Earth and Planetary Sciences

Almost every practical aspect of society—population, environment, economics, politics—is and will be increasingly impacted by our relationship with the Earth. Students with a natural curiosity about the Earth’s or another planet’s dynamic systems should consider studying in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences (EPS). 

The EPS secondary field is intended to allow students to sample broadly across the offerings or for  students who have sufficient preparation in physics, chemistry, and mathematics to provide a strong foundation in a subfield of Earth science (atmospheric and ocean science, energy and climate, environmental geoscience, geobiology, geochemistry, geology, planetary sciences, and solid earth geophysics). The EPS department covers a wide range of pure and applied scientific topics, and therefore consultation with a faculty adviser will be required for secondary field students. Secondary field students will be required to take the departmental tutorial, an ongoing series of lectures by faculty scheduled periodically through the academic year. The tutorial exposes concentrators and secondary fielders to the breadth of Earth and Planetary Sciences and provides a setting for students to get acquainted with one another and with members of the faculty. 

REQUIREMENTS: 5 courses (20 credits) and department tutorial 

  1. Required courses: A total of five EPS courses. 
    1. A minimum of 2 foundational courses from either EPS 10 or GENED 1018, 1070, 1085, 1094,1098, 1137, 1158, and 1167, and all 50-level EPS courses. NB: No more than one of these from EPS 10 or GENED 1018, 1070, 1085, 1094,1098, 1137, 1158, and 1167. Ordinarily, in order for a GENED course to count toward concentration credit, a student should take it prior to enrolling in any EPS courses. 
    2. Three additional courses in EPS. 
  2. Departmental tutorial. Non-credit. Generally taken in the first year of declaring. 


Freshman Seminars do not count toward secondary field credit. 

All courses must be taken for a letter grade in order to count toward secondary field concentration credit and normally C- is the minimum acceptable grade. 

An important aspect of the EPS concentration is participation in field trips and/or summer and January field camps, supported by the department. These opportunities will be available to secondary field students on a space-available basis, after placement of concentrators. 


Students will submit an EPS form to become a secondary field student as early as possible but no later than the course enrollment deadline of their penultimate term; the department will then assign a faculty member to be an adviser. This form can be found on department's website; paper copies are available from the Academic Programs Manager. The Academic Programs Manager will also provide guidance on course selection, as well as review student records to certify completion of requirements. Once the course requirements have been fulfilled, students will follow the FAS procedures to confirm in my.harvard that requirements have been met. 

The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences wants to encourage students who are pursuing a secondary field in EPS to become full citizens of the department. Secondary field students will be invited to all events and activities currently open to concentrators to provide opportunities for all EPS concentrators to get acquainted with one another and with members of the faculty. 

Students interested in pursuing a secondary field in Earth and Planetary Sciences should contact Head Tutor Professor Miaki Ishii, Geological Museum 202C, 617-384-8066,

or Academic Programs Manager Chenoweth Moffatt,, 617-384-9760, Hoffman Labs Room 402.