bachelor of science in earth sciences

why investigate and study the earth’s characteristics (lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere)? because you live on earth!

frostburg state university’s four-year, earth sciences bachelor’s program studies how the earth was formed, how it evolved and how we can best manage its resources to preserve habitats. applying interdisciplinary techniques to locate, identify and characterize natural processes, reconstruct landscapes and examine the impacts of climate change on a diverse range of environments, fsu’s earth sciences majors seek answers to today’s most pressing scientific questions. we explore such issues as: how has the planet changed over time? what conditions were necessary for life to begin? why does climate change? what is the future of the earth? the study of earth science has never been more important than it is today and that has led to tremendous opportunities for those who enter this growing field.

  • enter a field experiencing widespread growth because of increased awareness of excessive global consumption and declining availability of finite materials and energy resources.
  • complete an environmental science concentration or pursue certification as an earth science middle/secondary teacher.
  • study in a multidisciplinary program with diverse courses delivered by the departments of geography, physics, biology and chemistry.

bachelor of science in earth sciences highlights:

  • integrate geomorphology, geology, soils survey, environmental reconstruction, field work, geographic data handling, remote sensing and original research into your studies.
  • develop the skills and ability to reconstruct environments and explore remote regions of the earth.
  • complete approximately 50 percent of your lab work in the field, exploring rock deposits, waterways, swamps and other settings in the natural environment.
  • explore earth science using fsu’s excellent scientific facilities and equipment that include chemical analysis laboratories, a sediment preparation laboratory, surveying equipment, subsurface coring instruments, pollen extraction ability, computer laboratories with the industry standard gis software and much more.
  • complete a senior earth science research project exploring real world challenges and have the opportunity to present your findings at international scientific conferences.
  • intern at locations such as the u.s. geological survey, soil testing companies, environmental consultancies and many other such organizations, if desired.
  • take part in a studying abroad exchange program in the united kingdom or another country earning credit that can be applied to your earth science degree requirements, if desired.
  • join the fsu geography club that organizes field trips to geological sites, participates in intercollegiate geography bowls and creates opportunities for students to have fun and be active in the field.

about our earth sciences faculty:

  • learn in small classes, many of which are capped at 19 students, so you get to know your professors well and can work closely with them in the field and in class.
  • study with faculty members who are strong academically and possess experience working commercially in earth science exploration.
  • take classes with faculty who are published scientific authors and active researchers in the field.

sample earth sciences courses you may take:

physical geology and geomorphology – consider rock types, plate tectonics, landscape change and planet formation.  explore via experiential activities the evidence that will develop a fundamental understanding of the interior and exterior of the earth.

geographic data handling – complete an overview of the characteristics and variety of geospatial data. be involved in discussions regarding which techniques are appropriate to apply to both manual and automated geographically referenced data.  explore the powerful possibilities of data application to real world environments.

natural hazards – consider patterns of hazards relative to human, plant and animal populations in the landscape in light of historical, environmental and biotic influences. explore the development of historical and contemporary hazard perception, prevention and mitigation, and study the importance of disturbance on the earth systems.

soil analysis – study the origin and development of soils from their physical and chemical properties. apply chemical and field identification techniques for the production of a detailed description of soil characteristics. emphasis is on application of standard protocols, development of experimental technique and sample preparation.

find out more about frostburg state university’s earth sciences program requirements (pdf).

career outlook for earth scientists:

according to information presented in a webinar by the american geosciences institute about the outcomes of the geoscience undergraduate education summit, earth sciences graduates can anticipate 35 percent growth in career positions over the next 10 years. one reason for the growth is an estimated loss of 12 percent of the earth science workforce to retirement. an additional explanation for career growth in the earth sciences field is growing public concern over the demands populations are placing on our diminishing natural resources. for more information about the agi and the field of geoscience, visit

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