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  • Natural Sciences & Mathematics

Earth and Planetary Science

The study of earth and planetary science introduces the origin and evolution of the Earth and other planets in the solar system.  A wide range of topics are discussed, including weather, climate, and Earth’s internal composition and dynamics. 

Transcending the boundaries of traditional geological studies, our program focuses on the way large Earth systems-such as the lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere-interact and evolve. We also emphasize the fundamental physical and chemical laws that govern the cycling of matter and energy on Earth. Together, these complementary approaches provide you with a comprehensive view of the planet’s origin and evolution, as well as an enlightened appreciation for the forces at work in our natural environment.


This minor can be combined with any major at Washington College. It is comprised of six courses, as follows:

Core: All of the following are required: 

  • ENV 109: Introduction to GIS
  • ENV 140. Exploring the Solid Earth 
  • ENV 141. Atmosphere, Ocean and Environment 
  • ENV/PHY 240. Earth and Planetary Systems Studies
  • MAT 201. Differential Calculus

And one course from the following:

  • PHY 111. General Physics I
  • CHE 120. Chemical Principles of Organic Compounds
  • CSI 201. Introduction to Computer Programming
  • ENV 394. Climate Change


Karl Kehm


Karl Kehm

Assistant Dean for Grants; Joseph H. McLain Associate Professor of Physics and Environmental Science & Studies