About the Department

Whether you are interested in studying the world beneath your feet, or worlds farther away, the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Washington University provides the tools for understanding the processes that shape our planet and other solar system bodies. Our faculty are leaders in their fields, and they are passionate about their work and training the next generation of scientists. Our state-of-the-art laboratory facilities allow our faculty to push the boundaries of their fields and give our students the chance to do their own research. We apply geology, mineralogy, petrology, biology, chemistry, physics, and math to investigate diverse topics such as early life on Earth, the structure of the Earth's deep interior, the nature of contaminant transport, and the evidence for water on Mars. As an earth scientist, you are uniquely poised to help solve some of society's most pressing problems through careers in government, non-profit organizations, academia, and industry.

Flooding and Erosion from Climate Change, Shifting Rivers and Changing Landscapes

Claire Masteller, Assistant Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences is engaged in collaborative research that will help scientists distinguish between climate-driven change and the natural variability of river channels.

Goodenough, McKinnon elected to National Academy of Sciences

Goodenough, McKinnon elected to National Academy of Sciences

"We’re exploring Mars to better understand Earth. On Mars, we can learn about geological processes and environmental processes — maybe habitability, maybe life, that remains to be seen — for a period of time that’s lost on Earth."

―Ray ArvidsonJames S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor, Earth and Planetary Sciences