UMass Earth Systems majors get outside, travel cool places, and study the planet on fine and macro scale.

The UMass Earth Systems Program explores our home planet as a series of interconnected systems: the geosphere (solid Earth), hydrosphere (water), atmosphere (air), biosphere (life), and cryosphere (ice) to provide a holistic perspective on the Earth. Our curriculum investigates internal Earth processes driven by heat and gravity, as well as the external processes driven in large part by solar energy, including the evolution of life and the surface environment, as well as global climate change and the feedbacks between Earth’s interconnected systems. Many of our courses deliberately integrate elements of the “human dimension” of the global environment, sustainability, Earth processes, and environmental change. We utilize global-thinking tools (e.g., GoogleEarth, Geographic Information Science - GIS) to explore and understand integrated features of our natural world and our built environments. We are experiencing “global environmental change” at an unprecedented rate; not only in our physical world, but in societies worldwide as well. The issues are compelling, complex, and current. We must better understand our home planet’s history, processes, hazards, resources, and environments, as well as our impact on it in order to work towards a more sustainable future.

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UMass Earth System science majors develop valuable skills.

What You'll Learn

UMass Earth Sciences major study the environment and earth in the field.  Students gain valuable hands-on experience.

  • Apply how Earth system science informs the global challenges, including natural resources, energy, water, geohazards, climate change, and sustainability.
  • Fundamental geoscience and observational skills including hands-on field and laboratory experiences.
  • Three-dimensional visualization of dynamic Earth systems.
  • The intersection of Earth history, geologic processes and rates, and human activities.
  • The tools and methods to solve real-world problems involving the collection, integration, and analysis of data.
  • Use and critical evaluation of models to simulate and understand Earth processes.
  • Access to interdisciplinary training in climate science, geochemistry, numerical methods, numerical analysis, and geophysics.
UMass SES Earth Sciences Environment Undergraduate Major


Earth system scientists pursue diverse career paths related to climate science, the environment, water resources, energy, mineral resources, natural disasters, education, science communication, and environmental law and policy. These fields include academic, private sector (non-profit), government, and commercial jobs related to natural and renewable resources, conservation, environmental hazards assessment and mitigation, environmental remediation, water resources, and sustainability.
  • Water Resources Manager
  • Environmental Geoscientist
  • Environmental Scientist
  • Environmental Policy
  • Geochemist
  • Climatologist
  • Oceanographer

Students & Alumni