For students who matriculate in Fall of 2021 or later

Required for the Major

The Earth and Climate Sciences major consists of 11 courses within the department and two additional STEM cognate courses, as follows:

(1) One 0100-level course.

(2) Both core courses: Geological Evolution of Vermont (ECSC 0201), Earth’s Changing Climate (ECSC 0202).

(3) Six elective (0300 level) courses. Up to three of these elective courses – with Chair’s approval — could come from a combination of ECSC 0500, non-Middlebury coursework, or upper-level STEM cognates, with no more than two electives coming from any one of these sources.

(4) Two cognate courses (any Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, or Physics laboratory course, or Math 0116 or higher), although we recommend more if planning to attend graduate school in the Earth sciences.

(5) Two Credits of Senior Work (ECSC 0400 and ECSC 0700)

The two-course senior sequence (ECSC 0400 and 0700) is the culmination of the Earth and Climate Sciences major and consists of original research by the student. The requirements for the major listed above are considered to be minimal. We suggest students planning a career in the Earth sciences take additional courses in other sciences and mathematics, as well as additional Earth science courses. The requirements for the major allow for considerable flexibility and thus students should consult regularly with their Earth and Climate Sciences department advisors for the selection of specific courses.

Earth and Climate Sciences Minor

A total of five courses is required, including one introductory course plus both core courses (ECSC 0201, 0202) and two electives Only one ECSC 0500 or off-campus course can count as an elective toward the minor.

Environmental Studies-Earth and Climate Sciences Joint Major

One introductory course (ECSC 0112 preferred), both core courses (ECSC 0201, 0202), three electives and two-term senior thesis (ECSC 0400, 0700) focused on an environmental topic. Students wishing to pursue graduate study in Earth or environmental sciences are advised to take additional science and math courses and should consult with their advisor.

Departmental Honors 

Departmental Honors in Earth and Climate Sciences are based primarily on outstanding work in original research (ECSC 0700) and are related to course grades only in the context of guidelines in the College Handbook.

For students who matriculated prior to Fall 2021

Required for the Major

The program for an Earth and Climate Sciences major consists of 11 courses within the department and two additional cognate courses. These courses must include:

(1) One 0100-level course (we strongly recommend Environmental Earth and Climate Sciences (ECSC 0112), Elements of Oceanography (ECSC 0161) or Dynamic Earth (ECSC 0170).

(2) Four core courses: Bedrock Geology of Vermont (ECSC 0201), Mineralogy (ECSC 0211), and Structural Geology (ECSC 0281) are required, plus either Landscape Evolution (ECSC 0251) or Water Resources and Hydrogeology (ECSC 0255).

(3) Four elective courses (ECSC 0200-level or higher) chosen from the Middlebury Earth and Climate Sciences curriculum.  A maximum of two electives (total) can be ECSC 0500, courses taken off campus (with approval of the Chair), or a combination of the two.

(4) Two cognate courses (any Biology, Chemistry, or Physics laboratory course, or Math 0116 or higher).

(5) Two Credits of Senior Work (ECSC 0400 and ECSC 0700)

The two-course senior sequence (ECSC 0400 and 0700) is the culmination of the Earth and Climate Sciences major and consists of original research based on field and/or laboratory investigations by the student. The requirements for the major listed above are considered to be minimal. We suggest students planning a career in geology or the earth sciences take additional courses in other sciences and mathematics, as well as additional Earth and Climate Sciences courses. The requirements for the major allow for considerable flexibility and thus students should consult regularly with their Earth and Climate Sciences department advisors for the selection of specific courses.

Earth and Climate Sciences Minor

A total of five courses is required. The minor shall consist of one introductory course (either ECSC 0112 or ECSC 0161 or ECSC 0170), plus four upper-level courses, which must include ECSC 0201 or ECSC 0211. After completing an introductory Earth and Climate Sciences course, students who intend to minor in Earth and Climate Sciences should arrange specific upper-level courses with the Earth and Climate Sciences chair or designate. Only one ECSC 0500 or off-campus course can count toward the minor.

Environmental Studies-Earth and Climate Sciences Joint Major

One introductory course chosen from among: ECSC 0112 (preferred), ECSC 0161, and ECSC 0170; one course from among ECSC/GEOG 0251, ECSC 0255, and ECSC 0257; one course from among ECSC 0201, ECSC 0211, and ECSC 0281; three ECSC 0200-level or higher courses, and two-term senior thesis focusing on Earth and Climate Sciences and Climate Sciences and the environment: ECSC 0400/0700. Students wishing to pursue graduate study in Earth and Climate Sciences are advised to take additional science and math courses and should consult with their advisor.

Departmental Honors 

Departmental Honors in Earth and Climate Sciences are based primarily on outstanding work in original research (ECSC 0700) and are related to course grades only in the context of guidelines in the College Handbook.