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. Programs can be designed to meet the interests and objectives of each student.
Majoring in Earth and Environmental Sciences
Students may wish to major in this field 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 policy and law, resource management, or similar fields; a desire to teach Earth and environmental science in secondary schools; or a general interest in the discipline.
Senior Thesis & Departmental Honors
Students are encouraged to conduct research with professors in the department. A senior thesis is normally a two-semester project, often also involving work during the summer after your junior year (or before).
To do a thesis, students register for Senior Thesis (EESC5595) each semester of the senior year. To achieve Department Honors, majors in the department need to meet the GPA criteria (3.3 in major, 3.2 overall) and provide a thesis proposal to the Undergraduate Studies Committee by the drop-add date in the fall semester. In the spring, the completed thesis, signed by the faculty research advisor, is due to the committee by 5:00 p.m. on April 20, or if that is on a weekend or holiday, 5:00 p.m. on the first regular day of classes thereafter.
The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences strongly encourages students to take advantage of study abroad opportunities. An Earth scientist can never see too much of our planet. We particularly encourage students to participate in programs that include field-based courses and research experiences. Depending upon the student's major, and the courses available at the foreign school, the department can be quite flexible. We typically allow one elective per semester abroad to count toward major requirements, or two courses in unusual circumstances. Students should work out their plan well in advance with a departmental advisor or the departmental Foreign Study Advisor (Prof. Professor Jeremy Shakun, email@example.com).
Fulfilling the Core Requirements
Core courses in the department (numbered EESC1XXX) are designed to give non-science majors an introduction to various aspects of the Earth’s history and dynamics. The course offerings include a wide variety of subjects and approaches that reflect the breadth of the Earth sciences. This variety of courses provides maximum freedom of choice for introductory students. All of these courses presume no prior knowledge beyond high school science and all fulfill the Natural Science Core requirement. They are designed to acquaint students with some exciting aspect of the world we live in, while providing a background in the methods of analysis and reasoning common to all science.
EESC Core courses are designed to help students achieve the learning goals listed below:
- Demonstrate an awareness of how scientific concepts and methods are employed in the study of planet Earth and its environment, and how this awareness is necessary for liberally educated people in the 21st century.
- Demonstrate an awareness of the principles and strategies of natural science that are employed in the study of planet Earth and its environment.
- Demonstrate an awareness of the critical role that the Earth and Environmental sciences play in contemporary society.
- Demonstrate an awareness of the power of the scientific method in the study of planet Earth and in solving the Earth’s environmental problems.
- Demonstrate an awareness of the limitations of science in the study of planet Earth and in solving Earth’s environmental problems.
- Demonstrate an awareness of the application of mathematics and other sciences as they are used in the study of planet Earth and its environment.
- Demonstrate how the Earth and Environmental sciences affect humans.
- Demonstrate how humans are effecting the environment and habitability of our planet.
The department participates in the Core Renewal process, offering both Complex Problems (for example EESC1501, EESC1506) and Emerging Questions (for example EESC1701, EESC1702) courses for first-year students. Students wishing to find out more about department Core courses should contact the department at 617-552-3640, Devlin 213, or the Director of Undergraduate Studies (Professor Jeremy Shakun, firstname.lastname@example.org).