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Through education, scientific research, and community service, the Department of Earth Sciences addresses local and global issues involving climate, oceans, freshwater, natural resources, interior dynamics of the planet, and natural disasters. For more than 125 years, our department has made major contributions toward understanding the Earth's physical and chemical evolution and has worked to discover solutions to the planet's environmental problems by combining knowledge of the geosciences with engineering, the other physical sciences and biological sciences, and public policy.
Our department is part of the Newton Horace Winchell School of Earth Sciences, renamed in honor of the first geology professor in the University of Minnesota. Founded in 1874, our department has many illustrious faculty and alumni, such as a hydrologist who redefined the study of wetlands and lakes, the head of one of the foremost rock mechanics laboratories in the world, several pioneers in the field of rock and crystal chemistry, and a president of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.
In 2010, our undergraduate degree in earth sciences (formerly geology and geophysics) adopted a new curriculum emphasizing environmental geology, geobiology, and hydrogeology in addition to maintaining core strengths in geology, geochemistry, and geophysics. This curriculum prepares students for 21st century jobs in the geosciences or in other careers that benefit from a fundamental knowledge of a physical science. The graduate program involves both Ph.D. and master's students who work closely with faculty to develop skills in independent research, launching graduates into careers in academia, government, and the private sector.
Our department has research strengths in both solid-earth and earth-surface dynamics, ranging from investigations of physical and chemical transformations in the Earth’s deep interior to the interaction of humans with landscapes. Our department shares the N.H. Winchell School of Earth Sciences with several research centers, including those devoted to study of the climate and environmental changes recorded by lakes, the investigation of the origin and applications of magnetism in rocks and minerals, and the development of predictive methods for understanding how landscapes and ecosystems interact and evolve.
The Minnesota Geological Survey, a University outreach center, provides the state with earth-science research, maps, information, and education. In addition, department faculty provide state agencies and communities with advice on waste disposal, lake restoration, groundwater protection, natural resources conservation, and exploring the state's mineral resources.
Department of Earth Sciences
College of Science and Engineering
University of Minnesota
310 Pillsbury Drive SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
60 undergraduate students
58 master’s and Ph.D. students