Earth and Ecosystem Science

Program Overview

Explore the patterns and processes at work in our natural world and its ecosystems through the Ph.D. in Earth and Ecosystem Science. This research intensive program includes a wide range of questions and projects, from the fate of a butterfly or mussel to understanding the development of tornadic storms or the distribution of natural resources.  You’ll develop the skills needed to understand and impact the future for a sustainable planet and its ecosystems.

Program Snapshot

Program Type: Full-Time
Location: On Campus
Program Length: 5 years
Credit Hours: 60

Why This Program & What You'll Learn

Focus on the skills you’ll need to build your research portfolio. This doctoral program provides opportunities for intensive investigations of environmental patterns and processes across time and regions. You’ll study the dynamics of the climate, aquatic or terrestrial systems in diverse geographic regions. These systems could be modern or ancient, pristine or polluted. 

Our earth and ecosystem program employs a systems-level approach to research. You’ll collaborate with our highly-experienced faculty to evaluate the physical, chemical, geological and biological structure and function of various natural and engineered environments. Advisors typically only work with one or two students, providing greater opportunities for mentoring and training, as well as a stronger focus on research.

EES is naturally a broad and inherently multidisciplinary area. You'll be immersed in biology, chemistry, engineering, geology, geography and atmospheric science using tools from physics,  mathematics and computer sciences. CMU research in EES explores patterns, such as biodiversity, reaction and physical architecture. You'll evaluate the processes that lead to change such as outcomes, transport and efficiency. Assessing environmental regulations and managing ecosystems and critical components are also elements of the program. 

Best of all, the curriculum is tailored to maximize flexibility and the development of your necessary skill sets for success.

Program Highlights

As a graduate student in the CMU earth and ecosystem science Ph.D. program, you'll:

  • Develop the ability and skills necessary to conduct independent, primary research of professional quality.
  • Have the chance to pursue projects that range from endangered marsh birds, to Antarctic expeditions and global climate change impacts.
  • Explore hypothesis-driven, as well as discovery-driven, research topics in EES.
  • Gain advanced technical skills in analytical approaches and methodologies, critical thinking, and the communication of research results.

Careers & Outcomes

Students graduating with a Ph.D. in earth and ecosystem science typically go on to succeed in many research-focused careers. Graduates from the program have a 100 percent employment rate. Alums of the program have gone on to positions ranging from environmental management and research to academia and faculty positions.

Career Projected Salary
Research and Development Director $100,617
Director of Laboratory Services $95,396
Computational Biologist $78,315
Geneticist $72,785
A graphic showing the Earth with circles showing different locations.

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