About Our Department

Our mission: to understand a changing Earth, its relationships with humankind, and to develop strategies for a sustainable future. A central, overarching theme in the department is climate science, which represents the defining and unifying earth and environmental science issue of the 21st century. The coupled natural and human dimensions of climate change infuse our research, whether that may be in the form of climate reconstructions from marine and terrestrial archives; predicting regional climate variability from the analysis of historical data and modeling; understanding the impacts of climate change on nutrient cycling, plant communities, and the biogeochemistry of natural and urban ecosystems; predicting the consequences of climate-change mitigation and adaptation for energy markets; or assessing climate change risks on agriculture and the implications for regional food security, among many other active areas of research.

The department has three major research areas:

Students in our department have the ability to pursue research and/or coursework in carbon and nutrient cycling; surface processes; hydrology; active tectonics and crustal evolution; sustainable food, water, and energy; land use/land cover change; environmental analysis and policy; climate dynamics; paleoclimate and earth history; and coastal, marine, and ecosystem response to climate change.

Our faculty also participate in interdepartmental programs that offer graduate degrees in global development policy and international relations and environmental policy, as well as a graduate-level certificate in Terrestrial Biogeosciences.

The undergraduate program includes courses spanning the breadth of interests in the department. Students can major in Earth & Environmental Sciences, Environmental Analysis & Policy, Geophysics & Planetary Sciences, and Marine Science. We emphasize the integration of teaching and research, not only in classes but also by encouraging undergraduates to participate in research. A variety of research opportunities are offered during both the academic year and summer.