Major challenges surrounding climate change, environmental degradation and sustainability, energy development and the use of natural resources are affecting our world at worrying rate. Earth scientists and engineers act as the vanguard of defence from these crises, leading ground-breaking research into the origin, transformation, and responsible use of our planet – including its geology, atmosphere, bodies of water and the intrinsic relationships between them.
The broad nature of Earth Sciences draws expertise from across the academic world – including science, engineering and the humanities – to help us understand the complex ways in which our planet has evolved in the face of both natural and human-led development.
The University of Utah’s College of Mines and Earth Sciences offers students the unique chance to work and study in the middle of one of the world’s greatest natural laboratories for studying geology, natural resource management, and metropolitan and mountain meteorology – the Wasatch Mountains. The location offers students a wide range of research and study experiences, with 18 accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees across Earth Sciences, including Atmospheric Sciences, Geology and Geophysics, Geological Engineering, Mining Engineering, and Metallurgical Engineering.
A PAC-12 university, the University of Utah is the perfect environment for aspiring scientists and engineers to combine skills from across the two disciplines for practical applications that could change the world for the better. The College of Mines and Earth Sciences is split into four departments: Atmospheric Sciences, Geology and Geophysics, Metallurgical Engineering, and Mining Engineering, which are all dedicated to being global leaders in research and education within the field, valuing excellence in teaching, student engagement and citizenship.
The Department of Geology and Geophysics is an open working environment which is conducive to both effective education and cutting-edge research. The department focuses on surface processes and the environment, earth resources and exploration, solid earth process and dynamics, and geological time and evolution. Students can specialise in a subject of their choice with a rich array of postgraduate degrees, ranging from ground water hydrology to electromagnetics.
The University’s commitment to being a pioneer of Earth Science is demonstrated through recent initiatives which have seen the construction of the Global Change and Sustainability Center, the Roger and Dawn Crus Center for Renewable Energy, the Water and Air Science and Technology for Community Health (WASATCH) Environmental Observatory, the Environmental Analytical Research for Transformative Health (EARTH) core facility, and the Department of Energy REMADE Institute for clean energy, recycling and reuse of materials. These state-of-the-art facilities support the interdisciplinary nature of research at the university, providing students with all the necessary equipment for succeeding in their studies.
The university’s undergraduate program is designed to enable a degree of personalised learning, where students benefit from small class sizes and first-class teaching methods. There are many scholarships and summer internship opportunities through the school, while students regularly visit local industries and areas of interest through an enjoyable field trip program.
Undergraduate coursework encompasses theoretical, field and laboratory components with the goal of gaining a fundamental understanding of how the Earth works and how it has evolved through time. This understanding is crucial for recognizing and solving societal needs and problems, such as locating and characterizing mineral and energy resources, assessing geological hazards, and evaluating and remediating environmental contamination.
As a result, the degree provides students with pre-professional training for future scientific research projects, and prepares decision makers to make informed choices about pressing societal issues
“The future of our planet depends upon the next generation of scientists and their ability to communicate scientific discoveries with the public and policy-makers. As a result, we provide all of our graduate students with opportunities to share their research at national and/or international conferences and workshops,” says Kevin Perry, chair of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Utah. “These conferences and workshops also provide our students with an opportunity to network with individuals from industry, government organizations and other universities.”
The College of Mines and Earth Sciences presents a strong background for many careers, instilling an understanding of how the Earth system impacts various aspects of human life and activity. Companies actively seek out graduates from CMES, venturing to campus to interview and hire students for internships and full-time employment.
Equipped with a degree within the Earth Sciences, there are an abundance of career opportunities graduates are presented with. The median salaries of jobs spanning the four departments at CMES are: Atmospheric Sciences, $85,000; Geology and Geophysics, $82,000; Metallurgical Engineering, $87,000; and Mining Engineering, $82,000.
Potential career paths include academia – researcher, school teacher or university professor, or an array of industry roles including: roles at NASA, state agencies, county and city geologists, aerospace manufacturing, the Departments of Defense and Energy, exploration geologist, as well as being a preparatory degree for further study in law, medicine and business.
Utah’s CMES grants access to the cutting-edge resources you need to succeed. From here, graduates go on to forge highly impactful careers, often with a powerful international focus. So, it’s time to delve into the high-end academics on offer at Utah’s College of Mines and Earth Sciences. For all you know, it could change your life…and you might change the world.