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Earth & Environmental Sciences Major

B.S. Earth and Environmental Sciences Degree Information

The Department of Earth & Environmental Systems offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Earth and Environmental Sciences with concentrations in atmosphere and surface processes or geoscience.

Course work includes a core of courses and laboratory work in environmental science, world culture and environments, earth science, and conservation and sustainability. Students also complete a core of mathematics and science courses in chemistry, calculus, and physics.  Electives are selected from areas such as environmental processes, water and geochemistry, geobiology, geoarchaeology, physical geosciences, and research.

Earth and Environmental Sciences Concentrations:

Atmospheric and Surface Processes:

This concentration focuses on the field and laboratory techniques needed to understand earth surface processes and climate. Course work includes physical geography, weather and climate, geomorphic processes, chemistry, and physics. Graduates are prepared for careers in fields such as environmental science, land reclamation, surface water/soil contamination, and conservation of natural resources.


Structural Trip

The Geosciences Program at ISU provides hands-on field and laboratory experiences, with helpful, one-on-one guidance from faculty mentors. The diverse array of faculty ensures that students get broad training in the traditional geology disciplines and in earth science-related fields such as environmental geology, geochemistry, Quaternary sciences, paleoceanography, paleoecology, and geobiology.  

This concentration focuses on field and laboratory techniques needed to interpret earth and environmental processes, analyze and evaluate scientific data, and assess new environmental issues.  Course work includes earth history, mineralogy, petrology, structural geology, field geology, environmental geology, stratigraphy and sedimentation, chemistry, and physics. Graduates are prepared for professional careers as a geologist, hydrogeologist, or environmental scientist in a variety of industries or in government agencies, including those dealing with distribution and quality of groundwater, pollution problems, waste disposal, and hazards such as flooding and erosion. 

Students in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Degree track benefit from one-on-one guidance from dedicated faculty mentors with diverse expertise.  Most hold doctoral degrees—and all engage in research and scholarly publication. Course work is further enriched with lectures and presentations by graduate student researchers and visiting scholars from around the nation and overseas.

Take a look at our faculty to learn more about each of us and the potential opportunities we have to offer.  We look forward to hearing from you!
Susan Berta:Remote Sensing, Geomorphology
Greg Bierly: Climatology, Physical Geography
Sandra Brake: Environmental Geology, Geochemistry, Geobiology, Mineralogy, Igneous Petrology, Mineral Deposits
Prodip Dutta, Emeritus Professor of Geology
Jennifer Latimer: Sediment Geochemistry, Oceanography, Paleoceanography, Environmental Geochemistry, Biogeochemistry, Medical Geology
Anthony Rathburn: Oceanography, Paleoceanography, Marine Ecology, Paleoclimatology, Paleontology, Biogeochemistry, Geobiology
James Speer: Dendrochronology, Biogeography, Quaternary Ecology, Soils
C. Russell Stafford: Archaeology, Geoarchaeology, Hunter Gatherers, GIS, Midwest Prehistory
Jeffery Stone: Paleoecology, Limnology, Diatoms
Amos Winter: Climatology, Oceanography

Classrooms and Research Laboratories:
Classroom activities and research are enhanced by state-of-the-art laboratories, field camps, and fieldwork as part of faculty research projects conducted in a wide variety of environments around the world. Internships are available.

Social Organizations:
A number of activities and organizations are available that enable students to interact with other students and professionals in the industry. Student organizations include:

  • Anthropology Club
  • Earth Science Club
  • Gamma Theta Upsilon, Kappa Nu Chapter
  • In addition, the department regularly hosts special events

Programs Advisor Requirements Outcomes
Atmospheric & Surface Processes Dr. Greg Bierly PDF
Geosciences Dr. Sandra Brake PDF


Department of Earth and Environmental Systems