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Earth and Space Sciences Degrees

Listed below are links to degree requirements for undergraduate majors and minors in Earth and Space Sciences as well as a link to information about the Departmental Honors Program.

ESS Degrees, Minors, and Honors


Interests That Might Lead a Student to Pursue this Option Skills Available Through this Option Possible Future Career Paths Related to this Option Relevant Upper Division ESS Electives
ESS Geology BS Earth processes, rocks, plate tectonics, origin and evolution of the earth, mountain building Fieldwork, quantitative and numerical analysis, scientific literacy and communication, GIS, geologic mapping, laboratory skills Mineral exploration, petroleum industry, resource extraction, licensed geologist, geologic mapping, consulting, graduate school, data science, K-12 teaching ESS 403; ESS 411; ESS 420; ESS 421; ESS 425; ESS 426; ESS 427; ESS 439; ESS 447; ESS 454; ESS 455; ESS 456; ESS 457; ESS 460; ESS 461; ESS 462; ESS 463; ESS 480
ESS Biology BS Ecosystems, paleontology, fossils, life on earth, extinction, geomicrobiology, astrobiology Fieldwork, quantitative and numerical analysis, scientific literacy and communication, GIS, laboratory skills Graduate school, museum curation, paleontology remediation, water remediation, consulting, geomicrobiologist, data science, K-12 teaching ESS 450; ESS 451; ESS 452; ESS 453; ESS 457; ESS 482; BIOL 421; BIOL 427; BIOL 430; BIOL 432; BIOL 437; BIOL 438; BIOL 439; BIOL 441; BIOL 443; BIOL 447; BIOL 448; BIOL 452; BIOL 453; BIOL 470; BIOL 471*
ESS Physics BS Earthquakes, volcanoes, geomagnetism, space physics, plasma physics, lightning, quantitative processes, space and planets, balloons, fluids, ionosphere and magnetosphere, glaciers and ice sheets Data analysis, quantitative and numerical analysis, flight instrument design and fabrication, GIS, scientific literacy and communication, laboratory skills NASA, government research labs, space propulsion, space industry, petroleum industry, resource extraction, geophysics exploration, graduate school, data science, K-12 teaching ESS 403; ESS 410; ESS 411; ESS 412; ESS 414; ESS 415; ESS 421; ESS 431; ESS 454; ESS 467; ESS 471; ESS 472
ESS Environmental BS Landscapes, environment, climate, glaciers, groundwater Fieldwork, quantitative and numerical analysis, GIS, scientific literacy and communication, geologic mapping, laboratory skills Consulting, graduate school, environmental planning, public land management, environmental policy, renewable resources, data science, K-12 teaching ESS 420; ESS 421; ESS 425; ESS 426; ESS 427; ESS 433; ESS 447; ESS 454; ESS 455; ESS 456; ESS 457; ESS 460; ESS 461; ESS 480; ESS 482
ESS BA Earth as a natural system, earth sciences-based interdisciplinary science Laboratory and field skills, scientific literacy and communication, GIS Applications of earth sciences to other fields: education, business, science writing/journalism, environmental policy, renewable resources, data science, K-12 teaching Flexible according to interests; ESS 307; ESS 345; ESS 408; ESS 418; ESS 420

While the table above is meant to help guide you in choosing a degree option that is the best fit for you, these lists are not intended to be exhaustive.


More information on state licensing requirements can be found here.


More information on ESS-related careers can be found here.


*At least 3 credits of the upper-division electives for the ESS Biology B.S. must come from ESS-prefixed courses.

Continuation Policy

The ESS Undergraduate Continuation Policy can be found here.