Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

What Should I Do if I’m interested in Earth Sciences?

Main content start

Stanford Earth, the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, offers four undergraduate majors and myriad introductory courses. Here are some suggestions for getting started at Stanford Earth that address both classes and other opportunities. Depending on your particular interests, you may want to take chemistry and calculus during your first year, as those may be prerequisites for other courses that interest you. Speak to your Academic Advisor for more information.

What Should I Do if I’m Interested in Stanford Earth?

Interested in understanding our planet’s history and its future, natural hazards that impact a growing population, the energy and resource base that supports society, a changing climate, and the challenge of sustainability? Stanford Earth offers four undergraduate majors and a myriad of opportunities that will prepare you to meet Earth’s challenges.

Finding Courses

Take time during your first year to explore and find fields that speak to you.

  1. Apply for an Introductory Seminar. IntroSems are a great way to leap right into an interesting subject, and these small seminar settings give you the opportunity to develop a close relationship with a professor.
  2. Use keyword search in ExploreCourses to follow a thematic interest – such as energy, sustainability, environment, earth, or whatever occurs to you.
  3. Browse the prefixes in ExploreCourses for Stanford Earth programs: EARTH, ENERGY, ESYS, GEOLSCI, and GEOPHYS. (Intro courses will typically have lower numbers).
  4. Check out classes offered through our Stanford Earth partners at the O'Donohue Family Stanford Educational Farm and the Hopkins Marine Station. We offer unique immersive learning opportunities that deepen your educational experience.
  5. During autumn quarter, ask your Stanford Earth professors for course recommendations for the winter, spring, and summer, or meet with a student services officer or peer advisor in a department where you’d like to take a course

Interested in Research Opportunities?

Do innovative research that addresses real world challenges that our planet faces today at Stanford Earth. Students have opportunities to participate in diverse research from the oceans to climate change, energy resources and the evolution of life. We help answer both the timely and the timeless questions. Learn more about doing research with Stanford Earth. And, don’t be afraid to email faculty whose work you want to learn more about.

Interested in Field Opportunities?

Note: Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, Stanford Earth field opportunities will be limited during the 20-21 academic year and may continue to be limited in the 21-22 academic year.

At Stanford Earth, students can engage in field courses and experiences in a variety of locations around the globe. You have access to a wide range of opportunities from one-credit classes to quarter long field experiences, and any special gear you might need is provided. Students have gone on field trips to Joshua Tree over spring break or Owens Valley over Memorial Day weekend. The school also runs a quarter in Hawaii program every other year. Keep an eye out to see specific times and places announced each quarter. Learn more about field courses and opportunities with Stanford Earth.

More Opportunities with Stanford Earth

  1. Attend a talk. Check out the Roble Living Laboratory for Sustainability at Stanford, which hosts the Hard Earth Speaker Series, where speakers present groundbreaking research across the disciplines on topics of sustainability. And sign up for the Earth Matters newsletter to stay up to date on science and insights from people who care about Earth, its resources, and its environment.
  2. Learn about career opportunities. Explore the wide range of careers Stanford Earth majors pursue and connect with professionals through the Stanford Alumni Mentoring Network. Check out BEAM for career coaching appointments and summer internships. The Haas Center for Public Service also offers resources for students interested in government or nonprofit.

Have Questions?

  1. Email to talk with a Stanford Earth Peer Advisor. 
  2. Subscribe to se3-prospective-students to get notified about events and opportunities with Stanford Earth.

Interested in the Environment?

If you are a sophomore or junior and you are interested in the environment, there are several additional opportunities you might want to investigate.

Udall Scholarship

The Udall Scholarship is for sophomores and juniors who intend to become leaders across a wide spectrum of environmental fields, including policy, engineering, science, education, urban planning and renewal, business, health, justice, and economics. The Foundation also seeks future Native American and Alaskan Native leaders in public and community health care, tribal government, and public policy affecting Native American communities, including land and resource management, economic development, and education.

Be prepared to submit an application in January of your sophomore or junior year, but begin talking to faculty and the Udall advisor well before that.

More details, including contact information:

Mel Lane Student Grants Program

The Mel Lane grants are organized by the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and allow students to propose a project to enact change for increased sustainability (but do not support thesis research or other academic requirements). These are often team grants. Expect a deadline in late fall quarter.

More details:

Return to the Advising Student Handbook