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.
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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.
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.
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).
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!
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.