Geology

What Is It?:

Geology focuses on how and why the Earth has evolved. Students study natural and artificial environmental processes and learn how those processes can be improved. Additionally, students study the history of the earth and see how humans have brought about change, for better or for worse. Geology is concerned with the entire physical makeup of the earth, and many specializations are available.

There are two majors offered:

Specialized Curriculum in Geology and Geophysics: designed for students who plan to pursue graduate study in geology or geophysics or who wish to work professionally in the environmental field upon obtaining the bachelor's degree. It consists of geology, geophysics, and environmental geology concentrations, and offers more training in geology and related science than is required in the Sciences and Letters Curriculum

Sciences and Letters Curriculum: designed for students who want a more flexible course of study than is provided by the Specialized Curriculum in Geology and Geophysics. It may be used by those wishing to obtain a more liberal education and/or background in geology for use in fields such as anthropology, business, mineral economics, regional planning, journalism, law, sales, or library and information science. It is not intended to prepare a student for graduate work in the geological sciences unless the student selects additional courses in mathematics, chemistry, and physics comparable to those required in the Specialized Geology and Geophysics Curriculum

For more information, please visit the Department of Geology

Concentrations:

Within the Science and Letters Curriculum, there are three concentrations available:

  • Geology: designed for students who want a more flexible course of study than is provided by the specialized curriculum . It may be used by those wishing to obtain a more liberal education and/or a background in geology for use in fields such as anthropology, business, mineral economics, regional planning, journalism, law, sales, or library and information science. 
  • Earth and Environmental Sciences: designed for students who want a flexible course of study in preparing an interdisciplinary foundation for careers in many different areas including environmental law, business administration, land-use planning, the National Park Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, journalism, and many others. It emphasizes applied aspects of earth and environmental sciences including: natural disasters, earth resources, global change, environmental health, waste disposal, landscape evaluation, and land-use planning. Environmental processes and issues, as well as their implications for public policy, are addressed on a regional to global scale. 
  • Earth Science Teaching: designed for students preparing to teach earth science or general science as their major area of specialization. Students must complete the Teacher Education Minor in Secondary School Teaching (37 hours). 

Courses That Introduce the Major:

  • CHEM 102/103—General Chemistry I/ Lab
  • GEOL 107—Physical Geology

Students should consult with an academic advisor regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period. 

Possible Career Opportunities:

  • Aerial Photographer
  • Agricultural Engineer
  • Astronomer
  • Consultant
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Environmental Geologist
  • Forest Ranger
  • Geodynamicist
  • Geologist
  • Geomorphologist
  • Geophysical Exploration
  • Geophysics Technician
  • Geo-Technical Engineer
  • Hydrogeologist
  • Industrial Hygienist
  • Landscape/Nursery Manager
  • Materials Analyst
  • National Park Service Professional
  • Oceanographer
  • Paleoceanographer
  • Paleoclimatologist
  • Paleontologist
  • Petroleum Geologist
  • Petrologist
  • Planetary Geologist
  • Seismologist
  • Soil Scientist
  • Stratigrapher
  • Structural Geologist
  • Surveyor

Common Career Titles Related to this Major:

(Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree)

  • Cartographer
  • Economic Geologist
  • Geophysicist
  • Glacial Geologist
  • Hydrologist
  • Mineralogist
  • Oceanographer
  • Petroleum Engineer
  • Prospector
  • Volcanologist 

Enhancing Your Academic Experience:

Related Skills:

  • Ability to conduct/clearly explain scientific research
  • Ability to make appropriate decisions and solve quantitative problems
  • Ability to work with people from varied backgrounds
  • Intellectual capacity to perform well in college
  • Physical stamina, good vision, and manual dexterity
  • Proficiency in reading, writing and memorization
  • Thorough knowledge of geological principles and mathematics

Further Information:

For more information on what you can do with a major in Geology, visit The Career Center’s webpage: What Can I Do With This Major.

There are several professional organizations dedicated to Geology.  Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of Geology.  These organizations include Geological Society of America, American Geophysical Union, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

For more information on the classes needed for a degree in Geology, visit Undergraduate Programs.