Earth & Ocean Sciences 

Earth and Ocean Sciences is an interdisciplinary field incorporating fundamental and applied studies of the land-estuarine-ocean system.  Students will gain a fundamental understanding of the movement and transformation of materials and energy between mountain headwater and estuarine, coastal, and oceanic systems, including geomorphology and landscape dynamics, physical circulation and transport, chemical transformation, and biological reaction. This foundational area also includes elements of environmental chemistry, geochemistry, hydrology, and toxicology to help understand and predict the fate and effects of nutrients and contaminants in the environment. In Earth and Ocean Sciences, we use a wide variety of techniques and approaches, including observing platforms and numerical models to investigate processes in each sub-system, build connections across systems, understand processes at multiple spatial scales, and to foster interdisciplinary educational experiences for graduate students.


  • 2 Introductory science courses
    • Introductory science courses are defined as 100 and 200 level courses, generally taken in students’ freshmen or sophomore years in college.
  • 2 Advanced science courses
    • Advanced science courses are defined as 300 and 400 level courses, generally taken in students’ junior or senior years in college.
  • 2 Quantitative courses
    • Quantitative courses can be Calculus-level math (or higher), computer programming, or statistics courses.
  • 2 Foundation-relevant courses
    • At least one of these must be an advanced science course.

Courses & Other Requirements (M.S. & Ph.D) 

  1. Foundational Course: MEES 640 – Interconnected Earth Systems: Land, Ocean, and Estuary. 
  2. A minimum of three Professional Development courses including:
    • MEES609A - Applied Environmental Science (*required)
  3. One Issue Study Group
  4. Elective courses approved by the student's advisory committee

Note: Students seeking a M.S. degree must take a minimum of 30 credits with 24 credits of course work and 6 credits of graduate research. Of the 24 course credits, 12 of them must be at the 600 level or higher.

Students seeking a Ph.D. must complete a minimum of 36 credits, with at least 24 credits of course work and 12 credits of dissertation research. At least twelve credits of course work must be at the 600 level or above.

For information regarding faculty members who are associated with Environment and Society, see the link below.