About the Department
Whether you are interested in studying the world beneath your feet, or worlds farther away, the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences at Washington University provides the tools for understanding the processes that shape our planet and other solar system bodies. Understanding the Earth system is the key to addressing many environmental challenges, including climate change, water quality, and sources of energy. Thus, 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. Planets are complex systems, earth and planetary sciences is by necessity an interdisciplinary field. 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.
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 are proud to offer undergraduates majors in geology, geochemistry, geophysics, and environmental earth sciences, as well as minors in earth and planetary sciences and environmental earth sciences. For graduate students, our doctoral program is medium-sized and nationally-ranked with opportunities for scholarship in many areas, including geology, geobiology, geochemistry, geophysics, cosmochemistry and planetary science. We invite you to explore our website to get to know us better.
Ultima Thule: A closer look at the most distant object ever explored
In the May 17 issue of the journal Science, NASA’s New Horizons mission team published the first comprehensive profile of the farthest world ever explored: the Kuiper belt object 2014 MU69, nicknamed Ultima Thule.Read more