Why study Geoscience?

As eloquently stated by the American Geophysical Union, Earth’s citizens require a solid understanding of the Earth sciences to comprehend and effectively address many of the issues confronting society today, such as climate change, natural hazards, environmental changes, and resource availability.

Our region has a very strong heritage in the earth sciences. Pennsylvania used to be a powerhouse in the coal-extraction and steel industries (and is still a significant player), was the birthplace of the commercial oil industry, and was the first state to produce energy with nuclear technology. Thanks to recent Ice Ages, the state has a dynamic aggregate and building-stone industry (sand, gravel, limestone, sandstone, etc.) that helps the construction and road-building sectors of the economy. Just a few miles away in western New York state is the site of the first commercial gas well in the United States. A few miles in the other direction, the first use of wind to produce electricity economically occurred just outside of Cleveland. We also sit on the United States’ “fourth coast” on the shores of the Great Lakes, the largest reservoir of liquid fresh water on the planet. We have unique coastal features (such as Presque Isle) that allow us to study geologic features that are ordinarily accessible only on the Atlantic, Gulf, or Pacific coasts.


Students interested in the earth sciences (including geoscience, geography, and meteorology) can take the first two years of the curriculum at Penn State Behrend and then complete the major at the University Park campus. Students may also take a selection of earth science courses in fulfillment of the requirements for the Environmental Studies option and the Earth and Space Science option within the new B.S. Science Degree curriculum. Our geoscience course offerings can be found in the 'Courses' section of the site.