earth system science degree

Earth science or geoscience includes all fields of natural science related to planet Earth. This is a branch of science dealing with the physical and chemical constitution of Earth and its atmosphere. Earth science can be considered to be a branch of planetary science, but with a much older history. Earth science encompasses four main branches of study, the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, the atmosphere, and the biosphere, each of which is further broken down into more specialized fields.

There are both reductionist and holistic approaches to Earth sciences. It is also the study of Earth and its neighbors in space. Some Earth scientists use their knowledge of the planet to locate and develop energy and mineral resources. Others study the impact of human activity on Earth’s environment, and design methods to protect the planet. Some use their knowledge about Earth processes such as volcanoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes to plan communities that will not expose people to these dangerous events.

Earth sciences can include the study of geology, the lithosphere, and the large-scale structure of Earth’s interior, as well as the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere. Typically, Earth scientists use tools from geology, chronology, physics, chemistry, geography, biology, and mathematics to build a quantitative understanding of how Earth works and evolves. Earth science affects our everyday lives. For example, meteorologists study the weather and watch for dangerous storms. Hydrologists examine water and warn of floods. Seismologists study earthquakes and try to understand where they will strike. Geologists study rocks and help to locate useful minerals. Earth scientists often work in the field—perhaps climbing mountains, exploring the seabed, crawling through caves, or wading in swamps. They measure and collect samples (such as rocks or river water), then record their findings on charts and maps.

MSc in Earth Sciences or Master of Science in Earth Sciences is a 2-year postgraduate course divided into 4 semesters. 

MSc in Earth Sciences is an associative course that balances concepts like Physical Education, Ecology, Biology, Atmosphere and Biological Science. 

MSc in Earth Sciences is favourable to enlarge a conceptual knowledge of critical Earth Science and also enlarge new method in Earth Science teaching and evaluation. 

MSc in Earth Sciences eligibility required that students are required to hold a Bachelor’s degree in Science with an aggregate of at least 50% marks. 

Admission to MSc Earth Science course will be done either on the basis of the candidate’s performance in the Bachelor’s degree exam or on the basis of their performance in the entrance exams conducted by admission authorities. 

MSc in Earth Science is also called as Geoscience and includes subjects like atmospheric physics, geology, climatology, oceanography, volcanology and many more.

The standard fees charged in India for this course scale between INR 5,000 and 2,00,000. Prosperous postgraduates of the program are recruited as Earth Science Teachers, Geologist, Petroleum Geologist, Volcanologists etc.

MSc Earth Sciences Course Highlights

Course LevelPostgraduate
Duration2 years
Full FormMaster of Science
Examination TypeSemester wise
EligibilityCandidates must hold a Bachelor’s degree in relevant discipline from a recognized university
Admission ProcessEntrance exam, counselling and personal interview.
Average Annual FeesINR 5,000 to 2,00,000
Average Annual SalaryINR 3,00,000 to 10,00,000
Top RecruitersGeological Survey of India (GSI), Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC), Hindustan Zinc Ltd, Minerals and Metals Trading Corporation (MMTC), Coal India and Mineral Exploration Ltd.
Job PositionsEnvironmental Scientist, Marine geologist, Petroleum Engineer, Geochemist, Groundwater Specialist.

What is the MSc Earth Sciences Admission Process?

Admission to this course is usually based on the score obtained by a candidate in an entrance exam. Some of the major all India entrance exams conducted for this purpose are BHU PET, DUET etc. Some colleges also offer admission on merit basis. The various steps involved in the admission process are given below.

Merit-based Selection

The guide for merit based Msc Earth Science is mentioned below:

  • Submit the application to the colleges or universities you are interested in. 
  • Maintain a good score throughout your Bachelor’s degree exams. 
  • In due course of time, colleges release their cutoff lists. Check if you are eligible for admission into the desired course.
  • If eligible, visit the college and submit all the required documents.

Entrance-based Selection

The guide to apply for entrance exam based admission is as follows.

