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College of Arts and Sciences

Undergraduate Studies

earth and environmental sciences

The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences offers two majors: Geological Sciences or Environmental Geoscience. Within the constraints discussed below, programs can be individually designed to meet the interests and objectives of each student. Students may wish to major or to have a concentration in the earth sciences for a variety of reasons including:

  • a desire to work professionally in one of the earth sciences,
  • a desire to obtain an earth science foundation preparatory for post-graduate work in environmental studies, resource management, environmental law, or similar fields,
  • a desire to teach earth science in secondary schools, or
  • a general interest in the earth sciences.

Geologists, geophysicists, and environmental scientists study the earth’s complex systems and the interrelations among the solid earth, the hydrosphere, the biosphere, and the atmosphere. Students trained in the earth sciences can look forward to exciting and rewarding careers, as society continues to require ever larger amounts of energy and resources in the twenty-first century, and will face increasing environmental problems and concerns. The department provides students with the skills and varied background needed to address these problems. Earth scientists are naturally interdisciplinary and use science to solve real-world problems. Today’s earth scientist can choose to work in the field in almost any area of the world, in ultramodern laboratories equipped with the latest computing equipment, or commonly in some combination of these. Whether understanding hazards and environmental challenges such as earthquakes, landslides, floods, sea level rise, and climate change, exploring for petroleum thousands of feet below the surface of the ocean, or working with governmental agencies or industry to analyze pollution problems, the earth sciences provide exciting possibilities for a rewarding career.

Note: We offer some pairs of two-credit courses that each meet for half of the semester (for example: GE 201 and GE 202; GE 370 and GE 372). The Student Services computer system does not allow you to register for two courses offered during the same time slot (even though in this case they will not meet at the same time during the semester). To register for both courses in a semester, register for one (and its lab) normally, then email Mary McCrosson in Student Services and request that she register you into the other course and lab section. You should do this while you are registering for classes—don’t wait until the semester starts.