Stanford University
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Earth Systems Program

Investigate the complex interaction of humans and nature.

Undergraduate Program

The Earth Systems Program is an interdisciplinary environmental science major.  Students learn about and independently investigate complex environmental problems caused by human activities in conjunction with natural changes in the Earth system.  Earth Systems majors become skilled in those areas of science, economics, and policy needed to tackle the world’s most pressing social-environmental problems and sustainability challenges.

Foundation, Breadth, and Core Courses

All students must complete courses in the following areas

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Economics
  • Geological Sciences
  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Statistics

Stanford Bulletin: Earth Systems Program Overview 

Frequently used Earth Systems documents: program forms & guides

Learning Outcomes

The program expects majors to be able to demonstrate the following learning outcomes. These learning outcomes serve as benchmarks for evaluating students and the program's undergraduate degree. Students are expected to:

  1. demonstrate knowledge of foundational skills and concepts in order to advance the interdisciplinary study of the environment.
  2. demonstrate the ability to analyze, integrate and apply relevant science and policy perspectives to social-environmental problems. 
  3. demonstrate the ability to communicate complex concepts and data relevant to social-environmental problems and questions to expert and non-expert audiences.

Minor in Earth Systems

1) Earth Systems, Sustainability
The minor in Earth Systems, Sustainability subplan, provides students with foundational knowledge, skills, and frameworks needed to understand social-environmental systems and address intergenerational sustainability challenges. Students declaring the minor in Earth Systems must also declare the Sustainability subplan. 

2) Earth Systems, Environmental Justice
The minor in Earth Systems, Environmental Justice subplan integrates diverse academic offerings on environmental justice-related topics. Through pursuing the environmental justice minor, students will




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