Students can: Major, Minor
Degrees Offered: BA, PhD
The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences offers programs of study and research in the basic earth sciences, including: geology, the science of the solid earth; geochemistry, devoted to understanding the chemistry of the solid earth and natural waters; geophysics, concerned with a quantitative description of physical processes in the earth and planetary sciences; physical oceanography, the study of ocean currents and waves, and their role in climate; atmospheric sciences, particularly the dynamics of atmospheric circulation both on Earth and other planets and their satellites; and ecology and paleoecology, the study of the relationships between organisms and their environment today and in the geologic past.
The department offers two majors: students can choose to major in earth and planetary sciences (EPS) or in global environmental change and sustainability (GECS).
The EPS major is for undergraduates interested in the study of the physical, chemical, and biological processes that shape the Earth and the other planets, drawing on the disciplines of geology, geochemistry, hydrology, ecology, geobiology, oceanography, and atmospheric science.
The GECS major is an interdepartmental program introducing students to the science of the Earth and its living and nonliving systems, as well as how humans interact with Earth and its natural systems and how humans can use powerful tools, such as policy and communication, to harm or help those systems. The goals are to advance awareness of the magnitude and consequences of these issues and to train the next generation of problem-solvers who will address the effects of global environmental change.
What can you do with your degree?
Graduates of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences use their skills and knowledge in fields such as environmental consulting, government agencies, and natural resources industries. Students are also well prepared for professional school.