Jul 24, 2024  
2024/25 Combined UM UMM Undergraduate Catalog 
    
2024/25 Combined UM UMM Undergraduate Catalog

Earth and Climate Sciences


Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Programs

OVERVIEW OF DEGREE REQUIREMENTS - Earth and Climate Sciences B.A.

Minimum number of credits required to graduate: 120

Minimum Cumulative GPA required to graduate: 2.0.

Minimum Grade requirements for courses to count toward major: all B.S. and B.A. students in the School of Earth and Climate Sciences must achieve at least a grade of “C-” in all required courses and ERS electives.

Other GPA requirements to graduate: None.

Required Course(s) for fulfilling Capstone Experience:  ERS 410  or ERS 499  

Contact Information: Dr. Alice Doughty, Undergraduate Coordinator, 217 Bryand Global Sciences Center, 207-581-2159, alice.doughty@maine.edu


A major in Earth and Climate Sciences (ECS) allows students to explore the atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and cryosphere. Advances in remote sensing, geoengineering, environmental studies, and related areas make ECS an important and fascinating field of study. Geology seeks to understand the Earth - from the Earth’s interior and plate tectonics to climate change and surface processes. Earth scientists help find solutions to problems related to natural disasters and resources, become experts in understanding dynamic environmental systems, predict how different components of the Earth will change over time, and more. Core requirements include Earth systems, environmental change, geochemistry, geophysics, structural geology, mineralogy, sedimentology and stratigraphy, and geomorphology. ECS majors are exposed to a variety of research opportunities inside and outside the classroom.

B.A. or B.S. Earth and Climate Sciences graduates from this program pursue various careers, depending on their interest, level of educational attainment, and subsequent professional education. Among the more typical career areas are geologic industry and mining, scientific research and development, teaching at the high-school and college levels, environmental monitoring and regulation at state and federal levels, and private design and consulting.

The many choices for Earth (ERS) electives allows majors to tailor their programs to their interests. Students can choose from a wide range of courses covering all major areas of geology including geohazards, marine geology, petrology, fresh-water flow, glaciology, extreme weather, glacial geology, hydrology, and paleoceanography. Students enrolled in the Honors College will find the program complementary to their degree studies. Each student works with an academic advisor to develop a curriculum that best meets the student’s goals and allows for exploration or specialization as desired. Students are strongly encouraged to become laboratory, field, and research assistants for projects led by faculty, staff, and graduate students in the program. Students wishing to spend a semester studying abroad are advised to discuss this option with their advisor early in their program.

The School of Earth and Climate Sciences offers a B.A. degree in Earth and Climate Sciences and a B.S. degree in Earth and Climate Sciences with an Earth Sciences or Climate Sciences concentration.  We also offer an Earth, Environmental, and Climate Sciences Concentration through the B.S. in the Ecology and Environmental Sciences program. For information about the program, faculty, staff, and facilities, visit https://umaine.edu/earthclimate/.

Bachelor of Arts in Earth and Climate Sciences


Minimum number of credits required to graduate: 120

Minimum Cumulative GPA required to graduate: 2.0

To earn a B.A. in the School of Earth and Climate Sciences, you must complete the following courses, in addition to the University-wide General Education and graduation requirements. The College of Earth, Life and Health Sciences also requires all students to complete NFA 117, usually in their first year in the School. Aside from the Gen Ed requirements, only courses for which you earn a C- or higher count toward the major.

B.A. students are also required to complete ERS 316, and 12 credits of ERS courses at the 200 level or above.  University regulations stipulate that B.A. students must complete 72 credits outside the School of Earth and Climate Sciences (if a particular major requires courses in another discipline, either within the same department or in another department, those credits may still count toward the 72 credits).  Also required are 27 credits in the Human Values and Social Contexts area of the General Education requirements, with 12 of those credits at the 200 and above level.

Required Courses in Suggested Sequence for B.A. in Earth and Climate Sciences (15 Credits/Semester)


Suggested Curriculum for a B.A. in Earth and Climate Sciences. Note that many upper division ERS courses are offered only in alternate years.

First Year - Fall Semester


First Year - Spring Semester


Second Year - Fall Semester


Second Year - Spring Semester


Third Year - Fall Semester


Third Year - Spring Semester


Third Year (or Fourth Year) - Summer


Fourth Year - Fall Semester


Fourth Year - Spring Semester


Bachelor of Science in Earth and Climate Sciences


Minimum number of credits to graduate: 120

Minimum Cumulative GPA required to graduate: 2.0

To earn a B.S. in the School of Earth and Climate Sciences, you must complete the requirements of the core courses, including those in the supporting sciences, and those of one of the two concentrations (Earth Sciences or Climate Sciences), in addition to the University-wide requirements. The College of Earth, Life and Health Sciences also requires all students to complete NFA 117, usually in their first year in the School. Only courses for which you earn a C- or higher count toward the major.

Capstone courses: (pick one of the capstone options)


Climate Science Concentration


B.S. students with a Climate Sciences Concentration are also required to complete ERS 121 or ERS 152, SMS 100 or 110, ERS 240 and 12 credits of electives from the list below. If an ERS course is used for the computational course, it may not also be used to satisfy the ERS elective requirement. The requirements leave  sufficient opportunity for students to complete a minor in another field.

Earth Science Concentration


B.S. students with an Earth Sciences Concentration are also required to complete ERS 316, and 12 credits of ERS courses at the 200 level or above (listed below). If an ERS course is used for the computational course, it may not also be used to satisfy the ERS elective requirement. The requirements leave sufficient opportunity for students to complete a minor in another field.

Required Courses in Suggested Sequence for B.S. in Earth and Climate Sciences, with an Earth Sciences Concentration (15 Credits/Semester)


Suggested Curriculum for a B.S. in Earth and Climate Sciences, with an Earth Sciences Concentration starting in fall of an odd year (e.g., 2023). Note that many upper division ERS courses are offered only in alternate years.

First Year - Fall Semester


First Year - Spring Semester


Second Year - Fall Semester


Second Year - Spring Semester


Third Year - Fall Semester


Third Year (or Fourth Year) - Summer


Fourth Year - Fall Semester


  • Electives (may include ERS Electives) - Credits: 12-15
  • General Education Requirement (if necessary) - Credits: 3

Fourth Year - Spring Semester


  • Electives (may include ERS Electives) Credits: 12-15
  • General Education Requirement (if necessary) Credits: 3       

Required Courses in Suggested Sequence for B.S. in Earth and Climate Sciences, with an Climate Sciences Concentration (15 Credits/Semester)


Suggested Curriculum for a B.S. in Earth and Climate Sciences, with an Climate Sciences Concentration starting in fall of an even year (e.g., 2024). Note that many upper division ERS courses are offered only in alternate years.

First Year - Spring Semester


Second Year - Fall Semester


Second Year - Spring Semester


Third Year - Fall Semester


Third Year - Spring Semester


Third Year (or Fourth Year) - Summer


Fourth Year - Fall Semester


Fourth Year - Spring Semester


Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Programs