Study the earth beneath your feet, or worlds far away.
The Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences provides the tools for understanding the processes that shape our planet and other solar system bodies. Understanding the Earth system is also 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.
Because planets are complex systems, earth and planetary sciences is by necessity an interdisciplinary field. We apply biology, chemistry, physics, and math to investigate 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. If you’ve developed a passion for the basic sciences and are looking for a way to study these sciences outside traditional disciplinary boundaries, earth and planetary sciences is an ideal choice of major. Our majors offer a range of customization that allows students to focus on topics with the greatest relevance to their academic interests and career plans.
All students in the major have the opportunity, although are not required, to participate in faculty research programs. Many of our students take advantage of the varied research opportunities, providing them with valuable experience for future employment or for graduate school. Each year, several scientific papers and scientific abstracts are co-authored by undergraduates, and undergraduates have presented papers at national science meetings.