Earth and Space Exploration (Geological and Planetary Sciences), BS

At a Glance: program details

  • Location:
  • Additional Program Fee: No
  • Second Language Requirement: No
  • Math Intensity: Substantial program math intensity substantial
  • Initial Math Course: MAT 265 - Calculus for Engineers I

Required Courses (Major Map)

Major Map

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Explore Earth's past, present and future. Study natural hazards, the distribution of critical minerals and the record of Earth system evolution. Apply this knowledge to help find sustainable solutions for the energy and resource needs of human civilization and to mitigate the effects of natural hazards and climate change.

This program's name has changed effective Fall 2024. The previous name was Earth and Space Exploration (Geological Sciences).

Program Description

The BS program in Earth and space exploration with an emphasis in geological and planetary sciences uncovers the processes that have shaped the Earth and other planets since the origin of the solar system. Students explore the coevolution of Earth's life, oceans, atmosphere and climate system and how their evolution is recorded in rocks, soil, ice and isotopes.

Students learn traditional and modern field methods, data analysis and more to effectively study the natural environment. This knowledge empowers graduates to work for the benefit of local, national and global communities. They also have the opportunity to study the potential for extraterrestrial life and the possibilities for the colonization of space.

In addition to the guidelines in the Concurrent Program Options section below, students interested in pursuing concurrent or second baccalaureate degrees in The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are advised to visit The College's website for more information and requirements.

Admission Requirements

All students are required to meet general university admission requirements.

Freshman Transfer International Readmission

Transfer Options

ASU is committed to helping students thrive by offering tools that allow personalization of the transfer path to ASU. Students may use the Transfer Map search to outline a list of recommended courses to take prior to transfer.

ASU has transfer partnerships in Arizona and across the country to create a simplified transfer experience for students. These pathway programs include exclusive benefits, tools and resources, and help students save time and money in their college journey. Students may learn more about these programs by visiting the admission site:

Change of Major Requirements

A current ASU student has no additional requirements for changing majors.

Students should refer to for information about how to change a major to this program.

Flexible Degree Options

Accelerated program options

This program allows students to obtain both a bachelor's and master's degree in as little as five years.
It is offered as an accelerated bachelor's and master's degree with:

Exploration Systems Design (Instrumentation)

Prepare for your professional or academic career with a program that combines the strengths of science and engineering. You can work with faculty in the natural sciences and engineering to design instrumentation for exploration, including digital systems and circuits, computer-controlled systems, analog-to-digital converters and solid-state electronics.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

Exploration Systems Design

Become a part of the next generation of researchers --- those who are capable of inventing and implementing the next generation of scientific experiments, instruments and missions for Earth, and planetary and space explorations.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

Exploration Systems Design (Sensor Networks)

Combine your interests in exploration systems design and sensor networks with the strengths of science and engineering to prepare for a professional or academic career. Study computer networks, Earth systems engineering, multidimensional signal processing, and information and random signal theory with faculty who specialize in the natural sciences and instrumentation design.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

Astrophysics and Astronomy

Prepare yourself to discover new planets, explore cosmology, and build space-flight hardware and instruments for telescopes and satellites. You can work with world-class faculty on NASA- and NSF-funded space missions, and seek answers to questions about how our universe began and how it continues to evolve.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

Exploration Systems Design (Systems Engineering)

Prepare for a professional or academic career through a program that combines the creative strengths of science and engineering. You can study artificial intelligence, human factors engineering, smart materials and structures, and robot modeling with faculty specializing in the natural sciences, instrumentation design and systems engineering.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. During their junior year, eligible students will be advised by their academic departments to apply.

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Career Outlook

Graduates will be well prepared for a wide range of careers in growing fields such as environmental geology, hydrogeology, geographical information systems analysis, critical mineral exploration, environmental consulting and natural resource management.

Sample career opportunities include:

  • environmental monitoring and exposure assessor
  • environmental or sustainability consultant
  • geologist
  • geophysicist
  • hydrogeologist
  • mineral exploration geologist or project manager
  • natural hazards assessment, mitigation and recovery specialist
  • natural resource manager
  • science teacher (K-12)
  • water resources scientist

Sample career settings include:

  • educational institutions
  • environmental consulting firms
  • environmental engineering firms
  • environmental industry organizations
  • federal, state and local government agencies
  • geotechnical industry organizations
  • museums
  • nonprofit organizations
  • petroleum industry companies
  • small exploration companies and large mining companies

The program also prepares students for graduate school in numerous disciplines within geoscience, planetary science, biogeoscience, science education or science communication.

For more information, students should see thecareer opportunities page on the School of Earth and Space Exploration website.

Example Careers

Students who complete this degree program may be prepared for the following careers. Advanced degrees or certifications may be required for academic or clinical positions. Career examples include but are not limited to:

Conservation Scientists

  • Growth: 4.1%
  • Median Salary*: 64460


  • Growth: 2.4%
  • Median Salary*: 64220

Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers

  • Growth: 5.1%
  • Median Salary*: 87480
  Bright Outlook

Atmospheric, Earth, Marine, and Space Sciences Teachers, Postsecondary

  • Growth: 3.6%
  • Median Salary*: 97770

Water Resource Specialists

  • Growth: 4.8%
  • Median Salary*: 144440
  Bright Outlook


  • Growth: 1.5%
  • Median Salary*: 85990

Park Naturalists

  • Growth: 4.1%
  • Median Salary*: 64460

* Data obtained from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) under sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).

Global Opportunities

Global Experience

With more than 300 programs available, Global Education allows students in the geological and planetary sciences concentration to gain hands-on experience in a variety of programs all over the world.

Graduates with heightened cultural competency, leadership and critical thinking skills acquired through study abroad may stand out in a competitive field.

Program Contact Information

If you have questions related to admission, please click here to request information and an admission specialist will reach out to you directly. For questions regarding faculty or courses, please use the contact information below.