Earth Sciences: Schools that are helping us achieve a more sustainable future

“He who knows what sweets and virtues are in the ground, the waters, the plants, the heavens, and how to come at these enchantments, is a rich and royal man.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sustainability is a form of revolution, according to Huffpost.

It’s about driving out the old to make way for the new; “it is a process of change, a system challenge, and a thought overhaul,” the article states. Through an intricate merging of the social sciences, psychology, and traditional science disciplines, sustainability helps forge long-lasting, viable solutions that help us diminish the world’s most pressing issues.

As Huffpost explains, “Through advances in research, strategy, an increasing amount of data and the analytic tools to decipher it, the world is very much experiencing a sustainability revolution in terms of culture, environment, and technology.”

When the UN Goals for Sustainable Development –  which include global aims like combatting world hunger and promoting responsible consumption – are considered, sustainable principles ultimately seek to preserve the Earth’s resources and maintain the health and wellbeing of our children, our children’s children, and also future generations far, far beyond.

As a field that crosses disciplines at the most fundamental level, it is predominantly Earth scientists, engineers, and geologists who lead the charge in the ongoing sustainable insurgence. As we trundle through an era that could wind up as the height of our global sustainable awareness, these leaders understand the steps that must be taken to shield the precious ecosystems that mean life on Earth can thrive.

From recycling to reusing, switching to clean energy, or favouring the trusty bike over the car in the daily work commute; the preservation of the natural world is perhaps the most vital element in the overall ambition for sustainability.

As such, we must answer those who display passion and dedication for all things involved in the natural world, working synonymously to monitor and protect its finite resources. Humanity must face up to its responsibility and commit to the study of Earth’s ever-changing environments, promising the future not just of humanity, but of every living organism across its lands and waters.

A readily-ingrained environmental conscience warrants us unlimited potential in terms of healing the world, and reflects exactly why the environmental science graduate is valued and respected on a global scale.

Here are four world-class Environmental Schools standing at the forefront of the sustainable revolution…


The modern world is faced with major global challenges like climate change, natural resource consumption, environmental degradation and remediation, energy development and sustainability.

Earth Scientists and Engineers work at the frontline of such issues, addressing these complex problems through an understanding of the origin, transformation, and responsible use of our own planet, including its geology, atmosphere, and bodies of water—and the relationships between them.

As a PAC-12 institution nestled at the base of the Wasatch Mountains, the University of Utah is an environmental spectacle in every sense of the word.

By virtue of the breath-taking geology and climates that surround – from desert through to mountain –  the University’s CMES sits amongst one of the world’s great natural laboratories for studying geology, natural resource management, and metropolitan and mountain meteorology.

This unique College connects the frontier of knowledge between the Earth Sciences and fields of Engineering offering a wide variety of exciting research and educational experiences with eighteen-accredited undergraduate and graduate degrees in the fields of Earth Science including Atmospheric Sciences, Geology & Geophysics, and Geological Engineering.


The University of Bristol is a Russel Group institution that certainly isn’t short of notable accolades. In fact, some of the most prominent scientific discoveries have spurred from research undertaken here, and in addition to its six Nobel Prize winners, 29 of Bristol University’s researchers are among the Fellows of the Royal Society.

Housed within the world-renowned Faculty of Science, the School of Earth Sciences has been ranked among the UK’s top four departments of its kind since 2001. Equipped with some of the nation’s best research laboratories, the school offers 11 comprehensive undergraduate degrees, plus two taught Master’s programs, and a one-year Master by research.

The school also features a brand new £56 million Life Sciences building, with a further £3 million being spent to upgrade the institution’s research facilities and resources.

“The Earth Sciences Graduate School hosts approximately 120 students from across the world,” the School website notes. “We have a rich and integrated community of students undertaking PhD study. Our students are regularly recognised by national and international awards, and the majority go on to research positions at the post-doctoral level.”


Offering a rich and dynamic study setting that crosses disciplinary borders, Melbourne’s School of BioSciences pledges a wealth opportunity in the fields of Earth and Environmental Science.

“The School of BioSciences is committed to providing national and international leadership in all areas of the biosciences, through the provision of undergraduate and graduate programs of the highest quality, and through a diverse range of innovative research,” the institution states.

“Our staff are among the most passionate teachers and researchers in Australia,” it adds, “and they challenge and inspire our students to become future leaders in Science.”

In terms of Evolution, Ecology and Environmental Science, Melbourne has pioneered the field of research, delving into complex topics and issues surrounding terrestrial, marine or freshwater organisms, on top of things like communities and ecosystems.

“The research groups, led by some of the top international scientists, extend our knowledge of basic ecological and evolutionary processes and develop new methodology for research and management,” the faculty explains. “We apply our expertise and knowledge to environmental issues such as climate change, conservation, sustainable resource management, invasive species management, biosecurity risk assessment, water pollution management and ecotoxicology.”


Consistently ranked as the top university in continental Europe and reaching eighth in the QS World University Rankings for 2016, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) inspires students and teachers alike to research and develop ground-breaking solutions to challenges facing the world.

The Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at ETH presents the ideal environment for you to become a part of sustainable science development. The FIRST-Lab is just one of many environmentally-focused facilities at this forward-facing institution, featuring a cleanroom and 400-square metres of processing environment with controlled parameters for micro- and nanoscience experiments.

“Sustainability at ETH Zurich is integrated into research, teaching, and operations and is a substantial element of university life,” the institution states.

“Since its establishment in 2008, “ETH Sustainability” supports initiatives, projects and individuals who contribute to enhancing sustainability at ETH Zurich. As a central coordinating hub, our work includes connecting and consolidating the diverse sustainability activities at ETH Zurich while increasing both internal and external visibility.”

Located in the heart of Europe, Zurich is a hub for international business and industry – offering some of the world’s best employment opportunities. ETH is ranked number 16 in the world for graduate employability, largely owed to its extensive network of support relationships and research groups.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

Liked this? Then you’ll love these…

4 leading APAC Universities for Natural Science study

Utah College of Mines and Earth Sciences: Helping us understand and sustain the Earth