• <a href="/live/image/gid/690/width/650/93065_image0.jpg" class="lw_preview_image lw_disable_preview" tabindex="-1"><picture class="lw_image lw_image93065"> <source type="image/jpeg" media="(max-width: 500px)" srcset="/live/image/gid/690/width/500/height/479/crop/1/93065_image0.rev.1646775770.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/690/width/500/height/479/crop/1/93065_image0.rev.1646775770.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/690/width/500/height/479/crop/1/93065_image0.rev.1646775770.jpg 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" media="(min-width: 501px)" srcset="/live/image/gid/690/width/720/height/690/crop/1/93065_image0.rev.1646775770.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/690/width/720/height/690/crop/1/93065_image0.rev.1646775770.jpg 2x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/690/width/720/height/690/crop/1/93065_image0.rev.1646775770.jpg" alt="Our students—especially those in our natural science classes—regularly learn outside of the classroom on field trips, like this recen..." width="720" height="690" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/690/width/720/height/690/crop/1/93065_image0.rev.1646775770.jpg 2x" data-max-w="1800" data-max-h="1798" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a><div class="hero-split_image_caption collapsable-caption"> Our students—especially those in our natural science classes—regularly learn outside of the classroom on field trips, like this recent excursion to Rattlesnake Road Wind Farm in Oregon. Photo taken by Olivia Bruce BA ’24.</div>

Why Choose a Minor in Earth System Science?

Our program directly engages with the science of some of today’s most pressing questions: How do changes in atmospheric composition affect climate? How do shifts in global land cover affect nutrient loading of the world’s waters or the abundance and distribution of different life forms? You will graduate with experience in the physical, chemical, biological, and geological processes that drive planetary functions, giving you valuable professional training with diverse practical applications.

What You’ll Study

Our interdisciplinary program provides structure and recognition to students wishing to integrate geoscience learning with other relevant offerings in natural and mathematical sciences. Our students focus their learning on key Earth components, including the slowly churning rocky substrate, the liquids circulating through and atop it, the patches of ice crowning its poles, the thin envelope of air surrounding it, and the organisms that populate its surface. Many of our students earn course credit toward their Earth system science minor while on an overseas program.

Outside the classroom, the environmental studies program sponsors an annual student-led symposium on the broad theme of Environment Across Boundaries (ENVX). This multiday, interdisciplinary event encourages students to expand their search for new scholarly concepts and skills, transcend geographic boundaries as they explore environmental issues around the world, and engage with people on all sides of these issues, ideally working toward mutual respect and collaborative solutions. The symposium offers the Lewis & Clark community and general public an opportunity to experience this broader approach to studying the environment. Paid summer research opportunities are also available through the Rogers Summer Science Program.


Complement Your Education With One of These Majors

The most popular majors for our Earth system science minors are biology, environmental studies, and mathematical sciences.

What Students Are Saying About Lewis & Clark

  • Regardless of how different my subjects are, each environmental studies class has taught me that every person, problem, and situation is socially, historically, and politically situated.

    Kaylee Howser BA ’24
    Santa Cruz, California
    More about Kaylee
  • The data analysis and GIS mapping techniques I honed during my summer research stand as a testament to the interdisciplinary nature of both the environmental studies and Rogers programs, and will serve me well in whatever’s next.

    Karl Peterson BA ’23
    Boulder, Colorado
    More about Karl
  • I have always loved everything about science and have enjoyed delving deeper into biology. I especially enjoy marine biology and behavioral ecology, and love having hands-on labs outside of the classroom.

    Lilah Shapiro BA ’25
    Pahoa, Hawai‘i
    More about Lilah

What Can You Do With a Minor in Earth System Science?

Our alumni use their minor in Earth system science in a variety of careers in academia and at companies and agencies such as the U.S. Geological Survey, Sanborn Map Company, and National Center for Atmospheric Research Earth Observing Laboratory. Many go on to pursue advanced degrees in environmental engineering, geology, hydrology, and other fields.

Dedicated Faculty

Our expert professors are your expert mentors. You will learn directly from faculty (no graduate assistants here!) that are nationally recognized in their fields of study and who love to work with and learn from their students. Your professors will inspire you to be a thoughtful and passionate participant in a diverse world. Your small classes will support you as you explore new ideas, find your voice, and speak your truth.

Meet the Professors

Invest in Yourself

A private liberal arts education is often more affordable than you think. Last year, Lewis & Clark distributed over $74 million in assistance from institutional, federal, state, and private sources. Additionally, we’re so confident that our first-year students will graduate in four years with their bachelor of arts degree that if you don’t, we’ll cover the extra semester of tuition.

Find Your People

Students can join a variety of student-run organizations that relate to their Earth system science minor, like the ENVX: Environment Across Boundaries symposium or Students Engaged in Eco-Defense (SEED). Don’t see what you’re looking for on the club list? Start something new and build your own community of peers!

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