The Earth & Planetary Sciences program provides students with training and skills that can be applied to the understanding of complex processes that shape the Earth’s surface and its interior, ultimately influencing life on our planet. 

The program is also designed for students interested more broadly in the Earth as a system (planetary science) and the study of other planetary bodies in the solar system and beyond (astrophysics and space exploration).

The major can serve industry careers in the fields of geology, geophysics, oceanography, climate science, meteorology, public policy, education, traditional and alternative energy production and storage, and prospecting of natural resources.  

Three Things to Know About the Program

The program is interdisciplinary, a collaboration between the Physics, Chemistry, Environmental Science and Mathematics Departments.

The major would be useful to those wishing to pursue advanced degrees in areas such as: 

  • Planetology and space exploration
  • Planetary astrophysics
  • Geology/geophysics
  • Earth’s evolution
  • Climate modeling 
  • Meteorology  

As part of an early introduction to research, those students who are interested in astrophysics and geophysics can join one of our faculty members in the summer of their sophomore and junior years, as well as the spring semester of the junior year, doing work at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Stonehill professors immediately took an interest in me — as a person and as a scientist. [They] personally engaged me in physics research that allowed me to become sure of which direction to take later in the program.

Exceptional Opportunities

University of Rochester Institute of Optics Partnership

Stonehill’s partnership with the University of Rochester Institute of Optics, a leading institution in the fields of physics and engineering, offers EPS students the chance to be directly admitted to a master of science program at the Institute of Optics after graduating from Stonehill. Technologies deriving from the study of optics are widely used in the geosciences, including satellite prospecting, seismic wave tomography, and many other applications.

Stonehill Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE)

Students have the opportunity to do summer research with faculty, often as part of the Stonehill Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE). This work includes the use of a faculty/student lab, as well as an advanced computer that was recently built by two of our majors.

Internship and Career Opportunities

Places where Stonehill graduates have recently completed internships and/or launched careers include:

Sample Courses

Global Biogeochemistry: Building a Habitable World

CHM 250
A study of the earth as a dynamic system governed by the interplay between biological, geological and chemical processes. These processes are what make the planet hospitable for life. This understanding is needed to address the environments issues we face today. Furthermore, these processes have shaped the co-evolution of life and the planet.

Climate Science

ENV 350
An overview of the Earth’s climate system, including major physical and chemical components and interactions. Students will acquire the scientific perspective necessary to competently assess issues related to current climate change concerns.

Introduction to Oceanography

ENV 360
This course is designed to be a fundamental introduction to ocean sciences. Students will explore the physical and biological processes that govern the ocean’s circulation and marine life. Topics include waves and currents, marine life and ecosystems, tides, beach erosion and the way the ocean is being affected by global climate change.

Contact Information

Alessandro Massarotti

Associate Professor of Physics, Physics & Astronomy Department Chair, Earth and Planetary Science Program Director