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College of the Environment

Earth and Space Sciences

070 Johnson Hall
206-543-1190
Website
Faculty Website
essadv@uw.edu

Earth and Space Sciences seeks to further our understanding of the Earth, the solar system, and their histories. The scope extends from the center of Earth to the rim of the solar system, and activities cut across traditional disciplines of physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and mathematics. The discipline examines Earth's interior structure, chemistry, motion, and dynamics; the processes affecting its landscapes, including ice and climate; natural hazards; the surrounding space environment; planetary processes; and geobiology.

 Undergraduate Programs


Earth and Space Sciences

070 Johnson Hall
206-616-8511
essadv@uw.edu

 Program of Study: Major: Earth and Space Sciences


Program Overview

The Bachelor of Science in Earth and Space Sciences is designed for students interested in geology and geophysics, and a career path in graduate studies or in the private sector where field and technology experiences and problem-solving skills are an important asset. Students pursuing the B.S. in Earth and Space Sciences choose from one of four options: Geology, Biology, Physics, or Environmental Earth Sciences. The Bachelor of Arts in Earth and Space Sciences enables students to obtain a broad understanding of earth sciences as a background for professional careers such as science journalism, environmental law, science education, and environmental policy.

This program of study leads to the following credentials:
  • Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Earth and Space Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Earth and Space Sciences: Biology
  • Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Earth and Space Sciences: Geology
  • Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Earth and Space Sciences: Geoscience
  • Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Earth and Space Sciences: Physics
Admission Requirements

Students in good academic standing may declare this major at any time.

 Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Earth and Space Sciences


Credential Overview

The Bachelor of Arts in Earth and Space Sciences is designed for students who wish to obtain a broad understanding of earth sciences as a background for professional careers such as science journalism, environmental law, science education, and environmental policy.

Recommended Preparation

Suggested First- and Second-Year College Courses: Q SCI 291, Q SCI 292 or MATH 124, MATH 125; PHYS 114/PHYS 117 or PHYS 121; CHEM 142.

Completion Requirements

88-90 credits

  1. Supporting Science (30 credits):
    1. Basic Supporting Science (20 credits): CHEM 142; Q SCI 291, Q SCI 292 or MATH 124, MATH 125; PHYS 114/PHYS 117 or PHYS 121.
    2. Additional courses: 10 credits from department's approved list of courses in science and mathematics. See adviser for current list.
  2. ESS Courses (43-45 credits):
    1. Required courses (18-20 credits): Two of ESS 211, ESS 212, ESS 213. One additional course from ESS 201, ESS 205, ESS 210, ESS 211, ESS 212, or ESS 213. One of ESS 311, ESS 312, ESS 313, ESS 314, or ESS 316.
    2. Elective Courses: 25 upper-division credits (300 and 400 level) with at least 10 credits at the 400 level (may not include independent study or seminar courses numbered ESS 489 through ESS 499.)
  3. Concentration (15 credits): 15 credits from one concentration area: business, education, interdisciplinary science, law and policy, or science communication (see department for approved list). Courses counted toward this requirement cannot be used for any other major requirements. Courses not on the approved list may count toward this requirement if approved in advance by ESS Advising.
  4. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA for all ESS-prefix courses.

 Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Earth and Space Sciences: Biology


Credential Overview

The Bachelor of Science in Earth and Space Sciences: Biology Option is designed for students interested in geology and geophysics, and a career path in graduate studies or in the private sector where field and technology experiences and problem-solving skills are an important asset. The Biology Option enables students interested in paleontology and paleobiology to emphasize biology courses.

Recommended Preparation

Suggested First- and Second-Year Courses: MATH 124, MATH 125, and MATH 126 or ESS 310; PHYS 121, PHYS 122, PHYS 123 or PHYS 114/PHYS 117, PHYS 115/PHYS 118, PHYS 116/PHYS 119; CHEM 142.