  • Registration: Candidates have to register themselves for the entrance exams. 
  • Application form: Fill up the application form with all necessary details carefully. 
  • Submit documents: Scan and upload all required documents like mark sheets. Documents need to be uploaded in a specific format only, as specified by the institute’s application portal.
  • Application fee: A minimal application fee is to be paid online during the submission of the application form. Payment can be done by all online payment modes.
  • Download admit card: Admit cards are released once all applicants are judged for eligibility. The admit card must be downloaded and printed out to be used on the day of the examination.
  • Examination: Prepare for the exam as per the syllabus and past papers. Appear for the examination on the date announced.
  • Results: Based on candidates performance in the entrance exam, results will be announced.

What is the MSc Earth Sciences Eligibility Criteria?

The eligibility criteria for MSc Earth Sciences aspirants is not complicated and is as follows. It must be noted that the eligibility criteria will differ from institute to institute. 

  • Any candidate with a bachelor’s degree in Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Biological Science from a recognized institute is eligible to apply.
  • The candidate must possess at least 50% marks in their graduation degree. 
  • There is no special provision for reserved category candidates. 

Which are the popular MSc Earth Science Entrance Exams?

In most of the colleges, the MSc Earth Sciences admissions are done on the basis of the results in the entrance tests. 

Some of the popular MSc Earth Sciences entrance exams are provided below:

  • BHU PET- The Banaras Hindu University conducts its Post graduate Entrance Test (PET) to fill seats in MA, MCom, MSc, MFA, MPA, MEd courses etc.. The exam will be held in computer-based mode, in 200 cities across India. The candidates who qualify this entrance exam will be called for counseling and seat is allocated on the basis of performance in the exam.
  • DUET- Delhi University Entrance Test (DUET) is conducted by Delhi University in order to offer admission to aspirants in various UG, PG, MPhil and PhD programs. The entrance exam is conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) on behalf of Delhi University. Also check DUET 2021 Practice Papers here. 
Exam NameApplication PeriodDate of ExamMode of Exam
BHU PET 2021To be announcedTo be announcedOffline
DUET 2020To be announcedFirst or Second Week of June, 2021Online

How to prepare for MSc Earth Sciences entrance exams?

If your college includes an entrance test in the admission procedure, then you must be well prepared for it. So, here we are with some interesting preparation tips for you:

  • You must be completely familiar with the exam pattern. Get to know the number of sections and the total number of questions that you have to answer. 
  • Knowing the syllabus properly is also of primary importance. You need to download the syllabus from the official website of the university.
  • In most cases, you will be dealing with multiple-choice questions. If that is the case, then check whether there is negative marking or not. 
  • Another very good way to perform well is to appear for regular mock tests. This will make you accustomed to the type of questions and the examination patterns. Various educational institutes hold regular mock tests for the students.
  • Revision is also an integral part of preparation. You need to revise all the chapters and the important topics properly. Otherwise, even after preparing all the chapters, you might not get a really good rank. 

How to get admission in a good MSc Earth Sciences college?

To secure admission into a top-ranked MSc Earth Sciences college, a number of factors come into play. Some of the following tips will be helpful in that regard.

  • Candidates need to have the minimum eligibility criteria of having 55% in the Graduation BSc in a relevant field.
  • A good preparation for the entrance exam is always a safe option.
  • Preparation must be started after announcement of application fill up that doubles up the chance of doing well in the exam.
  • Checking the course curriculum, regular and visiting faculty as well exposure , internship will help the candidate to sort out the best college for them.
  • Placement opportunity is a must on the checklist .The last few years record will be helpful to understand the placement condition.


What is the Syllabus of MSc Earth Sciences?

