Our department focuses on research and education in the nature, genesis, and history of the Earth and its crust, and the evolution of the environment and biota at the Earth's surface.

Our faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students are active in biogeochemistry; climate dynamics; geoarchaeology; geochemistry; geochronology; geomorphology; geophysics; mineral resources; mineralogy; paleolimnology; palynology; paleontology; petrology; sedimentology and stratigraphy; structure; tectonics and volcanology.

We encourage interdisciplinary approaches to research in the geosciences, both within the department and through interdepartmental programs.


Who we are:

  • The Department of Geosciences was established in 1969 after the Department of Geology and the Department of Geochronology were combined. Read more about the history of the department here.
  • Our faculty members include several GSA, AGU, AAAS, Guggenheim and Packard Foundation Fellows.
  • Our graduate students include several NSF, EPA, NASA, NSAS, ARCS fellows and Philanthropic Educational Organization (PEO) Scholars.
  • The Department of Geosciences is a member of  The School of Earth and Environmental Sciences,  a federation of units that produces knowledge about earth and environmental processes and human-environment interactions at all geographic and temporal scales.  


  • UA Geos consistently ranks in the top 10 graduate programs in the country according to US News and World Report national survey and the US National Research Council rankings.
  • In Spring 2022 US News Best Graduate Schools was ranking - #2 in Geology, #6 in Geochemistry, #9 in Earth Sciences, #12 in Geophysics.

What we do: 

  • We explore, discover, and train students in integrative and interdisciplinary Geoscience: tectonics, geophysics, climate & surface dynamics, earth materials & geochemistry. Our graduates pursue careers in research and education, energy and mineral resources, environmental policy, and many other areas.
  • We maintain active research projects and student training opportunities with our partners at ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, Freeport-McMoRan, Newmont, BHP among others.
  • We work together in research, teaching, and outreach with UA and international collaborators.

Highlights of Ongoing Research, Innovation, Engagement, and Partnering:

  • We work at the forefront of scientific discovery in challenging and remote places including Tibet, Pamir, Himalaya, South America, Africa, Alaska, Antarctica, the Southern Ocean and Mars. These projects are commonly conducted in a collaborative mode, involving several faculty members, graduate students, and undergraduate students, and commonly include researchers at other institutions.
  • Our faculty and students receive several million dollars of funding from sources such as NSF, Keck Foundation, NASA, NOAA, industry, and foundation funds.
  • The Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project (HSPDP); Subsurface paleofluid history of the Paradox Basin in the Colorado Plateau; The Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling program (SOCCOM); A study the Earth’s most rugged and rapidly eroding landscape in Nepal; Predicting erosion rates in formerly mined lands in Arizona; Anatomy of a Greenhouse World: The Early Eocene in the Green River Basin, Wyoming.
  • Our department has some of the best laboratories in the world. Geochronology remains an area of emphasis, as it has been at the University of Arizona for over 50 years. Our geochronologic facilities focus on Re-Os, Rb-Sr and Sm-Nd (by ID-TIMS), U-Th-Pb (by LA-ICPMS), Ar-Ar, (U-Th)/He, fission track, cosmogenic isotopes, and dendrochronology and we have considerable strengths in stable isotope and organic geochemistry. We have a state-of-the-art organic geochemistry lab dedicated to paleoclimate studies and active laboratories in climate modeling and physical oceanography.
  • We recently hired three new faculty members in the general field of climate dynamics and paleoclimate and are very excited to add new strengths to the department.
  • Geosciences is involved in the design of the new University of Arizona Gem & Mineral Museum, which will become the anchor tenant in the Old Courthouse downtown. The RealReal company is supporting funding of an endowed chair in Gem Science in the Department of Geosciences.
  • The Institute for Mineral Resources bridges pure and applied science to provide professional education and multidisciplinary research on responsible stewardship and development of mineral resources.