Earth & Environmental Sciences B.S.

Contact Us
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

229 Heller Hall
1114 Kirby Drive
Duluth, MN 55803
United States

Program Type
Bachelor of Science
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Swenson College of Science and Engineering

About this Program

The BS in Earth and Environmental Science is designed for students seeking a multidisciplinary science education and experience focusing on the study of Earth, its environments, natural resources, and human interactions with Earth systems. Students may choose a sub-plan to specialize in Environmental Science, Geology, and/or Hydrology, or take a flexible approach with the General sub-plan. All sub-plans provide a broad base of knowledge in the basic sciences and may include mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, earth sciences, and statistics.

  • Environmental science sub-plan majors get an intense grounding in resource issues (including water, mineral, and energy resources) and human interactions with the environment. 
  • Geology sub-plan majors receive a solid foundation in geological sciences including surface processes, optical mineralogy, petrology, sedimentology/stratigraphy, structural geology, and field geology. 
  • Hydrology sub-plan majors study groundwater, surface water, hydrology and hydraulics, fluvial geomorphology, water chemistry, and meteorology, building on the strength of UMD in freshwater science. 
  • The general sub-plan is designed for students who seek more flexibility in their degree, giving them a strong foundation in math chemistry, and earth science while letting them choose their core courses from across the other three sub-plans.

Acquired Skills

  • Solid background in earth and environmental sciences
  • Ability to apply foundational knowledge and skills to define and solve complex environmental problems
  • An understanding of the major earth and environmental issues including water, global climate, energy, pollution, and natural resources
  • Techniques to collect, analyze, and interpret environmental data using field, laboratory, and computer skills
  • Ability to communicate effectively in oral and written form
  • Experience working effectively in multi-disciplinary teams
  • An understanding of the human context in earth and environmental sciences, including issues of environmental justice

Career Possibilities

Earth and Environmental Scientists work in a variety of settings:
•    Natural resource companies
•    Environmental consulting companies
•    Government agencies
•    Non-profit organizations
•    Universities
Environmental scientists work to identify, control, or eliminate sources of pollutants or hazards affecting the environment or public health. Geologists focus on understanding the history of our planet. They work with earth resources to help ensure a sustainable future. Hydrologists study surface water and groundwater to ensure water quality and availability for human consumption and industrial use while maintaining aquatic ecosystem integrity. No matter which path they choose, earth and environmental scientists work on critical environmental issues, solving some of the most important challenges of our day.

Recent UMD Grad Job Placement Data for Environmental Science

Recent UMD Grad Job Placement Data for Geological Science

Admissions and Scholarships

In addition to the SCSE scholarships provided, our department offers several others including the Kenneth E. Differt Scholarship, Jill and Terry Swor Scholarship, Stephen and Karen Brand Geological Sciences Field Camp Scholarship, Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences Faculty Emeriti Scholarship, Charlie Matsch Surficial Processes Fellowship, Charlie Matsch Field Camp Scholarship, James R. Frantes Graduate Fellowship, Ralph and Ellen Marsden Scholarship, Robert C. Bright Field Camp Scholarship, Robert L. Heller Geology Field Camp Scholarship, Lempi and John W. Pagnucco Scholarship, Rip Rapp Geology Field Camp Scholarship, New Millennium Geological Scholarship, Richard Patelke Scholarship, and Cleveland-Cliffs Scholarship.  Additionally, each year awards are given for Outstanding Senior, Outstanding Junior, Outstanding Graduate Student, Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant, Tools-of-the-Trade, the Roderick Syck Outstanding Field Camp Performance award, and the Estwing Geology Field Methods Award.

Student Clubs

The Earth and Environmental Science Student Organization (EESSO) is a club whose goals include promoting the studies of geology and environmental science, becoming more diverse and inclusive within our organization, and exploring areas of interest around the world. The club takes part in outdoor recreation events as well as restoration projects, beach clean-ups, and annual rock and mineral sales.