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Departments & Programs




What is Earth Systems?

Bachelor of Science Degree & Master of Science degree, School of Earth Sciences at Stanford.
Interdisciplinary environmental science program combining the natural sciences, earth sciences, economics and policy.

What are the requirements for Earth Systems?

Foundation and Breadth: Economics, Math, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Geology, and Statistics
Earth Systems Core: EARTHSYS 10 (Introduction to Earth Systems), EARTHSYS 111 (Biology and Global Change), and EARTHSYS 112 (Human Society and Environmental Change)
Selected focus in one of 5 tracks: includes 3-6 required classes plus 2-3 electives
Internship: 9 units of pre-approved work or research
Senior Seminar: internship presentation, research, and group projects

What are the available tracks and some areas of interest within those tracks?

Anthrosphere: Public policy, sustainable development, environmental justice and economics, international trade and policy, environmental law, education...
Biosphere: Biodiversity, nutrient cycling, conservation biology, marine research, evolution, infectious disease, field research, climate change, agricultural production, invasive species...
Energy, Science and Technology: Renewable energy technologies, energy-efficient buildings, cars, and other machinery, fuel economy, energy resource consumption and management...
Land Systems and Land Use: Two options- Formation of, monitoring of, and conservation of the natural environment; urban planning; land use policy; forestry and parks management; Geographic Information Science (GIS); OR Food and Agriculture; sustainable agriculture; food security…
Oceans: Marine chemistry, marine geology and physics, remote sensing, coastal ocean dynamics, invertebrate zoology, oceanic biology, marine botany...

What resources are available to Earth Systems majors?

TONS! They include:  

Courses: comprehensive list of all environmental courses at Stanford
Jobs and Internships: huge files of available work and volunteer opportunities
Grad School: info on programs, tests, and admissions
Study Abroad: info on programs (Stanford and non-) and how to fit them into your 4-year plan
Esmajors Email List: emails regarding classes, speakers, internships, deadlines, events, info sessions, and opportunities
Resume Writing Workshop: geared specifically for Earth Systems majors, held throughout the year
Logistical Info: alumni database, list of faculty advisors, program requirements...
Fun Stuff: barbeques, hikes, volleyball tournaments, happy hours, and other informal social events for majors and coterms
Get-To-Know Faculty: Group activities and faculty lunches

Who are our faculty?

Kevin Arrigo, Co-Director
Julie Kennedy, Co-Director
Executive Committee: Julie Kennedy, Kevin Arrigo, Tony Kovscek, Roz Naylor, Peter Vitousek, David Lobell, Leif Thomas, Katie Phillips, and Richard Nevle
Advisory Committee of the Whole: Includes faculty from three Undergraduate Schools (Humanities and Sciences, Engineering, and Earth Sciences) and the professional schools (Law, Medicine, Education and Business), so we have the best of all worlds! All serve as advisors for our program.

Where the heck is the Earth Systems office?

Yang and Yamazaki Environment and Energy Building, Room 131. Y2E2 is located at 473 Via Ortega (across from the parking structure and Roble field).

Who are the Student Advisors?

A great resource and first stop for help about everything in the Earth Systems major and beyond. For the 2012-13 year we are:

Robert Firme – Energy Senior
Lauren Gimmillaro– Land Systems Senior & Coterm
Ben Laboy – Energy Coterm
Andrew Miller – Oceans Senior
Karrah Phillips – Anthrosphere Coterm
Elena Stamatakos – Biosphere Senior

Whom (besides Student Advisors) will I find there?

Co-Director: Kevin Arrigo, teaches courses on ocean biogeochemistry, global environmental change, satellite remote sensing, numerical ecosystem modeling, and biological oceanography. Also co-teaches a field course on coral reef ecology as part of Stanford's Overseas Studies Program in Australia and advises coterm and undergrad students. 
Co-Director: Julie Kennedy, in charge of masterminding the Senior Seminar. Also coordinates and approves internships and provides general advising. She is a strong resource for the coterm program and honors information, as well. 
Associate Director of Administration: Deana Fabbro-Johnston (pronounced Dee-nah), handles finances, grades, requirements, advising, programs, and generally keeps the students in line. 
Student Services Officer: Kristin Tewksbury, answers questions about the program, courses, requirements, advising and is becoming an expert on Stanford student life.
Katie Phillips, teaches Masters Seminar, Senior Seminar, Spring WIM course, advises students, and gives career and graduate school advice.
Administrative Associate:
Melissa Vallejo, handles reimbursements, ordering supplies, and much of the behind-the-scenes work that keeps the office running smoothly.
Head TAs of EARTHSYS 10:
Patrick Freeman and Nicole Sarto.

Sign me up! I want to declare.

  1. Come in and talk to the Student Advisors, plan Earth Systems into your life, and get lots of info.
  2. Talk to Katie, Kristin, or Julie about fulfilling academic and internship requirements.
  3. Tell Kristin you want to declare and she will direct you through the process on Axess.
  4. Get your picture taken for our photo wall.

Uh-oh, I'm a junior/transfer. Can I still do Earth Systems?

YES! Some of our majors only saw the light in their junior year, several of them after transferring. It is surprising how you really can fit it all in. Don't struggle with it alone - please come in and let one of us help you plan your time.

Is it possible to get Honors in Earth Systems?

Yes. More information on honors is located in the office.

Is it possible to double major with Earth Systems?

Yes. Many of our students have a secondary major, a dual major, or a minor in another field, from Bio to Art.

What do you do with an Earth Systems degree?

Just about anything! Earth Systems graduates are currently working all over the world in organizations such as EDF, World Bank, World Watch Institute, Teach For America, Peace Corps, start-ups, and consulting. They also pursue advanced degrees in areas such as education, law, business, and medicine.

Is it possible to co-term in Earth Systems?

Yes. Each year several students (both majors and non-majors) choose to co-term and receive their MS in Earth Systems. Coterms need to meet with Julie Kennedy or Kevin Arrigo to discuss their curriculum. More info and applications are in the office.