Join the Earth and Planetary Science (EPS) major, also known as Geological Sciences, to explore the past, present, and future of Earth as well as the known and yet to be discovered planetary bodies in our solar system!   

EPS is an interdisciplinary science that incorporates biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science, environmental science, climate change, and more.  While traditional geological sciences has focused on field work (outdoor experiences mapping and making observations outdoors), this field also incorporates aspects of laboratory and computer based course work, research, and job opportunities.


 

First Semester Planning

We recommend that students register for approximately 15 credits each semester and no more than 16 credits in their first semester. Your schedule should be well-balanced and include coursework from a variety of subjects. A diverse schedule will help you begin your studies in potential majors and minors; explore a breadth of new knowledge across departments at Rutgers to meet SAS Core Curriculum learning goals; and survey broader academic interests through elective courses as you work to attain the required 120 degree credits for graduation.

Your schedule will look something like this: 


College Writing or English course per placement results (3 credits)

Major Exploration course (3-4 credits)

Major or Minor Exploration course (3-4 credits)

Course beyond main academic interest, such as SAS Core or elective course (3 credits)

 Byrne or First-Year Interest Group Seminar (FIGS) (1 credit) 

 Total Credits: 15-16

 

Introductory courses recommended by faculty. Include at least one of these in your schedule:

Students with a Calculus placement

Course Title

Course Number

Credits

Subject on University Schedule of Classes

Introductory Geology

01:460:101

4

Geological Sciences (460)
Building Blocks of the Solar System 01:460:116 3 Geological Sciences (460)
Environmental Geology 1:460:202 3 Geological Sciences (460)
General Chemistry  01:160:161 4 Chemistry (160)
Calculus I 01:640:157  4 Mathematics (640)

Students with an Algebra or Precalculus placement

Course Title

Course Number

Credits

Subject on University Schedule of Classes

Introductory Geology

01:460:101

4

Geological Sciences (460)
Building Blocks of the Solar System 1:460:116 3 Geological Sciences (460)
Environmental Geology 01:460:202 3 Geological Sciences (460)
Calculus-Based Math   3 or 4 Mathematics (640)

Your first year of college is an opportunity for you to explore fields of interest to enhance your understanding of yourself, the world around you, and your main academic and career goals. Think of your schedule as including courses you must take (English, courses to explore potential majors, etc.) and courses you can take (everything else!) All courses are part of your degree - if necessary, review the components of the SAS degree on this page.

Through these degree components, you will curate your own unique educational experience - but we understand that this level of flexibility and freedom can feel overwhelming for new students. Like a recommendation based on a book or TV show you enjoyed, the information below can help you identify related courses to consider in your first semester.

Course Title

Course Number

Credits

Subject on University Schedule of Classes

Introduction to Human Evolution 01:070:102 4 Anthropology (070)
Introduction to Environmental Science 11:375:101 3 Environmental Sciences (375)
Environment, Society, and Justice 01:450:211 3 Geography (450)
Intro to Oceanography 01:628:120 3 Marine Sciences (198)

The Schedule of Classes provides information about the courses being offered in a particular semester. There are literally thousands of courses offered each semester at Rutgers, and you may find it helpful to narrow down your options by looking for courses in subjects related to your potential major or minor. Use the recommendations below to find possible introductory courses in other subjects. 

To find potential courses in other subjects related to this one:

1. On the Schedule of Classes, select the current term, location "New Brunswick" and level "undergraduate". Click continue.

2. In the Search By box, click the "search multple subjects" link. Select the following departments:

Anthropology (070)

Environmental Studies (381) 

Computer Science (198)

Geography (450)

3. In Section Status, deselect Closed

4. In Level of Study, deselect 300 and 400. In general, 100 and 200 are appropriate for first-year students, 300 and 400 are often more appropriate for students with more familiarity with the subject. If you are interested in registering for a 300 or 400 level course, consult with an advisor before registering. 

Review these courses for possible inclusion in your first-semester schedule, or to consider for future semesters.

 

Additional information Beyond the Classroom

For your first semester, we want you to focus on selecting appropriate courses, begin to understand the expectations and rigor of college, and identify resources to help you succeed at Rutgers. But, we also know that it is important to provide information for future planning.

In addition to the information below, students interested in exploring possible career options may find this resource from the Office of Career Exploration and Success helpful - you'll find that a degree in this subject prepares you for a wide variety of career options!

Many of our students undertake independent research projects with faculty members, and are eligible for alumni-supported grants to pay for lab and field expenses. We also host RU Aresty funded undergrad researchers in faculty labs. Over 80% of students complete a geology field camp, with field expenses subsidized by alumni donations. Students have participated in summer internship programs at NASA, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. The department encourages all students interested in gaining research, field, and/or laboratory experience to contact the Undergraduate Program Director to ask about potential opportunities. Undergraduate student research opportunities in the department are posted online.

Yes, senior honor thesis research.

Majors in our department choose from 4 different major tracks based on their academic interests and career goals. All students must complete the Introductory to Geology (01:460:101) with a C or better grade before being admitted into the major. EPS students should meet with the Undergraduate Program Director after admittance into the major to discuss which track is the best fit for them.

  • Geological Sciences Option
    • This is the standard track in EPS where students take all the traditional courses in Geological Sciences. Students wishing to enter geology focused careers or graduate school should consider this track. Graduates of this program will receive a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree upon graduation
  • Environmental Geology Option
    • This major track requires more environmental science courses and is recommended to students wishing to be employed in the environmental field careers or environmental science based graduate programs. Graduates of this program will receive a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree upon graduation
  • Planetary Science Option
    • Students in this major track will take additional courses that focus on planetary geology, chemistry, and physics in addition to several core geological science courses. This track is recommended for students wishing to work in the planetary science field. Graduates of this program will receive a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree upon graduation
  • General Option
    • The General Option track is a less intensive science track, with fewer credits required in mathematics, physics, and chemistry. This track is intended for students wishing to study EPS but who are planning on entering non-STEM related careers after graduation (i.e. education, law, medicine, journalism, etc.). Graduates of this program will receive a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree upon graduation
  • Minor in Earth in Planetary Sciences
    • Students minoring in EPS can pick the core courses and electives they are most interested in to create a minor track that is perfect for them. Environmental, planetary, and general geology based courses are open to all minors to complete their program requirements.
  • Minor in Astrobiology
    • Enroll in this new and exciting program to learn about the interdisciplinary study of the origin of life, the past history of life on Earth, and the possible existence of life on other planets and moons in the universe.

Our students are well placed in the job market, and have found employment with the environmental sector (~40%), the energy/mineral industry (~16%), federal and state governments (~15%), graduate studies (~9%), NGOs (4%) and science teachers (3%).

We feature a representative selection of our alums at https://eps.rutgers.edu/academics/undergraduate-program/prospective-students. Click on their photos or names to see details. When you reload the page, different alums will be featured.