West Chester University


Programs & Courses with Sustainability Content

Interested in the environment? You have a wide variety of options to choose from at WCU, ranging from formal degree programs to general-interest courses. Environmental study is not centralized in one academic department on campus, so you are encouraged to contact the specific department offering the program of particular interest. Find more information below and in the Environmental Programs factsheet.



BIO 102, ENV 102 and ESS 102 Humans and the Environment (3)

The effects of human population on earth's resources are studied against a background of physical, biological, and health sciences. Note: Students completing BIO 102 may not take ESS 102 or ENV 102 for credit. May not be taken as biology major elective. Approved interdisciplinary course.

BIO 270 Ecology (3)

Relationships between living organisms and their environment. (2,3) PREREQ: BIO 110. Recommended are BIO 215 and 217, MAT 121, or SCI 101 and 102 and one semester of computer science.

BIO 470/570 Population Biology (3)

A quantitative, second course in ecology, emphasizing distributional patterns and fluctuations in abundance of natural populations. PREREQ: BIO 270, MAT 121, and one semester of calculus.

BIO 471 Wetlands (3)

A course designed to provide practical experience in wetlands' classification, delineation, regulation, management, and mitigation practices. The abiotic and biotic characteristics of inland and coastal wetlandsare emphasized. (2,3) PREREQ: Eight hours of biology or permission of instructor.

BIO 473 Conservation Biology (3)

The application of basic biological and ecological principles for the preservation of biological diversity. Emphasis will be on understanding the threats to biodiversity, the values of biodiversity, and preservation strategies including ecological risk assessment and the management of endangered species, habitats, and ecosystems. PREREQ (required): BIO 110, 215 or 217, and 270. PREREQ (recommended): BIO 310.

BIO 476/576 Freshwater Ecology (3)

The environmental and biological characteristics of freshwater. Emphasis is placed on field methods, water quality evaluation based on the interpretation of comprehensive datasets, and management strategies for lakes, ponds, and streams. PREREQ: BIO 270, CHE 104.

CHE 100 Concepts of Chemistry (3)

As currently taught, this general education science course focuses on issues facing our society for which it is important to have a knowledge of chemistry. Among the issues studied are air pollution, ozone depletion, global climate change, energy resources, drinking water, and acid rain.

CHE 341 Physical Chemistry I (4)

An introduction to physical chemistry including ideal gases, kinetic theory, three laws of thermodynamics, introduction to phase equilibrium, chemical equilibrium, application of the fundamental equation of thermodynamics, transport phenomena, chemical kinetics, X-ray diffraction, and the structure of solids. PREREQ: CHE 104, MAT 161 and 162 all with a C- or better. CONCURRENT or PREREQ: PHY 180.

CHE 403 Chemistry of the Environment (3)

The chemistry of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere; human impact on these areas. PREREQ: CHE 104.

CHE 433 Advanced Topics in Chemistry: Surface Science (3)

Course website
Catalysis is involved in over 90% of all processes used in the chemical industry. Nanoscience is defined as the regime where quantum and surface effects dominate the properties of materials and is essential to the fabrication of computer chips and lab-on-a-chip devices. The surface science approach to the study of heterogeneous catalysis and nanoscience is to apply a molecular perspective to surface processes such as adsorption, desorption, reaction, growth and etching. This course examines the fundamentals of reaction dynamics and experimental techniques at surfaces and applies them to the processes that underpin catalysis, structure formation (including atom manipulation) and atomically resolved imaging. PREREQ: CHE 341.

ECO 385 Environmental and Resource Economics

The role of the environment in an economic system. Topics include energy economics, the economics of renewable and nonrenewable resources, and the economics of pollution. Prerequisites for this course: ECO 111, ECO 112

EDO 300 Environmental History, Theory and Practice (3)

This course is intended as an overview and introduction to the field of environmental education. Historical antecedents, including nature education, outdoor education, and conservation education, as well as philosophies and methodologies appropriate for a basic understanding of environmental education, will be analyzed, with emphasis on compliance with curriculum regulations in Pennsylvania. Sources of support for environmental education in the form of professional organizations, resources, and funding mechanisms will be identified.

