The Morton K. Blaustein Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences offers programs of study and research in the basic Earth sciences, particularly:

  • Geology, the science of the solid Earth
  • Geochemistry, devoted to understanding the chemistry of the solid Earth and natural waters
  • Geophysics, concerned with a quantitative description of physical processes in the Earth and planetary sciences
  • Oceanography, the study of ocean currents, biogeochemistry, and the ocean’s role in climate
  • Atmospheric sciences, particularly the dynamics of atmospheric circulation both on Earth and other outer planets and their satellites
  • Ecology and paleoecology, the study of the relationships between organisms and their environment today and in the geologic past.

The department’s primary goals are research and the training of scholars who will contribute to the future of these disciplines. The programs emphasize basic principles and concepts rather than applied aspects.

Graduate Program

The graduate program in earth and planetary sciences develops skills in research through independent investigation under the general guidance of one or more members of the faculty, backed up by relevant course work. The department gives particular emphasis to the integration of experimental investigation, theoretical calculation, and quantitative field observations.

Undergraduate Program

The undergraduate program has programs of study for majors, joint majors, and minors in earth and planetary sciences (EPS) and in environmental science and studies (ENVS).

The EPS major focuses on the study of physical, chemical, and biological processes that shape the Earth and the other planets. It is designed primarily for scientists who wish to have careers researching the science of the Earth and planets, although it is also suitable for students planning careers in the health professions.

ENVS is an interdepartmental program introducing students to the science of Earth and its living and nonliving systems as well as how humans interact with Earth and its natural systems and how humans can use a variety of tools—such as policy, communication, individual and societal behavior change, and law—to harm or help those systems.