An undergraduate in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences will develop a major program in one of two majors: Environmental Geoscience or Geological Sciences. Within the requirements discussed below, programs can be designed to meet the interests and objectives of each student. Students may wish to major or to have a concentration in department for a variety of reasons including:
- a desire to work professionally in Earth and environmental sciences
- a desire to obtain a preparatory foundation for post-graduate work in Earth and/or environmental science, environmental studies, environmental policy, resource management, environmental law, or similar fields
- a desire to teach Earth and environmental science in secondary schools, or
- a general interest in the discipline
Geoscientists study the Earth’s complex systems and the interrelations among the solid Earth, hydrosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere. Students trained in the Earth sciences can look forward to exciting and rewarding careers, as society continues to require ever greater amounts of energy and resources in the twenty-first century, and at the same time, 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 scientific and computing equipment. Whether understanding hazards and environmental challenges such as earthquakes, landslides, floods, sea level rise, and climate change, exploring for Earth’s energy and mineral resources, or working with governmental agencies or industry to analyze pollution problems, the Earth and environmental sciences provide exciting possibilities for a rewarding career.
ENVIRONMENTAL GEOSCIENCE MAJORS
Environmental Geoscience majors will be able to:
- Describe and apply basic Earth and environmental scientific concepts and information.
- Collect and interpret quantitative Earth and environmental scientific data.
- Think critically about scientific aspects of challenges currently facing society.
- If this is their goal, enter graduate or professional school in environmental science, policy, law, or other related fields.
- If this is their goal, obtain a job or internship in a field related to the environmental sciences.
GEOLOGICAL SCIENCES MAJORS
Majors in Geological Sciences will:
- Be able to think critically about scientific problems in the geological sciences, and have basic knowledge of the nature of geological materials and the structure of the Earth.
- Have basic knowledge of the geological processes that form rocks and shape the Earth’s landscape, and understand how Earth history and past environments are reconstructed using geological, geochemical, and geophysical methods.
- Understand the concept of geologic time, the processes that form and shape the Earth's lithospheric systems, and the theory of plate tectonics.
- Understand geological and geophysical maps and perform geological and/or geophysical field investigations.
- Collect, analyze, and interpret qualitative and quantitative scientific data in the geological sciences.
- If this is their goal, enter graduate or professional school in geological sciences, environmental science, policy, law or other related fields.
- If this is their goal, obtain a job or internship in a field related to the geological sciences.