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The Department of Earth, Marine and Environmental Sciences (EMES) at UNC-CH advances understanding of the earth and ocean processes that govern our planet, shape diverse ecosystems, sustain life, and drive environmental change. We promote exploration and discovery of the natural world by engaging students in research-based learning at all levels. Our graduates are equipped with the strong science foundation, critical thinking skills, and interdisciplinary perspectives required to tackle current and future environmental and resource challenges. We encourage engaged service that translates knowledge for the public good. We support a welcoming and inclusive environment, foster diverse identities and perspectives, and encourage collaboration with all segments of society.


We are a community representing diverse specialties, backgrounds, and views, united by a shared interest in being lifelong students and stewards of our planet. We believe our mission is best fulfilled through these core values:

  1. Pursuing the highest standard of scientific investigation and scholarship based on ethical research founded in the scientific method
  2. Challenging our students and ourselves to seek new insights into the function of Earth’s systems, in order to advance both foundational and practical scientific knowledge
  3. Translating research into technologies, products, policy and capacity to mutually benefit society and our planet
  4. Perpetuating a culture of mutual respect and free exchange of ideas among students, staff, teachers, researchers, and our communities, in order to best serve the scientific interests (both public and academic) of the university, the State of North Carolina, and the nation.


Building on our rich history of diverse research along the land to ocean continuum and proven commitment to helping students become future scientific leaders, we aim to grow our current and future programs. In doing so, we will address pressing issues within the foundations of natural science and at the intersections of the environment and society. To do this we aim to:

  • Pursue inquiry-driven learning, with emphasis on both core knowledge and emerging fields of data science and instrumentation;
  • Grow our current research strengths, while broadening research in atmospheric and climate sciences;
  • Build a robust set of introductory courses relevant to every student at Carolina, in order to foster a community of scholars well-versed in the connections between our planet and society;
  • Better facilitate the application of research outcomes to directly address critical environmental problems; and
  • Expand our diversity to reflect a cross section of the nation in background, culture, ideas, and vision.