Geology and Geophysics

The Geology and Geophysics program prepares students for the application of scientific principles and methods to the understanding of Earth, the environment, and life on a regional and a planetary scale. Subjects range from the history of Earth and life to present-day environmental processes, integrating the study of Earth’s deep interior, tectonic plates, oceans, atmosphere, climate, land surface, natural resources, and biota. The emphasis of the curriculum is on employing basic principles from the core sciences (physics, chemistry, biology) to further an understanding of Earth’s past and present, and addressing issues relating to its future. Students gain a broad background in the natural sciences, and also select a specific track to focus their work on planetary or environmental phenomena of particular interest. Learn more at

The Atmosphere, the Ocean, and Environmental Change
with Ronald B. Smith

This course explores the physical processes that control Earth’s atmosphere, ocean, and climate. Quantitative methods for constructing mass and energy budgets. Topics include clouds, rain, severe storms, regional climate, the ozone layer, air pollution, ocean currents and productivity, the seasons, El Niño, the history of Earth’s climate, global warming, energy, and water resources.