The department currently defines eleven research disciplines as a framework for organizing our faculty and affiliated research scientists, and for conveying the breadth of research opportunities available to our students. This list of disciplines is by no means exhaustive as new areas of research are constantly developing, and the work of many of our students and faculty is interdisciplinary in nature. The eleven disciplines are meant to give prospective students a general idea of what our program has to offer.
Much of the research conducted by deparment faculty and students takes place at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) in Palisades, NY. The observatory houses the department's main office, faculty offices and laboratories, and the Geoscience Library, as well as the offices and labs of Lamont scientists. Located about 30 minutes north of Columbia's Morningside Heights campus, it is easily accessible via the Lamont shuttle bus. Atmospheric research in the department is conducted in cooperation with the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (112th Street and Broadway), and with Columbia's Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics (200 Mudd), while paleontological and petrological research is in cooperation with the American Museum of Natural History (Central Park West at 79th Street).
Students wishing to pursue graduate studies in the earth and environmental sciences will find the Department particularly well positioned to provide them with excellent advisors and support. In addition to offering an impressive roster of accomplished faculty members, the department also maintains active relationships with its affiliate research institutions and university departments, significantly expanding the pool of scientists and faculty with whom our students may conduct their dissertation research. Students interested in taking an interdisciplinary approach to their research will find the necessary intellectual and material resources readily available. The Graduate Student Dissertation Topic List and our graduate student profiles demonstrate the breadth and depth of research undertaken by students in the department.
All undergraduates at the University are welcome and encouraged to participate in the department's research projects.
Participation in research projects can be - but is not required to be - in connection with the BC3997-BC3998 Environmental Research and W3901 Environmental Science Senior Seminar courses which guide the department's Environmental Science Majors through their senior thesis projects. It can occur both during the academic year and during the summer.
Students interested in participating in a specific research project should consult with the individual professors or research scientists leading it. The department's Directors of Undergraduate Studies can help you set up an appointment with the appropriate person.
The Department can also assist students in arranging research projects and applying for summer internships at other universities. Our own intern programs, the Earth Intern Program and the Lamont Summer Intern Program, sponsored jointly by the Department, LDEO and the Earth Institute, accept 10-15 Columbia and Barnard undergraduates each year.