B.A./B.S. in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

The Earth and Atmospheric Sciences major is offered to students in the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Cornell Engineering.

The BA/BS in Earth & Atmospheric Sciences is available to undergraduates in three colleges: The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), the College of Engineering (CoE), and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS).

Why major in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

This degree will prepare students to tackle some of the most pressing challenges of our time. 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 EAS program features small classes and a high ratio of faculty to students, yet its location within Cornell allows students to choose among a rich variety of elective courses and extracurricular activities. In addition, the gorgeous landscape of Upstate New York and the Cornell campus provides an incredible real-life laboratory to study the environment.

Unique Approach

The 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.

Where a degree in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences takes you

Earth and atmospheric sciences 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.

For further information about this major, contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Bruce Monger or Annmarie Card (ac2666@cornell.edu). Ready to declare the major? Visit Annmarie in 2102A Snee Hall!

Learning Outcomes

Earth and Atmospheric Science students learn to:

  1. Obtain working knowledge of scientific method.
  2. Discover the way that data are collected.
  3. Construct and evaluate scientific hypotheses from Earth sciences data.
  4. Design, conduct and analyze experiments to test hypotheses.
  5. Collect, analyze, and interpret field and laboratory data.
  6. Identify, formulate, and solve scientific problems using appropriate mathematical tools.
  7. Compile and interpret spatial and temporal earth science data.
  8. Explain and assess important concepts in the chosen concentration.
  9. Utilize computer systems and programming to find, analyze and present data and evaluate hypotheses.
  10. Communicate the earth sciences effectively in written and oral mediums.
  11. Demonstrate the ability to work in teams.
  12. Have a broad education, including liberal studies.