Careers and Jobs in Earth and Environmantal Sciences

The study of Earth and Environmental Sciences will give you an excellent foundation for future careers in fields as diverse as engineering, geosciences, the life sciences, climate research, work in international space agencies or theoretical physics research. Our teaching philosophy emphasizes a transdisciplinary view of the world, relies on a mixture of theoretical and hands-on practical work, and focuses on problem-solving skills that are also in high demand in a variety of career paths. Moreover, in this major, teaching and teamwork, helpdesks and personal training will provide you with a sound background in the natural sciences and mathematics. Mandatory courses in the humanities and soft skills acquired in seminars, laboratory courses and field trips will prepare you for a leading role in today’s world. We strive to equip you with state-of-the-art expertise, knowledge and a professional flexibility that will enable you to work at the forefront of research, in industry and in academia. As with graduates in the other sciences less than half take up careers closely related to their chosen degree subject. A majority of graduates find equally rewarding careers in other areas, for which they are very well suited by their general scientific training and the wide range of core skills developed during their degree courses.

Career opportunities include:

  • Exploration and production – searching and managing of natural resources such as fossil fuels, metals, renewables both on land and in the ocean
  • Managing and environmental – investigating and monitoring ground conditions associated with construction, planning, land/ocean use, reclamation of contaminated land/seafloor, and waste disposal.
  • Geological surveying – collecting surface and subsurface geological information, onshore and offshore, for geological, geophysical and geochemical maps and databases.
  • Education and research – teaching and research in universities; teaching in schools and colleges; museum work.
  • Developing methods and strategies for renewable energy
  • Planning satellite missions for Space Agencies
  • Becoming a staff astronomer at observatories such as the European Southern Observatory (ESO)
  • Working in Space and Aeronautics Industry
  • Working as Science Journalist
  • Pursuing a University career in
    • Geosciences
    • Ocean sciences
    • Applied and theoretical physics
    • Resource management
    • Astronomy/Physics

Prospects of future graduates in interdisciplinary natural sciences are bright:

In the high-ranking journal Nature, a recent article from May 2011 pointed out the superb prospects for the future job market related to Earth sciences (Nature 473, 243–244) ….”There’s good news for aspiring geoscientists. Job opportunities at all career stages are on the rise. … There’s room for those who love field work, and there’s room for those who don’t. … Despite the recent economic downturn, job prospects for geoscientists are excellent and are set to get even better. …. Many of today’s senior geoscientists were trained as specialists in relatively narrow disciplines, but in future, most demand will be for researchers who have been trained to appreciate the interdisciplinary nature of the Earth sciences. …For those willing to get interdisciplinary training, the future looks bright. The job market is flushed with opportunities.” Link


Where do former EES students work now?
Here are some examples.
For more details see our poster under: Link

Examples of academic institutions

  • University of Cambridge, UK
  • University of Oxford, UK
  • University of Stanford, USA
  • University of Berkeley, USA
  • MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
  • Deutsches Luft- und Raumfahrtzentrum, DE
  • Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, DE
  • School of Oceanography, UW Seattle, USA
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA
  • National Oceanographic Centre, UK
  • University of Bremen
  • University of Tübingen
  • University of Kiel
  • Free University Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • University of Uppsala, SwedenExamples of companies
  • McKinsey & Company, UK
  • Statoil
  • Wintershall, DE
  • IES, DE
  • 3Sat
  • Schlumberger Aachen Technology Center (AaTC)
  • ESTEC Nordwijk
  • EADS/Astrium
  • OHB
  • Eurocopter

Future income
Here are some example for future salaries. Salaries in academic institutions vary between 8,000 – 25,000 $ for Masterstudents, 15,000 – 30,000 $ for PhD students, 30,000 – 200,000 $ for scientists and professors. Salaries in careers in industry vary between 50,000 $ (Data analyst) to 300,000 $ (Pricipal Resource Geologist). Those of our bachelor students who pursue a career in the US often start with a salary of 20,000 – 25,000 $ for their Master project including a tuition fee waiver. Similar stipends exist in Europe. It is an early opportunity to pay back your student loan. Be aware that you can work in the US and Canada, although you did not study four years and thus saved one year of tuition fees.

Attached are some links for job offers: