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14+6 Science Majors

Major in Earth System Science


About the Major

Earth System Science seeks to understand the Earth as an integrated system, including the past, present and future behaviour of the whole Earth System. These involve studies of the environments where life evolves on Earth’s surface, to the interactions between the crust and its fluid envelopes (atmosphere and hydrosphere), with interests extending to the Earth’s interior. Recent advancements in climate change studies have heightened the importance for humans to understand how Earth processes work together to regulate climate and circulation of oceans and atmosphere, how the Earth System responds under stress and how understanding Earth’s geological past is key to predicting the Earth’s future.

earth environment


The Major prepares students with expertise to maintain the Earth environments and prevent severe perturbations due to resource exploitation, and to better predict and deal with geological and related hazards such as earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, floods and volcanic eruption. Core courses in the Major focus on understanding the Earth’s internal and external systems and processes. These courses include examining various geological phenomena, Earth observation, biogeochemical cycles, climatic systems, ocean-atmosphere interaction, hydrosphere, weathering processes and soil formation.

Career Prospects

  • Graduates can pursue further studies in Earth Sciences and careers in a wide variety of geosciences-related areas including resource management, hazard planning, soil and water studies and teaching; 
  • Due to the strong global demand for mineral and rare-earth resources, there are many employment opportunities for graduates with knowledge and expertise to assess and manage mineral reserves;
  • Recent rapid expansion of green industry has also prompted a great need for experts with training in geochemistry and climate change research;
  • Graduates possess technical expertise to analyze measurements or observations of air, water, and soil to facilitate risk assessment, policy formulation and decision making by the Government or companies;
  • In recent years, Earth Science graduates have entered the education sector as school teachers; the new secondary school curriculum contains various Earth System components in several required and elective course.


Student Sharing


WU Cheuk Kuen

2015 BSc graduate (double major in Earth Sciences and Biology)
Worked as summer intern at Hong Kong Observatory in 2014 and 2015


"I was totally unfamiliar with geology and did not notice any features of rocks before choosing Earth Sciences as my Major. Through lectures, labs, museum visits and most importantly, various interesting field trips to sites which I have never been before, I have gained a lot of geological knowledge and am able to appreciate the Earth’s history hidden in rocks. The concepts are also applicable to modern construction or exploration. The department and professors are supportive in helping students and organising field trips for us. Apart from geology, some courses related to atmospheric and climate science are also provided and I had a precious and unforgettable internship experience at the Hong Kong Observatory. If you love our Earth and want to understand it more, majoring in Earth System Science or Geology should be your choice."