Geoscience is the study of our planet, its lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere. Geoscientists use their expertise to monitor changes in the environment, gain a greater understanding of our natural world, predict and evaluate how human activities may contribute to environmental change, and manage Earth’s resources. The study of geoscience provides strong preparation for a variety of careers in government, industry and academia, including environmental consulting; weather forecasting; natural hazards impact assessment; natural resource management; environmental law; petroleum exploration; science teaching; science journalism; and research in geology, hydrology, climatology, and meteorology.

The Geoscience Department offers a variety of courses spanning areas of geology, hydrology, and atmospheric science. In addition to taking formal courses, most geoscience students undertake undergraduate research through independent study and honors courses or as internships. Course instruction and research are strongly augmented by fieldwork in the Finger Lakes region, as well as other locations around the world.

Student Resources

Student Profile: Bethany Kharrazi '21

Bethany Kharrazi '21

Major: Geoscience
Minor: English

“It’s really nice to apply my knowledge from the classroom in a hands-on setting. When I first came to HWS, the idea of conducting research seemed so hard and daunting. Now that I had the opportunity to do it with a great professor, I can definitely see myself doing it for the rest of my life.”

Meet Our Faculty

Through field-based coursework and research collaborations with the Geoscience faculty, you will gain exciting new knowledge from experts in the discipline. Scroll below to meet our team of scientists, scholars, innovators and above all, dedicated teachers.

Geoscience News

Diving into Oceanography

Tue, 02 Mar 2021

First-Year Seminar Meetings KColtonHWS students share their discoveries from this winter’s exploration of the physical, chemical, geological and biological processes and patterns governing Earth’s oceans. During an intensive two-week course over winter break, Associate…

Discover Magazine features Laird on Wind Chill

Mon, 01 Mar 2021

Laird_Neil in Office035Professor of Geoscience Neil Laird, an expert in atmospheric sciences, explains the concept of wind chill in an article this month in Discover magazine. Wind chill measurements reflect the extra bite felt…

NSF Awards HWS $500K Grant to Study Lake-Effect Snow

Fri, 12 Feb 2021

Doppler Truck 0084The National Science Foundation will support Hobart and William Smith’s atmospheric science research with a grant of more than $500,000, the second award of that size in the past year.…

More Geoscience News

Spotlight: Recent Grad

Recent Grad

Jonas Toupal '19

Current Position: Earth and Environmental Science PhD Candidate, University of Pennsylvania

Current Location: Philadelphia, Pa.

Majors: Geoscience and Planetary Science

View Full Profile

Sample Courses

Class Complete Course List

Intro to Meteorology
The influence of weather and climate affect our daily activities, our leisure hours, transportation, commerce, agriculture, and nearly every aspect of our lives. Take an in-depth look at many of the fundamental aspects of the atmosphere needed to understand severe weather and factors influencing climate.