Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Purdue University-Main Campus

Information for this profile was provided by Lawrence W. Braile, Purdue University-Main Campus. Information is also available on the program website. Students in this program are pursuing a bachelors degree.

Program Design & Assessment


The Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) was established in the School of Science (now known as the College of Science) in 1967. From its inception, the department has been extremely active in conducting disciplinary and interdisciplinary research, fostering engagement and outreach programs, and developing undergraduate and graduate programs that inspire students and prepare them to meet the needs of our changing world. Our faculty and staff provide expertise in diverse areas, including Tectonics, Geophysics, Historical Geology, Atmospheric Dynamics and Chemistry, Environmental Geosciences, Biogeochemistry, Climate Change, Geoscience Education, Planetary Sciences, and many other areas. EAPS has a uniquely qualified faculty and is well positioned to lead discovery and learning in the earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences.

Strengths of this program
The EAPS department includes BS, MS and PhD degree programs and provides very interdisciplinary options for Earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences. Many EAPS faculty members have joint appointment with other departments. EAPS students and faculty frequently have connections to other College of Science, College of Engineering, and College of Agriculture researchers and programs.

Types of students served
The department serves a diverse population of domestic and international students at all levels from undergraduate to PhD.

Program Goals

The goals of this program are as follows:
Mission Statement: The goal of the Dept. of EAPS is to produce a vibrant learning environment where students acquire essential knowledge and critical thinking skills for their future careers through diverse experiences that encompass the principal modes of inquiry, that develop an appreciation of ethical issues associated with these fields, and that enhance their communication and critical thinking skills, equipping them to be global citizens and leaders.

  • EAPS's Undergraduate program provides its students with a great deal of flexibility in their curricula to specialize (or broaden) their studies within a single (or across multiple) disciplines.
  • EAPS's Undergraduate program offers field experiences for our majors.
  • EAPS's Undergraduate program provides many opportunities for undergraduate research via working in the research groups of the faculty, or taking one or more of the research-based courses offered annually.
  • EAPS's Undergraduate program assists our students in attaining summer internships and successful job placement.

A list of EAPS undergraduate outcomes (also from that year) was:
  • Use of the scientific method, including issues of uncertainty
  • Ability to work in teams effectively
  • Use data analysis and application of theoretical knowledge to draw logical conclusions
  • Problem-solve using observations, numerical modeling and theory
  • Proper oral and written scientific communication
  • Ethical and social responsibility

The learning goals were informed by the following resources:
Experience with a diverse geoscience program over the last 50 years and feedback from EAPS Alumni Advisory Committee that meets with the department twice each year.

How program goals are assessed
Some assessment provided by external review committee that reviews the department's research and degree programs every five years.

Design features that allow goals to be met:

Alumni Careers

Graduation rate
Total number of undergraduates in the EAPS degree programs from 2009 to 2013:
2009 114
2010 115
2011 122
2012 110
2013 115

Careers pursued by our alumni
See placement data at:

Courses and Sequencing

Diagram of course sequencing and requirements

Entry into the degree
EAPS 10000 Planet Earth (also offered online) Geoscience (3)
EAPS 10200 Earth Science for Elementary Education Geoscience (3)
EAPS 10400 Oceanography Geoscience (3)
EAPS 10500 The Planets Geoscience (3)
EAPS 10600 Geosciences in the Cinema Geoscience (3)
EAPS 10700 American Landscapes Geoscience (3)
EAPS 10900 The Dynamic Earth Geoscience (3)
EAPS 11100 Physical Geology Geoscience (3)
EAPS 11200 Earth Through Time Geoscience (3)
EAPS 11300 Introduction to Environmental Science Geoscience (3)
EAPS 11500 Dinosaurs Geoscience (3)
EAPS 11600 Earthquakes & Volcanoes Geoscience (3)
EAPS 11700 Introduction to Atmospheric Science Atmospheric (2)
EAPS 11800 Introduction to Earth Science Geoscience (3)
EAPS 12000 Introduction to Geography Geoscience (3)
EAPS 13300 Freshman Seminar in Earth & Atmospheric Sciences Atmospheric (1)
EAPS 13700 Freshman Seminar in Earth & Atmospheric Sciences Atmos/Geos (1)
EAPS 13800 Thunderstorms & Tornadoes Atmospheric (3)
EAPS 14300 Freshman Seminar in Geosciences Geosciences (1)

Core Courses
There are six undergraduate degree programs in EAPS -

Elective courses and Requirements
See program descriptions in the CORE courses section.


Supporting Science and Math Courses
General degree requirements for EAPS undergraduate programs are described at:

Other key features of this program:

Student clubs for EAPS undergraduate and graduate students: Association for Environmental and Engineering Geologists: AEG is a club for all students of any major who are interested in geology or geology-related topics. Activities include field trips, guest speakers, and meetings. Advisor: Terry West

Purdue University Geological Society (PUGS) is a club for all students of any major who are interested in geology or geology-related topics. Activities include field trips, guest speakers, and regular meetings. Advisor: Saad Haq

Purdue University Meteorological Association (PUMA): PUMA is the student chapter of the AMS (Americal Meteorological Society) and is intended for all students interested in meteorology. PUMA offers trips, organizes events, invites guest speakers, and holds regular meetings. Advisor: Sonia Lasher-Trapp

Supporting Materials