Angular unconformity; photo by R. Schlische

The Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS) explores the past, present and future of the Earth and other planets and moons in our solar system and beyond. Through education and research, we examine Earth and planetary interiors, surface environments, and life through time. The Earth and planetary sciences are interdisciplinary fields that draw on fundamental knowledge in physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics. Our studies have scientific and societal relevance: global change to the solid Earth and its environment, oceans, climate, and life; natural hazards (earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, floods, and landslides); natural resource exploration and management (hydrocarbons, ore minerals, groundwater); and planetary geology and the search for extraterrestrial life. Several faculty members have joint appointments in other departments: Anthropology (in the School of Arts & Sciences), Environmental Sciences, and Marine & Coastal Sciences (the latter two in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences). The EPS major covers the core areas of the Earth and planetary sciences yet still allows opportunity for students to specialize through additional high-level courses in EPS, mathematics, and allied sciences; students may also gain experience through independent study / research projects. The major can be completed in four semesters once students have taken foundational courses in mathematics and the cognate sciences. Our majors enjoy employment opportunities in geological and environmental consulting, the energy industry, government agencies, and secondary education as well as excellent placement in top graduate programs.

Rutgers University is located in an area of diverse geology. Precambrian Highlands, the Paleozoic fold and thrust belt of the Appalachians, the Mesozoic Newark rift basin, and the Mesozoic-Cenozoic coastal plain are all represented in New Jersey. Field trips take advantage of the local geology, as do many NJ-based research projects. Our research is also global: we have conducted research in places ranging from Africa to Antarctica, Canada to Costa Rica, Iceland to Idaho, and in all the oceans.


The Undergraduate Experience in EPS

  • Class sizes are small; professors will know your name in the core courses.
  • Some courses have field trips.
  • Students have opportunities to conduct independent study projects; alumni-supported awards (~$10,000 per year) are available to support research projects.
  • Many students satisfy the geology field requirement by taking a summer field camp; alumni-supported awards (~$13,000 per year) subsidize the cost of these field experiences.
  • Majors and minors have access to a new EPS Undergraduate Study Lounge in Wright Labs, where all required EPS courses are taught.
  • The Geology Club sponsors field trips, an annual Career Night, and other activities.


Thinking About Geology? Visit the Rutgers Geology Museum

The Rutgers Geology Museum, which is open to the public, features exhibits on geology and anthropology, with an emphasis on the natural history of New Jersey. The largest exhibits include a dinosaur trackway from Towaco, NJ; a mastodon from Salem County, NJ; and a Ptolomaic era Egyptian mummy. Mineral exhibits feature the zeolite minerals of Paterson, NJ, and the fluorescent zinc minerals of Franklin, NJ. A new exhibit features space rocks (i.e., meteorites). More

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