The Earth is a complex system in which the solid planet, the oceans, the atmosphere, and life (both human and non-human) interact in countless ways. In order to respond to the sustainability challenge of our time, it is necessary to understand these interactions and interdependencies that transcend the boundaries of traditional academic disciplines. The School brings the resources of the departments of Atmospheric Sciences, Geology, and Geography and GIScience at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study the Earth System.
In addition to undertaking advanced research and graduate study, the School awards Bachelor of Science degrees in Atmospheric Sciences, Geography and GIScience , and Geology, as well as in the interdisciplinary major Earth, Society and Environmental Sustainability (ESE). It is our goal to educate the next generation of scientists, professionals, and citizens to recognize and appreciate the range of physical and human dimensions that comprise the Earth System and how they influence one another over time. Whether specializing in the Science of the Earth System (SES) or Society and the Environment (SAE), the two tracks available in the ESE program, students will be uniquely situated at the cutting edge of academic and professional work on sustainability and global change. The ESE major is an academic, liberal arts and sciences degree. Students interested in a getting a more applied degree (in fields such as Soil and Water Science, Fish and Wildlife Conservation, Horticulture, Forestry, and Plant Science) might be interested in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (NRES) program, which offers a wide range of NRES and Horticulture courses, from plant propagation to wildlife ecology.