Understanding how our planet works
Our goal is to understand, predict, and respond to human-caused and natural environmental change at local to global scales. Scientists in our Earth System Science department offer a strong graduate research program across a broad range of environmental and Earth science disciplines for students working toward a doctoral degree. Undergraduate and coterminal master's degrees are offered through the closely related and popular Earth Systems Program.
The Earth System Science department does not have an undergraduate program. However, many of its faculty teach in the popular, interdisciplinary Earth Systems Program, which offers a BS and co-terminal MS degree.
Through its courses, seminars, and speaker series, ESS offers graduate students an opportunity to be part of an intellectual community with common or related interests and goals.
Meet some of our community members
Crystallizing concepts through dance
No place like Hawaii
Cultivating diverse communities
Research groups in Earth system science
Learn more about our faculty labs and research groups ranging from ocean biogeochemistry to soil science and geohydrology.
Shared analytical facilities
Students and faculty start their examination of specimens in our comprehensive Earth Materials Preparation lab. Our shared labs offer everything from gas, liquid, and solid analyses to isotopic analysis for geochronology and deciphering (bio)geochemical processes.
Events related to Earth System Science
Earth system science news
Stanford scientists are among a growing number of researchers harnessing artificial intelligence techniques to bring more realistic representations of ubiquitous atmospheric ripples into global climate models
American beaver populations are booming in the western United States as conditions grow hotter and drier. New research shows their prolific dam building benefits river water quality so much, it outweighs the damaging influence of climate-driven droughts.
Based on new analyses of satellite data, scientists have found that hydrologic conditions that increase flash drought risk occur more often than current models predict. The research also shows that incorporating how plants change soil structures can improve Earth system models.