Earth Science



Earth Science, B.A.

Earth Science-Teaching, B.A.

Environmental Science: Air Quality, B.A. 

Environmental Science: Hydrology, B.A.

Environmental Science: Geoscience, B.A.

Environmental Science: Overall Physical Environment, B.A. 


Earth Science, B.A.

Earth Science-Teaching, B.A.

(Click major/minor/certificate title to see typical courses for the program)

Degrees in the Department of Earth Science

The Department of Earth Science offers both B.A. and B.S. degree programs in geology and B.A. degree programs in earth science and earth science teaching. Students interested in astronomy as a profession should minor in astronomy along with a major in physics. Those interested in a possible career in meteorology should minor in meteorology along with a physics major. 

Plan of Study

Discover the courses you'll take as a earth studies major in the Plan of Study.

Earth Science

Earth scientists work as explorers for new mineral or energy resources, consultants on engineering or environmental problems, researchers, teachers, writers, editors, naturalists, museum curators and in many other interesting and challenging positions. They often divide their work time between the field, the laboratory and the office.

Air Quality

The B.S. degree in Air Quality prepares students for careers in governmental regulation of air quality, industrial compliance with the Clean Air Act, and private consulting.

Unique Features: 
  • Faculty with doctorates in their areas of specialization who are committed to quality teaching

  • Opportunities for undergraduate research and working one-on-one with faculty

  • Housed in Latham Hall, featuring well-equipped laboratories and classrooms

  • Excellent computer facilities, including a student computer lab

  • A 25-seat planetarium; 16-inch and 12-inch computer-controlled telescopes

  • X-ray diffraction and fluorescence equipment

  • Petrographic microscopes; thin-section equipment

  • Unidata McIDAS weather display system; roof-top weather station

  • Sigma Gamma Epsilon Earth Science honorary for students with earth science GPA of 3.0 or higher

  • Home of the federally funded Science Center for Teaching, Outreach and Research on Meteorology (the STORM Project)

  • Latham HallHoused in the Latham Hall, featuring classrooms with state-of-the-art media facilities

  • Specialized laboratories with modern equipment and testing devices

  • Student computer laboratory for instructional and student use

Student Organizations

Sigma Gamma Epsilon

Field trips
  • Faculty members are actively involved in field work, and the department regularly offers spring field trips and summer field courses. Past trips have included:

  • Floating the Colorado River in Arizona

  • Diving in coral reefs in the Florida Keys

  • Investigating active volcanoes in Hawaii, Italy and the Caribbean

  • Studying geologic sites in Iowa and surrounding states

  • Observing solar eclipses in North Dakota, Missouri and the Caribbean

  • Observing Comet Halley in Texas

  • Studying the Big Bend area of Texas and Mexico

  • Backpacking in Colorado

  • Exploring caves in Iowa, Kentucky and New Mexico

  • Investigating the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Canada

  • Field studies in the Appalachians

  • Geological and environmental studies of Alaska and the Canadian Rockies

  • Field trips and activities of the Geological Society of Iowa and the Tri-State Geological Field Conference

Scholarships & Awards: 

To be considered for many University of Northern Iowa scholarships, you need only complete the application for admission. More information on department scholarships can found at Financial Aid.