Message from the Chair

Welcome to the Tufts University Department of Earth and Climate Sciences website!

The Department of Earth and Climate Sciences studies the Earth and its past and present materials, processes, and events, as well as more specifically Earth’s past and present climate systems. Studying and understanding the planet that we live on is critical to solving current societal problems and gaining important information about its future, particularly as we confront the challenges of climate change and strive to live with minimal impact on our environment. Our work and research extend beyond our planet as we explore how Earth's complex physiochemical processes give us insights into how other planets operate.

You may be visiting this site as a prospective student to Tufts, or as a current student interested in exploring the courses and topics offered by the department. Interestingly, most of the Earth and Climate Science professionals I know found their interest in these subject areas by accident. We were just looking through lists of courses for something different and new, heard from a friend that Earth and Climate Science courses were interesting, or perhaps found a course that satisfied a requirement for some other major. For me, it was the realization that I could apply all my other science courses to understand the complexities of the Earth and its climate – and I could do that while working outdoors in some astonishingly beautiful places and working in a lab to deeply explore the planet!

Perhaps you are one of the few students who discovered Earth and climate studies earlier, maybe in middle school or high school. Or, maybe you've lived in places where mountainous landscapes, beautiful deserts, coastal environments, energy or mineral resources, or climate change impacts are prominent, so Earth and Climate Sciences are part of your everyday experience. Some students enter college knowing that they want to major in these topics, or at least that they want to learn more about them. Regardless of your background or interests, a course or two on Earth and its climate can give you a great foundation to function as a knowledgeable voter and citizen of Earth in the 21st century. And, if you major in ECS, you will find an array of careers that benefit from having a degree in science that can be applied in a variety of fields. 

As you visit our website – and hopefully take our courses and meet our faculty – you may have questions on pursuing a major or minor, or even a career in Earth and Climate Sciences. I would be very happy to help answer questions about ECS such as "What can you do with my major when I graduate?" Please contact me at or any other faculty in the department. We welcome the opportunity to connect!

Jack Ridge
Professor and Department Chair