New Minor in Environmental Humanities

Penn faculty have been teaching courses in the environmental humanities for many years. Now, Penn undergraduates can declare a minor in this growing field! 

The environmental humanities minor in the School of Arts & Sciences gives Penn students the opportunity to work across disciplines and explore how knowledge systems represent and respond to past and present environments, ecologies, places and worlds at a variety of scales. The minor emphasizes change and transformation, rather than stable states and received disciplinary borders. Students enroll in one transdisciplinary touchstone course co-taught by at least two faculty working individually in distinct disciplinary traditions and together to model cross-disciplinary knowledge-making. In the Fall of 2020, this course will be taught by anthropologist Dr. Kristina Lyons and toxicologist Dr. Marilyn Howarth (watch their course teaser video).

Students will also choose at least one course from pre-approved course lists in the environmental sciences and social sciences as well as two courses in humanistic approaches to environmental inquiry. The EH minor emphasizes arts-driven inquiry into place and world-making and, with a public engagement requirement, also insists on the importance of various methods of public research and outcomes--from field work to community-based participatory research, to art and science exhibits and evidence-driven advocacy. This requirement may be fulfilled by enrolling in one of a pre-approved list of courses that include rigorous public engagement or with independent community-based research projects. Finally, all EH minors will participate in a collaboratory capstone on public environmental humanities.


Requirements: (6-7CUs)

  • 2 Courses in Arts & Humanities Approaches to Environmental Inquiry (Elect from List)

  • 1 Course in Social Science Approaches to Environmental Inquiry (Elect from List)

  • 1 Course Natural Science Approaches to Environmental Inquiry (Elect from List)

  • Transdiscplinary Environmental Humanities "Touchstone" Course

  • Public Engagement Requirement (Choose a pre-approved course, or fulfill with independent study, credit-bearing summer project or other course with significant community-based research or service component, with approval)

  • Capstone Course (an EH collaboratory for public research)


Questions? Write to PPEH Managing Director Meg Arenberg (

smiling students in a van