Students planting a tree

Major in Earth and Environmental Sciences

What is an earth and environmental sciences degree?

How do we achieve an environmentally safe and socially just space for life in a world of increasingly limited natural resources? That quintessential challenge lies at the heart of Furman’s Department of Earth, Environmental, and Sustainability Sciences. The Earth and environmental sciences major is a course of study that takes a holistic, systems-based approach to studying the physical, chemical and biological natural and human processes, in both time and space, that have shaped the planet. Courses are designed to help teach the complexity, interconnectedness and dynamic nature of the Earth system and to seek solutions to address geological, environmental and natural resource sustainability issues, culminating in a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree.

Why study Earth and environmental sciences at Furman?

Furman’s location at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and proximity to the Atlantic Coast provide easy access to a geologically, ecologically and socially diverse region with ample opportunity to integrate field experiences into your education. Our philosophy of teaching through research provides every student the opportunity to conduct collaborative field research with our faculty. As a private liberal arts and sciences university, Furman provides an exceptional environment for multidisciplinary studies, allowing students to find connections between multiple areas of interest. Small class sizes give students increased access to professors who are among the best in their fields. Our focus on engaged learning leverages Furman’s strong undergraduate research, internship and study away opportunities. Plan a visit to our beautiful campus or request information to learn more.

How will you learn?

All of the courses, including the introductory classes, involve a field component. Student experiences include extensive use of the campus living and learning laboratories, as well as field trips to places like the Okefenokee Swamp, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Mammoth Cave National Park and the South Carolina coast including the Cape Romaine Wildlife Refuge and the many barrier Islands along the coast. The highlight of the B.S. degree is an original research project completed in collaboration with a faculty member, the results of which are presented by the students as lead authors at a local or national professional conference. You’ll be involved in a first-rate, in-depth focused research program and have access to our Engaged Living programs. Visit our campus or request information to learn more.

Careers for Earth and environmental sciences majors

Earth and environmental sciences majors develop an interdisciplinary scientific understanding of how the Earth and our environment work. With the knowledge and experiences gained from field trips, instrumentation skills and GIS/Remote Sensing skills, students can create their own career pathways that fit their interests and ambitions. Many undergraduates go on to continue their studies in renowned graduate schools.

A degree in Earth and environmental sciences can lead to rewarding work in fields and vocations such as:

  • Field geologist in mineral/hydrocarbon resources exploration and exploitation industries
  • Environmental consultant
  • Climate scientist
  • Environmental conservationist
  • Fluvial geomorphologist
  • Consulting geologist in private, state, federal agencies
  • GIS technician
  • Water quality technician
  • Graduate student pursuing master’s or doctoral programs (mostly fully funded)
  • Work with local and national NGOs

Earth and environmental sciences courses: What will you study?

Earth Systems

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Mineralogy and Petrology I

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94.6%
percentage of full-time Furman faculty with the highest degree in their fields
9 to 1
student to faculty ratio throughout the university
No. 2
Forbes’ Top Colleges in S.C.

What our students say

Furman Duke Library

“To be an EES major is to understand how the other STEM fields and humans affect the environment around us. The professors strive for student independence and ownership. We were taught to use our knowledge to ask and answer questions, and how to properly use our findings to allow us to pursue our end goals.” – JohnPaul Sleiman ’21

Our faculty

Your academic advisor will help you explore your passions, define your interests and achieve your goals. You’ll tap into a widespread network of community and alumni mentors to help you on your individual educational path – and to the opportunities at the end of it. Furman’s Earth and environmental sciences faculty represents decades of study and practical expertise. Take your first steps by contacting admissions or reading more about how to apply.

  • Karen Allen
    Title:

    Assistant Professor, Sustainability Science; Anthropology

    Karen Allen

    Karen Allen
    Title:

    Assistant Professor, Sustainability Science; Anthropology

    Phone Number: 8642942504

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  • Brannon Andersen
    Title:

    Rose J. Forgione Professor of Earth, Environmental, and Sustainability Sciences

    Brannon Andersen

    Brannon Andersen
    Title:

    Rose J. Forgione Professor of Earth, Environmental, and Sustainability Sciences

    Phone Number: 8642943366

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  • Ruth Aronoff
    Title:

    Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences

    Aronoff

    Ruth Aronoff
    Title:

    Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences

    Phone Number: 8642943363

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  • Matthew Cohen
    Title:

    Associate Professor of Sustainability Science

    Cohen

    Matthew Cohen
    Title:

    Associate Professor of Sustainability Science

    Phone Number: 8642942505

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  • Geoffrey Habron
    Title:

    Professor of Sustainability Sciences

    Geoffrey Habron

    Geoffrey Habron
    Title:

    Professor of Sustainability Sciences

    Phone Number: 8642943413

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  • Emma Hunt
    Title:

    Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences

    Emma Hunt

    Emma Hunt
    Title:

    Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences

    Phone Number: 8642943364

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  • Valeska Minkowski
    Title:

    Adjunct Professor

    Valeska Minkowski

    Valeska Minkowski
    Title:

    Adjunct Professor

    Phone Number: 9892558258

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  • Suresh Muthukrishnan
    Title:

    Professor and Chair of Earth, Environmental, and Sustainability Sciences Department; Director of GIS and Remote Sensing Center

    Muthurishnan

    Suresh Muthukrishnan
    Title:

    Professor and Chair of Earth, Environmental, and Sustainability Sciences Department; Director of GIS and Remote Sensing Center

    Phone Number: 8642943361

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  • Courtney Quinn
    Title:

    Adjunct Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences; Leadership Development Program Fellow; Undergraduate Evening Studies Faculty

    Quinn

    Courtney Quinn
    Title:

    Adjunct Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences; Leadership Development Program Fellow; Undergraduate Evening Studies Faculty

    Phone Number: 8642942052

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  • Melissa Ranhofer
    Title:

    Visiting Assistant Professor, Earth, Environmental and Sustainability Sciences

    Ranhofer

    Melissa Ranhofer
    Title:

    Visiting Assistant Professor, Earth, Environmental and Sustainability Sciences

    Phone Number: 8642943647

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  • FAQ

    What can you do with a degree in Earth and environmental sciences?

    Many graduates have gone on to successful careers as geologists, attorneys, research assistants, GIS technicians, environmental scientists, teachers and analysts. Any career path is possible, and the pathways program ensures that students get individual mentoring to reach their career goals. A healthy percentage of students go on to pursue graduate degrees in some of the world’s most renowned institutions.

    What is the average salary for Earth and environmental sciences majors?

    On average, graduates could earn $53,200 a year or more, with potential wages of $94,800 or higher, according to an Emsi report.

    How long does it take to get an Earth and environmental sciences degree?

    Typically, it takes four years to earn a B.A. or B.S. in Earth and environmental sciences at Furman.

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