Help solve complex human-driven changes affecting Earth system sustainability. Your
graduate work will include shaping environmental policy and integrating environmental
and resource economics.
Human activities are generating changes to Earth’s land surface, oceans, coasts and
atmosphere, biological diversity, water cycle, and biogeochemical cycles. These changes
demand graduate-level research and technical expertise. This master's is for those
interested in the science of the Earth’s systems and how that science can be integrated
Est. time to complete:
Why earn an earth science master's degree?
Study the planet's different systems — hydrosphere, lithosphere, atmosphere, biosphere
and anthroposphere — as an integrated Earth system. In this master's program, you'll
gain valuable foundational and technical knowledge to help solve problem areas related
to Earth sustainability and global change.
Environmental issues touch upon many of today's fastest growing fields, including:
Government compliance and regulations
Climate change research
Energy explorations (both alternative and conventional)
You'll engage in research that focuses on the sustainability of environmental-human
interactions within the greater context of the Earth System. Study vital areas such
Glaciology and glacio-hydrology
Theoretical ecology and macroecology
Physical earth processes
Earth systems modeling
UND's Earth Science Master's Programs
Prepare for a range of careers related to environment, earth and sustainability.
The Earth System Science and Policy curriculum that gives you a broad and holistic
knowledge of Earth system science and policy.
Learn from a student-structured curriculum, a multi-disciplinary teaching approach,
and experiential learning environments.
Study at a Carnegie Doctoral Research Institution ranked #151 by the NSF. Students
are an integral part of UND research.
Enhance your professional skills at 60+ free workshops offered through the UND School of Graduate Studies. Our goal is to provide you with
the workforce skills and job search strategies to succeed.
What can you do with an earth science master's?
Median salary range for an environmental scientist and specialist
You'll graduate with the ability to assess, analyze and research earth systems. You'll
have job opportunities in many industries and fields, both private and government.
UND graduates can expect exciting opportunities to a range of professions, including:
Earth system scientists
Environmental and geospatial consultant
Environmental project manager
City sustainability coordinator
Governmental agency careers
Skills with a Master's in Earth Science and Policy
This master's degree gives you the strategic skills you need, including:
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
ArcGIS (GIS Software)
Earth Science and Policy Jobs
Our alumni have gone on to a variety of successful careers with:
Advanced Engineering & Environmental Services, Inc.
Human interactions with the Earth system are often managed through policy and science. This course will introduce students to concepts, ideas, practices, and challenges at the nexus of policy, science, and the environment. Students will examine the human dimensions of environmental problems and the different roles of policy and science in helping us address them. F.
ESSP 504. The Biosphere. 3 Credits.
The Biosphere (ESSP 504) introduces students to the concept of the biosphere as articulated by Vladimir Vernadsky in the 1920s and 1930s, and examines the concepts and roles of nutrient cycling, biodiversity, evolution, ecology, and ecosystem productivity on Earth. The overall course is framed around the Drake equation and walks students through critical steps in the formation of the solar system, habitable zones around stars, evolution and proliferation of life on Earth, the interconnected nature of inorganic nutrient cycling and ecosystem function, and human's impact on all these systems, culminating with the final variable of the Drake equation--the longevity of civilizations--and humanity's active role in the Anthropocene. F.
ESSP 505. Energy Issues and Earth Systems. 3 Credits.
This course is about contemporary complex energy issues. It gives an overview of energy history, the last century trends and the achievement in energy production. It also discusses energy systems and energy "linkages" with society. It then examines the pros and the cons of both fossil fuels and alternative fuels. Finally it considers the future of energy in low-carbon energy systems. F.
ESSP 506. Ecosystem Services: Valuing Nature in a Market Society. 3 Credits.
Analyzes the services and goods provided by natural and human-made ecosystems with a primary focus on the agroecosystems and grasslands of the northern Great Plains. Explores the scientific framework of ecosystem services, their disruption or disturbance, economic and ecological values, methods of analyzing these values, and policy implications. S.
ESSP 507. Earth Systems Processes and Vulnerability Analysis. 3 Credits.
Earth Systems Processes and Vulnerability Analysis (ESSP 507) will explore how humans exist on an active landscape. The course focuses on an understanding of the integration of the processes of physical Earth systems and the human vulnerability to hazards and Earth system syndromes related to these processes. The course also explores human vulnerability by analyzing spatial, numerical, and historical data, through spatial and statistical techniques. S.
ESSP 508. Hydrological Cycle in Earth Systems. 3 Credits.
Hydrological Cycle in Earth Systems (ESSP 508) will introduce the processes of the hydrological cycle in the Earth system. The course focuses on an understanding of fundamental chemical and physical properties of water and processes of water movement within the Earth system through physical, biological and human controls. The course also aims to help students develop an understanding of how the hydrological cycle interacts and affects the energy balance and biogeochemical cycle in the Earth system. S.
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