Major Description

Department/Program Description.

The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (E&ES) at Wesleyan University covers many aspects of the natural world, on Earth and on other planets. Course topics range from active volcanoes to climate change to eco-conservation. The E&ES major is designed to prepare students for graduate school as well as provide a basis for a variety of careers in the private or public sectors. Courses in geology, environmental science/environmental chemistry, environmental science/ecology, and planetary geology lead to different areas of specialization and career options. Many E&ES students work with faculty on research projects that range from climate studies to active volcanoes in the Andes, from the structure of the Grand Canyon to the structure of the planet Venus, from coastal areas nearby (Long Island Sound) to lagoons far away (Vieques Island, Puerto Rico). The culmination of the major is a capstone course where students perform independent research in the field (Puerto Rico or Death Valley).

General Education.
  • E&ES101 Dynamic Earth
  • E&ES111 Life on Planet Earth: Diversity, Evolution and Extinction
  • E&ES115 Introduction to Planetary Geology
  • E&ES118 Water Recources and the Environment
  • E&ES120 Mars, the Moon, and Earth: Similar, Yet so Different
  • E&ES121 Science on the Radio
  • E&ES151 The Planets
  • E&ES155 Hazardous Earth
  • E&ES160 Forensic Geology
  • E&ES197 Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • E&ES199 Introduction to Environmental Science
Admission to the Major.
Gateway courses for the major
  • E&ES101 Dynamic Earth
  • E&ES115 Introduction to Planetary Geology
  • E&ES197 Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • E&ES199 Introduction to Environmental Science
Sophomore Seminar
  • E&ES195 Sophomore Seminar
Major Requirements.

Students pursuing a major in E&ES are expected to take one gateway course (E&ES101, E&ES115, E&ES197, or E&ES199), the sophomore seminar (E&ES195), three core courses, four elective courses, and the senior seminar. Because Earth and environmental scientists need a broad background in the natural sciences and mathematics, E&ES majors are also required to take one year (two semesters) of gateway courses from two of the following disciplines: biology, chemistry, mathematics, or physics, for a total of four courses.  Students considering graduate studies in the sciences are encouraged to take gateways from more than two disciplines and/or upper-level course work in these disciplines. In addition to a minimum of four 200-300 level Wesleyan University E&ES courses, up to two upper-level science or math courses taken in other departments may count toward the E&ES major as electives, and two E&ES courses may be imported from study-abroad programs.

Core courses 
  • E&ES213/215 Mineralogy/Laboratory Study of Minerals
  • E&ES220/222 Geomorphology/Geomorphology Laboratory
  • E&ES223/225 Structural Geology/Field Geology
  • E&ES230/232 Sedimentology/Stratigraphy Techniques
  • E&ES233/229 Geobiology/Geobiology Laboratory
  • E&ES250/252 Earth Materials/Earth Materials Laboratory
  • E&ES280/281 Environmental Geochemistry/Environmental Geochemistry Laboratory
  • E&ES290/292 Oceans and Climate/Techniques in Ocean and Climate Investigations
  • BIOL216 Ecology
Elective courses
  • E&ES305/307 Soils/Soils Laboratory
  • E&ES312 Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems
  • E&ES314/316 Petrogenesis of Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks/Laboratory
  • E&ES317/319 Hydrology/Hydrology Laboratory
  • E&ES320 Quantitative Methods for the Biological and Environmental Sciences
  • E&ES322/324 Introduction to GIS/GIS Service Learning Laboratory
  • E&ES323 Isotope Geochemistry: Tracers of Environmental Processes
  • E&ES326/328 Remote Sensing/Remote-Sensing Laboratory
  • E&ES341 Marine Biogeochemistry
  • E&ES359 Global Climate Change
  • E&ES361 Living in a Polluted World
  • E&ES365 Modeling the Earth and the Environment
  • E&ES371 Planetary Geology Seminar
  • E&ES380/381 Volcanology/Volcanology Lab Course
Senior Seminar
  • E&ES397 Senior Seminar
Career Options and the E&ES major: Earth and environmental sciences majors go on to pursue a wide range of careers, limited only by their own imaginations. E&ES courses can be selected to help prepare for a student’s long-term interests. The course listings below are not requirements, but suggested guidelines. Students interested in academic or research careers should consider involvement in research or producing a senior thesis.
  • Geology. These courses can help prepare students for academic careers or jobs in industry or government in natural resource or geohazard management (e.g., USGS, water resources, mining and energy industries).

