Recent reports at the state, national, and international level have called for increased earthquake and tsunami education to increase knowledge of the causes of these hazards, risks from these hazards, and preparedness measures to reduce risk and increase resilience to these hazards. One recommended approach to meet this need is to integrate earthquake and tsunami education into instruction in the K-12 school system. However, there is also a need for a strong theoretical basis for what constitutes effective earthquake and tsunami education. The current study contributes to this theoretical basis by examining middle school students’ knowledge and beliefs of earthquake and tsunami through the lens of conceptual change theory. Using the lens of conceptual change theory, students’ science knowledge, preparedness knowledge, epistemic beliefs, and ontological beliefs of earthquake and tsunami were examined using multiple data collection instruments that required multiple response modes including textual, graphical, and verbal responses. Several prominent patterns and themes were identified in the students’ responses that can inform the content and pedagogy of earthquake and tsunami education. Study results indicate that conceptual change theory is a valuable lens for examining students’ knowledge and beliefs of earthquake and tsunami awareness and preparedness and has potential for examining students’ knowledge and beliefs of other important socioscientific issues.