About the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

The School of Earth and Environmental Sciences is a scientific community that studies the Earth and its neighbours in space. The School aims to provide a diverse, inclusive environment which fosters open-minded critical thinking and debate, and is committed to creating a scientifically literate and informed society. The School welcomes everyone who shares these aspirations.

Our aspiration is to be one of the finest Earth and Environmental Science programmes in the world. We have the long-term vision of continuing to broaden our academic gamut via adopting a broad Earth system approach to addressing the evolution of the solid Earth, the oceanic and atmospheric interactions with it, and how such interactions have shaped our planet and its life over billions of years. We aspire to undertake the highest quality research to understand how our planet operates, both now and in the past, and in order to address the great challenges of the present and future. We embed this research ethic into all of our teaching to prepare our students to be the intellectual leaders that society will need to address the critical challenges of climate change and resourcing the green technology needed to address it. Detailed information is provided in the Strategic plan 2021-2026 (PDF) .


Research within the School is both curiosity driven, addressing profound questions about the co-evolution of Earth and life, and applied, delivering societal and economic impact. It spans recent environmental change to planetary formation, underpinned by state-of-the-art analytical and field capabilities. 


The School of Earth and Environmental Sciences is ranked consistently as one of the top UK undergraduate programmes, with leading student satisfaction and an outstanding employability record (The Complete University Guide 2020). Earth Sciences at St Andrews spans topics from the current climate change to the formation of the planets, integrating chemistry, physics, and biology to understand the world around us. Over 25 members of staff teach undergraduate and postgraduate taught courses as well as provide research supervision.  


Underpinning the School’s research are outstanding analytical facilities supported by full-time technicians. The School has many laboratories specialising in:

  • Biogeomagnetism
  • Biomineralisation
  • Experimental petrology
  • Geobiology and culturing
  • Geochronology
  • Geophysics and field deployment
  • Isotope and trace element geochemistry
  • Luminescence Dating Laboratories
  • Microscopy, spectroscopy and imaging
  • Rock Magnetics


Earth Sciences at St Andrews dates to the 17th century, a rich tradition that shapes the School's vision for the future: to define the cutting edge of Earth, environmental, and planetary science, and deliver unparalleled student education. The School has undergone an exciting phase of expansion, with new staff, laboratory development, and enhanced student numbers, degree options, and research funding.