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Earth and Ecosystem Science


Program Overview

To safeguard earth's precious natural resources, science needs to pinpoint our best course of action. Lead the discovery of viable solutions with a Ph.D. in earth and ecosystem science. Investigate patterns and processes that regulate environmental variations. Conduct research-intensive studies. Be a champion of the environment with this doctorate program.

Program Snapshot

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

Why This Program & What You'll Learn

Research can help save our planet. This doctoral program focuses on intensive investigations of environmental patterns and processes across time and regions.

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 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.

You'll study the dynamics of aquatic and terrestrial systems in diverse geographic regions. These systems could be modern or ancient, pristine or polluted. The interactions of factors that govern earth and ecosystem processes will be a focus.

EES is naturally a broad and inherently multidisciplinary area. You'll be immersed in biology, chemistry, geology, geography, physics and mathematics. CMU research in EES explores patterns, such as biodiversity, reaction and physical architecture. You'll evaluate processes such as outcomes, transport and efficiency. Assessing environmental regulations and managing ecosystems and critical components are also elements of the program. You'll be exposed to a range of ecosystem types, too. These may include terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in natural, managed or disturbed states.

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.
  • Conduct research that may be funded through a combination of assistantships — check with a faculty mentor for potential funding opportunities.
  • Have the chance to pursue projects that range from endangered butterflies, 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
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