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

July 3, 2024
Three College of Arts and Sciences researchers have received the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious honor for early-career faculty members in the past year: Luca Mazzucato (biology, mathematics and physics), Brittany Erickson (computer science and earth sciences) and Julia Widom (chemistry). Known as the CAREER Awards, the organization recognizes and fosters rising stars by funding innovative research.
July 2, 2024
The Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation announced this year's Outstanding Research Awards, many of which went to College of Arts and Sciences faculty members: Professor Carlos Aguirre (history and Latin American studies), Assistant Professor Gabriel Sanchez (anthropology) and Leland O'Driscoll (associate director of the Oregon Hazards Lab).
June 26, 2024
EARTH SCIENCES - Iceland’s ongoing volcanic eruptions may continue on and off for years to decades, threatening the country’s most densely populated region and vital infrastructure. Ilya Bindeman, an earth sciences professor in CAS, said volcanoes are ordinary on the geological scale, but on the human scale, they can be devastating.

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Coming to Oregon Graduate Student Group
Jul22
Coming to Oregon Graduate Student Group Jul 22
Coming to Oregon Graduate Student Group - evening session
Jul22
Coming to Oregon Graduate Student Group - evening session Jul 22
University of Oregon Night at the San Francisco Giants
Jul30
University of Oregon Night at the San Francisco Giants Jul 30 Oracle Park
Coming to Oregon Graduate Student Group
Aug19
Coming to Oregon Graduate Student Group Aug 19
Coming to Oregon Graduate Student Group - evening session
Aug19
Coming to Oregon Graduate Student Group - evening session Aug 19
UO Cinema Studies Alumni Gathering: Los Angeles
Aug25
UO Cinema Studies Alumni Gathering: Los Angeles Aug 25 Everson Royce Bar
Graduate Employee Day of Teaching
Sep25
Graduate Employee Day of Teaching Sep 25 100 Willamette Hall
The BIG 10+ Academia Career Fair
Oct16
The BIG 10+ Academia Career Fair Oct 16
Bob Bussel Labor History Lecture
Apr24
Bob Bussel Labor History Lecture Apr 24 William W. Knight Law Center

All events »