Earth and Sky - SUNY Cortland

Earth and Sky

A Science First Program


Earth and Sky is a unique opportunity for first-year students at SUNY Cortland to take classes together as a group interested in exploring the natural sciences. Classes are small and students and faculty work together.

This is a chance to get started at Cortland in a positive way, satisfying several college requirements and working together with a number of similarly interested students.

The Program

Earth and Sky is not a major, but a way of grouping courses with overlapping interests together into a first semester program. The courses focus on the natural, earth, and environmental sciences and space science.

The program is taught by a mixture of senior and junior faculty with backgrounds in a variety of subjects. All courses are entry level for freshman and the only prerequisite is an interest in science and a desire to strengthen ones mathematical, observational, and technological skills.


  • GLY 261: Physical Geology
  • PHY 150: Astronomy
  • EST 100: Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • COR 101: The Cortland Experience: A First Year Seminar

View from space

Advantages of Science First

  • Classes are small and Earth and Sky students matriculate together, sharing their experiences across several courses.
  • Students satisfy all-college general education requirements in natural sciences.
  • Faculty are more accessible and are in a better position to advise students on the course of their educational path. 

Who should enroll in the program?

You should! This is a one-semester experience designed for students just out of high school. The topics are interesting and you will satisfy some important college requirements in the first semester. Students enjoy being able to take classes with the same group of students and with highly motivated faculty.

Earth and Sky Faculty

Brice SmithBrice Smith, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Chair
Physics Department
Bowers Hall, Room 342
Fax: 607-753-4973


Gayle GleasonGayle Gleason, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Structural Geology/Experimental Rock Deformation
Geology Department
Bowers Hall, Room 325
Fax: 607-753-4973