Earth. Planets. Climate. Life.

At MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS), we are curious. How did life originate? Is it unique to Earth? When did the oceans and atmosphere form? What can 4.3 billion year-old rocks tell us about our past and future climate and its influence on life? We delve into questions about the fundamental forces shaping the natural world, spanning the full scale of space and time. Our work stands at the crossroads between basic theory and practical applications to sustain life on Earth, allowing us to both to benefit from and protect our planet.

We are explorers. We travel the globe, scouring the geologic record for evidence of ancient organic life. We partner with NASA to search distant space for signs of exoplanetary atmospheres. We examine how the forces tens, hundreds, or even thousands of kilometers below our feet influence the surface we live on. We survey the oceans, clouds, and ice caps to understand Earth’s dynamic climate, and even its implications for our environment and human health. Our pioneering research provides the data that help inform the understanding of the broader community—from policymakers and the public, to our colleagues in science and industry around the world.


With an emphasis on personal attention, the EAPS undergraduate program unites faculty and students in the quest to solve real world problems through the application of biology, physics, chemistry, and mathematics—in the field and in the lab.


Chart your own course.

Trying to decide among interests in biology, physics, chemistry, and math? Perhaps you’re interested in some aspect of engineering as well. When you learn more about the research areas in EAPS, you might just find an option as an undergraduate major that encompasses all of your research interests. The Department’s flexible academic program allows students to develop individualized courses of study, and our small class sizes encourage and enhance student-professor interactions.

As an undergraduate you will develop a broad suite of skills while investigating profound, interdisciplinary questions about the natural world. Our program provides students with a challenging course of study in the geophysical sciences: geology, geophysics, geochemistry, geobiology, atmospheric science, oceanography, climate, planetary science, and astronomy. And through this study, quantifying and modeling natural systems in which longer time scales and larger space scales are principal considerations, undergraduates become fluent in techniques for analyzing the behavior of complex systems—an important skill that can later be adapted to the study of problems in virtually any field.



The rigorous scientific training gained by our recent alums provided them a strong foundation for success in academia and business—around the world.

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