Earth Science

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Earth Science is an ever more important discipline. Climate change and its devastating prospect of crop failure, wildlife extinction and extreme weather conditions is the biggest challenge. Earth Science degrees represent an opportunity for students to critically asses the possible alternatives and solutions.

Earth science encompasses biology, chemistry and physics. Therefore, this is an excellent option if you have a general interest in science.


Trinity College, UCD, NUI Galway and UCC all offer Earth Science degrees. You will learn about the various systems – geological, oceanic and atmospheric – that make our planet tick. You will do modules on scientific topics such as:

  • Geology
  • Computer Programming
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Biogeography
  • Meteorology
  • Oceanography

Earth Science is not simply a snapshot of the earth now, and the changing forces currently at work. It also encompasses the history of our planet. Geology is the discipline that examines the earth’s composition and how it has developed over billions of years. Therefore, it plays an important role in the Earth Science syllabus. Typical areas of geological study include Geophysics. Geophysics uses geologic maps and other techniques to examine topics such as the movement of tectonic plates and the earth’s internal structure.

Climate change is a core theme in an Earth Science degree. It is a highly emotive topic that is often discussed in overly simplistic terms in the public arena. Earth Science Students are taught to tackle this complex issue in a critical and analytical fashion. All elements of the ‘equation’, including their numerous interactions and ‘feedback’, are taken into consideration – e. g. the biosphere, geological processes, the oceans and polar ice caps, and the atmosphere, and the earth’s system as a whole.
Furthermore, students often specialise in one or more subjects such as Botany, Geology or Mathematics. All the degrees also involve substantial practical work in the field and laboratory.

The Work

Earth Science graduates are able to research and analyse complicated data. They are also capable of synthesising information from a variety of scientific fields. As a result, they are highly employable in numerous sectors.

Climate change is having a impact upon Ireland in myriad ways – these include our energy policy, human health, urban development, agriculture, natural environment, water resources, insurance, and law. Earth Science graduates are employed as experts by various public and private organisations in estimating the changes required and developing effective policies. The ability to analyse the numerous causes and outcomes of climate change distinguishes them from scientists with a narrow specialisation in a particular field of expertise.

Roles include environmental consultant, resource manager, risk assessor, and environmental analyst. In addition, private sector employers include insurance, mining, exploration and engineering companies.

Did you know?

Volcanoes can grow a lot quicker than most people think. Paricutin Volcano in Mexico for example, appeared unexpectedly in a cornfield in 1943 and grew to a height of 424 meters in less than a decade.

Further Resources

The Marine Institute
Irish Geological Association
Environmental Protection Agency is a national database of universities, colleges, institutes and providers of third level and PLC courses in Ireland. We operate a national search database of courses at certificate, diploma and degree level as well as providing information about career paths and directions.
Career Profile: Working in Supply Chain Management


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