Earth Science

What is Earth Science?

Earth Science is the study of the earth — the study of its rocks, minerals, and records of ancient life, and of the physical, chemical, and biological processes, past and present, at work in the earth's interior, on its surface, and within its envelope of water and air. The methods of geology are applicable to the study of the moon and the planets.

The undergraduate program in Earth Science provides the background in elementary geology, basic sciences, and mathematics necessary for graduate work in geology or closely related fields such as geophysics, geochemistry, paleobiology, or oceanography. In addition, the program retains the flexibility to permit preparation for eventual specialization in related fields. In consultation with an undergraduate advisor, students may develop individual programs tailored to their interests and career goals.

There are numerous career opportunities in the geological sciences in educational, governmental, and industrial organizations. Students with a Bachelors degree in earth science who are interested in pursuing a California Teaching Credential should contact the credential advisor in the Graduate School of Education as soon as possible.

Prospective students are required to confer with a department advisor before beginning a program in earth science. Students may correspond with advisors before they enter the university. The department offers a Bachelor of Science in Earth Science degree, which is the primary degree offered by the department, and a Bachelor of Arts in Earth Science (which requires more General Education and fewer Earth Science elective courses than the Bachelor of Science) and a Minor in Earth Science.

Available degrees at UCSB:

The primary major in the Department of Earth Science. It focuses on general geology and had optional concentration in Engineering Geology.
This major employs an integrated view of the earth as a dynamically linked system. Students take traditional geology courses while pursuing coursework in related disciplines, such as ocean, atmospheric, and earth-surface processes.
Study of the movement of water through geologic material and the resulting interactions with a focus on earth surface processes.
Paleobiology is the study of fossils as evidence for the patterns and processes of evolution over geological time. The paleobiologist seeks to understand the geological context in which a fossil is found and to interpret the biology of the fossil from a sound knowledge of living organisms.
This major focuses on a quantitative and physical interpretation of Earth processes. Students in Geophysics take more courses in math and physics and fewer courses in earth materials and geologic field methods than do students in Geological Sciences.
The B.A. degree requires more general education courses and fewer upper-division Geology courses than does the B.S. This major is appropriate for students pursuing a double major.
The requirements for the minor are flexible, and we strongly suggest that students meet with the undergraduate assistant before planning their courses. This minor responds to a growing interest in geoscience, and the increasing importance of geoscience to political and social issues.
The Department of Earth Science at UCSB offers a Five-Year BS/MS degree program in Earth Science. The programs enable excellent undergraduates to obtain a Masters degree in a time-efficient manner.  Additional information is available on Graduate Division's Five Year Degree Programs website.  If you are interested or would like to inquire about the Five-year Bachelors/Masters Program, please contact the Graduate Program Assistant

Major, General, and Career Information

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