The world is our classroom

Canoeing down a river. Hiking up a mountain. Mapping out the stars. To understand all aspects of the Earth, you have to explore the Earth.

With five major curricular areas spanning geology, astronomy, meteorology, environmental science and earth science education, the UNI Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences creates graduates ready to explore our world, get their hands dirty and work to create sustainable change on our planet.

Degrees are available in Environmental Science, Earth Science and Earth Science Teaching, and our students have the opportunity to conduct research on campus or on a research trip across the country.


Ever wonder how the constellations got their names, or how the Earth moves in relation to the sky? Our planetarium shows offer an unobstructed view of our night sky and the stars scattered across it. With faculty experts presenting at each show, groups can learn more about our place in the universe in a cozy indoor environment.  

photo of student at planetarium


Take a peek at distant planets, observe astronomical phenomenons and learn more about the worlds outside our own through observatory shows presented by the department. Throughout the school year families, clubs and visitors can come to the roof of McCollum Science Hall for a fun and informative evening with faculty and students at our observatory telescope.

photo of student at observatory

Latham Hall

Latham Hall is home to the department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Throughout the building are historical and interpretive displays featuring the work of faculty and students, and some impressive geological and historical samples — like our T-Rex skull and featured fossils – plus tools such as real time weather monitoring equipment and advanced microscopes.

latham hall shown behind some blooming pink flowers

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