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Earth and Planetary Sciences

Our Programs and Curriculum

Undergraduate field trip

Undergraduate Major & Minor

The academic program covers traditional geologic topics and the latest advances in earth science. Courses may include theory, descriptive studies, data analysis, computer modeling, laboratory exercises, and field training. The minor offers students in any major outside the department a flexible path to improved knowledge of earth and planetary sciences.

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Graduate student in a lab

PhD Graduate Program

We welcome students with backgrounds that span the range of STEM disciplines, including physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, computer science, and mathematics, in addition to those whose undergraduate preparation was in geology or earth sciences. The department is recognized for a supportive and collaborative atmosphere where research and teaching are pursued at the forefront of earth and planetary sciences.

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Our Research and Facilities


Research Areas

Externally funded projects within the department span a wide range of research areas. Many of these projects are collaborative both within and outside the department, with notable ties to Argonne National Labs, Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), the Field Museum, and the Chicago Botanic Gardens.
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Research Facilities

Northwestern University invested significant resources in the renovation of a lab facility for the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.  The result, the Integrated Laboratories for Earth and Planetary Sciences, occupies over 5,000 square feet of space and is designed to foster interdisciplinary research.
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Nemmers Prize


2018 Nemmers Prize awarded to Francis Albar├Ęde

Francis Albarède is Emeritus Professor at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon and Adjunct Faculty at Rice University in Houston. He is a geochemist with a broad range of interests who contributed to high-temperature geodynamic processes, planetary sciences, and marine geochemistry.  

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News & Events


News Highlight


Join us in congratulating Professor Osburn as she receives the David and Lucile Packard Foundation 2017 Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering

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News & Upcoming Events

Trevor Bollmann to present dissertation on Thursday, July 25, at 2:00 pm in Tech F285

"Features of the North American mantle during the Mesoproterozoic through Cenozoic eras from field studies and visualization experiments"

Congratulations to our 2019 Graduates and Award Recipients!
Congratulations to Jamie McFarlin, Everett Lasher and Amir Salaree on the success of their dissertation defenses!

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