Careers in Earth & Environmental Sciences

"What can I do with a bachelor's degree in Earth sciences or environmental geosciences?"

"What kind of salary can I expect?"

Need help deciding:


Geoscientists study the physical aspects of the Earth, such as its composition, structure, and processes, to learn about its past, present, and future.  Career paths for those who graduate with a bachelor's degree fall into three categories, each showing some examples:

The College of Science & Engineering has put together a nice overview:


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for a geoscientist is $92K in 2019.

"Employment of geoscientists is projected to grow 5 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. The need for energy, environmental protection, and responsible land and resource management is projected to spur demand for geoscientists in the future."


Median salary


Job Growth

Career Counseling and Resources

Listed here are just few resources for geoscience job information. Again, this list is not exhaustive, please feel free to search for other available resources.

Career Panels and Fairs

Career Panels: During the school year, the department holds career panel events for the benefit of students considering academic or non-academic careers in Earth or environmental sciences. Students are polled to gauge interest in the types of jobs they wish to learn about. We invite professionals in the Earth and Environmental Geo-Sciences (many of whom are alumni from the department) to join us and provide information and advice to students about opportunities in the public and private sectors of geoscience employment. If you are interested in serving on the panel, please contact the department at <>.  

Recent Panels have included

2021 - Research and Labs (All are BS, MS, or PhD graduates of UMN)

  • Jen Caseres, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • Michelle Espy, Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • David Janecky, Los Alamos National Laboratory
  • Nick Pester, UC-Berkeley (formerly at Lawrence Berkeley Lab)
  • Meagan Thompson, NASA

2021 - Mining & Materials, Sample Analyses, and Natural Hazards

  • Chris Braaten (BA 2003), American Engineering Testing
  • Megan (Wang) Sumiejski (BS 2019), Cambria
  • Eric Waage, Hennepin County Emergency Management
  • Christina Morrison, Tiller Corp.
  • Eric Goergen (PhD 2009), Thermo Fisher

2021- Academia (all are alumni from our department)

  • Alan Chapman (BS 2005), Macalester College
  • Stephanie Day (PhD 2021), North Dakota State University
  • Karen Gran (MS 2000), University of Minnesota-Duluth
  • Lindsay Iredale (MS 2005), Normandale Community College
  • Andrew Luhmann (PhD 2011), Wheaton College (Illinois)
  • Rory McFadden (PhD 2009), Gustavus Adolphus College (formerly at Salem State University)


2020- U.S. and State Geological Surveys

  • Amy Block, Minnesota Geological Survey (MGS) (Precambrian geology)
  • Tim Cowdery (MS 1997), USGS-MN (hydrogeology)
  • Steve DeLong, USGS-Menlo Park & MN (geomorphology)
  • Benjamin Drenth, USGS-Denver (geophysics)
  • Barbara Lusardi, MGS (Quaternary geology)
  • Tony Runkel, MGS (hydrogeology/sed-strat)
  • Peter Valley (MS 2001), USGS-Reston (hard rock geology/mapping)


2020- Private Business, National Agencies and the Outlook Going Forward (all are alumni from our department)

  • Joel Poppert (BS 2004) is an entrepreneur in the Denver area. Joel about his experiences working in the geothermal and renewable energy industries.
  • Adam Kubat (BS 2015) is a Hydrogeologist for WSP also in the Denver area. Adam spoke to careers in environmental remediation.
  • Cindy Frickle (MS 2015) is a Geologist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington, D.C. She gave her perspective on research and environmental regulation at a large federal agency.


2020- Museums

  • Pete Makovicky, Professor in our department who joined our faculty after many years as a curator at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Pete offered his perspective on large, national public museums. In addition to research and outreach, Pete has experience with major exhibit development.
  • Laura Vietti (PhD 2014) is the Museum and Collections Manager at the University of Wyoming Geological Museum in Laramie, WY. Laura represents smaller, more regional public museums, in this case associated with a flagship state university.
  • Ioan "Nono" Lascu (PhD 2011) is a Research Geologist at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Nono gave his perspective on research and outreach at a (the) large, national public museum.


If you wish to see a list of all career panels and presenters, please visit Career Panels page.