Earth Sciences Major (B.S.)

Earth Sciences Major (B.S.)

landscape with mountains

What is a bachelor of science in Earth sciences?

The UNH Earth Sciences B.S. program is well suited for students who desire a broad foundation in mathematics and the physical sciences, immersion in intermediate coursework to develop and apply field and analytical skills, and a focus on upper-level coursework specialized in climate, geology, geophysics, oceanography or petroleum geology. The Bachelor of Science degree prepares students to enter into geoscience careers in nonprofits, academia, the public sector or industry.

Why study Earth sciences at UNH?

The location of UNH, on the Great Bay Estuary and close to the White Mountains, provides an ideal backdrop for hands-on learning opportunities for all Earth Sciences students. Students have multiple options to immerse themselves in research experiences in the field and in state-of-the-art laboratory settings, and funds are available by competitive application for support of such opportunities. Employment for geoscientists is projected to grow 14 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than many occupations and reflecting increasing needs for energy, environmental protection and responsible land/water/resource management. Graduates may also use their geosciences degree to complement policy, business or legal careers.

Potential careers

  • Climate scientist
  • Energy sector specialist
  • Environmental consultant
  • Environmental toxicologist
  • Geochemist
  • Geologist
  • Geophysicist
  • Geospatial scientist
  • Hydrographer
  • Oceanographer
  • Paleontologist
  • Petroleum geologist
  • Physical scientist
  • Science journalist
  • Secondary school teacher

Contact

Department of Earth Sciences
56 College Road
214 James Hall
Durham, NH 03824

P: (603) 862-1718
E: earth.sciences@unh.edu

Curriculum & Requirements

The bachelor of science in Earth sciences is offered through the Department of Earth Sciences. The program represents a strong concentration in the Earth sciences and is especially well-suited for students who plan to continue their studies in graduate school. Beyond a central core of courses, there are several possible specializations (climate, geology, geophysics, oceanography, petroleum geology) from which students must chose in order to develop depth in a particular area of Earth sciences. Students are encouraged to attend a summer off-campus field experience, for which scholarship funds may be available.

Climate Track


Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallCredits
ESCI 400 Freshman Field Seminar 1
ESCI 401 Dynamic Earth 4
MATH 425 Calculus I 4
CHEM 403 General Chemistry I 4
ENGL 401 First-Year Writing (or pass placement test) 4
 Credits17
Spring
ESCI 402 Earth History 4
MATH 426 Calculus II 4
CHEM 404 General Chemistry II 4
Inquiry Discovery Course 1 4
 Credits16
Second Year
Fall
ESCI 501 Introduction to Oceanography 4
ESCI 530
or ESCI 534
Geological Field Methods
or Techniques in Environmental Sciences
4
PHYS 407 General Physics I 4
Discovery Course 1 4
 Credits16
Spring
ESCI 512 Principles of Mineralogy 4
ESCI 514 Introduction to Climate 3
PHYS 408 General Physics II 4
Discovery Course 1 4
 Credits15
Third Year
Fall
ESCI 561 Landscape Evolution 4
ESCI 758
or ESCI 760
Introductory Physical Oceanography (or 6/7__)
or Paleoceanography
3
ESCI ___ or Free Elective 4
Discovery Course 1 4
Seminar or Research Experience 1
 Credits16
Spring
ESCI 654
or ESCI 701
Fate and Transport in the Environment
or Quantitative Methods in Earth Sciences
4
ESCI 762
or ESCI 765
Glacial Geology (or 6/7__)
or Paleoclimatology
4
Science Elective 2 4
Discovery course 4
 Credits16
Fourth Year
Fall
ESCI #731 Geodynamics (or 6/7__) 4
ESCI 758
or ESCI 760
Introductory Physical Oceanography (or 6/7__)
or Paleoceanography
3
Science Elective 2 4
Discovery Course 1 4
Seminar or Research Experience 1
 Credits16
Spring
ESCI 762
or ESCI 765
Glacial Geology (or 6/7__)
or Paleoclimatology
4
Science Elective 2 4
Discovery Course 1 4
Senior Capstone 4
 Credits16
 Total Credits128

