Undergraduate Degree Program for Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

The Earth sciences have never been more critical to society than they are today. A degree in Earth and atmospheric sciences (EAS) prepare students to tackle some of the most pressing challenges of our time. Global warming, dwindling energy resources, inadequate water supplies, political strife over strategic minerals, and mega-disasters threatened by volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunami, and hurricanes: these are but a few of the headlines that appear with increasing frequency.

The EAS program features small classes and a high ratio of faculty to students, yet its location within Cornell allows students to choose among a rich variety of elective courses and extracurricular activities. In addition, the gorgeous landscape of Upstate New York and the Cornell campus provides an incredible real-life laboratory to study the environment.

The program is unique in that it incorporates fundamentals of earth science with the emergence of a new and more complete approach, encompassing all components of the earth system—air, life, rock, and water—to gain a comprehensive understanding of the world as we know it.

Students may choose to focus on one of a number of disciplinary specialties such as geophysics or tectonics, or develop the broad expertise needed to understand the interactions between the diverse elements of earth and life in the past, present, and future.


Earth and atmospheric sciences graduates will be able to seek careers dealing with energy, mineral and water resources, natural hazards, weather and climate forecasting, ocean resources, and a host of environmental issues through employment in academia, government and the private sector. The major also prepares students for careers in environmental management and policy, law or medicine, science journalism and K-12 science education.

Master of Engineering Program

The one-year Master of Engineering (M.Eng.) Program in Geological Sciences provides future professional geoscientists or engineers with the geoscience and engineering background they will need to analyze and solve engineering problems that involve earth system variables and concepts. Individual programs are developed within several established options: geohydrology, remote sensing, hazards, applied and environmental geophysics, ocean science and technology, and atmospheric science.

Some Areas of Faculty Research

  • atmospheric science and climate
  • biogeochemistry and climate interactions
  • climate and paleoclimate
  • Earth system science
  • energy, mineral and water resources
  • geochemistry, petrology and volcanology
  • geophysical fluid dynamics
  • geophysics and seismology
  • meteorology and applied climatology
  • natural hazards
  • ocean sciences
  • paleontology, sedimentary basins and surface processes
  • space and planetary sciences
  • tectonics and structural geology

Earth and Atmospheric Sciences by the Numbers

Earth and Atmospheric Sciences undergraduate students: 43

  • College of Engineering: 6
  • College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: 27
  • The College of Arts and Sciences: 10

Starting salaries of B.S. Earth and Atmospheric Sciences graduates (three-year average):

  • Median salary: $40,669

Post-graduate plans for earth and atmospheric sciences graduates at the time of graduation (three-year average):

  • Employed 10% 10%
  • Attending Graduate School 80% 80%
  • Seeking Employment 10% 10%