Top Earth Sciences Schools in the U.S.

Interested in a graduate degree in Earth Sciences from a top program within the United States? We offer rankings of best U.S. Earth Sciences graduate programs. Review the following schools to see requirements for Master and Doctoral degrees in the area of Earth Sciences.

  • AbbreviationFinder: Browse our list of all acronyms and abbreviations related to Earth Sciences with their full meanings and definitions. Sorted by popularity and categorized within Earth Sciences.

Earth Science

Geology is the doctrine of the Earth’s structure and history.

Geology is a very comprehensive science, where the core is knowledge of the rocks, minerals and melts that make up the earth, as well as the structure and structure of the earth. Geology deals with both classification and description of their properties, distribution of elements, minerals and rocks in the earth’s interior and not least knowledge of the processes behind it. Furthermore, study of earlier organisms and the evolution of life are central. Geology is not limited to Earth, but is also applied to other celestial bodies, such as the Moon and Mars.

Geology has two main components:

  • a descriptive component, which provides knowledge about minerals and rocks and their properties and distribution
  • a process-oriented component in which one seeks to understand how the earth with its components and structures has come into being and how processes continuously change the face and interior of the earth

Overall, the earth and its processes are extremely complicated, and geology is therefore often considered a less accurate science than, for example, physics and chemistry. Many factors influence and influence one another, and both physical and numerical models are used to understand geological processes.

Geology is based on the principle of timeliness, which states that the present is the key to the past. To understand how the evolution of the earth has taken place, one must study the forces and processes that work now and that shape the earth, both on the surface and in the depth. Only the upper part of the Earth’s crust is available for direct observation. As for the deeper layers, reference is made to studies of xenoliths, which are inclusions of rocks from deeper parts of the crust and from the mantle, from meteorites and to geophysical methods.


Geology is a highly interdisciplinary science that builds on knowledge from physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology to explain the earth’s processes, structure and history. Geophysics is also closely related to geology, with the term geoscience as a common term.

In geology we find many different fields. The oldest are mineralogy and petrology, which include the description and formation of minerals and rocks, both magmatic, metamorphic and sedimentary. The latter are often treated separately in sedimentology. Sedimentology is associated with s tratigraphy, which treats the sedimentary layers and their formation. Similarly, petrology is closely related to geochemistry, which deals with the Earth’s chemistry and the processes that govern its evolution. Volcanology is a special field dealing with volcanoes and volcanism.

Furthermore, structural geology and tectonics are related to structures formed by movements in the earth’s crust. These are closely related to plate tectonics, which explain how the Earth’s large outer plates (lithosphere plates) move and result in mountain ranges, pools and ocean areas. Paleontology is the study of fossil animals and plants and their evolution. Geomorphology deals with the formation of the landforms on the Earth’s surface over time, and is often associated with quaternary geology, which deals with the last 2.6 million years of Earth’s history.

The most important raw materials, both for industry and energy, come from rocks, and the study of the geology of the raw materials is called economic geology. It includes ore geology, petroleum geology, geotechnics or engineering geology and soil science. The special feature of the geological resources is that they are formed very slowly in relation to the rate at which they are utilized, and are therefore called non-renewable resources.

Historical development

Speculations on geological issues are already found in several of ancient philosophers, and in the Renaissance geological descriptions were given by Leonardo da Vinci, among others. At this time and in the past, geology was closely related to mining operations.

The German Georg Agricola (1494-1555) was the first to describe ore and mines in a scientific way.

The word geology, in the present sense, was first used in 1657 by the Norwegian, Mikkel Pedersøn Escholt, and some of the fundamental principles were discovered by the Danish Nicolaus Stensen (1638–1687).

From the mid-1700s, geology started in earnest as a natural science. The leading scientists were the Frenchman Georges-Louis de Buffon, German Abraham Gottlob Werner, and the two British James Hutton and W. Smith.

From the mid-1800s, among others, the British Charles Lyell and the German Eduard Suess were the major pioneers.

Geology in Norway

A number of Norwegian researchers have also made significant efforts in geology, not only in exploring Norway’s geology, but also internationally.

The most important are: Jens Esmark, Baltazar M. Keilhau, Theodor Kjerulf, Hans Reusch, Johan HL Vogt, Waldemar Christopher Brøgger, Victor Moritz Goldschmidt, Olaf Holtedahl and Thomas Fredrik Weiby Barth.

Geological associations

Scientific associations formed by geologists work at meetings, field trips and publication of publications. The oldest is The Geological Society of London (1807).

The Norwegian Geological Association was founded in 1905 and has since the foundation year published the Norwegian Geological Journal, later called the Norwegian Journal of Geology. In addition, there are a number of associations for amateur geologists, joined by the Norwegian Amateur Geologists Association, which also publishes the Nordic magazine for popular geology, Stein.

The Norwegian Petroleum Association and the national associations for the mining industry, the rock industry and Pukk and the gravel suppliers also take up geological topics, organize conferences and publish books with an interest in geologists.

We offer state by state listings of best earth science colleges and in America.

Top Earth Sciences Schools

  • Alabama (1)
  • Alaska (1)
  • Arizona (2)
  • Arkansas (0)
  • California (10)
  • Colorado (3)
  • Connecticut (2)
  • Delaware (1)
  • Florida (4)
  • Georgia (2)
  • Hawaii (1)
  • Idaho (1)
  • Illinois (5)
  • Indiana (3)
  • Iowa (2)
  • Kansas (1)
  • Kentucky (1)
  • Louisiana (1)
  • Maine (1)
  • Maryland (2)
  • Massachusetts (4)
  • Michigan (4)
  • Minnesota (1)
  • Mississippi (0)
  • Missouri (4)
  • Montana (1)
  • Nebraska (1)
  • Nevada (2)
  • New Hampshire (2)
  • New Jersey (2)
  • New Mexico (2)
  • New York (11)
  • North Carolina (2)
  • North Dakota (0)
  • Ohio (4)
  • Oklahoma (2)
  • Oregon (2)
  • Pennsylvania (4)
  • Rhode Island (2)
  • South Carolina (1)
  • South Dakota (0)
  • Tennessee (1)
  • Texas (9)
  • Utah (1)
  • Vermont (0)
  • Virginia (2)
  • Washington (2)
  • Washington DC (0)
  • West Virginia (1)
  • Wisconsin (1)
  • Wyoming (1)

Top 10 Earth Sciences in the United States

Rank College Name Location
1 California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CA
2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA
3 University of California–Berkeley Berkeley, CA
4 Stanford University Stanford, CA
5 Columbia University Palisades, NY
6 Pennsylvania State University–University Park University Park, PA
7 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ
8 Harvard University Cambridge, MA
9 Princeton University Princeton, NJ
10 University of Michigan–Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI

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