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Subject Overview

Kilauea, Hawaii ©NASA
Kilauea, Hawaii ©NASA
The Earth is a complex, evolving system with many interacting parts. Earth Sciences gives you a balanced idea of how the planet works: you will understand its natural history, processes operating now, and what the future holds. Whichever career route you take, you will be able to participate in discussions about the planet and the environment at a knowledgeable level. 

In contrast to many other universities, you don't apply to Cambridge to do a single science. You apply for the Natural Sciences Tripos in which you take three science subjects with Maths in your first year and don't specialise in one subject until third year. The Natural Sciences programme encourages you to expand your scientific experience beyond the subjects you did at school, and many students choose Earth Sciences for this reason. However, many people are sufficiently excited by their new subject choice to continue with it in the second and later years.

The selection of topics in these pages provide a summary of what you can expect to learn about, through The Earth Sciences Course, both in the first year and beyond.



You may also want to download our Prospectus. 

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International team head to Papua New Guinea to measure volcanic carbon degassing

Sep 01, 2016

An international team of scientists is traveling to the islands of Papua New Guinea this September to study degassing from active volcanoes in remote jungles there. Some of these volcanoes are among the most active on Earth, ejecting a significant proportion of global volcanic gases into the atmosphere.

Mistaken Point - Canada's 10th geological World Heritage Site

Aug 02, 2016

The ancient rugged coastline of Mistaken Point on Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula face the winds and waves of the Atlantic Ocean. It can be a difficult place to work, but nevertheless it has been a mecca for geologists for over several decades now.

An underestimated Kevan

Jul 21, 2016

Douglas Palmer on the Sedgwick Museum’s giant Pliosaurus cf. kevani in the latest edition of Geoscientist

Oesia – a new tube worm from deep Cambrian times

Jul 21, 2016

Collections up close, Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences

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