Earth Sciences: Paleontology Track (ERTH)

Students in the Department of Earth Sciences learn about the minerals, rocks, soil, ice, biota, and waters that compose the Earth, and the processes that shape the Earth from its interior to the surface. Paleontology track students study the origin and history of life on Earth from microbes to vertebrates by combining field investigations, laboratory exercises, and theoretical studies. Coursework incorporates the interplay between physical, chemical, and biological processes that shape the Earth system. Research-oriented projects expose students to concepts such as climate change, evolution, and environmental stresses that shape life on Earth.
Top Five
Reasons to Study
This Major
  1. Understand the world around you and the earth beneath your feet.

  2. Learn evolution and the fossil record through hands-on experiences.

  3. Explore the origin, history, and physical evolution of the Earth.

  4. Develop technological skills for cutting-edge research.

  5. Prepare yourself for practical careers or further academic study.

College of Arts and Sciences
Where Can I Go?

Students in Earth Sciences may choose to pursue a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS), a Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS), or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Earth Sciences provides students with a foundation for employment in:

Federal, state, and local government

Research laboratories and institutes

Energy industries

Public works departments

Geological surveys

Environmental consulting firms

Land use planning agencies

Nonprofit organizations


Colleges and universities
Alumni Jobs


Museum director

Museum curator


Project geologist

Scientific illustrator

Environmental consultant
Courses You
May Need

1st Year
GEOL 201, 202; CHEM 221; MATH 111, BIO 211, PHYS 201

2nd Year
GEOL 203; CHEM 222; MATH 251, 252; BIOL 212; GEOL 363

3rd Year
GEOL 311, 315, 334, 350

4th Year
GEOL 418; two from GEOL 431, 433, 434, 435. *GEOL 406 during summer btwn 3rd and 4th years

Major Credits
Required 89-94 credits
Electives 16 credits

Total 105-110 credit

Core Education Requirements

BS or BA Degree Minimum = 180 credits.

Core Education is approximately 71—83 credits depending on transfer credits and placement scores and requires courses in:


Math and/or CS (BS) or Language (BA)

US: Difference, Inequality, Agency

Global Perspectives

Areas of Inquiry in:

Arts and Letters

Social Science / Science
What Will I Learn?

Ecological analysis

Land use and natural resource management

Risk assessment and environmental quality

Sustainable infrastructure

Science policy and communication

Conservation biology

Technical writing

Environmental and climate change science
Experiential learning opportunities

Numerous faculty conduct field-based research that rely on undergraduate help

Numerous faculty conduct laboratory experiments that need undergraduate assistance

Field-based courses and field trips throughout the academic year [e.g., Field methods]

Field camp in the summer

Hands-on learning through software and remote-sensing technologies
Specialized Courses

Sedimentology and Stratigraphy [Earth Sciences]

Soil Science [Environmental Science]

Data Analysis [Earth Sciences]

Evolutionary Theory [Anthropology]

Climate and Biogeography [Geography]

Vertebrate Paleontology [Earth Sciences]
Add A Minor Or Certificate


Computer Information Technology



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An equal-opportunity, affirmative-action institution committed to cultural diversity and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This publication will be made available in accessible formats upon request. © 2020 University of Oregon. Revised: 8/11/2020