The earth sciences span and integrate the five major Earth systems: the atmosphere, oceans, soils, organisms and solid earth both past and present. The earth sciences curriculum at Dickinson provides students with experiences that foster critical thinking about these systems, so that students make connections among the systems and can understand how they impact humans now and in the future.

We do this in a variety of ways, like providing opportunities for deeper understanding through lecture and discussion, experimental and analytical laboratory work, fieldwork and independent study and research. We prepare students for the challenges of providing mineral, energy and water resources sustainably; mitigating environmental pollution and hazards; and informing the public about the challenges ahead through teaching, research and community engagement.

"It could forcefully be argued that geology and the broader fields of the earth sciences are the most important sciences for the 21st century, because humanity has only this one planet as a home, and if we render it unsuitable for human habitation we are all in serious trouble." —Alvarez & Leitao, Geology 38, 231-234, 2010

The earth sciences department is one of the most globally integrated departments at Dickinson with 100 percent of our faculty having published with international collaborators and 80 percent having field areas outside of the U.S. The earth sciences curriculum and faculty expertise cover a broad range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary topics from structural geology to global climate change; from paleontology to energy resources; and from Earth materials to natural hazards taught in a research- and project-based environment using research-grade analytical instrumentation.

Each course has a field component utilizing the diversity of the local and regional geology. A field trip endowment allows students to learn farther afield. Recent destinations have included Southern California, New Mexico, Sicily, the UK, Iceland and the island of Montserrat. 

Contact Info


Benjamin EdwardsProfessor of Earth Sciences; Walter E. Beach Chair in Sustainability Studies

Department coordinator

Deb Peters





Social Media


103, Kaufman Building Mailing Address

Department Features

Student Outcomes

Where Our Students Go From Here


  • Mastery Charter School
  • Rodale Institute
  • Arid Lands Institute
  • Matrix New World Engineering, Inc
  • Dickinson College
  • Christchurch School
  • Global Indemnity Group
  • National Academy of Sciences

Grad schools

  • University of Wyoming
  • Clemson University
  • Syracuse University
  • University of Arizona
  • Dartmouth College
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Arizona
  • Northeastern University
  • South Dakota School of Mines
  • Northwestern University
  • University of Ottawa
  • Rutgers University
Where Our Students Have Interned
  • Dickinson College / Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM)
  • Dickinson College / Center for Sustainability Education
  • Dickinson College Department of Earth Sciences
  • Global Change Institute, University of Queensland
  • Little Red Hen CSA
  • Middlesex County Utilities Authority
  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
  • University of Arizona Department of Geosciences
  • Women for a Healthy Environment

Student Perspective

“My third research experience was in the Canadian high Arctic during summer 2018 with the Arctic and Alpine Climate Change Research Experience (AACCRE) program. We went to Alexandra Fiord to do field research on retreating glaciers, water and soil chemistry, bedrock geology and landscape evolution. This was a rewarding experience, because it gave me a taste of performing physically and intellectually demanding fieldwork in a remote and dynamic part of the world.”

—Allison Curley ’19

Earth Science News

Dickinson College

Dickinson College's Arctic Studies Program Celebrates Milestone

"We're absolutely ahead of the game in this." Learn what's new in Dickinson's distinctive Arctic-studies program.

Dickinsonians Lead the (Water) Way

Dickinsonians Lead the (Water) Way

Dickinson's ALLARM and its students make a difference in Pennsylvania and across the country.

Student Snapshot: Angelo Tarzona ’21

Student Snapshot: Angelo Tarzona ’21

Through coursework, internships and student-faculty research, earth sciences major Angelo Tarzona ’21 is probing the Earth's geologic history to positively impact its future.

Dickinson College Geophysicist Unveils New Research on the Cause of Porosity in Weathered Rock

Dickinson College Geophysicist Unveils New Research on the Cause of Porosity in Weathered Rock

Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences Jorden Hayes challenges the conventional view of the cause of the empty spaces in weathered rock.

Internship Spotlight: Angelo Tarzona

Internship Spotlight: Angelo Tarzona '21, Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM)

Angelo Tarzona '21 is the summer watershed coordinator at the Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM), where he is gaining firsthand experience working with watershed health and GIS.

Dickinson College Students Present Research at the 2019 Science Symposium

Dickinson College Students Present Research at the 2019 Science Symposium

Science majors present research on subjects ranging from glaciovolcanism to acute myeloid leukemia.