Geology Track

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallCredits
ESCI 400 Freshman Field Seminar 1
ESCI 401 Dynamic Earth 4
MATH 425 Calculus I 4
CHEM 403 General Chemistry I 4
ENGL 401 First-Year Writing (or pass placement test) 4
 Credits17
Spring
ESCI 402 Earth History 4
MATH 426 Calculus II 4
CHEM 404 General Chemistry II 4
Inquiry Discovery Course 1 4
 Credits16
Second Year
Fall
ESCI 530 Geological Field Methods 4
ESCI 561 Landscape Evolution 4
PHYS 407 General Physics I 4
Discovery Course 1 4
 Credits16
Spring
ESCI 501 Introduction to Oceanography 4
ESCI 512 Principles of Mineralogy 4
PHYS 408 General Physics II 4
Discovery Course 1 4
 Credits16
Third Year
Fall
ESCI 614 Introduction to Petrology 4
ESCI 631 Structural Geology 4
ESCI 652 Paleontology 4
Discovery Course 1 4
 Credits16
Spring
ESCI 654
or ESCI 701
Fate and Transport in the Environment (or 6__)
or Quantitative Methods in Earth Sciences
4
Free Elective 4
Science Elective 2 4
Discovery Course 1 4
 Credits16
Fourth Year
Fall
ESCI #731 Geodynamics (or ESC 7__) 4
Free Elective 4
Science Elective 2 4
Discovery Course 1 4
 Credits16
Spring
ESCI 7__ 4
Science Elective 2 4
Discovery Course 1 4
Senior Capstone 4
 Credits16
 Total Credits129

Geophysics Track

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallCredits
ESCI 400 Freshman Field Seminar 1
ESCI 401 Dynamic Earth 4
MATH 425 Calculus I 4
CHEM 403 General Chemistry I 4
ENGL 401 First-Year Writing (or pass placement test) 4
 Credits17
Spring
ESCI 402 Earth History 4
MATH 426 Calculus II 4
CHEM 404 General Chemistry II 4
Inquiry Discovery Course 1 4
 Credits16
Second Year
Fall
ESCI 530 Geological Field Methods 4
ESCI 561 Landscape Evolution (or 6/7__) 4
PHYS 407 General Physics I 4
Discovery Course 1 4
 Credits16
Spring
ESCI 501 Introduction to Oceanography 4
ESCI 512 Principles of Mineralogy 4
PHYS 408 General Physics II 4
Discovery Course 1 4
 Credits16
Third Year
Fall
ESCI 614 Introduction to Petrology (or 6/7__) 4
ESCI 631 Structural Geology 4
MATH 527 Differential Equations with Linear Algebra 4
Discovery Course 1 4
 Credits16
Spring
ESCI 701 Quantitative Methods in Earth Sciences 4
MATH 528 Multidimensional Calculus 4
Science Elective 2 4
Discovery Course 1 4
 Credits16
Fourth Year
Fall
ESCI #731
or ESCI 759
Geodynamics
or Geological Oceanography
4
Free Elective 4
Science Elective 2 4
Discovery Course 1 4
 Credits16
Spring
ESCI 734
or ESCI #735
Geophysics (or ESCI 756)
or Earthquakes and Faulting
4
Science Elective 2 4
Discovery Course 1 4
Senior Captstone 4
 Credits16
 Total Credits129

