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Introductory Courses

All of the courses listed below are entry-level undergraduate courses offered through Earth Systems, Energy Resources Engineering, Earth System Science, Geological Sciences, and Geophysics.  Most have no prerequisites; many fulfill WAYS requirements.  A description of introductory courses and summer opportunities in the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences is also available in PDF format (2015-2016 version coming soon).

Autumn Quarter, 2015

Broad Introductory Exploration

Survey a major discipline in the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences and prepare for deeper inquiry. 

  • EARTHSYS 10: Introduction to Earth Systems (4 units. Satisfies GER: DB-NatSci, WAY-SMA)
  • EARTHSCI 1: Current Research in the Earth and Environmental Sciences (1 unit).  Download a course syllabus.

Introductory Field Studies

Gain field-based perspectives on topics in the Earth sciences as you learn with faculty and students in interesting and beautiful outdoor settings.

  • GS 5: Living on the Edge (1 unit, one weekend—dates TBA).  Download a flyer from 2014.
  • GS 42N: Landscapes and Tectonics of the San Francisco Bay Area (4 units. Satisfies WAY-SMA, WAY-AQR).
  • GS 182: Convergent Margin Volcanoes Field Trip (1 unit,  Nov. 21-24 during Thanksgiving break).  Visit Mt. Lassen, Mt. Shasta, Lava Beds National Monument, and the Modoc Plateau to learn about the history and nature of volcanoes in California. Contact Gail Mahood for more details

Focused Introductory Exploration

Explore topics of current interest in the Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences.  No prerequisites required.

  • EARTHSYS 18: Promoting Sustainability Behavior Change at Stanford (2 units)
  • EARTHSYS 41N: The Global Warming Paradox (3 units.  Satisfies WAY-SMA)
  • EARTHSYS 144: Fundamentals of Geographic Information Science (EESS 164) (3-4 units. Satisfies GER:DB-NatSci)
  • EARTHSYS 180B: Principles and Practices of Sustainable Agriculture (EESS 280B) (3-4 units.  Satisfies WAY-SMA)
  • ENERGY 120: Fundamentals of Petroleum Engineering (ENGR 120) (3 units. Satisfies GER: DB-EngrAppSci, WAY-FR, WAY-SMA)
  • GEOPHYS 60N: Man versus Nature: Coping with Disasters Using Space Technology (4 units. Satisfies GER: DB-EngrAppSci, WAY-SMA)
  • GEOPHYS 130: Introductory Seismology (3 units. Satisfies GER: DB-NatSci, WAY-AQR, WAY-SMA)

Winter Quarter, 2016

Broad Introductory Exploration

Survey a major discipline in the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences and prepare for deeper inquiry.

  • GS 4: Evolution and Extinction: Introduction to Historical Geology (EARTHSYS 4) (4 units. Satisfies GER:DBNatSci, WAY-SMA)
  • EARTHSYS 23: Climate and Society (3 units)
  • ENERGY 101: Energy and the Environment (EARTHSYS 101) (3 units, Satisfies GER: DB-EngAppSci,  WAY-AQR, WAY-SMA)
  • GEOPHYS 110: Earth on the Edge: Introduction to Geophysics (3 units. Satisfies GER: DB-NatSci,  WAY-AQR, WAY-SMA)

Introductory Field Studies

Gain field-based perspectives on topics in the Earth sciences as you learn with faculty and students in interesting and beautiful outdoor settings.

  • GS 191: GES Field Trips.  (Dates TBA, Spring Break).  Contact Ryan Petterson (ryan.petterson@stanford.edu).

Focused Introductory Exploration

Explore topics of current interest in the Earth sciences.  No prerequisites required.

