Professor Erich Osterberg: "Given the urgency to understand and mitigate climate change, training the next generation of polar scientists is as important to us as our research."

Forget your image of a classroom. Whether you're drilling ice cores at Occom Pond, using Shattuck Observatory to explore galaxy formation, or scuba diving off the coast of Little Cayman Island, experiential learning will define your studies. Under the mentorship of faculty on the cutting edge of their fields, you'll participate in innovative research that pushes the boundaries of established knowledge. Soon, you'll see every corner of the campus, and the world, as your laboratory.

Our Faculty of Physical & Life Sciences Say:

Photo of professor Devin Walker in front of a chalk board

Professor Devin Walker

“When I was first studying science, I found it really exciting that you could predict certain events. Think of the universe as speaking a language, or making music. There’s always the question of what kind of song is being played. That song is the motion of galaxies, and physicists try to figure out what that song is.”

Learn more about Devin Walker, Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy
A photo of professor Miles Blencowe

Miles Blencowe

"I have always found teaching to be inseparable from the research; discussing concepts in class or one-on-one during office hours often leads to new ideas for research projects. The learning goes both ways."

Learn more about Miles Blencowe, the Eleanor and A. Kelvin Smith Distinguished Professor in Physics
A photo of professor Carl Renshaw

Carl Renshaw

"I am constantly incorporating new tools and technology we are developing to monitor river processes into my courses. Advances in technology will enable students to gain more direct insight into hydrologic processes, allowing them to make their own discoveries."

Learn more about Carl Renshaw, Professor of Earth Sciences, Adjunct Professor, Thayer School of Engineering, and the Evans Family Distinguished Professor

Cool Classes

Dartmouth creates a rich academic culture imbued with critical thinking and creativity, one that promotes experimentation, reflection, learning, and leadership. But don't take our word for it. We asked our students to tell us about some of their favorite physical and life sciences courses.

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Physical & Life Sciences Alumni

Nobel laureates, government leaders, judges, scientists, writers, scholars, journalists, entertainers-Dartmouth alumni have distinguished themselves in all fields. Here are some notable alumni in the arts and performing arts making a difference in the world.

Learn More About Our Alumni

Study the Physical & Life Sciences Off Campus

At Dartmouth, we have taken the traditional study abroad model, erased its boundaries, and expanded its parameters. Study abroad here is not an isolated semester in another country. Arranged through Dartmouth's Frank J. Guarini Institute for International Education, these powerful learning experiences are enhanced through faculty mentorship. The curriculum and structure of the school year allow students to follow their research around the world.

Dartmouth's Global Impact
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  • Biological Sciences

    Bachelor of Arts

    Biology helps us understand the big picture. The study of biology connects us to the world we are living in and reminds us of our interconnectedness with all other life forms.

    Students studying Biological Sciences at Dartmouth find diverse disciplines, prestigious faculty with a breadth of experience, and next-generation resources. Undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty collaborate on laboratory research, fieldwork, and publications with real-world applications. Faculty are committed to providing students with a broad exposure to biological processes and systems, as well as a deep understanding of biology at environmental, organismal, cellular, and molecular levels. Majors develop an in-depth understanding within an area of concentration, non-majors explore research methods and approaches in the life sciences, and many students enjoy opportunities to pursue research in faculty laboratories.

  • Chemistry

    Bachelor of Arts

    Chemistry is the study of energy and matter and the interaction between them. It is sometimes called the "central science" because it connects other sciences—such as biology, physics, geology and environmental science—to each other.

    Dartmouth's Chemistry Department combines the personalized instruction and mentoring of a small college with the expertise of a research university. Students majoring in chemistry can choose from five different course options, including biophysical or biological chemistry and the more and less structured plan A and B majors, while modified majors can also be crafted. The chemistry minor can be satisfied with only two courses beyond the standard premed requirements. Many undergraduate research opportunities are available to undergraduate students, and chemistry students are frequent winners of awards and honors for their research and scholarship.

