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Welcome from the Chair

Noah Diffenbaugh

On behalf of the Department of Earth System Science, welcome!  With our focus on environmental and sustainability science, our research and teaching are at the core of Stanford's new Doerr School of Sustainability. Our 31 faculty members and 10 affiliated faculty cross many disciplines, including geology, biology, hydrology, biogeochemistry, and the atmosphere, ocean and climate sciences.  What unites us is a passion for understanding how the physical processes on planet Earth interact with people and ecosystems to shape the environments in which we all live.

Join us and learn the basic science of the Earth System, such as ocean circulation, biogeochemical cycles and climate. Study the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breath, or the plants and animals with which we share the planet. Together, we'll work to understand and solve the big global sustainability challenges of food, water, energy, biodiversity, climate change and environmental justice. 

We are proud of our growing community of motivated and talented graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, and of the highly successful interdisciplinary undergraduate program known as Earth Systems, the largest undergraduate program in the Doerr School. There are wonderful opportunities available for our students in Stanford classrooms and laboratories here on campus, and at associated facilities and field sites around the world.

Please contact us for more information related to your interests and academic plans. We'd love to meet you!

Noah S. Diffenbaugh
Chair, Department of Earth System Science
Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability

What we do

Earth System Science is the study of the world’s air, water, land, and life as an integrated system.  As scientists, we unite basic and purpose-driven research to chronicle how the Earth functions, the many ways it is changing, and what the consequences of changes will be for people and other species.  We believe that science can improve the world by enabling us to understand, predict, and solve the pressing issues of global environmental change. These goals are why Stanford founded our department in 2007 and why we continue to explore environmental questions as a part of the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability. Stanford University's program is consistently ranked as the top graduate program for environmental science, including in 2022.

People are our core - individuals who strive to be both excellent scientists and global citizens. We train new generations through our interdisciplinary graduate and undergraduate programs. We share a renowned faculty, creative staff, and talented students and postdoctoral scholars. More than anything, we look forward to working with - and learning from - you.

Our respectful community

Every person brings unique qualities, talents, and dignity to the Earth System Science community and deserves to be accorded both common decency and institutional opportunity in a fair and respectful manner. We are committed to providing an environment that fosters wellbeing, meaningful work, and professional success.