EDO 420 Organization and Administration of Out-door Education (3)

Basic concepts of outdoor education, the role of outdoor education in the school program, and the initiation and administration of outdoor education.

EDO 450 Environmental Education Design, Delivery and Field Experience (3)

This course is designed to facilitate the infusion of environmental education into the traditional classroom and prepare teachers to use a variety of settings for environmental education teaching opportunities. Emphasis will be placed on teaching techniques closely identified with curriculum development goals and objectives for environmental education including the use of case studies, addressing controversial issues, and strategies for the development of ecological literacy and critical thinking skills. The student also will have a field placement that will provide an opportunity to put environmental education theory into practice.

EDO 498 Workshop in Environmental Education (3)

Generally these will be one-week workshops to provide environmental educators with training and/or skills in specific programs, topics, or activities related to environmental education.

ENV 230 Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (3)

Provides students with the training required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to work at sites where hazardous wastes and/or hazardous materials may be stored, spilled, transported, or used.

ENV 250 Environmental Health Laboratory (3)

Practical field and laboratory experience in environmental sample collection and analysis. PREREQ: CHE/CRL 107, ENV 102, or permission of instructor.

ENV 360 Air Quality and Health (4)

A consideration of the types and amounts of air contaminants, the atmospheric processes that transport them, and the role of air quality in human health. PREREQ: ENV 102, or permission of instructor.

ENV 435 Environmental Health Workshop (1-6)

Special workshops on contemporary environmental health issues. Topics announced at time of offering. This course may be taken again for credit.

ENV 445 Risk Assessment (3)

An examination of human health and ecological risk assessment with emphasis on exposure estimation. PREREQ: ENV 102.

ENV 447 Environmental Regulations (3)

Prepares students for working with federal and Pennsylvania environmental regulations. Emphasizes use and development of Internet regulatory resources. Specific discussions and exercises related to various regulatory agencies are included. PREREQ: ENV 102, or permission of instructor.

ENV 450 Hazardous and Solid Wastes (3)

Sources, characteristics, and amounts of solid and hazardous wastes and their implications for human health. Methods of collection, handling, disposal, and recycling. PREREQ: ENV 102, or permission of instructor.

ENV 451 Environmental Toxicology (3)

An investigation of the health effects of chemical, physical, and biological hazards in the environment. PREREQ: BIO 204, CHE 230 (concurrent), ENV 102, or permission of instructor.

ENV 452 Industrial Hygiene I (3)

A study of the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, and control of airborne and dermal hazards in the work environment. PREREQ: ENV 102, or permission of instructor.

ENV 455 Environmental Health Seminar (3)

In-depth investigation and discussions on topics of particular concern or significance to the environmental health field. Topics will be varied from year to year. PREREQ: Senior environmental health major.

ENV 456 Environmental Health Internship (12)

Field placement with an environmental health department in an industry, consulting firm, or government agency. PREREQ: Senior environmental health major and a cumulative GPA of 2.50 or above.

ENV 460 Industrial Hygiene II (3)

A study of the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, and control of physical hazards such as ergonomics, noise, and radiation in the work environment. PREREQ: ENV 102, or permission of instructor.

ENV 462 Water Quality and Health

An examination of the quality and quantity requirements of surface and subsurface water resources used for drinking water supplies. Laboratory included. PREREQ: ENV 102, or permission of instructor.

ESS 301 Environmental Geochemistry (3)

An introduction to principles and applications of geochemistry to geologic systems, including surface and ground waters, soils, and rocks. PREREQ: CHE 103, ESS 101.

ESS 336 Environmental Geology (3)

The application of geological information to human problems encountered in natural phenomena, such as flooding, earthquakes, coastal hazards, and man-made concerns, including waste disposal, land use, and global change. PREREQ: ESS 101 or permission of instructor.

