The ESE graduate program trains doctoral students to solve fundamental problems in environmental science and engineering. The problems cut across traditional disciplinary boundaries and span space scales ranging from global to local. Students are trained to acquire a broad base of knowledge of environmental systems, including the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and biosphere. They deepen their knowledge in one or more focus areas, culminating in research leading to a Ph.D. thesis. Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of research in the ESE program, the program unites faculty from the Divisions of Geological and Planetary Sciences, Engineering and Applied Science, and Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.
The ESE major is intended to train students in the environmental sciences, to pursue careers in academia, the public sector, or the private sector. The major can be pursued along two tracks: environmental physics and environmental chemistry. These tracks have separate course requirements and emphases, but at their hearts provide fundamental training in core scientific disciplines, with specialization in applications to the environmental and climate sciences. The two tracks share a sophomore year that continues the Core Curriculum’s training in mathematics and physics. Each track requires a laboratory component and training in data analysis and statistics. All ESE majors must take three broad-based classes (ESE 101, 102, and 103 ) providing introductions to atmospheric and oceanic physics as well as marine and terrestrial biogeochemistry. The physics and chemistry tracks initially parallel their respective majors in the core disciplines. However, there are fewer required classes in the ESE major to enable students to design a curriculum that emphasizes the environmental sciences, after training in a core discipline. A total of 212 units are required for the major, leaving approximately nine classes of free choice outside the major and the core. See the Caltech Catalog for full details on requirements.