LAURA LAPHAM, Arts & Life Editor Emeritus—The Geoscience Department on the third floor of Olin will continue to offer students an array of opportunities to learn about the Earth and its geologic features, but this fall the department will see some changes to its name and focus. 

The Geoscience Department is changing its official title to The Department of Earth and Environmental Science (EESC) this coming Fall 2021. The department will offer three degrees to students: a Bachelor of Arts in earth science, a Bachelor of Science in earth science and a Bachelor of Science in environmental science, which are all new degrees here at Denison. There is also a minor offered in earth science. 

The faculty of the department will remain the same because the future BS and BA in earth science are quite similar to the current BS and BA in geoscience, with some changes to their structure and requirements. 

For both degrees, students are required to take a 100-level EESC class, followed by three earth science foundation courses and three EESC electives. From there, students can either take a Senior Seminar course and EESC Comprehensive exam to obtain a BA or they can take four cognate courses and a field course in addition to the exam to finish with a BS. 

According to the informational flier, “In the earth sciences, you can learn how the rocks of the interior and surface of our planet form, how they interact with the life and weather of the Earth and how we can read the history of our planet in these rocks. Earth science is one of the most employable STEM fields today. Our majors have gone on to successful careers in research, hazard planning, academia, resources, environmental planning and much more.”

The BS in environmental science is brand new and allows students to explore a new scientific perspective of the world in a more interdisciplinary way. Students would first take a 100-level EESC course or ENVS 102, followed by four environmental science foundation classes, three EESC electives, a five class environmental science concentration with four cognate science classes, one human environment class, and finally the Senior Seminar and EESC comprehensive exam.

Compared to the earth science major, the environmental science major focuses more on a comprehensive approach to things like climate change, and includes observation of the geosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and cryosphere. 

“You will integrate knowledge from across the natural sciences to understand how the environment works and how humans impact it for better or worse.” 

Lia Haile ‘24 from Columbus, Ohio changed from the environmental studies to the environmental science major to pursue her interests in tangible sciences while still studying things like climate change and environmental racism. 

“I gravitated toward environmental science instead of environmental studies because I do not want my job to be policy-based environmental activism,” she said. “I never really saw myself working in the government and creating climate policy. I want to be like the people that do the research and create the data that activists use to promote change. Also, I prefer learning about biology/chemistry/geology than sociology, so I was so excited to learn about the new, more STEM-based major.”

David Goodwin, the current chair of the Geoscience Department, says on this matter that “This change reflects a combination of the natural evolution of our discipline, shifting faculty expertise and emerging student interest.  We are very excited about this transformation and look forward to connecting to discuss new opportunities in the EESC program.”

Interested students can contact or visit the faculty of the future EESC program on the third floor of Olin.