Department of Geological Sciences
HomeUndergraduateGraduateCoursesResearchPeopleNews & EventsResources

Rock formationProfessor teaching classes

Field TripProfessor with students outside


The Earth and planetary sciences use diverse and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of complex physical, chemical, and biological processes occurring on and within the earth. The undergraduate program combines fundamental backgrounds in mathematics, physics, and chemistry with courses applying these techniques to geological problems. Undergraduates are encouraged to select individual programs reflecting their scientific interests and career goals, whether graduate study in the earth sciences, professional employment, or advanced study in areas such as management or law.

Undergraduates are involved in the full spectrum of departmental activities beyond class work: research, seminars, field trips, and social functions. The resulting educational environment offers unusual opportunities for motivated and interested students.

Our educational goals are twofold: to train active research scientists with broad, interdisciplinary skills; and to provide majors pursuing careers outside the laboratory with the analytical skills and scientific literacy that will enable them to succeed in a variety of professions.

We maintain a strong program in graduate education. The graduate program is designed to allow students flexibility in shaping their education to their individual interests, and to maximize their involvement in research throughout their graduate careers. Students routinely present papers at national and international scientific meetings, and publish in professional journals.

Our undergraduate-major program, although small in numbers, shares many of the same characteristics, with students actively participating in research, occasionally reaching the stage of professional publication, and often electing to pursue graduate education in the Earth and planetary sciences.

Northwestern logo WCAS logo