Completion Requirements

93-103 credits

  1. Science Core (35 credits)
    1. Basic Supporting Science (20 credits): MATH 124, MATH 125 or equivalent; PHYS 114/PHYS 117 or PHYS 121; CHEM 142. (Students pursuing the ESS physics option must take PHYS 121.)
    2. ESS Required 200-Level Core Courses (15 credits): ESS 211, ESS 212, ESS 213. (Students in the ESS physics option may substitute ESS 205 for one of these.)
  2. Option (58-68 credits)
    1. Supporting Science (24-25 credits): CHEM 152, CHEM 162; either both BIOL 180 and BIOL 200 or BIOL 240; and one of BIOL 220 or BIOL 240, PHYS 115/PHYS 118, PHYS 122, MATH 126 or ESS 310, STAT 290, STAT 311 or STAT 390.
    2. ESS Required 300-Level Core Courses (15 credits): three of ESS 311, ESS 312, ESS 313, ESS 314, ESS 316
    3. ESS Upper-Division Courses (19-28 credits): ESS 400, ESS 401, or ESS 449/BIOL 475; ESS 418; 12 credits from ESS 400-level courses, 400-level BIOL or BIOC courses from approved list (see website for current list), or any ESS 300-level core course (ESS 311, ESS 312, ESS 313, ESS 314, ESS 316) not taken as a required course, above. May not include independent study or seminar courses numbered ESS 489 through ESS 499. At least 3 credits from ESS-prefix courses.
  3. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA for all ESS-prefix courses

 Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Earth and Space Sciences: Geology


Credential Overview

The Bachelor of Science in Earth and Space Sciences: Geology Option is designed for students interested in geology and geophysics, and a career path in graduate studies or in the private sector where field and technology experiences and problem-solving skills are an important asset. The Geology Option enables students interested in geology and surface processes to emphasize a traditional geology curriculum and prepares students to take the Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG) examination and pursue eventual licensure as a Professional Geologist.

Recommended Preparation

Suggested First- and Second-Year Courses: MATH 124, MATH 125, and MATH 126 or ESS 310; PHYS 121, PHYS 122, PHYS 123 or PHYS 114/PHYS 117, PHYS 115/PHYS 118, PHYS 116/PHYS 119; CHEM 142.

Completion Requirements

99-106 credits

  1. Science Core (35 credits)
    1. Basic Supporting Science (20 credits): MATH 124, MATH 125 or equivalent; PHYS 114/PHYS 117 or PHYS 121; CHEM 142. (Students pursuing the ESS physics option must take PHYS 121.)
    2. ESS Required 200-Level Core Courses (15 credits): ESS 211, ESS 212, ESS 213. (Students in the ESS physics option may substitute ESS 205 for one of these.)
  2. Option (64-71 credits)
    1. Supporting Science (16-20 credits): MATH 126 or ESS 310; PHYS 115/PHYS 118 or PHYS 122; and two from the following: PHYS 116/PHYS 119 or PHYS 123, CHEM 152, either AMATH 351 or MATH 307, MATH 308, and either STAT 290, STAT 311, or STAT 390
    2. ESS Required 300-Level Core Courses (15 credits): ESS 311, ESS 312, ESS 316
    3. ESS Geology Core (7-10 credits): one course from ESS 439, ESS 441, ESS 455, ESS 456, or ESS 463; and one course from ESS 425, ESS 426, ESS 427, ESS 447, ESS 454, ESS 457, or ESS 482
    4. ESS Upper-Division Courses (26 credits): ESS 400 or ESS 401; ESS 418; 10 credits from ESS 400-level courses, ESS 313, or ESS 314. May not include independent study or seminar courses numbered ESS 489 through ESS 499.
  3. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA for all ESS-prefix courses

 Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Earth and Space Sciences: Geoscience


Credential Overview

The Bachelor of Science in Earth and Space Sciences: Geoscience Option is designed for students interested in geology and geophysics, and a career path in graduate studies or in the private sector where field and technology experiences and problem-solving skills are an important asset. The Geoscience Earth Sciences option enables students interested in geoscience-focused courses and careers to emphasize geoscience earth sciences courses.

