Telephone: (302) 831-2569
The Earth is a dynamic, integrated system that includes rocks and minerals, water, the atmosphere, and living organisms. As part of the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE), the Department of Earth Sciences is dedicated to advancing our understanding of the natural world and how geological processes have operated over various time scales to create and influence the planet’s surface environments.
The Department of Earth Sciences offers students the opportunity to discover the Earth while participating in several different undergraduate degree programs or minors. Students learn in the classroom, in the lab, and out in the field. Geological science is inherently multidisciplinary so our graduates are well equipped to tackle complex problems, including environmental and resource problems affecting human society.
Our faculty and students explore land, rivers, beaches, and oceans around the globe. Whether they’re in a laboratory, in a classroom, or out in the field, students work hand-in-hand with faculty to develop the next generation of technologies used to address complex geological and environmental challenges.
Housed in Penny Hall, the Department of Earth Sciences offers undergraduate major programs leading to B.A. and B.S. degrees in Geological Sciences and a B.S. in Earth Science Education. Students from other majors can earn a minor in Geological Sciences or Coastal and Marine Geoscience. Environmental Science majors can earn a concentration in the Critical Zone while earning a B.S. in Environmental Science. Our academic programs place special emphasis on the study and understanding of surface and near-surface processes, including coastal sediment transport, geomorphology, hydrogeology, geobiology, environmental geophysics, and Quaternary geology (the study of Earth’s most recent geological time period).
No matter the topic, our students and faculty often find themselves in collaborations with colleagues at the Delaware Geological Survey (DGS) and other programs throughout the university. DGS projects include creating maps of the State’s geology, monitoring seismic activity, and studying Delaware’s hydrogeologic framework. As members of CEOE, our geologists often team up with marine studies specialists and make use of the College’s 146-foot seagoing oceanographic research vessel, the R/V Hugh R. Sharp.
Geology graduates choose from diverse career options. While many geoscientists have traditionally made careers in the oil industry, growing concern for the global environment and the need to consider geologic processes as part of an integrated global system have opened a wide variety of new employment areas.
These professions focus on understanding geologic hazards and defining efficient uses of land, water, energy, and mineral resources, and require integrative knowledge of the chemical, physical, and biological processes above, on, and below the Earth’s surface. By emphasizing how these processes operate through time to mold our planet’s surface and near-surface environment, our teaching has provided positive opportunities for graduates as they continue their education or pursue employment in environmental and other sectors.