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.
Detailed major requirements can be found in the University Undergraduate Catalog
Please note: To view Adobe Acrobat® (PDF) formatted files you will need the free Adobe Acrobat file reader.
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.