Why should students explore courses in Earth & Climate Sciences? What do gateway courses offer students?

Humanity is damaging the Earth and Climate Systems that keep us alive.  The planet’s earth, water, and atmosphere work in concert to provide everything to sustain life, and we need to understand how they work together to ensure life continues to thrive.  This is the heart of the major in Earth & Climate Sciences.  The Dynamic Earth (ECS 101) explores how the Earth works and the geohazards that affect our everyday lives, and Climate Change for Future Leaders (ECS 103) dives into human-induced climate change so that we can be informed stewards of our planet.

Brian McAdoo with student and Delphine Sellars at Catawba Farm Trail
Brian McAdoo led students on a field trip to Catawba Farm Trail

What skills do students gain from ECS courses that will benefit them moving forward?

Students studying Earth & Climate Sciences develop skills to understand the complex interactions of Earth systems over a range of time scales, and are equipped to communicate these complexities to a wide variety of audiences, using field work investigations, quantitative methods and visualizations, as well as narrative descriptions. Students will have the opportunity to gain exposure to computer methods including Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and other statistical approaches, laboratory experiences (water and atmospheric chemistry) as well as field work in the region and abroad.

What are some of the advantages of majoring in Earth & Climate Sciences?

Learning the skills to work across scientific disciplines will be critical as we enter a time of increasingly complex problems. Earth & Climate Sciences combine key principles in the basic sciences and increasingly policy, history and economics as we plunge headfirst into the “Anthropocene,” to better understand how these complex systems function.  No matter their career goals, this interdisciplinary approach will enable students to understand and meaningfully communicate the complexity of our rapidly changing world.