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Frequently Asked Questions: Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

  1. What sets Purdue's program apart?

  2. What can I do with an EAPS degree from Purdue?

  3. How should I prepare for the EAPS program in high school?

  4. What courses will I take as an EAPS student?

1. What sets Purdue's program apart? (top)

The Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at Purdue has many wonderful things to offer to its students. The faculty-to-student ratio is very high, and all undergraduates are encouraged to take part in research. Some majors offer summer field camps and trips as part of the course of study. Purdue also has a lot of spectacular equipment available for its students, including a state-of-the-art automated electron microprobe, an atomic absorption spectrophotometer, an ion chromatograph, a gamma ray spectrometer, magnetometers, gravimeters, seismographs, a complete wet-chemical lab for analysis, and a low-level scintillation counter for age-dating ground-water recharge by tritium analysis. The program is set up to allow students a great deal of specialization in one of five majors:

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth/Space Science Education
  • Environmental Geosciences
  • Geology and Geophysics
  • Planetary Sciences

2. What can I do with an EAPS degree from Purdue? (top)

Atmospheric Science graduates often find work in broadcast meteorology, operational meteorology, climatology, and satellite meteorology. Planetary Sciences graduates have job choices in places such as with NASA during planning of space missions. Earth Sciences graduates might want to consider gas and oil companies locating and planning new fields. Environmental graduates are qualified to work on many contemporary environmental issues. Students in all areas can find work as scientists, doing research, as engineers, educators, environmental regulators, and with the government. In addition, graduates go directly on to graduate school for advanced study.

Read more about recent graduates from the Careers site.

3. How should I prepare for the EAPS program in high school? (top)

Take as much calculus, additional math, chemistry, physics, and computer science as possible, as well as a variety of additional science courses. Continue taking your foreign language and writing courses. Those interested in meteorological broadcasting should take communications classes as well.

4. What courses will I take as an EAPS student? (top)

  • In your first two years, you will take courses covering The Dynamic Earth, Physical Geology, Science of the Atmosphere, or Planets.
  • Additional Earth, Environmental, Atmospheric, or Planetary Science courses
  • General Education electives

Typical First-Year Coursework

Semester one:
EAPS 11800, Intro to Earth Science, 3 credit hours (for Earth & Environmental Geosciences majors) or EAPS 11700 Intro to Atmospheric Science, 2 credit hours (for Atmospheric Science majors)
EAPS 13700 Seminar in Earth & Atmospheric Sciences 1 credit hour
MA 16100 or 16500, Calculus I and Analytical Geometry, 4-5 credit hours
ENGL 10600, English Composition, 4 credit hours
CHM 11500, General Chemistry I, 4 credit hours
Total: 15 to 16 credit hours


Semester two:
EAPS 10900, The Dynamic Earth, 3 credit hours
MA 16200 or 16600, Calculus II and Analytical Geometry, 4-5 credit hours
CHM 11600, General Chemistry II, 4 credit hours
Foreign Language, 3 or 4 credit hours
General Education course, 3 credit hours
Total: 14 to 17 credit hours

  • Students must earn a minimum of 120 credit hours to graduate, which is an average of 15 credit hours / per semester.


By phone: 765.494.1771 or 800.804.8061
College of Science:
Department of Earth, Atmospheric Sciences, and Planetary Sciences:

Purdue University College of Science, 150 N. University St, West Lafayette, IN 47907 • Phone: (765) 494-1729, Fax: (765) 494-1736

Student Advising Office: (765) 494-1771, Fax: (765) 496-3015 • Science IT, (765) 494-4488

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