Recommended Preparation

Suggested First- and Second-Year Courses: MATH 124, MATH 125, and MATH 126 or ESS 310; PHYS 121, PHYS 122, PHYS 123 or PHYS 114/PHYS 117, PHYS 115/PHYS 118, PHYS 116/PHYS 119; CHEM 142.

Completion Requirements

94-99 credits

  1. Science Core (35 credits)
    1. Basic Supporting Science (20 credits): MATH 124, MATH 125 or equivalent; PHYS 114/PHYS 117 or PHYS 121; CHEM 142. (Students pursuing the ESS physics option must take PHYS 121.)
    2. ESS Required 200-Level Core Courses (15 credits): ESS 211, ESS 212, ESS 213. (Students in the ESS physics option may substitute ESS 205 for one of these.)
  2. Option (59-64 credits)
    1. Quantitative Skills (4-5 credits): MATH 126, ESS 310, STAT 290, STAT 311, STAT 390, or Q SCI 381
    2. Supporting Science (8-10 credits): PHYS 115/PHYS 118 or PHYS 122; and one of CHEM 152, AMATH 351, MATH 307, MATH 308, PHYS 116/PHYS 119, or PHYS 123
    3. ESS Geoscience 200-level Core (3-5 credits): One of ESS 201, ESS 202, ESS 203, ESS 204, ESS 205, or ESS 230
    4. ESS Required 300-Level Core Courses (10 credits): two of ESS 311, ESS 312, ESS 313, ESS 314, ESS 316
    5. ESS Upper-Division Courses (34 credits): ESS 400 or ESS 401; ESS 418; 18 credits from ESS 400-level courses, from an approved list of courses outside ESS, or any ESS 300-level core course (ESS 311, ESS 312, ESS 313, ESS 314, ESS 316) not taken as a required course, above. May not include independent study or seminar courses numbered ESS 489 through ESS 499
  3. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA for all ESS-prefix courses

 Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Earth and Space Sciences: Physics


Credential Overview

The Bachelor of Science in Earth and Space Sciences: Physics Option is designed for students interested in geology and geophysics, and a career path in graduate studies or in the private sector where field and technology experiences and problem-solving skills are an important asset. The Physics Option enables students interested in geophysics to emphasize space sciences, physics, and geophysics courses.

Recommended Preparation

Suggested First- and Second-Year Courses: MATH 124, MATH 125, and MATH 126 or ESS 310; PHYS 121, PHYS 122, PHYS 123 or PHYS 114/PHYS 117, PHYS 115/PHYS 118, PHYS 116/PHYS 119; CHEM 142.

Completion Requirements

98-101 credits

  1. Science Core (35 credits)
    1. Basic Supporting Science (20 credits): MATH 124, MATH 125 or equivalent; PHYS 114/PHYS 117 or PHYS 121; CHEM 142. (Students pursuing the ESS physics option must take PHYS 121.)
    2. ESS Required 200-Level Core Courses (15 credits): ESS 211, ESS 212, ESS 213. (Students in the ESS physics option may substitute ESS 205 for one of these.)
  2. Option (63-66 credits)
    1. Supporting science (34-37 credits): MATH 126, MATH 308, MATH 324 or MATH 136, MATH 324; PHYS 122, PHYS 123, PHYS 227, PHYS 228, PHYS 321, PHYS 322.
    2. ESS required 300-Level Core Courses (10 credits): two of ESS 311, ESS 312, ESS 313, ESS 314, ESS 316
    3. ESS Upper-Division Courses (19 credits): ESS 418; 15 credits from ESS 400-level courses or any ESS 300-level core course (ESS 311, ESS 312, ESS 313, ESS 314, ESS 316) not taken as a required course, above. May not include independent study or seminar courses numbered ESS 489 through ESS 499
  3. Minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA for all ESS-prefix courses

 Program of Study: Minor: Earth and Space Sciences


Program Overview

The Minor in Earth and Space Sciences provides students maximum flexibility and interest by allowing them to sample from the full range of Earth and Space Sciences courses, including undergraduate courses in both geological sciences and geophysics. Recommended for general interest or for non-science majors intending to pursue graduate studies in a related field.