Oceanography Track

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallCredits
ESCI 400 Freshman Field Seminar 1
ESCI 401 Dynamic Earth 4
MATH 425 Calculus I 4
CHEM 403 General Chemistry I 4
ENGL 401 First-Year Writing (or pass placement test) 4
 Credits17
Spring
ESCI 402 Earth History 4
MATH 426 Calculus II 4
CHEM 404 General Chemistry II 4
Inquiry Discovery Course 1 4
 Credits16
Second Year
Fall
ESCI 501 Introduction to Oceanography 4
ESCI 530
or ESCI 534
Geological Field Methods
or Techniques in Environmental Sciences
4
PHYS 407 General Physics I 4
Discovery Course 1 4
 Credits16
Spring
ESCI 512 Principles of Mineralogy 4
ESCI 514 Introduction to Climate 3
PHYS 408 General Physics II 4
Discovery Course 1 4
 Credits15
Third Year
Fall
ESCI 758 Introductory Physical Oceanography (or 6/7__) 3
ESCI 6/7__ or Free Elective 4
Science Elective 2 4
Discovery Course 1 4
Seminar or Research Experience 1
 Credits16
Spring
ESCI 654
or ESCI 710
Fate and Transport in the Environment (or 6/7__)
or Groundwater Hydrology
4
ZOOL 750 Biological Oceanography 4
ESCI 6/7__ or Free Elective 4
Discovery Course 4
 Credits16
Fourth Year
Fall
ESCI #731 Geodynamics (or 6/7__) 4
ESCI 759 Geological Oceanography (or 6/7__) 4
Science Elective 2 4
Discovery Course 1 4
 Credits16
Spring
ESCI 752 Chemical Oceanography (or 6/7__) 3
Science Elective 2 4
Discovery Course 1 4
Senior Capstone 4
Seminar or Research Experience 1.0
 Credits16
 Total Credits128

Petroleum Geology Track

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallCredits
ESCI 400 Freshman Field Seminar 1
ESCI 401 Dynamic Earth 4
MATH 425 Calculus I 4
CHEM 403 General Chemistry I 4
ENGL 401 First-Year Writing (or pass placement test) 4
 Credits17
Spring
ESCI 402 Earth History 4
MATH 426 Calculus II 4
CHEM 404 General Chemistry II 4
Inquiry Discovery Course 1 4
 Credits16
Second Year
Fall
ESCI 501 Introduction to Oceanography 4
ESCI 530
or ESCI 534
Geological Field Methods
or Techniques in Environmental Sciences
4
PHYS 407 General Physics I 4
Discovery Course 1 4
 Credits16
Spring
ESCI 512 Principles of Mineralogy 4
ESCI 514 Introduction to Climate 3
PHYS 408 General Physics II 4
Discovery Course 1 4
 Credits15
Third Year
Fall
ESCI 758 Introductory Physical Oceanography (or 6/7__) 3
ESCI 6/7__ or Free Elective 4
Science Elective 2 4
Elective Course 4
Seminar or Research Experience 1
 Credits16
Spring
ESCI 654
or ESCI 710
Fate and Transport in the Environment (or 6/7__)
or Groundwater Hydrology
4
ZOOL 750 Biological Oceanography 4
ESCI 6/7__ or Free Elective 4
Discovery Course 1 4
 Credits16
Fourth Year
Fall
ESCI #731 Geodynamics (or 6/7__) 4
ESCI 759 Geological Oceanography (or 6/7__) 4
Science Elective 2 4
Discovery Course 1 4
 Credits16
Spring
ESCI 752 Chemical Oceanography (or 6/7__) 3
Science Elective 2 4
Discovery Course 1 4
Senior Capstone 4
Seminar or Research Experience 1
 Credits16
 Total Credits128
Requirements
Satisfy the Discovery Program requirements and the bachelor of science degree requirements
MATH 425Calculus I 14
MATH 426Calculus II4
CHEM 403General Chemistry I 1,24
CHEM 404General Chemistry II 1,24
PHYS 407General Physics I 14
PHYS 408General Physics II 14
Core Curriculum
ESCI 401Dynamic Earth4
or ESCI 409 Geology and the Environment
ESCI 402Earth History4
ESCI 501Introduction to Oceanography4
ESCI 512Principles of Mineralogy4
ESCI 530Geological Field Methods 34
or ESCI 534 Techniques in Environmental Sciences
Select one of the following:4
ESCI 654
Fate and Transport in the Environment
ESCI 701
Quantitative Methods in Earth Sciences 4
ESCI #731
Geodynamics
Specializations
Select one of the following approved specializations:
Climate
Geology
Geophysics
Oceanography
Petroleum Geology
Science/Math Electives
Complete three additional approved science/math electives (required for all approved specialization except Petroleum Geology) 5
Capstone
Complete the capstone requirement
Total Credits48