A list of topics taught to the students pursuing MSc in Earth Sciences is tabulated below:

Semester ISemester II
Geoscience Part IITheory Papers
Advanced Remote Sensing in Geoscience Part – IIIgneous & Metamorphic Petrology
Computer Application in Geosciences – IISedimentology
Laboratory WorkPaleontology and Stratigraphy
Structural Geology and Geo – tectonicsLaboratory Work
Structural geology & Remote sensing__
Semester IIISemester IV
Ore Geology and Mining GeologyHydrogeology
Indian Mineral Deposits and Mineral EconomicsSpecial Paper (Any One of the following corresponding to special Paper already offered in III Semester)
Mineral exploration and Mineral BeneficiationAdvanced Environmental Project Orientation)
Special Paper (Any one of the following)
Advanced Environmental Geoscience Part –I
Advanced Remote Sensing in Geoscience. Part –I
Computer Application in Geosciences -I Part
Laboratory work
ESL-305 Ore Microscopy and Mineral; Deposits.
Mineral Exploration and Mining Geology
Corresponding special Paper

MSc Earth Sciences vs MSc Zoology

Both MSc Earth Sciences and MSc Zoology are master’s courses in the field of Science and Technology. However, they are quite different. 

Check the table below for more comparative details:

ParticularsMSc Earth SciencesMSc Zoology
Duration2 years2 years
FocusIt is an associative course that balances concepts like physical education, ecology, biology, atmosphere and biological science. The course is favourable to enlarge a conceptual knowledge of critical Earth Science and also enlarge new method in Earth Science teaching and evaluationIt is a postgraduate course that impart knowledge of existing and extinct animals. The candidates gain enough knowledge of biodiversity and anatomy of animals.
Admission CriteriaNational Level or College level entrance examinationState Level entrance test or Merit based admission to some colleges.
Average Annual FeesINR 5,000 to 3,00,000INR 20,000 to 2,00,000
Job OptionsEnvironmental Scientist, Marine geologist, Petroleum Engineer, Geochemist, Groundwater Specialist.Academic researcher, Teacher, Environment Consultant , Marine biologist, Wildlife Conservationist.
Areas Of EmploymentIn government or private research and development departments.In government or private animal related organisations like Wildlife Sanctuary.
Average Annual SalaryINR 3,00,000 to 6,00,000INR 90,000 to 2,00,000

Future Scopes

What are the Future Scopes of MSc Earth Sciences?

Being a very popular discipline, MSc in Earth Sciences course has excellent future scope. The students are exposed to numerous ways in which they can build their career:

  • PhD: If one wishes to continue in the same field of education, the first program of choice is a PhD Earth Sciences. It is a three to five year duration course and the eligibility criteria include having a MSc degree in Earth Sciences or other related disciplines. 
  • MPhil – Students can also opt for a MPhil degree in a relevant field on completion of this course. 

Job Prospects

What are Job Prospects and Career Options after MSc Earth Sciences?

After getting a degree in this field, a candidate can get a variety of jobs to choose from. It will be easy for them to work for the government and private organizations and many other sectors. They can also choose to teach as a professor or a lecturer in colleges or universities.

  • MSc Earth Science degree holders can find employment at academic institutions and in high-level research and development positions in industry and other institutions.
  • MSc degree holders in Earth Sciences seek positions in various sectors as Volcanologists, Petroleum Geologists, Environmental Geologists, Earth Science Teachers, Glacial or Quaternary Geologists, Structural Geologists and Hydrogeologists etc.

Tabulation below shows some of the most common MSc Earth Sciences job profiles and career prospects after completing the course are as follows: 

Job ProfileJob DescriptionAverage Annual Salary
Engineering GeologistTheir work is to scrutinize the workplace before any construction or economical projects come in progress.INR 4,78,000
Geo-HydrologistThey take care of water by analysing various threats to remove water pollution.INR 7,50,000
GeologistTheir work is to do different research and teach students at college and university level.INR 8,23,000
Mining EngineerMining Engineers ensure that underground resources such as minerals, metals, oil and gas are extracted safely and efficiently. Typical job responsibilities include ensuring that operations comply with health and safety requirements and making sure that the equipment used is safe.INR 6,56,000
GeoscientistGeoscientists typically plan and conduct field studies, in which they visit locations to collect samples and conduct surveys. Geoscientists study the physical aspects of the earth, such as its composition, structure, and processes, to learn about its past, present, and future.INR 4,43,00

Career prospects in Geology, Earth Science and Environmental Science are very good, both in related fields (reaching far beyond the typical ‘oil and gas’ remit) and in alternative roles as graduates are considered highly skilled and have a wide range of transferable skills. If you are interested in studying Earth and Environmental Science.

