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
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.
The analysis compares innovations and policies related to plant-based and lab-grown alternatives to animal meat and dairy in the U.S. and European Union. Its findings could help ensure legislation levels the food industry playing field.
Stanford-led research reveals a massive and accelerating transfer of water from rural groundwater sources to Jordan’s cities through an unlicensed tanker water market. Recognizing this previously hidden demand for water could be critical for improving urban water security in water-stressed cities in Jordan and elsewhere.
Experts discuss how extreme heat affects vulnerable populations – and how communities and healthcare systems can respond
Extreme heat threatens the health of vulnerable populations such as children, laborers, and the elderly. A Stanford pediatrician, emergency medicine doctor, and professor of Earth system science discuss how we can best adapt and build resilience – particularly for those populations and communities that are most vulnerable.