Specializations

Climate 

ESCI 514Introduction to Climate3
ESCI 561Landscape Evolution4
Select at least two of the following:6-7
ESCI 758
Introductory Physical Oceanography
ESCI 760
Paleoceanography
ESCI 762
Glacial Geology
ESCI 765
Paleoclimatology
Select three advanced-level approved electives9-12
Total Credits22-26

Geology 

ESCI 561Landscape Evolution4
ESCI 614Introduction to Petrology4
ESCI 631Structural Geology4
ESCI 652Paleontology4
Two approved 700-level electives6-8
Total Credits22-24

Geophysics 

MATH 527Differential Equations with Linear Algebra4
MATH 528Multidimensional Calculus4
ESCI 561Landscape Evolution4
or ESCI 614 Introduction to Petrology
ESCI 631Structural Geology4
Select at least two of the following:8
ESCI #731
Geodynamics
ESCI 734
Geophysics
ESCI #735
Earthquakes and Faulting
ESCI 756
Geotectonics
ESCI 759
Geological Oceanography
One approved 700-level elective3-4
Total Credits27-28

Oceanography 

BIOL 411Introductory Biology: Molecular and Cellular4
ESCI 514Introduction to Climate3
Select at least three of the following:10-11
ESCI 752
Chemical Oceanography
ESCI 758
Introductory Physical Oceanography
ESCI 759
Geological Oceanography
ZOOL 750
Biological Oceanography
Complete three advanced-level approved electives9-12
Total Credits26-30

Petroleum Geology

ESCI 614Introduction to Petrology4
ESCI 631Structural Geology4
ESCI 652Paleontology4
ESCI 734Geophysics4
ESCI 741Geochemistry4
ESCI 754Sedimentology4
ESCI 756Geotectonics3
ESCI 759Geological Oceanography4
ESCI 796Topics (Petroleum Geology)4
CHE 705Fossil Fuels and Renewable Energy Sources4
Total Credits39

Capstone Experience

A capstone experience is required of all undergraduate Earth sciences majors during their senior year. All capstone experiences at UNH must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  1. The capstone synthesizes and applies disciplinary knowledge and skills.
  2. The capstone fosters reflection on undergraduate learning and experience.
  3. The capstone demonstrates emerging professional competencies.
  4. The capstone applies, analyzes, and/or interprets research or data or artistic expression.
  5. The capstone explores areas of interest based on the integration of prior learning.

Examples of Department of Earth Sciences capstone experiences include Senior Thesis (ESCI 799 Senior Thesis), UROP/SURF projects, environmental or geologic field camps, or Earth sciences education and outreach activities. Additional experiences may qualify (e.g., ESCI 795 Topics/ESCI 796 Topics field courses, INCO 590 Student Research Experience, INCO 790 Advanced Research Experience, internships) if they are designed according to the above criteria. Students should work closely with their advisers to define the most appropriate capstone experience for the Earth sciences degree option and all capstone experiences must be approved by the Department of Earth Sciences undergraduate coordinator. Presentation of projects or experiences developed for the capstone is encouraged at the annual UNH Undergraduate Research Conference or other appropriate venue.

Explore Program Details

A key requirement of the Discovery Program is the completion of one senior capstone experience, to be supervised and approved within the major.

Earth Sciences Capstone

Forms

Departmental Petition for Program Variance - Petition for major requirement

Petition for Variance in Academic Policy - Petition for University and/or Discovery requirement

Transfer Credit Prior Approval Request - transfer credits from another institution

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