Why Study Earth Sciences at the UO? 

Earth science applies the basic sciences of physics, biology, chemistry, and mathematics to understanding processes that have shaped the earth through the last 4.5 billion years. Here at the UO, we are well positioned to study these processes using the natural laboratory found in Oregon: where subduction drives volcanoes and earthquakes, which uplift mountains and inspire surface processes of erosion and deposition; these in turn have in turn fostered an unparalleled fossil record of the age of mammals.


For the latest information on the Earth Science department's response to COVID-19

COVID-19 Announcements

Geology students sample Neoproterozoic paleosols along the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Undergraduate Programs

Students who major in Earth Sciences choose one of four subject areas, or tracks, to complete requirements for a Bachelor of Science Degree. The tracks (Geology, Environmental Geoscience, Geophysics, and Paleontology) provide students with a focused curriculum in their chosen subject area. Recent undergraduate courses include offerings on dinosaurs; volcanoes and earthquakes; mountains and glaciers; and the geology of national parks.

Explore Undergraduate Programs

Point cloud visualization for post-fire erosion
Graduate Programs

The Department of Earth Sciences offers programs of graduate study leading to Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Master’s degrees with opportunities for research in a wide variety of specialty fields. The goal of these programs is to prepare students for careers in academia, applied research, employment with state and federal agencies, and positions with private consulting organizations.

Explore Graduate Programs

Sage Field Volc MSH with Jim Vallance
Field Camp

The Department of Earth Sciences offers a six-week field camp each summer term. With the field camp, you will gain practical experience applying your earth science knowledge in the field, exploring wildlands in Oregon and the broader American west. This program serves as a required capstone to the Geology and Paleontology degree tracks, but is open to all Earth Sciences majors. Field Camp consists of three two-week sections.  Choose one, two, or all three (all three are required for Geology and Paleontology tracks, but they may be completed over several summers). 

Explore THE FIELD Camp

Students and families gathered for a commencement ceremony.
Your Future Career 

What kind of career will you pursue? The study of Earth Sciences opens a wide range of career opportunities, including resource management, geotechnical and environmental consulting, urban and rural planning, petroleum and mining industries, professions in state and federal agencies such as the USGS, USFS, NOAA, EPA, and DEQ, teaching in K-12 schools (with an additional teaching certificate), and as laboratory technicians, professional geologists, geophysicists, or geochemists. As our alumni profiles show, Earth Sciences can take you where you want to go!

Read Alumni Stories

Researchers on a vessel in Greenland.
Faculty Research

Research within the Department of Earth Sciences focuses on the physical, chemical, and biological evolution of our planet. Our proximity to the Cascade volcanoes and the tectonic complexity of the western North American margin motivate numerous individual and collaborative studies, many of which benefit from on-site access to cutting-edge analytical, experimental, and computational facilities. Many of our projects are funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the US Geological Survey.

Explore Faculty Research

Small thrust fault
ERTH faculty member, Marli Miller, recently published an essay on teaching field geology on public lands in the Desert Report.
Diagram showing the basics of ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning system.
On March 11, the ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System will debut alert deliveries to the public via Wireless Emergency Alerts, apps, and other technologies. Oregonians will be alerted through ...
Coronavirus stock image
COVID-19 and Earth Sciences DepartmentIn response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our department is following the University’s COVID-19 operating protocols. Staff will be working remotely, and the Earth ...
Spencer Butte view with fog
Spring 2021 Weekly Seminar ScheduleDue to the COVID-19 pandemic, our seminar is only online.  We will be using Zoom, and invitations will be sent via email.  If you do not yet receive email reminders ...
A ShakeAlert station is shown against a sunset.
 Welcome to the new 2020 class of graduate students! Find out more about our new students below:
Mascall Formation at Hawk Rim
Despite complications and many safety protocols to accommodate the ongoing pandemic, the department's field camp was able to go ahead as planned in the summer of 2020.