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Earth Science

Page Index:Earth Science

Academic Information: -  top

What is Earth Science?  - top

Earth science seeks to understand the complex processes operating within the earth-atmosphere system and to apply knowledge of these processes to improve the quality of human life. Earth scientists complete coursework in a variety of geoscience disciplines including geology, hydrology, oceanography and environmental science as well as classes focusing on analytic techniques including statistics and Geographic Information Science (GIS).

Career Information  -  top

Possible Job Titles  -  top

  • Environmental consultant
  • Groundwater specialist
  • Mining or marine engineer
  • Environmental scientist
  • Geologist or marine geologist
  • University researcher
  • High school teacher
  • Volcanologist
  • Hydrogeologist
  • Engineering geologist
  • Environmental geologist
  • Glacial geologist
  • Marine geologist
  • Paleoecologist
  • Landuse planner
  • Exploration geologist
  • Lawyer
  • Lobbyist
  • Micro paleontologist
  • Mine Geologist
  • Mineralogist
  • Mining Consultant
  • Mining Engineer
  • Oceanographer
  • Paleontologist
  • Petroleum Engineer
  • Petroleum Geologist
  • Planetary Geologist
  • Pollution Remediator
  • Professor Soil Assessment
  • Technician
  • Researcher
  • Science Museum Educator
  • Scientific Photographer
  • Sedimentologist
  • Seismologist
  • Soil Scientist
  • Stratigrapher
  • Systems Technician
  • Waste Disposal Specialist
  • Paleontologist
  • Petroleum geologist
  • Geochemist
  • Geophysicist
  • Oceanographer
  • Environmental lawyer
  • Mine geologist
  • Petroleum geologist
  • Geological consultant
  • Corporate manager
  • Mineralogist
  • Geochemist
  • Geophysicist
  • University professor
  • Museum curator
  • Planetary geologist
  • Agrogeologist
  • Climatologist
  • Ecologist
  • Energy Policy Program Manager
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Environmental Geologist
  • Environmental Program Manager
  • Environmental Scientist
  • Forester
  • Geochemist
  • Geodynamicist
  • Geographer
  • Geologist
  • Geologist Land Surveyor
  • Geomorphologist
  • Geophysicist
  • Health Inspector
  • Hydrogeologist
  • Hydrologist
  • Industrial Waste Inspector
  • Investment Advisor
  • Landscape/Nursery Manager
  • Waste Management Specialist
  • Water Quality Control Technician

*Denotes need for additional education

Typical Places of Employment  -  top

Academia, government, environmental consulting, petroleum and mining.
Environmental consulting firms:
-water supply and contamination
-landfill development and maintenance
-environmental site assessment
-environmental risk management

Mining and exploration companies:
-finding and defining valuable earth resources
-assessing and preventing possible environmental hazards associated with mining

Oil companies:
-finding and access more remote and more marginal oil and other energy resources
-ensuring and promote environmentally-friendly methods


  • Mining Companies
  • Consulting Firms
  • Federal government agencies such as:
    Bureau of Mines, Office of Surface Mining, Bureau of Land Management
  • Well services and drilling companies

Research institutes:

Students who continue their studies beyond the bachelor's degree to pursue a master’s and PhD in earth sciences may go on to work in government, university, or private research institutions. Many are currently working on the important questions of climate change and sea-level change.

Federal, provincial, and municipal governments hire geologists in a broad range of capacities:
-northern studies
-policy development and advising
-managing and consulting

Educational institutions:
-teaching in secondary or elementary schools throughout US and abroad
-research and teaching at the university or college level


  • Non-profit organizations, consulting firms
  • International aid organizations
  • Parks and recreation organizations, travel and tourism agencies
  • Water and waste treatment plants
  • Land/resource analysis and management companies
  • Environmental, geotechnical and industrial laboratories
  • Educational institutions and government agencies (municipal, provincial and federal)
  • Mining, petroleum, natural gas companies
  • Laboratories, institutes and scientific research centers
  • Energy sector, natural resources, transportation and public utilities management companies
  • Construction firms
  • Quarries
  • Railroad companies
  • Coal companies

Required Skills and Abilities -  top

  • Application of Math, Chemistry and Physics to world problems
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills
  • Surveying and sampling
  • Problem solving skills
  • Data, time and resource management
  • Proficiency in mathematics; mathematical modeling
  • Use technical instruments
  • Computer skills
  • Assessment and evaluation
  • Quantitative/ Statistical Analysis
  • Ability to conceptualize and solve problems using scientific methods
  • Ability to design and complete complex projects
  • Ability to use geological knowledge in international projects
  • Communication skills
  • Research skills; data collection; process and synthesize, define research problems; develop research models and proposals
  • Conducting field observations and taking appropriate measurements
  • Analytical and critical thinking
  • Organizational
  • Project Management
  • Observation and Documentation skills

Alumni Resources  -  top

(Listed below are examples of SU Alumni and their Jobs in this major-For more alumni resources, go to Mentor Network)

-Lisa Joyner - MD - Salisbury University - Director of Clinical Education
-Dr. Robert Joyner - MD - Salisbury University - Associate Dean
-Michael Piorunski - MD - Salisbury, MD, 21801 - Migrant Clinicians Network - Environmental and Occupational Health Manager

Related Links: Further Explore this Career Field - top

Professional Associations:
Other Career-Related Links Below:
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