Earth and Planetary Sciences

Brief Description of Concentration

people exploring mountainsThe Earth and Planetary Sciences department is focused on critical events that have shaped the Earth’s evolution and its place in the solar system. Our approach is to apply interdisciplinary tools to investigate processes from tectonic plate to microbial scale, and across the full sweep of geological time, from the early Earth to the modern world. Using a combination of theoretical, computational, laboratory, and field-based methods, we study natural experiments in Earth's history, and ultimately test the limits of the Earth’s resilience in the geological past and in our progressively warming world.

Learning Objectives

Because the Earth’s natural systems are interconnected, the training of Earth and planetary scientists broadly spans biology, chemistry, engineering, physics, mathematics, and the Earth sciences themselves, and provides a wide range of intellectual foundation that is beyond what is typically possible in a "pure" science program.

Gateway Courses

  • EPS-ESE 6: Introduction to Environmental Science and Engineering
  • EPS 10: A Brief History of the Earth
  • GENED 1018: How to Build a Habitable Planet
  • GENED 1085: Energy Resources and the Environment
  • GENED 1094: Confronting Climate Change: A Foundation in Science, Technology, and Politics
  • GENED 1098: Natural Disasters
  • GENED 1137: The Challenge of Human-Induced Climate Change: Transitioning to a Post Fossil Fuel Future
  • GENED 1158: Water and the Environment
  • GENED 1167: Climate Crossroads


The department has developed an EPS community database to help connect current students with alumni, to both share information about career paths, job opportunities and internships, and to provide mentorship. For examples of activities and careers that EPS alumni pursue, visit the Alumni Notes section in Earth & Planetary Times.

For the latest information on all things EPS, please visit the department web page.

See also: Earth and Planetary Sciences, Division of Science, Astrophysics, Chemistry, More ▼

UPCOMING ADVISING EVENTS To find upcoming events for this concentration, search the College Calendar, filter by the department you are interested in, and make sure to log in with HarvardKey to see all events.