Carnegie investigators are leaders in the fields of  astronomy, Earth & planetary science, genetics & developmental biology, global ecology, matter at extreme states, and plant science. Carnegie's research is conducted by some 80 investigators; a constantly changing roster of students, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting investigators; with a dedicated support staff of instrument builders and technicians, business administrators, facilities staff, and more.

The work is currently conducted at six research departments. However, as announced in December of 2019, the Geophysical Laboratory and Department of Terrestrial Magnetism will be merging. 

The Department of Embryology, in Baltimore, MD, (Genetics & Developmental Biology); Yixian Zheng, Director

The Geophysical Laboratory, in Washington, DC, (Earth & Planetary Science and Matter at Extreme States); Michael Walter,  Director

The Department of Global Ecology, in Stanford, CA, (Global Ecology); Joe Berry, Acting Director

The Observatories, in Pasadena, CA, (Astronomy); John Mulchaey, Director

The Department of Plant Biology, in Stanford, CA, (Plant Science); Zhiyong Wang, Acting Director

 The Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, in Washington, DC, (Astronomy & Earth and Planetary Science); Rick Carlson, Director