GEO 101 World Geography (3)

The scope of geography and understanding of the world's regions generated by it. Human society is examined in a frame of spatial, environmental, and resource factors. Map skills and other "tools" of geography are introduced.

GEO 230 Conservation of Natural Resources (3)

An inquiry into the type, size, and distribution of natural resources, and into the problems of resource management. Emphasis is placed on the United States.

GEO338 Environmental Application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) (3)

This course reviews the principles of cartography and GIS in terms of environmental applications. Using ESRI's ArcGIS software, students will add environmental, political, economic, and other types of data to computerized maps to explore environmental analysis. These data will then be spatially examined and manipulated to review the process of mapmaking and decision making.

GEO538 Environmental Modeling with Geographic Information System (GIS) (3)

This course reviews the principles of GIS in terms of environmental modeling. It is also a study of how GIS software is used to enhance d the decision-making process from a critical point of view. Using ESRI's ArcGIS software, students will add environmental , political, economic, and other types of data to computerized maps to explore environmental analysis. These data will then be spatially examined and manipulated to review the process of mapmaking and decision making.

GEO 320 Land Use Planning

An inquiry into the development of comprehensive land use studies by governmental and private agencies, emphasizing the development of skills in problem identification and resolution.

GEO 322 Land Development Controls

An insight into the "why" and "how" of land development, emphasizing the role of local government in zoning, subdivision regulation, and other land regulations.

GEO 332: Environmental Crises (3)

The nature and dimensions of environmental problems with an emphasis on endangered life-support systems. Aspects of natural and social environment systems and their mutual interrelationships.

GEO 336/536 Environmental Planning

Introduction to the concepts and tools of environmental planning which include landscape form and function in planning. Applications to local and regional issues are stressed.

GEO 337 Transportation Planning

Important issues, descriptive and analytical, facing urban and suburban transportation are studied. Employment of the planning process emphasizes use of analytical tools.

GEO 502 Topical Seminar: Environmental Applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Special topics in geography of planning not offered under existing, regularly offered courses.

HEA 100 Dimensions of Wellness (3)

Fundamental concepts of health and wellness exploring several health-related areas with an opportunity for personal lifestyle change conducive to better health.

HEA 110 Transcultural Health: Principles and Practices (3)

This course examines the health beliefs and practices of a variety of subcultural groups in the United States. Emphasis is placed on the application of multicultural health beliefs and practices. It utilizes the cross-cultural approach in meeting the health needs of clients and families. It is open to all University students, regardless of major. Diverse communities course.

HEA 435/581 Health Workshop: Conservation Medicine (1-6)

Special workshops on contemporary health problems and issues. Topics announced at time of offering.

HEA 642 Medical Geography (3)

This course introduces students to the applications used to examine health care distribution within the realm of health policy analysis and health services research. Demonstrations will include analysis of the distribution of disease, various health indicators, and health care resources.

HIS 356 U.S. Environmental History (3)

An examination of the transformation of the American landscape, the history of American environmental policy, and the development of today's environmental controversies.

HON 314 Science, Technology and Environmental Systems (3)

Impact of technology and the environment as forces of influence on communities. The lab course will combine a historical overview with a contemporary focus on ways the science community is developing and regulating ideas for the future. Laboratory field experiences will involve data collection and observation in a variety of environmental contexts.

MGT 487-02: Sustainable Business (3)

Learn the fundamentals of a “triple bottom line” approach to business, which simultaneously considers environmental, social and financial performance. The format of the class will be highly interactive and include a combination of discussion, small group activities, experiential exercises, films and field trips.

PHI 480 Environmental Ethics (3)

Study of arguments and principles surrounding moral questions about the environment: Who and what deserves moral consideration? What are our moral obligations to the environment? What if our obligations to the environment and human beings conflict? Do animals have rights? PREREQ: Three PHI credits or permission of instructor.