Departments and programs
The school's departments and programs create new knowledge across all areas of scholarship needed to address the planet's sustainability, and educate students to tackle challenges facing us today and in the future.
Learn more about each of the programs, and apply to join us through the individual department and program pages.
Departments and Divisions
Social Sciences Division
The Social Sciences Division will discover the causes of sustainability challenges, innovate new solutions to these challenges, and educate future scholars and leaders in how the social sciences can be used to understand and solve sustainability challenges.
The division is launching with two distinct areas: Environmental Behavioral Sciences and Global Environmental Policy.
Earth System Science
The goal of Earth System Science is to understand, predict, and respond to human-caused and natural environmental change at local to global scales. The department has focus areas in Climate Science and in Environment & Ecosystems.
Geophysicists study Earth and planetary processes through laboratory experiments, computational and theoretical modeling, remote imaging, and direct observation. At Stanford, our teaching and research focus on understanding systems critical to the future of civilization. Students apply expertise to fundamental research sustaining life on Earth, combining underlying science with studies of Earth’s environment and resource needs. Such breadth of exposure is highly sought after and leads to careers in academia, industry, and government.
We study the properties of minerals, rocks, fossils, soils, sediments and water, using multiple lenses — stratigraphy, paleobiology, geochemistry, and planetary sciences. Our work informs our understanding of natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and floods. It helps us meet natural resource challenges through environmental and geological engineering, mapping and land use planning, surface and groundwater management, and the exploration and sustainable extraction of energy and minerals. It enables us to answer fundamental questions about the origin, history, and habitability of our and other planets.
Energy Science and Engineering
We combine theory, experiment, and simulation to transform the global energy system to sustain the people and the planet. We do that by developing the engineering science and educating the future leaders needed to transform global energy supply, production/conversion, storage, and use to achieve energy sustainability.
The mission of the Oceans Department is to Discover, Educate, and Innovate to support a Known, Sustainable, and Equitable Ocean. Faculty, postdocs, students and staff advance ocean research, education, and impact through interdisciplinary collaboration, technology development, use-inspired research, immersive education and training. To advance exploration and knowledge of our blue planet, and tackle the most pressing challenges in climate and sustainability, the Oceans Department brings together ocean science (including biological, physical, and social sciences), technology, and solutions into an academic unit focused on ocean discovery and solutions.
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Students in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering make a lasting impact in the world as they launch careers which design and apply innovative solutions fostering sustainability in the natural and built environments.
Interdisciplinary degrees for undergraduate, masters, and PhD students provide students with a broad-based education to yield new insights and create novel solutions to urgent global problems.
Earth Systems Program
The Earth Systems Program is an interdisciplinary environmental science major and coterminal masters program. Students learn about and independently investigate complex environmental problems caused by human activities in conjunction with natural changes in the Earth system.
Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources
The Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER) develops the knowledge, skills, perspectives, and ways of thinking necessary to help solve the world’s most significant environmental and resource sustainability challenges. With our program now in its 20th year, E-IPER students and faculty work across academic disciplines – the physical and natural sciences, engineering, social sciences and humanities, law and policy, medicine, and business – to yield new insights and novel solutions to urgent global problems. They include clean energy, climate change, food security, water quality and quantity, land conservation, human health and sanitation, sustainable cities, ocean health, and biodiversity loss.