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.


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 multiple two-week field camps 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. We offer an Introductory Camp and Advanced Camps. Field Camp is a requirement for Geology and Paleontology track Earth Science majors, but all are welcome to participate in the field camp. 

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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!

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.

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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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UO researchers, students catalog massive fossil collection!
NPR logo
Our department scientists in a NPR report about landslides in Sitka, Alaska.https://www.wmra.org/2023-03-08/after-landslides-killed-three-locals-in-... 
indiana shales, Marli Miller photography
University of Oregon PhD graduate Juergen Schieber has just won the prestigious Sorby Medal 
passive solar
Passive solar could furnish a third of home heating needs
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.
techincal graphic
Those who live in the Pacific Northwest are no strangers to earthquakes. But the potential for tsunamis along the Oregon coast, although rare, can endanger entire communities. Local tsunami warning ...
Learn more about Meredith Townsend's AroundtheO-featured research project here.
exploded view, nimravid skeleton
Read more about our own Earth Sciences' PhD candidate, Paul Barrett's find in the AroundtheO article here
Wildfires are increasing the risk of dangerous landslides, according to research by our own Josh Roering.Find out more in the AroundtheO article here.
USGS Kilauea image
Seismic signals from Hawaii’s Kilauea help unravel magma temperature and composition
Learn more in this AroundtheO article here.  
Abert Rim
Titles will be updated as they are announced.  To be sent seminar notices, please email