Our faculty and researchers are considered experts in their fields, and are committed to helping young scientists dig deeply into their areas of study. Our department's strong intellectual community (fostered through weekly meetings such as DoGS lunch, Noon Balloon, and the Friday Seminar) encourages students to develop a uniquely generalist and interdisciplinary approach to the Earth sciences. This combination of deep and broad learning has allowed UChicago students to first test the chemical origin of life and to deduce and explain the climate of Venus as part of their studies here. Our students have gone on to work in academia, policy, and industry.
Out in the field or on the back of an envelope, our graduate students find new and surprising ways to attack scientific problems. We spend our time making (and breaking) waves on supercomputers, sniffing out the composition of stardust and the ancient Earth, and searching for ground truth in the forests of Madgascar, the ice shelves of Antarctica, and the mountains of Tibet.
Our graduate students also enjoy a fun lifestyle including a weekly beer hour (Liquidus), a vibrant coffee culture, and intramural sports (see the softball team below!).
To learn about applying to our program, visit our pages for prospective graduate students. To get a better sense of our program, you may also wish to learn more about our research, our scientists, and our facilities, as well as to look at our pages for current graduate students.
In addition to two majors (a BA in geophysical sciences and a BS in environmental sciences), our department offers an opportunity for undergraduates to participate in high-level research. Undergraduates also participate actively in department life, through giving talks at Expo (the annual departmental conference) or through the weekly GeoUnion meeting.
Our program hosts speakers and journal clubs for practically any subdiscipline of the geosciences you can name.
The distinctive, intellectually addictive ingredient in a geoscience PhD is learning to go after problems with both a forensic approach - what happened here and why? - and also a physicist's approach - how can this system teach us about general principles?