Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) for PhD in Earth System Science

Core Knowledge:

  • Understand how basic sciences (physics, chemistry, mathematics, and biology) relate to the major processes and systems governing Earth’s climate, biogeochemical cycles, and global change.
  • Explain the current and projected future state of the Earth system in the context of past climate change and current human activities.
  • Acquire a multidisciplinary vocabulary sufficient to understand the scientific literature relevant to Earth system science.

Research Methods and Analysis:

  • Understand the methods used to collect and analyze or simulate environmental data, and to interpret results in the context of underlying theory.
  • Acquire sufficient specialized knowledge to conduct independent research.


  • Use pedagogical practices in discussions, lesson plans, and/or lectures to lead a group to improved understanding of scientific material

Scholarly Communication:

  • Effectively communicate scientific knowledge in talks, posters, and manuscripts.


  • Work collaboratively to understand and address complex problems related to the Earth system.

Independent Research:

  • Design and conduct original high quality research.