The disciplines of the geosciences and the environment are developing at the frontiers of the exact, experimental and social sciences; they are, fundamentally, interdisciplinary and, for some of them, transdisciplinary.
Geology is a natural science. Geography is at the interface of the natural and social sciences, due to its physical and societal orientations. Within these disciplines, the Faculty of Geosciences and Environment is interested in the co-evolution of people with their environment, at scales ranging from the nano- to the planetary, with a particular focus on Alpine environments and urban metropoli. The effects on human, animal and plant species are also part of the Faculty’s research fields. Such developments can only be achieved through a grounding in fundamental research undertaken at the very highest level. The Environment considers all the fields of geosciences, ranging from issues of environmental philosophy, to the concerns of ecotoxicology while also considering the analysis of environmental risks.
The Faculty offers a fully comprehensive education in the three disciplines: Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, from the first year of the Bachelor and Master to the PhD. These courses are part of the "Bologna Process" European programs. The Faculty delivers PhDs in Geosciences and Environment with specific honors and proposes postgraduate studies in the form of a Master of Advanced Studies for professional purposes.
The FGSE courses prepare students for careers as practitioners and researchers in industry and public services. The courses also prepare students to teach Geography in secondary schools I and II.
Continued education is also one of the FGSE’s goals.
The Faculty’s research is structured around a suite of laboratories and institutes equipped with cutting-edge technology. The research is supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation, by local, national and European foundations as well as by private industry. The Faculty also undertakes in educational outreach and research in emerging countries.