University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
Connecting Learning to Life


Earth Science

Disciplinary Major or Minor (Bachelor of Science)

Professor - Steven I. Dutch (chair)
Associate Professor - Kevin Fermanich
Assistant Professor -John Luczaj, Steven Meyer

Web site:

Earth science is the study of the physical components of the environment (rocks, minerals, soil, water, and air), the various processes affected by those components, and the interactions between the physical environment and living organisms. The program's special emphasis is on environmental geology in view of the growing need to apply principles of geology to environmental issues such as natural hazard mitigation, ground water conservation, and land reclamation.

The earth science program takes a problem-focused, interdisciplinary approach in which the physical environment is investigated as many interacting systems. Earth system science is an emerging field that emphasizes the interactions between the different systems that make up the earth. Although earth system science is considered a new approach at many institutions, it has been an integral part of the earth science program since the very founding of UW-Green Bay .

Career opportunities for earth scientists are varied. Environmental concerns have spurred demand for earth scientists in government agencies, consulting firms, and private industry. There is also strong demand for technically proficient earth scientists who are also skilled communicators able to bridge the gap between science and the public.

Majors in earth science may enter their careers upon graduation or may elect to pursue graduate study in geology, geophysics, soil science, meteorology, climatology, hydrology, or oceanography. Those intending to pursue graduate study are advised to complement requirements for the major with courses in physics, advanced mathematics, and computer science. The major may also be used to support another area of study.

Students interested in planning, natural resource or land management, or environmental policy issues typically select interdisciplinary minors in environmental science, public and environmental affairs, or urban and regional studies. For those interested in an earth system science perspective in business, earth science may be combined with business administration. Communication and the arts is an option for earth science students interested in print or electronic journalism (broadcast meteorology, for example).

Supporting communication skills are essential for earth scientists. Earth scientists must be able to communicate with people in other fields, many of whom lack scientific training. Knowledge of foreign languages, history, and other cultures provides access to foreign technical literature and facilitates working in other regions of the world. Technical skills gained through courses in air photo interpretation, remote sensing, and computer science are invaluable for the earth scientist.

Earth science education is a growing career field. Many states and localities now require earth science in their curricula, and many high schools offer earth science courses in addition to traditional science courses of biology, chemistry, and physics. Earth science education includes not only geology but weather and climate, astronomy, and often oceanography.

Students seeking teacher certification can pursue several options:

  • They can pursue a broad-field science certification in education and take earth science courses to match their interests and employment goals.
  • Students interested in elementary and middle school teaching can take an education major and earth science minor.
  • Students interest in teaching at the secondary level can take an earth science major and education minor.

All education students should consult with advisers in earth science and education early in their studies to make sure that their academic program meets all state requirements for certification. Careful planning is essential since the education course requirements are substantial and state requirements change periodically.

Earth Science Major Requirements
Earth Science Minor Requirements
Course Descriptions