Jun 23, 2024  
2015-2016 Undergraduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Undergraduate Catalog [Not Current Academic Year. Consult with Your Academic Advisor for Your Catalog Year]

Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Colleges  > College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics  > Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences


Who’s Who in the Department Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Hua-Wei Zhou

Kevin C. Burke, John F. Casey, John P. Castagna, Henry S. Chafetz, Evgeny Chesnokov, Stuart A. Hall, Rosalie F. Maddocks, Paul Mann, Will Sager, Robert R. Stewart, Robert Talbot, Hua-Wei Zhou

Associate Professors:
Alan Brandon, Regina Capuano, Peter Copeland, Ian Evans, Xun Jiang, Shuhab Khan, Thomas Lapen, Barry Lefer, Aibing Li, Michael Murphy, Bernhard Rappenglueck, Alexander C. Robinson, Jonathan Snow

Assistant Professors:
Yunsoo Choi, Qi Fu, Joel Saylor, Guoquan Wang, Julia Wellner


The geosciences are concerned with how the Earth works, the processes that shape its internal and external structure, and the development of our planet and other bodies in our solar system through time. It includes the study of the solid earth as well as its fluid envelopes.

Geoscientists are charged with a wide variety of tasks, such as finding adequate supplies of natural resources, protecting our natural environment from environmental degradation, reducing the risks associated with geologic hazards, documenting and understanding the evolution of life through time and providing insights into past and future changes in global climate.

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree is offered in geology, geophysics, and environmental sciences.The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree is offered in earth science. Students may also choose an option in either environmental geosciences or atmospheric sciences for a B.S. in environmental sciences.

Most earth and atmospheric science graduates typically find careers with energy or environmental companies, either with a B.S. degree in geology, geophysics, or environmental sciences or after completing a graduate degree. Employment opportunities also exist with a variety of governmental agencies at the federal, state, and local level. Graduates with B.A. degrees in earth science are prepared for careers such as teaching (K-12) or may enter graduate programs such as law, business, environmental studies, or public policy.

Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences faculty members are geologists, geophysicists and atmospheric scientists. Their research and teaching encompasses a wide range of topics including sedimentology and stratigraphy, geochemistry, and petrology, structure and tectonics,  environmental and atmospheric sciences, remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), solid earth geophysics, and applied and fundamental seismology. Many faculty members have backgrounds in basic research or in applied industry and government service, and all bring their expertise to their research and teaching.

Undergraduate research opportunities exist with faculty members, and participation is strongly encouraged. Since Houston is home to numerous energy companies, there are plentiful opportunities for geosciences undergraduates to gain valuable experience prior to graduation and employment after graduation.

Departmental Requirements

The Bachelor of Science degree in geology, geophysics, and environmental sciences and the Bachelor of Arts degree in earth science, require that:

  • no geoscience course with a grade below C- be used as a prerequisite for a more advanced geoscience course;
  • students with more than six hours below C- in geoscience courses not be allowed to enroll in subsequent geoscience courses without written permission from the undergraduate advisor.

All undergraduate geology, geophysics, environmental sciences and earth science majors are encouraged to meet with the undergraduate advisor prior to enrollment (registration) each semester.

Prerequisites for all geosciences courses are strictly enforced.