So after getting a university degree, what sorts of careers do Earth scientists have?

The career opportunities open to those that study Earth science cover a wide range of areas. Careers in energy and natural resources, environmental management and protection, engineering or academic research and teaching are just a few of the many options. Jobs could be in large companies within the oil and gas, renewable energy and mining sectors or within large government agencies and organisations. If that’s not for you you could find yourself working in a small firms that specifically focuses on geological or environmental issues related to energy, construction, pollution and contamination, within water resources and quality, or natural hazards. Opportunities depend on the state of the economy and fluctuations in the price of resources, however this change is a certainty for people embarking on any career. Now – and in the future – Earth scientists may work in many different areas during their careers and you can expect your role and job title to change also.

Travel is a large part of being an Earth scientist. This is particularly true when you work in industry or academia. The chances to work abroad may present themselves early in a career path. This early career opportunity to travel works well when you are in your twenties and early thirties, before family commitments and kids start to influence your choices about where you live and work. Large companies have offices all around the world, but even smaller companies will provide travel opportunities to do field work or site visits in far off places.

Where are they now?

Here are some case studies, you can also visit YouTube Channel – Careers Playlist to see some video examples of various Earth scientists from around the world. From those studying ancient climate and modern climate predictions to those that explore for precious minerals or the next potential oil or water source! You name it, these guys do it!

Katherine Welbourn – BSc Environmental Geoscience (2011), University of St Andrews


“I joined the BP Graduate scheme when I completed my degree at St Andrews. I have thoroughly enjoyed my first 2 years at BP, working as a Geoscientist in the Angola business unit. I was involved in the design and delivery of wells across different fields in the region, and this included several trips to the rigs offshore Angola to work with operations geologist to successfully drill and complete new wells. My current role in Reservoir Management includes seismic data analysis to characterise the reservoir, and creation of 3D models of the geology. My Environmental Geoscience degree provided me with an invaluable technical grounding that has helped me as a geologist in the oil and gas industry.”

 Stefan Froud – BSc Geology (2010), University of St Andrews


“I am a geologist working for Wintershall Noodzee in the Netherlands, Germany’s largest oil and gas company. I have had stints working in Germany, Russia and Norway already. So far I have been exposed to a variety of projects, exploring Brazil’s sedimentary basins to small-scale exploration on Devonian carbonates in the Volgograd area of Russia. When I completed my degree at St Andrews, I did a 1-year MSc in Petroleum Geoscience at Imperial and was sponsored and fully funded by Conoco Phillips.  I had two 5-month internships with Nexen and Conoco Phillips before I joined Wintershall and these gave me enormous insights into the oil and gas industry, and confirmed my career choice in this sector.”

 Emma Sheard – BSc in Geosciences (2007), University of St Andrews


“After leaving St Andrews, I completed a 1-year MSc in Economic Geology at McGill University in Canada and have been working in the mineral exploration industry in Canada, Africa and Europe since then. I am part of a small team within Aurum Exploration Serices and we are repsonsible for iron ore deposits in Ghana, phosphate deposits in the Republic of Congo, and lithium deposits in Ireland. My interest in mining started during my undergraduate degree at St Andrews when we studied the Zambian Copper Belt – I thought it was a fascinating area of geology that I really excelled in.”

Top 10 countries in Earth and environmental sciences research

The United States is the leader in Earth and environmental sciences, but China, in second place, is making some serious ground.

Since 2017, China’s Share+ in high-quality articles in the Nature Index has grown by almost 25% – the largest increase among the top 10 countries.

The US’s output in the Earth and environmental sciences, on the other hand, has fallen by around 8%.

Germany (ranked fourth) has also made impressive gains in Earth and environmental sciences research, with its Share increasing by 13% in 2018.

Between 2018 and 2019, Canada jumped one spot to sixth place, knocking Australia down to seventh.

The Netherlands maintained its position in 10th place, but its output also declined by more than 15% since 2017 – the largest decrease among the top 10.