Graduate Program Earth, Environment and Society

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Earth, Environment and Society Doctorate Overview

PSU's Earth, Environment and Society doctoral program is a collaborative degree, primarily drawing students from the disciplines of environmental science and management, geography, and geology. Our Ph.D. program prepares you for an impactful career as a professional scientist or launches your continued studies in geology, conservation, geography, GIS, or climate science.

Our students engage in relevant research while acquiring advanced academic training in a wide variety of environmental issues. Through this doctoral program, you’ll also benefit from our close partnerships with federal and nonprofit environmental partner organizations and have opportunities to connect with other professionals and researchers in the area through conferences, seminars, and events.

Degree Details

  • D
    On campus
    Total Credits
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Earth, Environment and Society Doctorate: Why PSU?

Work among the environmental science experts that our region is known for. In your courses, you'll benefit from the diverse interests and expertise of our faculty, who come from many departments, including environmental science and management, geography, geology, anthropology, biology, history, communications, civil and environmental engineering, economics, and physics.

You'll also have opportunities to work with scientists, educators, and policy experts as a result of our close partnerships with leading environmental, geospatial, and earth science organizations. These collaborations can help shape your dissertation and often lead to jobs after graduation.

Our partners include the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Forest Service, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Oregon's chapter of The Nature Conservancy, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and the Oregon Zoo.

Our location gives you access to an array of terranes and ecosystems to hone your earth and environmental science skills — most of which are within an hour-and-a-half of campus. You can also take advantage of the vibrant policy landscape of Oregon, home to the nation's first bottle bill, climate action plan, urban growth boundary, and modern light rail system.

When you graduate with a doctorate in Earth, Environment, and Society, you will have produced a significant body of new or original work under the guidance of a faculty advisor and you'll be on your way to becoming one of the experts in your field.

What can I do with a Doctorate in Earth, Environment and Society?

Most of our alumni have landed jobs in research or teaching at colleges and universities, in industry working in environmental compliance or consulting, or in government.

Employers range from the region's global companies such as Nike, Intel, and Amazon, to influential nonprofit and governmental agencies, including the U.S. Geological Survey, The Nature Conservancy, and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

The knowledge and skills you gain in our program prepare you for work in a variety of fields, including:

  • Climate science
  • Geology
  • Hydrology
  • Forest ecology and vegetation dynamics
  • Biology
  • Marine science
  • Geographic information and spatial data science
  • Meteorology
  • Earth science
  • Zoology
  • Resources management
  • Urban sustainability and resilience

Featured Courses

  • GEOG 507 - Seminar in Physical Geography
  • ESR 655 - Science Communication I
  • ESM 566 - Environmental Data Analysis


  • GEOG 525 - Field Methods in Human Geography
  • USP 683 - Qualitative Analysis
  • SOC 592 - Qualitative Methods


Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).