Earth Sciences

Earth science applies the basic sciences of physics, biology, chemistry, and mathematics to understanding processes that have shaped the earth through the last 4.5 billion years. Here at the UO, we are well positioned to study these processes using the natural laboratory found in Oregon, where subduction drives volcanoes and earthquakes, which uplift mountains and inspire surface processes of erosion and deposition. These in turn have in turn fostered an unparalleled fossil record of the age of mammals.

What You Can Do with a Degree in Earth Sciences

Students who graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Earth sciences are qualified for careers as laboratory technicians, professional geologists, geophysicists, or geochemists. They can find employment in a wide range of fields, including:

  • Resource management
  • Geotechnical and environmental consulting
  • Urban and rural planning
  • Petroleum and mining industries
  • State and federal agencies such as the USGS, USFS, NOAA, EPA, and DEQ
  • Teaching in K-12 schools
Hazard Resilient equipments

Community Resilience

The Oregon Hazards Lab (OHAZ) and the Cascadia Region Earthquake Science Center (CRESCENT) use science and technology to improve statewide resilience to geologic hazards. OHAZ is building an advanced sensor network that detects natural disasters as they emerge, while CRESCENT works with scientists and communities from across the country to improve our understanding of the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

Our Degree Programs

Earth science at the University of Oregon includes the study of geology, oceanography, paleontology, and geophysics. These studies are inherently interdisciplinary, drawing on the knowledge and techniques of other physical and natural sciences such as biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics.

A faculty member interacting with students in the field in Struble, Yachats

Learn from Experts in the Field

Our faculty conduct numerous individual and collaborative studies that take advantage of our proximity to the Cascade volcanoes and the tectonic complexity of the western North American margin. Many of our projects are funded by the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the US Geological Survey.

Student climbing a hill

Get Real-world Experience

Students in the Department of Earth Sciences can get their hands dirty through a wide range of hands-on learning opportunities, including multiple two-week field camps each summer term. With the field camp, students gain practical experience applying their Earth science knowledge in the field while exploring wildlands in Oregon and the broader American West.

Scholarships and Funding

Undergraduate students can seek funding through the College of Arts and Sciences, which awards various scholarships to both incoming students and those who are already attending the UO. The Department of Earth Sciences awards annual scholarships to undergraduate students and offers graduate employee appointments to help fund graduate students while pursuing their degree.

Undergraduate Scholarships
Graduate Funding

Academic Support

Students in the Department of Earth Sciences can seek support from our faculty advisors or from the academic and career advisors in Tykeson Hall. Tykeson advisors can assist with career and course planning; answer questions about core education requirements as well as university policies and procedures; and connect students with other resources for success.

Undergraduate Advising
Support for Graduate Students

Earth Science News and Events

June 18, 2024
EARTH SCIENCES, PHYSICS - Staff and faculty members came together for the inaugural College of Arts and Sciences Awards and Hallmark Achievement Reception, which celebrated some of the achievements of faculty and staff. In addition to celebrating some of the college’s faculty members who have received accolades outside of the university, the ceremony featured the college’s first-ever awards that recognize the work of faculty and staff.
June 5, 2024
ANTHROPOLOGY, BIOLOGY, EARTH SCIENCES - Students in the College of Arts and Sciences have the opportunity this winter to take classes on the picturesque Oregon Coast at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology.
January 10, 2024
EARTH SCIENCES - What will happen if a massive earthquake reduces the Pacific Northwest to rubble? The nation’s first subduction zone earthquake hazards center, CRESCENT, brings together researchers and policymakers to help build resilience against the inevitable temblor—and increase diversity in the Earth sciences.

All news »

The BIG 10+ Academia Career Fair
The BIG 10+ Academia Career Fair Oct 16
Bob Bussel Labor History Lecture
Bob Bussel Labor History Lecture Apr 24 William W. Knight Law Center

All events »