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Penn State’s 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 beingframed and tackled from both scientific and policy perspectives.

The Environmental Inquiry minor introduces you to different ways of thinking about and studying the environment even if you are enrolled in an environmental major.

The minor will give you 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 you to:

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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 you 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 you have a background in science but also have ambitions to DO something about the environment, you might find that a lot of the decisions about the environment are taken in politics. To have successful in improving the environment will require you to speak the language of policy makers.

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