What can you do with an Earth and Space Science degree?
A lot! The broad, interdisciplinary field of earth sciences offers careers in many areas, including resource management, environmental protection, urban and rural planning, and geotechnical consulting. An ESS degree equips students with analytical skills, problem solving skills, communication skills, experience in teamwork, and solid grounding in science -- all valuable in today's job market. Profiles of some recent graduates of the UW ESS Department can be found on our alumni page. The American Geophysical Union (AGU) also publishes interviews with professionals in a variety of geosciences-related fields.
Types of Careers
An ESS degree can lead to a variety of careers. For example, a petroleumgeologist may explore for oil and natural gas resources and a geochemistmay investigate major and trace elements in ground water. Here is just asample of careers in the geosciences:
- Economic Geologist
- Elementary Science Teacher
- Environmental Consultant
- Environmental Engineer
- Environmental Lawyer
- Forest Ranger
- Geotechnical Engineer
- Marine Advisor
- Marine Geologist/Physicist
- Land Use Planner
- Landscape Architect
- Mining Engineer
- Parks and Natural Resource Manager
- Peace Corps Worker
- Petroleum Engineer/Geologist
- Planetary Geologist
- Pollution Control Specialist
- Secondary Science Teacher
- Soil Scientist
- Structural Geologist
- Science Writer
- Urban Planner
- Water Quality Control Technician
Students interested in geology positions are encouraged to learn more about the process for becoming a licensed geologist. Students considering a career in secondary science education are encouraged to review the requirements for a Secondary Teaching Endorsement in Earth & Space Sciences for UW's Secondary Teacher Education Program
Finding Internships and Jobs
Students can learn about internships and volunteer opportunities in the public sector (non-profit, government, education) by contacting the Carlson Leadership & Public Service Center. Students can learn about internship opportunities in business and industry by visiting HuskyJobs or the UW Career & Internship Center website. The ESS Department shares internship and job postings via our LinkedIn group. The UW College of the Environment maintains a career opportunities page and brings potential employers to campus for an annual Environmental Career Fair. Many professional organizations also offer internship or training opportunities and provide internship/job listings on their websites.
UW Career & Internship Center
The UW Career & Internship Center is located in Mary Gates Hall room 141 and offers a number of free services for current undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and recent alumni including one-on-one career counseling; strength exploration exercises; internship and job search assistance; resume, CV, and cover letter reviews; mock interviews; career-related workshops, labs, and meetups; career fairs; employer/networking events; and credit-bearing career planning and strategy classes.
Geoscience Career Resources
Local Companies That Employ Geologists
Internship Cover Letter Sample and Writing Tips
If you are applying for an internship, you will likely have to submit a cover letter as part of your application. Your cover letter should be tailored to the specific internship, and should include examples from your work, academic, and extracurricular experiences.
Read below for tips on writing an internship cover letter, and review a sample cover letter for an internship.
Tips for Writing an Internship Cover Letter
Use business letter format. Use proper business letter format when sending a cover letter by mail.
Include your contact information at the top, the date, and the contact information for the employer. Be sure to provide a proper salutation, and sign your name at the bottom. If you are sending the cover letter via email, you do not have to include the contact information at the top, or the handwritten signature at the bottom.
Individualize your cover letter. Make sure to write a unique cover letter for each internship you apply for. Highlight skills and abilities you have that relate to the specific internship listing. The main emphasis of your cover letter should be convincing the reader that you will be an asset as an intern.
Use keywords. One way to individualize your letter is to use keywords from the internship listing. For example, if the listing says the intern needs to have excellent “time management skills,” include an example of how you have demonstrated time management skills in the past.
Provide specific examples. If you say that you have a particular skill or ability in your cover letter, be sure to prove this with a specific example from your past work, academic, or extracurricular experience.
Emphasize your academic experience. In the letter, you can mention academic experience, if applicable.
Especially if you have limited work experience, you might use examples for school to demonstrate that you have particular skills. For example, if the internship requires you to work as part of a team, provide an example of a successful team project you worked on.
Include extracurricular experiences. You can also include details about your relevant experience from extracurricular activities or volunteer work. For example, a reporter for a college newspaper can point to interviewing and writing skills; a history of volunteering at a shelter can provide an example of strong interpersonal and organizational skills.
Follow up. Towards the end of your letter, say how you will follow up with the employer. You might say that you will call the office to follow up in about a week (don't follow up any sooner). However, do not include this if the internship listing specifically says not to contact the office.
Edit, edit, edit. Be sure to thoroughly proofread your cover letter for spelling and grammar errors. Many internships are very competitive, and any error can hurt your chances of getting an interview.
Internship Cover Letter Sample
Use the sample cover letter below as a guideline to get you started.
You can copy the layout of the letter, and even look at the content of the letter for ideas for your own letter. However, be sure to revise the sample to fit your specific experiences and the internship you are applying for.
Your City, State, Zip Code
City, State Zip
Dear Ms. LastName,
I am writing to apply for the scientific research summer internship position that was listed through the XYZ University Career Services Office. I believe my research and conservation experience make me an ideal candidate.
I have had a great deal of research experience in chemistry, biology, and geology, both in the lab and in the field. Most of my experience is in environmental field studies. I am currently conducting research in our school's outdoor laboratory to assess the water quality of a nearby pond.
I know water quality assessment is a component of this internship, and I know my previous experience makes me a prime candidate for this.
Last summer, I worked as a conservation assistant at the National Trust's Clumber Park. Along with trail maintenance and building, I also served as a research assistant for the research organization at the park. I conducted analysis of soil samples, and input data from various research projects. I received a special commendation from the director of the research organization for my attention to detail and dedication to research.
I believe that I would be an asset to your program. This internship would provide me with the ideal opportunity to assist your organization and to expand my research skills.
I will call next week to see if you agree that my qualifications seem to be a match for the position. If so, I hope to schedule an interview at a mutually convenient time. I look forward to speaking with you.
Thank you for your consideration,
Signature(hard copy letter)
Sending an Email Cover Letter
If you're sending your cover letter via email, your format will be slightly different than a traditional letter. List your name and the job title in the subject line of the email message. Include your contact information in your email signature, and don't list the employer contact information (also don’t list your contact information at the top of the message). Start your email message with the salutation. Here's an example of a formatted email cover letter.
Read More: More Sample Cover Letters | Cover Letters Listed by Job | Salutation Examples