Welcome to the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at UCR

Earth and Planetary Sciences

UCR’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences focuses on research and education about Earth dynamics and history, planets inside and outside of our solar system, and life in the universe. Students and faculty investigate planetary, geological, atmospheric, and dynamical processes operating at a wide range of spatial and temporal scales and our research interests span many disciplines within the Earth and Planetary Sciences.

Our Faculty

April 2021

Following the events of last summer, the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences (EPS) has taken several concrete steps towards developing a more inclusive and equitable environment for our students, staff and faculty. These include:

  • Forming a formal diversity, equity and inclusion committee within EPS
  • Eliminating the GRE requirement for graduate student admissions
  • Establishing a new weekly undergraduate seminar, ‘Your Future in Earth and Planetary Sciences’ in which we explore students’ career and graduate school possibilities, meet with working professionals, and provide practical advice and skills development
  • Hosting a college-wide screening and discussion of the movie ‘Picture A Scientist’ in which issues of equity and representation in science are examined
  • Devoting multiple faculty meetings to training from the UCR Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
  • Submitting proposals to UC systemwide HSI and HBCU calls that aim to increase diversity in our graduate student intake
  • Participation of over 50 faculty, postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students from EPS and Environmental Sciences in the NSF-sponsored program Unlearning Racism in Geoscience (URGE), reading research and producing actionable strategies to promote anti-racism

These actions are the start of what will be an ongoing process, and we realize that we need to continue to make improvements in the months and years to come. Our overarching goal is to implement policies and programs meant to improve Accessibility, Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (AJEDI) both in EPS and in the field of Geosciences as a whole. We thank you for your support, feedback and continuing participation in these efforts in the future.

September 2020

The Faculty of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of California, Riverside are happy to announce that we will no longer accept the GRE for consideration of admission to our graduate program. 

This change is being implemented for the current round of graduate student applications, due in January 2021, for admission in Fall 2021.

We have moved to make this change for several reasons. The GRE is ineffective as an assessment of graduate student potential, and penalizes students from less advantaged backgrounds: 

  • Published research suggests that there is little correlation between GRE scores and graduate student success. 
  • The GRE exam is expensive (>$200) and difficult to take (requiring a stable internet connection and webcam), which can deter students from less advantaged backgrounds from applying.
  • As with other standardized tests, applicants with greater financial resources can often gain an unfair advantage – by enrolling in test prep courses, and/or paying to take the GRE multiple times.  

We are replacing the GRE requirement with a holistic assessment of applicants' skills, characteristics and experiences, aimed at selecting for attributes that we value in our graduate students (e.g. creativity, curiosity, perseverance) that are not assessed via standardized testing.  Further details will be provided in the Graduate Program pages on our website. We hope that this more equitable assessment method will encourage applications to our graduate program from applicants of all backgrounds. 

June 2020

Dear Students and the UCR community:

The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at UC Riverside fully supports the UCR Demands to Administration – Call to Action sent to Chancellor Kim Wilcox and members of the UCR administration by the Black Student Union, SASI, ASUCR, the Queer Alliance, and more than 60 other campus communities on May 31, 2020. We strongly condemn systematic racism and we stand in solidarity with all who endorsed the Call to Action in grief, pain, and frustration with anti-black police violence. Staying silent and inactive is not an option. We accept that we must take immediate action to reflect on our behaviors and examine the existing structures that have worked against the best efforts of underrepresented individuals. We commit to growing an anti-racist academic community in our department, on our campus, and in the field of Earth and Planetary Science research.

We are currently engaged in developing a set of actions we, as a department, need to take to thoughtfully confront issues of inequity and underrepresentation. We will report these in the coming weeks.


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