    • E&ES101 Dynamic Earth
    • E&ES115 Introduction to Planetary Geology
    • E&ES213/215 Mineralogy/Laboratory Study of Minerals
    • E&ES220/222 Geomorphology/Geomorphology Laboratory
    • E&ES223/225 Structural Geology/Field Geology
    • E&ES230/232 Sedimentology/Stratigraphy Techniques
    • E&ES290/292 Oceans and Climate/Techniques in Ocean and Climate Investigations
    • E&ES314/316 Petrogenesis of Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks/Laboratory
    • E&ES317/319 Hydrology/Hydrology Laboratory
    • E&ES322/324 Introduction to GIS/GIS Service Learning Laboratory
    • E&ES326/328 Remote Sensing/Remote-Sensing Laboratory
    • E&ES371 Planetary Geology Seminar
    • E&ES380/381 Volcanology/Volcanology Lab Course
    • E&ES397/398 Senior Seminar/Senior Field Research Project
  • Environmental Science/Environmental Chemistry.These courses can help prepare students for jobs in consulting, government, or nonprofit organizations (e.g., EPA, NOAA, USGS, state agencies) or to academic careers in climate science and water resources.

    • E&ES197 Introduction to Environmental Studies
    • E&ES199 Introduction to Environmental Science
    • E&ES213/215 Mineralogy/Laboratory Study of Minerals
    • E&ES220/222 Geomorphology/Geomorphology Laboratory
    • E&ES223/225 Structural Geology/Field Geology
    • E&ES233/229 Geobiology/Geobiology Laboratory
    • E&ES280/281 Environmental Geochemistry/Environmental Geochemistry Laboratory
    • E&ES290/292 Oceans and Climate/Techniques in Ocean and Climate Investigations
    • E&ES305/307 Soils/Soils Laboratory
    • E&ES320 Quantitative Methods for the Biological and Environmental Sciences
    • E&ES322/324 Introduction to GIS/GIS Service Learning Laboratory
    • E&ES323 Isotope Geochemistry: Tracers of Environmental Processes
    • E&ES359 Global Climate Change
    • E&ES397/398 Senior Seminar/Senior Field Research Project
    • BIOL216 Ecology
  • Environmental Science/Ecology. These courses can help prepare students for jobs in government, consulting, and nonprofit organizations (e.g., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state conservation agencies, Nature Conservancy, National Audubon Society) or academic careers in conservation and natural resource management).

    • E&ES197 Introduction to Environmental Studies
    • E&ES199 Introduction to Environmental Science
    • E&ES233/229 Geobiology/Geobiology Laboratory
    • E&ES280/281 Environmental Geochemistry/Environmental Geochemistry Laboratory
    • E&ES290/292 Oceans and Climate/Techniques in Ocean and Climate Investigations
    • E&ES305/307 Soils/Soils Laboratory
    • E&ES312 Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems
    • E&ES320 Quanitative Methods for the Biological and Environmental Sciences
    • E&ES322/324 Introduction to GIS/GIS Service Learning Laboratory
    • E&ES323 Isotope Geochemistry: Tracers of Environmental Processes
    • E&ES326/328 Remote Sensing/Remote-Sensing Laboratory
    • E&ES359 Global Climate Change
    • E&ES397/398 Senior Seminar/Senior Field Research Project
  • Planetary Geology. These courses can help prepare students for jobs in government and industry (e.g., NASA, remote sensing, and GIS contractors) or to academic careers in space science and remote sensing.

    • E&ES101 Dynamic Earth
    • E&ES115 Introduction to Planetary Geology
    • E&ES213/215 Mineralogy/Laboratory Study of Minerals
    • E&ES220/222 Geomorphology/Geomorphology Laboratory
    • E&ES223/225 Structural Geology/Field Geology
    • E&ES314/316 Petrogenesis of Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks/Laboratory
    • E&ES322/324 Introduction to GIS/GIS Service Learning Laboratory
    • E&ES326/328 Remote Sensing/Remote-Sensing Laboratory
    • E&ES371 Planetary Geology Seminar
    • E&ES380/381 Volcanology/Volcanology Lab Course
    • E&ES397/398 Senior Seminar/Senior Field Research Project
Capstone Experience.
  • E&ES397 Senior Seminar
  • E&ES398 Senior Field Research Project
Related Programs or Certificates.

The College of the Environment, which includes the environmental studies-linked major and Environmental Studies Certificate, provides a linkage between the sciences, public policy, economics, and the arts and provides a wide variety of career options. 

The Planetary Science Group and the Planetary Science Course Cluster seek to understand the origin and evolution the solar system in which we live and the other solar systems that we have identified in our galaxy.

The Service-Learning Center and Service-Learning Course Cluster seek to broaden students' understanding of course content through activities that are, at the same time, of service to the community.