This program of study leads to the following credential:
  • Minor in Earth and Space Sciences

 Minor in Earth and Space Sciences


Credential Overview

The Minor in Earth and Space Sciences provides students maximum flexibility and interest by allowing them to sample from the full range of Earth and Space Sciences courses, including undergraduate courses in both geological sciences and geophysics. Recommended for general interest or for non-science majors intending to pursue graduate studies in a related field.

Completion Requirements

30 credits

  1. 30 ESS credits with at least 15 at the upper-division level (300- or 400-level) of which at least 3 credits must be at the 400-level (may not include independent study or seminar courses numbered ESS 489 through ESS 499.)
  2. All courses must be completed with a minimum grade of 2.0.
Additional Information

Student Outcomes and Opportunities

  • Learning Objectives and Expected Outcomes: Students who graduate with an undergraduate degree in Earth and Space Sciences (ESS) have achieved these learning goals:
    • Have a general knowledge of the basic areas of solid earth geology and geophysics, geobiology, surface processes, space physics, and analogues of processes within the solar system.
    • Be proficient in one of the core disciplines through the completion of requirements in one of four options: standard (geology), (geo)biology, (geo)physics, or environmental.
    • Think critically and obtain quantitative predictions using skill sets that involve multiple disciplines and all core sciences.
    • Have obtained hands-on experience from extensive fieldwork and/or laboratory experience.
    • Have the ability to communicate scientific information clearly and precisely, both orally and in writing.
    • Have the ability to read, understand, and use scientific literature.
  • Instructional and Research Facilities: See below, at end of graduate program requirements.
  • Honors Options Available: With College Honors (Completion of Honors Core Curriculum and Departmental Honors); With Honors (Completion of Departmental Honors in the major). See adviser or department website for requirements.
  • State Licensing Endorsement Available: Students interested in pursuing State Licensing for Geologists can receive guidance in course selection that meets state requirements for the geologist licensing examination (see adviser for requirements or visit department website).
  • Research, Internships, and Service Learning: Job and internship possibilities are posted in the department and forwarded by email to all undergraduate students.
  • Department Scholarships: A limited number of departmental scholarships are available. Scholarship applications are invited from all undergraduate students in the major during spring quarter. The awards are applicable to the following academic year.
  • Student Organizations/Associations: Geo Club organizes field trips and social gatherings. Information about meetings and events is forwarded to undergraduate majors by email.

 Graduate Programs


Earth and Space Sciences


 Program of Study: Doctor Of Philosophy (Earth And Space Sciences)


This program of study leads to the following credentials:
  • Doctor Of Philosophy (Earth And Space Sciences)
  • Doctor Of Philosophy (Earth And Space Sciences: Earth And Space Sciences And Astrobiology)
Admission Requirements

Contact department for requirements.

 Doctor Of Philosophy (Earth And Space Sciences)


Completion Requirements

Contact department for requirements.

 Doctor Of Philosophy (Earth And Space Sciences: Earth And Space Sciences And Astrobiology)


Completion Requirements

Contact department for requirements.

 Program of Study: Master Of Science (Earth And Space Sciences)


This program of study leads to the following credentials:
  • Master Of Science (Earth And Space Sciences)
  • Master Of Science (Earth And Space Sciences: Applied Geosciences)
Admission Requirements

Contact department for requirements.

 Master Of Science (Earth And Space Sciences)


Completion Requirements

Contact department for requirements.

 Master Of Science (Earth And Space Sciences: Applied Geosciences)


Completion Requirements

Contact department for requirements.