Explore Environmental Geosciences

Environmental geoscience is the study of processes within, and interactions between, the land, the atmosphere, and the ocean that determine the habitability and sustainability of the planet. In short, it is the branch of geoscience that is concerned with the interactions between humans and the geologic environment. The subject covers natural processes that have been modifying the planet over its entire history, but with a strong focus on understanding the modern system and how it has been affected by human activities.

Environmental geoscientists use key observational and analytical skills that enable them to address fundamental questions about the functioning of geoscience systems, especially in relation to hydrology and water quality, soils, mineral resources, environmental remediation, pollution prevention, natural hazards, and climate change.

CSE career outcomes screenshot

Expand all

What can I do with a major in Environmental Geosciences?

INDUSTRIES

  • Chemical companies
  • Community development
  • Construction/building
  • Contaminant remediation
  • Environmental consulting
  • Environmental law
  • Hydrology and hydraulic engineering
  • Industrial hygiene
  • Mining and manufacturing
  • Natural resource management
  • Pollution control
  • Public health agencies
  • Public works
  • Research firms/labs
  • Solid/hazardous waste mgmt
  • State and local government
  • Sustainable development
  • Transportation
  • Urban planning and sustainability
  • Water quality/treatment
  • Wetland restoration

EMPLOYERS

  • American Engineering Testing, Inc.
  • Antea Group
  • Black & Veatch
  • Barr Engineering
  • Brown and Caldwell
  • Cargill
  • Cliffs Natural Resources
  • Flint Hills Resources
  • Freshwater Society
  • Hennepin County, MN
  • Landmark Environmental LLC
  • Houston Engineering
  • MSA Professional Services
  • MN Dept of Health
  • MN Dept of Natural Resources
  • MN Dept of Transportation
  • MN Pollution Control Agency
  • Metropolitan Council
  • Nature Conservancy
  • Rice Creek Watershed District
  • Schlumberger
  • US Geological Survey
  • Vieau Associates
  • WSB & Associates
  • WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff

TECHNICAL SKILLS

  • Programming and data analysis (e.g., Python, Matlab, Mathematica)
  • Figure Production (e.g., Adobe Illustrator)
  • Development and use of digital instrumentation
  • Geospatial analysis (GIS & Remote Sensing)

POSSIBLE POSITIONS

  • Economic geologist: Explores and develops metallic and nonmetallic natural resources. Economic geologists study mineral deposits and find environmentally safe ways to dispose of waste materials from mining activities.
  • Environmental analyst: Collects, studies, and analyzes data to propose actions and policies to create less harmful and cleaner interactions with the environment.
  • Environmental geologist: Studies the interaction between the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere, and human activities. Environmental geologists work to solve problems associated with pollution, waste management, urbanization, and natural hazards, such as flooding and erosion.
  • Environmental health research scientist: Conducts research for the purpose of identifying, abating, or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards that affect the environment or the health of the population.
  • Environmental specialist: Conducts research or performs investigations for the purpose of identifying, abating, or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards that affect either the environment or the health of the population.
  • Field geologist: Collects observations and samples in the field to interpret the Earth’s structure, its geochemistry, geobiology, and natural resources often for the purposes of solving problems related to economic or land development.
  • Geochemist: Studies the composition of rocks, soils, sediments, water, air, and biological samples. Geochemists examine the distribution of elements in rocks and minerals, as well as the processes that control the movement of these elements into soil, water and air systems.
  • Hydrogeologist: Studies the distribution, movement, and quality of underground and surface water. Hydrogeologists are involved in the design of irrigation systems, groundwater remediation, waste water treatment plants, hydroelectric power plants, flood warning systems, and stream restoration.
  • Seismologist: Studies earthquakes, including how they form and radiate around the Earth. Seismologists interpret the structure of the earth through the study of earthquakes, predict when and where earthquakes are likely to occur, and help develop land use strategies and engineering solutions to prevent damage and loss of life from earthquakes.

GET INVOLVED

  • Active Energy Club
  • CSE K-12 Outreach
  • CSE Ambassadors
  • CSE International Ambassadors
  • MN AIPG Chapter
  • Society for Mining, Manufacturing, and Exploration
  • Solar Vehicle Project
  • Tau Beta Pi
  • TeslaWorks
  • University of Minnesota Geological Society