebrate fauna of the Late Devonian Period in eastern North America; fossil collecting; systematic work focusing on freshwater vertebrates; nature of early non-marine ecosystems.
Jon Gelhaus, PhD (University of Kansas) Curator, Department of Entomology: Academy of Natural Sciences. Professor. Systematic expertise in crane flies (Tipuloidea); phylogenetic reconstruction; historical and ecological biogeography; biodiversity measures and evolution of morphological character systems.
Danielle Kreeger, PhD (Oregon State University). Research Associate Professor. Trophic interactions in aquatic ecosystems.
Stefanie Kroll, PhD (SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry) Project Science Director, Academy of Natural Sciences. Assistant Research Professor. Aquatic macroinvertebrate ecology, bioindicators of human stressors on aquatic ecosystems, monitoring the effects of watershed conversation, management and restoration.
Marie J. Kurz, PhD (University of Florida) Biogeochemistry Section Leader, Academy of Natrual Sciences. Assistant Research Professor. Interactions between geochemical, ecological & hydrologic processes in freshwater systems. Availability, transport and cycling of stream solutes; Stream ecosystem structure & function; Groundwater-surface water interactions; Adaptive management & restoration of water resources & aquatic ecosystems.
Tatyana Livshultz, PhD (Cornell University) Assistant Curator of Botany. Assistant Professor. Expertise of the milkweed and dogbane family (Apocynaceae); evolution and species diversity of the genus Dischidia; differences in floral form and function.
Amanda Lough, PhD (Washington University in St. Louis). Assistant Professor. Volcanic seismicity and the relation to magma plumbing systems; glacial seismicity and the seismicity of Antarctica; intraplate seismicity.
Richard McCourt, PhD (University of Arizona) Associate Curator of Botany, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University; 2010-2012: Program Director, Division of Graduate Education, National Science Foundation. Professor. Biodiversity, evolution, ecology, and systematic of green algae, specifically charophyte algae.
Michael O'Connor, MD, PhD (MD, Johns Hopkins University; PhD, Colorado State). Professor. Biophysical and physiological ecology, thermoregulation of vertebrates, ecological modeling.
Sean O'Donnell, PhD (University of Wisconsin-Madison). Professor. Tropical ecology, focusing on geographic variation and elevation effects on ecology and behavior of army ants and ant-bird interactions; neurobiology, focusing on brain plasticity and brain evolution in social insects.
Marina Potapova, PhD (Russian Academy of Sciences) Assistant Curator. Assistant Professor. Taxonomy, ecology, and biogeography of freshwater diatoms; methods of quantifying morphological characters of diatom frustules based on geometric morphometrics; systematic of monoraphid freshwater diatoms.
Gary Rosenberg, PhD (Harvard University) Pilsbry Chair of Malacology. Professor. Magnitude and origin of species-level diversity in the Mollusca.
Jacob Russell, PhD (University of Arizona). Professor. Microbiomes and metagenomics; ecology and evolution of symbiosis.
Alexis Schulman, PhD (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Director of the Environmental Studies and Sustainability Program. Associate Research Professor. Environmental policy and politics, Urban planning Sustainability and resilience transitions, Policy implementation,Local knowledge and community science
Jocelyn A. Sessa, PhD (Penn State University) Assistant Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology: Academy of Natural Sciences. Assistant Professor. Paleoecology; paleobiology; extinction recovery dynamics; climate change; isotope geochemistry; fossil and modern mollusks
Loyc Vanderkluysen, PhD (University of Hawaii). Associate Professor. The cyclicity of volcanic eruptions, volcanic degassing processes, and large igneous provinces.
David J. Velinsky, PhD (Old Dominion University) Department Head, Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science. Professor. Geochemical cycling of organic and inorganic constituents of sediments and waters; Sedimentary diagenesis of major and minor elements; Isotope biogeochemistry of carbon, nitrogen and sulfur in marine and freshwater systems.
Dane Ward, PhD (Drexel University). Assistant Teaching Professor. Urban agriculture and sustainability both in Philadelphia and Cienfuegos, Cuba, as well as insect community structure and population ecology of reptiles and amphibians in the New Jersey Pine Barrens.
Elizabeth B. Watson, PhD (University of California, Berkeley). Associate Professor. The implications of global and regional environmental change, and unraveling the interacting effects of multiple anthropogenic stressors on coastal ecosystems to promote more informed management, conservation, and restoration.
Jason Weckstein, PhD (Louisiana State University) Associate Curator of Ornithology. Associate Professor. Avian phylogenetics, comparative biology and evolutionary history; biodiversity surveys of birds and their parasites and pathogens; coevolutionary history of birds and their parasites.

Emeritus Faculty

Susan S. Kilham, PhD (Duke University). Professor Emeritus. Aquatic ecology: phytoplankton; physiological ecology, especially of diatoms in freshwater and marine systems; large lakes; food webs; biogeochemistry.
John G. Lundberg, PhD (University of Michigan). Professor Emeritus. Diversity and diversification of fishes; documenting and interpreting the morphological, molecular, and taxonomic diversity of living and fossil fishes in the interrelated fields of systematic, faunistics and biogeography and paleobiology; exploration and collecting in poorly-known tropical freshwater habitats and regions.
Daniel Otte, PhD (University of Michigan) Senior Curator, Systematics and Evolutionary Biology. Professor Emeritus. Taxonomy and biogeography of Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets, katydids and their relatives).
James R. Spotila, PhD (University of Arkansas) L. D. Betz Chair Professor. Professor Emeritus. Physiological and biophysical ecology, thermoregulation of aquatic vertebrates, biology of sea turtles.
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