  • Climate Science


    Dartmouth's new Climate Science minor bridges the gap between four departments of study: Biology, Earth Sciences, Environmental Studies, and Geography. The Climate Science minor seeks to explore questions concerning the future of our world's climate and the impact of climate change on international society. This minor, through rigorous training in climate science, will prepare students for an interdisciplinary career or graduate program that requires substantive knowledge of the climate system.

    At Dartmouth, courses within the Climate Science minor will be taught by faculty members from various departments to ensure that students have a comprehensive understanding of the subject. Classes examining the effects of climate change will analyze the future of water resources, floods, climate extremes, and agricultural production. This minor will require students to take introductory, breadth, quantitative, and upper-division culminating courses. By taking a wide array of courses, students will have both breadth and depth of knowledge in climate science upon their graduation from Dartmouth College. 

  • Computer Science

    Bachelor of Arts

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    Computer science empowers students to recognize that computational techniques apply to diverse problems and also to determine which techniques apply in a given situation. It teaches students to develop models, abstractions, and representations of information, and to design and implement efficient and elegant solutions to computational problems. It instills the fundamentals of computer architectures, programming languages, and operating systems, thereby enabling students to stay abreast of changes in approaches and technology.

    The undergraduate curriculum in Computer Science at Dartmouth is designed to equip students with the tools necessary not only to fully comprehend modern computational technologies (software and hardware), but also—and more importantly—to innovate in this exciting space, enabling students to develop new technologies that improve the world around them.

  • Earth Science

    Bachelor of Arts

    Earth Science involves the study of physical, chemical, and biological processes of the earth over time. Students who study Earth Science find opportunities in the environmental, engineering, mining, teaching, exploration and geophysics fields, and in hydrology, space science and oceanography.

    The Department of Earth Sciences (EARS) at Dartmouth is devoted to the study of the natural world in which we live. Working with a tightknit faculty, students take courses and pursue research under the broad category of 'environmental geosciences'. Research in EARS combines field studies with laboratory-based and theoretical studies of fundamental processes affecting the Earth's surface through geologic time. Undergraduate students play a visible and important role in the department, both in departmental research and life.

  • Environmental Studies

    Bachelor of Arts

    The field of Environmental Studies views the earth, and humanity's place in it, as a set of complex, interacting socio-ecological systems. Gaining an understanding of this complexity involves drawing on concepts and methods from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities as complementary lenses through which to view these systems. Environmental Studies also seeks to overcome the limitations of any one of these perspectives by applying innovative approaches that integrate traditional disciplines in new and productive ways.

    The faculty and curriculum of the Department of Environmental Studies (ENVS) at Dartmouth motivate and prepare students to rise to the challenges and opportunities associated with human-environment interactions. Environmental degradation is an escalating problem from local to global scales. Training students to understand and address these environmental problems is the core mission of ENVS, and it is the basis of the belief that environmental studies is an essential component of a modern liberal arts education.

  • Mathematics

    Bachelor of Arts

    Mathematics is an amazing and beautiful intellectual creation, one of the human race's deepest endeavors. The world around us and the future world we are creating is woven through with mathematics—from the symmetry groups of Navajo weavings to the airflow around a flapping bird's wing and to the security of global computer networks. Mathematics is everywhere.

    The Mathematics Department at Dartmouth is a place to learn about and investigate unsolved problems and mind-bending concepts. The major in mathematics is intended both for students who plan careers in mathematics and related fields and also for those who simply find mathematics interesting. The content of the major is flexible, and courses may be selected to reflect student interests. Students who major in mathematics have the opportunity to work in close collaboration with faculty through small seminars and independent research projects.

  • Physics and Astronomy

    Bachelor of Arts

    The study of physics gives students the chance to probe the workings of the universe, from the smallest elementary particles to the largest cosmological scales. Astronomy is not a mere subfield of physics, but a truly interdisciplinary quest to understand the universe.

    The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Dartmouth is a community of over 100 undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, and faculty conducting world-leading research in a wide range of fields. The physics major quickly takes students from the basic laws of mechanics to advanced and special topics in physics during sophomore or junior year. Problems in modern astronomy require a diversified background in the sciences, thus astronomy courses include high energy astrophysics, general relativity and gravitation, and more. Graduate level courses are likewise open to qualified undergraduates.