Undergraduate Degrees

Lori Bebinger,  Undergraduate, Earth Science, School of Science

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What is Earth Sciences@IUPUI like?

The Department of Earth Sciences at IUPUI teaches the importance, application, and relevance of earth sciences in modern society and has a strong research program. The faculty and staff of the department provide an environment where students at all levels can explore, discover, and learn earth sciences through coursework and research.

Undergraduates in the department benefit from a variety of on-campus resources that other disciplines cannot offer; we have many opportunities to integrate undergraduates into research through scholarships, internships, and other funding sources. Our research faculty provide a wide range of diversity across the geosciences not available at many other state and private institutions. Most importantly, our Center for Earth and Environmental Science brings together campus, industry, and government stakeholders to conduct research and outreach related to environmental issues in Indiana.

IUPUI's program has the added benefit of being located in the largest job market in Indiana and located within 2 hours of the Cincinnati and Louisville area. Located blocks from the state capitol and on a campus with engineering, law, medical, and dental schools, we have used our location to build partnerships with other researchers, government leaders, and private industry.

What undergraduate earth sciences degrees are available?

What are earth sciences?

Earth sciences encompasses the study of earth material (rocks, sediment, soil, petroleum), water (oceans, groundwater, water quality), and the atmosphere (climate change, air quality), as well as the relationships between material, water, air, their interaction with biologic life, and their changes through time.

Why study earth sciences?

Earth science (which includes geology and environmental science among other sub-disciplines) is a great field to study because:

  • It combines the strengths of biology, geography, physics, chemistry, and biology and applies them to our knowledge of the Earth.
  • The career opportunities are very diverse. Some geologists spend most of their time outdoors, others spend their entire time in the laboratory, and many spend a mixture of time outside, in the lab, and at their desk.
  • As a smaller discipline of study, faculty and advisors can give one on one attention to each and every student.
  • Employment opportunities are spread evenly across the U.S., both in rural and urban areas, with the highest concentration in large metro areas like Indianapolis.
  • Students can easily advance to the graduate level and earn a Masters or PhD degree.

The faculty research in our department speaks of the diversity. Several faculty are researching climate change and global warming, which has involved trips on ocean research ships and Antarctica. Other faculty are researching water quality issues and behavior in Central Indiana, while another faculty member researches the geologic history of mountain building in southern California. Some faculty do their research entirely in the laboratory or by computer, but most require some field work to collect samples that are then processed in our laboratories.

What's the difference between Geology & Environmental Science?

What careers are available?

The job market provides a good balance between the number of earth science graduates and the number of job openings in earth science, and many graduates have the exciting possibility of continuing on in graduate school to earn a Masters degree or Ph.D. Across the U.S. most earth science graduates who perform well as undergraduates can attend any one of hundreds of graduate programs across the US that typically offer tuition waivers and a stipend of $12-$18K.

The common perception of a geologist is someone who hunts for oil or gold. While petroleum and mining geologists are the highest paid and most recognized field within geology, they are outweighed by the many geologists and environmental scientists employed in business, industry, and education across the U.S. Mean salaries are $45,000 to $60,000 depending on the employer, the type of specialization, and whether you have a Masters degree--an environmental consultant may pay a starting salary of $35,000 while a petroleum exploration company may pay starting at $60,000. Many earth scientists work in county, state, and federal government to conduct research in earth sciences or to implement and manage environmental regulations and public policy.

Learn more about career possibilities and employers of IUPUI Earth Sciences grads.