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Earth and Atmospheric Science at MSU Denver

Promoting science literacy and lifelong learning with an appreciation of how the Earth works

The Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (EAS) at MSU Denver is dedicated to delivering the best education in Applied Geology, Environmental Science, Geography, Geospatial Science, and Meteorology. With Colorado's diverse geography and weather patterns, you're in an ideal place to study such fascinating subjects. Whichever course of study you choose, we'll help build your knowledge in its scientific process by using the world as your laboratory through our small class sizes, field experiences, and laboratories. Through one of our majors or minors, your comprehension of how the planet operates will help make the world a better place.

Register for fall courses today!

Register for fall courses today!  We're back on campus this fall, but regardless of where you are on your educational journey, we've got a class for you with a combinatin of face-to-face, online, and hybrid courses.  Explore topics covering weather, climate change, geography/GIS, geology, environmental science and more!  

Check out our list of fall courses.

Students in a computer lab


Dwight near a weather station and freezing fog
"MSU Denver’s Meteorology program was an important part of my success. Access to a variety of classes and internship opportunities meant I was able to explore multiple elements of a very diverse field of study. Because of this, I was able to find my interest in instrumentation and pursue it! I now work for the State of Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division as a field meteorologist. I am charged with maintaining their network of meteorological instrumentation and validating the data for submission to the EPA’s national air quality database."

Dwight Blanche

Field Meteorologist, Georgia Environmental Protection Division

Talk about the Weather

Read "Talk about the Weather," an article in MSU Denver RED on our Broadcast Meteorology Alumni.  

Chris Spears on air

Photograph of Sarah Schliemann
Dr. Sarah Schliemann, a teaching excellence award winner, has a Ph.D. in Forest and Wildlife Ecology. She teaches Landscape Ecology, Mountain Environments, and an intensive Environmental Field Studies for senior Environmental Science majors. You can find her in the lab, up in Rocky Mountain National Park taking measurements for her carbon cycling research, advising students on Undergraduate Research, or taking her classes out in the field.

Sarah Schliemann, Ph.D.

Environmental Science

Career Paths


  • Geologist
  • Geochemist
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Cartographer
  • GIS Analyst
  • Sustainable Community Planner
  • Meteorologist
  • Climatologist

Degree Programs

   Applied Geology Program
  • Bachelor's Degree in Applied Geology
  • Minor in Geology


         For more information:

   Environmental Science Program
  • Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Science
  • Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Science with Teacher Licensure
  • Minor in Environmental Science

       For more information:


   Geography Program
  • Bachelor's Degree in Geography
  • Minor in Geography
  • Minor in Sustainability Studies


       For more information:


   GIS Program
  • Bachelor's Degree in Geography
  • Certificate in GIS
  • Minor in GIS


       For more information:


   Meteorology Program
  • Bachelor's Degree in Meteorology
  • Minor in Meteorology


          For more information:



Which Major Should I Choose?

If you are interested in Earth and Atmospheric Science, but don’t know which major or minor you prefer, you can take a few of our introductory classes to see which excites you most.

Introductory classes will help you get a feel for each major or minor:

Credits: 3 

Description: This course explores the various elements of the physical environment and interactions between the elements. The course emphasizes the atmosphere (weather and climate), the lithosphere (soils, geology, and landforms), and the hydrosphere (oceans, streams, and groundwater).

General Studies: Natural and Physical Sciences

Guaranteed Transfer: GT-SC2

Credits: 3 

Prerequisite(s): Minimum performance standard scores on reading, writing, and mathematics preassessment placement tests

Description: This course introduces students to environmental concepts and issues from an interdisciplinary approach.  Students will gain an understanding of the scientific methods and techniques needed to understand the and analyze environmental issues such as ecology, human population growth, soils and agriculture, deforestation, urbanization, air pollution, freshwater resources, ocean pollution, climate change, fossil fuels, alternative energy sources, waste disposal, as well as environmental ethics and policy.  Course topics will be complemented with computer exercises.

General Studies: Natural and Physical Sciences

Guaranteed Transfer: GT-SC2

Credits: 4 

Description: This course introduces the basic theories, concepts, and assumptions used in geology, utilizing both lecture and laboratory components. It includes earth’s internal systems from core to crust, as well as the dynamics of the lithosphere with its processes, products, and effects on the environment. Students will learn to identify common rocks and minerals.

Field Trips: A field trip is required.

General Studies: Natural and Physical Sciences

Guaranteed Transfer: GT-SC1

Credits: 3 

Prerequisite(s): Minimum performance standard scores on reading, writing, and mathematics pre-assessment placement tests

Description: This course introduces the fundamental physical processes in the atmosphere-heat and energy, temperature, pressure, wind, clouds, precipitation, and stability. These concepts provide the basis for understanding weather systems, such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. These processes are also applied to climatic patterns and the impacts of human activity on weather and climate, such as air pollution and climate change. An optional 1-credit lab course, MTR 2020 Weather and Climate Lab for Scientists, is available for students interested in additional experience in the measurement and analysis of atmospheric data, and is required for some science programs.

General Studies: Natural and Physical Sciences

Guaranteed Transfer: GT-SC2

Credits: 3 

Description: This course is an introduction to the transdisciplinary field of sustainability that examines current debates about how to respond to the problems of climate change, environmental degradation, and social inequalities from the local to the global scales.  The course begins with an overview of the historical conditions that continue to shape the current human imprint on the global environment.  It also explores how different perspectives from the natural and social sciences can be used to examine the environmental implications of human endeavors. Throughout the course, emergent sustainable practices, such as renewable energy, sustainable agriculture and food systems, and urban sustainability, are discussed to show how communities across the world are finding sustainable and equitable solutions. 

University Requirement(s): Social and Behavioral Sciences

Guaranteed Transfer: GT-SC2

Credits: 4

Prerequisite(s): Quantitative Literacy General Studies requirement should be completed before taking this class.

Description: This is a foundation course that provides students with the basic knowledge of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) with regard to theoretical, technical, and application issues. It introduces and provides direct experience with the techniques used to analyze and display spatial data using GIS. The skills and knowledge developed in this course will be used to support upper-division courses.

EAS Mission Statement

The department educates the students of MSU Denver in a way that promotes science literacy, inspires lifelong learning, and appreciation of the Earth system. Students who graduate with a major in meteorology, geography, applied geology, geospatial science, or environmental science are highly skilled and knowledgeable in their field. They gain employment in the field after graduation due to the quality and diversity of their skills, or go on to successfully continue their educational journey at a graduate school. As learning facilitators, the faculty are teachers who promote active learning in the classroom, advise students towards their career goals, and participate in scholarly activities that keep them abreast of the most recent scholarship in their field. 

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Contact EAS

The Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science

Phone: (303) 615-1177


Location:  Science Building Room 2028  (near the northwest corner of the building on the second floor)

Science Building

Mailing Address:

Metropolitan State University of Denver
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science
Campus Box 22
P.O. Box 173362
Denver, CO 80217-3362