  • EARTHSYS 38N: The Worst Journey in the World: The Science, Literature, and History of Polar Exploration (3 units)
  • EARTHSYS 57Q: Climate Change from the Past to the Future (EESS 57Q) (3 units, Satisfies  WAY-SMA)
  • EARTHSYS 61Q: Food and Security (3 units)
  • EARTHSYS 105A: Jasper Ridge Docent Training (BIO 105A) (4 units)  First of two-quarter sequence training program to join the Jasper Ridge education program.
  • EARTHSYS 185: Feeding Nine Billion (4-5 units, Satisfies WAY-AQR)
  • ENERGY 160: Modeling Uncertainty in the Earth Sciences (3 units, Satisfies WAY-AQR)
  • GS 43Q: Environmental Problems (3 units. Satisfies GER: DBNatSci)
  • GS 46Q: Environmental Impact of Energy Systems: What are the Risks? (3 units, Satisfies WAY-SMA, WAY-AQR)
  • GS 55Q: The California Gold Rush: Geologic Background and Environmental Impact (3 units. Satisfies GER: DB-NatSci, WAY-SMA, Writing2)
  • GS 90: Introduction to Geochemistry (3-4 units. Satisfies GER: DB-NatSci, WAY-SMA)
  • THINK 40: Meeting the Global Sustainability Challenge (4 units. Satisfies THINK, WAY-SMA)

Spring Quarter, 2016

Broad Introductory Exploration

Survey a major discipline in the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences and prepare for deeper inquiry.

  • GES 1A: Introduction to Geology: The Physical Science of the Earth (5 units, Satisfies DB-NatSci, WAY-AQR, WAY-SMA)

Introductory Field Studies

Gain field-based perspectives on topics in the Earth sciences as you learn with faculty and students in interesting and beautiful outdoor settings. 

  • GS 105: Introduction to Field Methods (3 units. Satisfies WAY-SMA) (Course takes place in the field during the two weeks after commencement. Two meetings during the quarter)
  • ENERGY 101A: Energizing California Field Trip (Dates TBA) (1 unit) Contact Ryan Petterson (ryan.petterson@stanford.edu). 
  • EARTHSCI 193: Natural Perspectives (May 27-30, Memorial Day weekend) (1 unit) Contact Richard Nevle (rnevle@stanford.edu)

Focused Introductory Exploration

Explore topics of current interest in the Earth sciences.  No prerequisites required unless course part of a sequence.

  • EARTHSYS 30: Ecology for Everyone (BIO 5) (4 units. Satisfies GER: DB-NatSci, WAY-SMA)
  • EARTHSYS 105: Food and Community: New Visions for a Sustainable Future (EESS 105) (3-5 units)
  • EARTHSYS 44N: The Invisible Majority: The Microbial World that Sustains our Planet
  • EARTHSYS 46N: Exploring the Critical Interface between the Land and Monterey Bay: Elkhorn Slough (3 units. Satisfies WAY-SMA)
  • EARTHSYS 105B: Jasper Ridge Docent Training (BIO 105B) (4 units. Prerequisite EARTHSYS 105A)
  • EARTHSYS 107: Control of Nature (3 units)
  • EARTHSYS 155: Science of Soils (3-4 units. Satisfies GER: DB-NatSci, WAY-SMA).  Get the dirt on Stanford: check out this video about the Science and Soils and course instructor Prof. Scott Fendorf. 
  • EARTHSYS 180B: Principles and Practices of Sustainable Agriculture (EESS 280B) (3-4 units. Satisfies WAY-SMA)
  • ENERGY 102: Renewable Energy Sources and Greener Energy Processes (EARTHSYS 102) (3 units. Satisfies GER: DB-EngAppSci, WAY-SMA)
  • GS 59N: The Legacy of Fukushima Daiichi
  • GS 128: Evolutionary History of Terrestrial Ecosystems (EARTHSYS 128) (4 units)
  • GEOPHYS 70: The Water Course (EARTHSYS 104) (4 units. Satisfies GER: DB-NatSci, WAY-AQR, WAY-SMA)
  • GEOPHYS 90: Earthquakes and Volcanoes (EARTHSYS 113) (3 units. Satisfies GER: DB-EngAppSci, WAY-SMA).  Check out this slideshow trailer for quick preview of what you'll learn about in Earthquakes and Volcanoes.
  • GEOPHYS 120: Ice, Water, Fire (3-5 units. Satisfies GER: DB-NatSci, WAY-FR, WAY-SMA).  Check out this podcast interview with Prof. Eric Dunham, instructor of GEOPHYS 120.
  • GEOPHYS 190: Near-Surface Geophysics (3 units. Satisfies DB-EngrAppSci, WAY-SMA)

Summer 2016 & Autumn 2016 Opportunities