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What can you do with an Earth and Space Science degree?

A lot! The broad, interdisciplinary field of earth sciences offers careers in many areas, including resource management, environmental protection, urban and rural planning, and geotechnical consulting. An ESS degree equips students with analytical skills, problem solving skills, communication skills, experience in teamwork, and solid grounding in science -- all valuable in today's job market. Profiles of some recent graduates of the UW ESS Department can be found on our alumni page. The American Geophysical Union (AGU) also publishes interviews with professionals in a variety of geosciences-related fields.

Types of Careers

An ESS degree can lead to a variety of careers. For example, a petroleumgeologist may explore for oil and natural gas resources and a geochemistmay investigate major and trace elements in ground water. Here is just a sample of careers in the geosciences:

  • Astrobiologist
  • Economic Geologist
  • Elementary Science Teacher
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Environmental Lawyer
  • Forest Ranger
  • Geochemist
  • Geodesist
  • Geomorphologist
  • Geophysicist
  • Geotechnical Engineer
  • Hydrologist
  • Marine Advisor
  • Marine Geologist/Physicist
  • Mineralogist
  • Land Use Planner
  • Landscape Architect
  • Mining Engineer
  • Paleoclimatologist
  • Paleontolgoist
  • Parks and Natural Resource Manager
  • Peace Corps Worker
  • Petroleum Engineer/Geologist
  • Planetary Geologist
  • Pollution Control Specialist
  • Secondary Science Teacher
  • Sedimentologist
  • Seismologist
  • Soil Scientist
  • Structural Geologist
  • Surveyor
  • Science Writer
  • Urban Planner
  • Volcanologist
  • Water Quality Control Technician

Students interested in geology positions are encouraged to learn more about the process for becoming a licensed geologist. Students considering a career in secondary science education are encouraged to review the requirements for a Secondary Teaching Endorsement in Earth & Space Sciences for UW's Secondary Teacher Education Program

Finding Internships and Jobs

Students can learn about internships and volunteer opportunities in the public sector (non-profit, government, education) by contacting the Carlson Leadership & Public Service Center. Students can learn about internship opportunities in business and industry by visiting Handshake or the UW Career & Internship Center website. The ESS Department shares internship and job postings via our LinkedIn group. The UW College of the Environment maintains a career opportunities page and brings potential employers to campus for an annual Environmental Career Fair. Many professional organizations also offer internship or training opportunities and provide internship/job listings on their websites.

UW Career & Internship Center

The UW Career & Internship Center is located in Mary Gates Hall room 134 and offers a number of free services for current undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and recent alumni including one-on-one career counseling; strength exploration exercises; internship and job search assistance; resume, CV, and cover letter reviews; mock interviews; career-related workshops, labs, and meetups; career fairs; employer/networking events; and credit-bearing career planning and strategy classes.

Career Links

Geoscience Career Resources

Government Agencies

Local Companies That Employ Geologists