Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Contact Information: 
Campus Location: 2440 Science and Engineering South (SES) 
(312) 996–3154

Head, Kathryn L. Nagy
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Fabien Kenig

Earth and environmental science majors and minors study the processes that occur at Earth's surface and in its interior, the evolution of these processes over time, and the solids, liquids, and gases that make up Earth materials. Earth is viewed as a dynamic body, with continual exchange of materials and energy among the planet’s interior and exterior, atmosphere, oceans, and life. Understanding  these Earth system processes is essential for evaluating the global environment, its natural variability, and changes that result from human activities.

A degree in earth and environmental sciences may lead to employment in industry, in the public sector, or in education. Many earth scientists establish careers in areas that are environmentally related, which may include the prevention, control, and remediation of pollutants from water and soil. Others work at predicting and preventing problems associated with natural hazards such as earthquakes, landslides, floods, and volcanic eruptions. Employment possibilities also exist in the exploration, use, and management of resources such as water, metals, petroleum, and coal.


To be recommended for graduation with Departmental Distinction, a student must have a GPA in mathematics and science courses of 3.20/4.00 or better, 3.50/4.00 or better for High Distinction. For Highest Distinction, students must have a GPA of 3.70/4.00 or better, as well as superior performance in EAES 396.