The scope of programs in Earth and Environmental Studies at the University of Pennsylvania is broad, spanning departments and schools across the university and ranging from the undergraduate to the doctoral level.
The Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the University traces its beginnings back to the activities and writings of such early Philadelphians as Benjamin Franklin, John Bartram, Caspar Wistar, and Charles Willson Peale. It took definitive shape in 1835 when the University established a Department of Geology and Henry Darwin Rogers was appointed Professor of Geology and Mineralogy. Thereafter, through the end of the 19th century, eminent scientists, among whom were Joseph Leidy and Edward Drinker Cope, made Penn a national center for the study of geology, natural history, and vertebrate palaeontology. The details of this tradition can be found in "A history of geology at the University of Pennsylvania: Benjamin Franklin and the rest," by Carol Faul, in Geologists and Ideas: a History of North American Geology, Boulder, CO: Geological Society of America, 1985.
The department took on its present name in 1998 and offers a wide range of courses and degree programs at the undergraduate, masters, and doctoral levels. The undergraduate curriculum offers majors in earth science (EASC) and environmental studies (ENVS), as well as minors in environmental science, environmental studies, geology, and sustainability and environmental management. The graduate group guides research leading to doctoral degrees in range of fields that encompass our research interests in biogeochemistry, environmental geology, paleobiology, surficial processes, tectonics, ocean and climate dynamics, and thermochronology. Additionally, master's degrees are available in environmental studies and applied geosciences. These last 2 programs are administered by the College of Liberal and Professional Studies and designed for both full and part-time students interested in professional careers. The Department also is a partner in the research activities of the Kleinman Center for Energy, The Water Center and the Penn Center for Science, Sustainability and the Media. These centers are instrumental in developing policy and sustainability practices, both nationally and locally.