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

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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.

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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.

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Field camp students from 2021.

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). 

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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!

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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.

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Geology students crossing a stream.
Diversity Initiatives

The ERTH Department actively works to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels and in all aspects of the Earth sciences. These intiatives extend to not only our department, but work to address inequities in the field at large.

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Petroleum trap
University of Oregon alumni Leslie B.
Seismic station
UO project finds communications risks in a Cascadia quake
Small thrust fault
ERTH faculty member, Marli Miller, recently published an essay on teaching field geology on public lands in the Desert Report.
UO postdoctoral researcher Colin Meyer reaches with an ice axe, Alaska (photo by Kiya Riverman).
UO researchers expose the dirty secrets hidden under glaciersOur own postdoctoral scholar Colin Meyer and professor Alan Rempel delve into the physics relating to glacier movement and friction.  See ...
Running Eagle falls pours from slot in Proterozoic Altyn Dolomite.
Fall 2021 Weekly Seminar ScheduleTitles will be updated as they are announced.  To be sent announcements, please email Marla.Talks are on Wednesdays from 4:00 to 5:20 pm in 110 Willamette Hall.  ...