Stanford University
Men in raft

Earth System Science

About Us

What we do

Earth System Science is the study of the world’s air, water, land, and life as an integrated system.  As scientists, we unite basic and purpose-driven research to chronicle how the Earth functions, the many ways it is changing, and what the consequences of changes will be for people and other species.  We believe that science can improve the world by enabling us to understand, predict, and solve the pressing issues of global environmental change. These goals are why Stanford founded our department in 2007 and why our faculty now form the largest department in the School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences. Stanford University's program was voted the #1 Best Environmental Science Grad School in 2018 by U.S. News & World Report.

People are our core - individuals who strive to be both excellent scientists and global citizens. We train new generations through our interdisciplinary graduate and undergraduate programs. We share a renowned faculty, creative staff, and talented students and postdoctoral scholars. More than anything, we look forward to working with - and learning from - you.

Students in orange life jackets

Our respectful community

Every person brings unique qualities, talents, and dignity to the Earth System Science community and deserves to be accorded both common decency and institutional opportunity in a fair and respectful manner. We are committed to providing an environment that fosters wellbeing, meaningful work, and professional success.

Kevin Arrigo
Kevin Arrigo

Welcome from the Chair

On behalf of the Earth System Science Department, welcome!  With our focus on environmental and sustainability science, we are the newest - and largest - department in Stanford's School of Earth, Energy, and Environmental Sciences.  Our 26 regular and affiliated faculty members cross many disciplines, including geology, biology, hydrology, and ocean and atmospheric sciences.   


Join us and learn the basic science of the earth, such as ocean circulation and climate, and include people in your research world. Study the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breath, or the animals we share the planet with. Together, we'll understand and solve the global challenges of sustainability, human interactions with the earth, and climate and environmental change. 


We are proud of our growing population of motivated and talented students pursuing graduate degrees, and of the highly successful interdisciplinary undergraduate program known as Earth Systems. There are wonderful opportunities available for our students in Stanford classrooms and laboratories and at associated facilities and field sites around the world.


Please contact us for more information related to your interests and academic plans. We'd love to meet you!


Kevin Arrigo

Donald and Donald M. Steel Professor and Chair, Earth System Science

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