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Careers in earth science are much more varied than most people appreciate. In general, they can be grouped into three main categories – industry, government, and academic. The majority of industry jobs are found in the energy or mineral resources sectors, with environmental consulting following closely. Many earth scientists are employed in government labs such as Argonne, Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge, or Los Alamos or in academic institutions as faculty or science support staff. Because the scope of earth science research has expanded significantly in recent decades to include ocean science, atmospheric science, polar and high elevation science, and space science (in addition to the more traditional paths in geological science), there are myriad opportunities. Many undergraduates at Northwestern have pursued dual or multiple majors (EPS plus Physics, Chemistry or Biology, Environmental Science, Environmental Policy and Culture, various engineering disciplines, and others) and these approaches are well suited to the interdisciplinary nature of earth science. A subset of students trained in earth science as undergraduates also go on to careers in law, medicine, or politics.

The following links will help you explore the breadth of career options open to you as an earth scientist.

For a description of what Earth Scientists do, visit the American Geophysical Union and find careers from AGU.

Northwestern Career Advancement - AN NU Resource

Northwestern Career Advancement (NCA) helps undergraduate and graduate students with the career development process, including academic major and career decision making, internship advising, full time job search advising, and graduate school and pre-law advising. NCA offers individual appointments, express advising hours, and workshops on career-related topics such as resume/cover letter writing, interviewing skills, networking, and more. In addition, all students have access to Handshake. Handshake is an online internship and job database for employers who recruit Northwestern students. Handshake also enables students to receive email updates on services, programming, and special events.

Job Listings – US Federal Agencies

The US Geological Survey, commonly known as the USGS has Career Pathways Programs, which provide short-term employment for students and recent graduates. Also check the Vacancies page for permanent positions.


GEOCORPS - Listing of paid Geoscientist opportunities on National Parks, National Forests, and BLM Lands provided by the Geological Society of America

National Park Service

USDA/Forest Service

Job Listings – General

Earth Works – commercial web listings with a focus on global opportunities

American Institute of Physics

Society of Exploration Geophysicists

Geological Society of America Geoscience Job Board