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Education is central to the mission of the Earth System Initiative. In parallel with our research efforts, we have developed education programs for undergraduate and graduate students, and outreach programs for the public.


Terrascope is ESI's exciting new program in freshman education. High school students accepted for undergraduate study at MIT are encouraged to apply for participation in the program during the summer before arrival at the Institute. Information on the Terrascope curriculum, associated activities, and how to apply for admission may be found at the Terrascope web site.

Undergraduate Programs

While ESI does not itself offer undergraduate major or minor degrees, students interested in Earth system science have major and minor options through participating departments.

Course 1 offers the Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Engineering, with the option of a focus on subject electives appropriate for medical school preparation. Students majoring in other departments also may elect to pursue the Minor in Environmental Engineering Science.

Course 12 offers the Bachelor of Science degree in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences with concentrations in Geoscience, Physics of Atmospheres and Oceans, and Planetary Science and Planetary Astronomy. A flexible Minor in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences is available as well.

Other departments offering major and minor degree programs in fields including components of Earth system science, engineering, and policy include Course 5 (Chemistry), Course 7 (Biology), and Course 10 (Chemical Engineering). Additional opportunities for environmental education at MIT are described in the Environment Portal @ MIT web site.

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduates are encouraged to participate in Earth system research through MIT's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). Students in the Terrascope program are eligible for special ESI-sponsored UROPs that stress interdisciplinary research. Other students should contact ESI faculty directly regarding research opportunities, or browse the listing of positions available at the UROP website.

Graduate Programs

An important goal of ESI is to facilitate interdisciplinary graduate research and education that transcend the boundaries that separate traditional fields in Earth sciences and engineering.

Ph.D. and Sc.D. programs in various aspects of Earth system science and engineering are offered by both Course I and Course 12.

Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences offers a traditional S.M. degree as well as a Professional Masters Degree in Geosystems. Students may also pursue the Master of Engineering and Master of Science programs in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Beginning in 2003, ESI has offered the Linden Earth System Fellowships to exceptional students applying to MIT for interdisciplinary study in Earth system science. Recipients of these prestigious fellowships are chosen from the pool of successful applicants to one of the participating departments. More details on application for these fellowships are available on our Fellowships page.

General admissions information and applications are available at MIT's Graduate Admissions web site.

Public Education and Outreach

The Earth System Initiative works with its partners to develop and disseminate educational materials and programs on Earth system science and engineering.

Our partners include:

If you are interested in partnering with ESI in developing education and outreach materials, please contact us at