Undergraduate Degrees

The Department of Earth Sciences offers two major degrees and two minors. It is also possible to do a College major in Physical Sciences or a degree in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Earth Sciences.

Most majors and minors discover Earth Sciences after they come to USC, usually through taking one of our popular GE classes. We attract a broad spectrum of students, from engineering and biology to business and music. Our Geophysics program (recently ranked 9th in the nation by US News & World Report 2010) draws students from computer science, physics, and engineering. Our national reputation as one of the leaders in the interdisciplinary field of Geobiology is beginning to attract pre-med students, who are looking for rigorous scientific preparation and increased opportunities for mentored research.

To become a major, add a minor, or explore research opportunities, undergraduate students can speak with our faculty undergraduate advisor, Prof. Doug Hammond at dhammond@usc.edu, or contact our Undergrad Staff Advisor, Cindy Waite, at waite@usc.edu.

Some of our majors have gone on to pursue graduate work in Earth Sciences, law school or medical school. Others have gone into related fields such as environmental remediation, information technology, secondary school teaching, gemology, or real estate development.

While some of our minors have followed careers related to their major, a surprising number have continued on to do graduate work in Earth Sciences. All have used skills developed through the minor to advance their careers.

Undergraduate Program
Major Degrees
For starters
2012 Median Pay: $90,890 per year ($43.70 per hour)
Entry-Level Education: Bachelor’s degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation: None
On-the-job Training: None
Number of Jobs, 2012: 38200
Job Outlook, 2012-22: 16% (Faster than average)

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dept. Labor, US.Gov

  • Zumberge Hall of Science (ZHS)
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0740
  • Phone: (213) 740-6106
  • Email: earthsci@usc.edu