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Science of Earth Systems

The earth sciences have never been more critical to society than they are today. Global warming, dwindling energy resources, inadequate water supplies, political strife over strategic minerals, and mega disasters threatened by volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunami, and hurricanes: these are but a few of the headlines that appear with increasing frequency. The Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University is a global leader in research directed toward understanding the fundamental processes that have shaped our planet, and is committed to providing students with the earth literacy needed to serve as informed citizens and wise stewards of the Earth.

The Science of Earth Systems major is an undergraduate program offered by the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences to students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the College of Engineering. The Science of Earth Systems program is unique in that it incorporates fundamentals of earth science with the emergence of a new and more complete approach, encompassing all components of the earth system—air, life, rock, and water—to gain a comprehensive understanding of the world as we know it. Students may choose to focus on one of a number of disciplinary specialties such as geophysics or tectonics, or develop the broad expertise needed to understand the interactions between the diverse elements of earth and life in the past, present, and future.

Sciences of Earth Systems graduates will be able to seek careers dealing with energy, mineral and water resources, natural hazards, weather and climate forecasting, ocean resources, and a host of environmental issues through employment in academia, government and the private sector. The major also prepares students for careers in environmental management and policy, law or medicine, science journalism and K-12 science education.