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.
What Are Potential Topics Within This Major?
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. Prospective students are required to confer with a department advisor before beginning a program in earth science. In consultation with the advisor, students may develop individual programs tailored to their interests and career goals.
To learn more about whether you might enjoy this major, check with a peer in the Career Resource Room for details on:
- Focus 2 to explore college majors and careers.
- The Strong Interest Inventory®, an assessment that compares your interests against six broad categories of work. This assessment helps match your interests and suggests potential careers to explore.
What Can I Do To Make My Major More Marketable?
- Pursue relevant work, internship, volunteer, and/or research experience.
- Choose a complementary minor.
- Specialize in an area; take courses in related fields.
- Develop your computer skills.
- Learn a foreign language.
- Study abroad.
- Join professional associations.
- Get involved in student clubs.
- Participate in community organizations.
- Seek out leadership positions.
- Research specific prerequisites for different positions.
- Network with others in fields that interest you.
What Are Some Possible Career Options?
Note: On its own, your major does not indicate what your job will be. The following lists provides only a handful of possibilities. There are numerous career opportunities in the geological sciences in educational, governmental, and industrial organizations. Depending on experience, specialized coursework, and possible graduate study, options include:
Come visit the Career Resource Room to see our vast collection of career books and resources.
Geology and Earth Science Highlights
List of schools offering Geology degrees and classes
Guide to Geoscience Departments
Listing of Geoscience institutions by degree level and by state.
This is a comprehensive website that provides information about where graduate programs are offered throughout the nation.
This is a database to help find where graduate programs are offered throughout the U.S.
Career choices include academia (public school teacher, community college instructor, university professor or researcher), industry (exploration geologist and geophysicist, engineering and environmental geologist) or government scientist (U.S. Geological Survey, NOAA, NASA). Earth scientists are well trained in observing the Earth and have a broad education in mathematics and the physical or biological sciences. A Bachelors or Masters degree is required for many industry jobs, while Ph.D. degrees are needed for research and university teaching positions. UCSB can provide you with the education and experience to open doors in any of the employment areas of earth sciences. Continue to browse our web site to find ideas on how you can succeed both here and in your career.
Employment prospects are good, with some fields growing very fast. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "employment growth of 18 percent is expected for geoscientists and hydrologists between 2008 and 2018, which is faster than the average for all occupations."
A site for job listings in geoscience, soil science, ecology/conservation, hydrology/hydrogeology/water resources, seismology/geodesy, mining/mineral exploration, science administration, oil and gas.
Jobs in Geology and Earth Sciences
Provides an index of about two dozen job listing sites.
Click on the region where you would like to work. (Note: not all jobs in are in the mines. Positions like concrete manager, concrete marketing director, aggregate marketing director are also included.)
Gateway to Oil & Gas Industry
RigZone. Oil industry jobs world wide.
LIST OF JOB LINKS IN THE EARTH SCIENCES
Search engine links
UCSB Career Services “Job Links” section
Check out job links in the following categories: Local/CA, National, International, Industry Specific, UCSB Careers By Majors and Diversity.
When you join LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, you get access to people, jobs, news, updates, and insights that help you be great at what you do.
Index includes professional organizations and government agencies.
American Association of Petroleum Geologists
Purpose of AAPG, to foster scientific research, to advance the science of geology, to promote technology, and to inspire high professional conduct.
Geological Society of America
The mission of GSA is to be a leader in advancing the geosciences, enhancing the professional growth of its members, and promoting the geosciences in the service of humankind.
UCMP Societies & Organizations
Professional Societies and organizations in natural history, conservation, microbiology, botany, zoology, etc.