Geology is the study of the Earth. It is an applied science that integrates principles from physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, and other disciplines to better understand the natural processes and human influences that shape our planet. Geology helps people deduce Earth’s natural history, locate natural resources needed to support society, develop sustainable approaches to energy and resource management, and predict, assess, and manage global change and natural disasters.
Employment opportunities for geologists are numerous and varied. Examples include environmental and engineering consulting firms, energy exploration and production firms, mineral and metal industries, municipal, state, and federal governments, natural resource conservation organizations, and water authorities. Many students go on to graduate school in the geosciences, environmental sciences, or related fields. Geology is a professional degree and state certification as a Registered Professional Geologist is obtainable. Given the various career options that are possible, students are provided the opportunity to develop a broad range of skills and knowledge within the Geology program.
The Geology curriculum provides students with a well-rounded background in geology and related fields and is built around three critical themes: (1) appreciation for spatial and temporal scales, (2) knowledge of earth materials and compositions of environmental systems, and (3) understanding of geological and environmental processes. While providing solid fundamentals within science and engineering, the Geology program is also flexible, allowing students to choose among many electives to tailor their education to specific interests and career goals. The program has been carefully designed to help students develop quantitative and other critical skills, while familiarizing them with the topics, technologies, and resources needed for a variety of career paths in the geosciences. As students progress through the program they have multiple opportunities to enhance their skills of observation, computation, synthesis, communication and problem solving. Because Geology is inherently a field-based discipline, all students are required to take one or more courses that provide them with field experience. All Geology majors also participate in a multi-semester research program that provides them with hands-on experiences conducting geologic research and solving real-world problems in their chosen area of interest. It is also possible for Geology majors to pursue the Engineering Cluster Minor; students interested in this pathway should consult with their advisor early in their program of study.
Within the Geology curriculum, students who are particularly interested in environmental or water resources issues may choose to specialize in the Environmental Science Concentration or the Hydrogeology Concentration. These two concentrations provide more structured course pathways through the curriculum and help prepare students for careers in these specific areas. The Environmental Science Concentration in Geology focuses on environmental aspects of geoscience and is well suited for students interested in topics such as environmental policy, natural hazard assessment and remediation, evaluation of land use impacts, understanding geochemical cycles, and environmental systems analysis. This concentration provides a rigorous background in the sciences so that students can scientifically address environmental issues and integrate material from several fields to solve complex environmental problems. The Hydrogeology Concentration in Geology is designed for students who want to specialize in areas such as surface- and ground-water systems, treatment of water and cleanup of contaminated sites, contaminant flow and fluid transport, and water resource sustainability.
Combined Bachelor of Science to Master of Science Program
Qualified students can reduce the time to earn a master’s degree in Hydrogeology by applying graduate credits to both the bachelor’s and master’s degree program requirements. Undergraduate Geology students who have earned a grade-point average of 3.4 or higher and completed 90 credits can begin work toward a Master of Science in Hydrogeology by selecting approved graduate courses. Details are available in the Geology Undergraduate Handbook.
- Field Experience 6 Credits 5
1 See General Education Requirements . Three of these credit hours must also satisfy the Cross-Cultural Awareness Requirement.
2 Twenty-five credits are required, with no more than 14 credits of courses below the 3000 level and no more than eight credits of courses below the 2000 level. Select from courses in ASTR, BCHM (except BCHM 4910 , BCHM 4920 or BCHM 4930 ), BE (except BE 1990 , BE 2990 , BE 3000 , BE 3010 , BE 3700 , BE 3990 , BE 4000 , BE 4510 , BE 4730 or BE 4990 ), BIOE (except BIOE 4000 , BIOE 4510 , BIOE 4600 , BIOE 4610 , BIOE 4690 , BIOE 4900 or BIOE 4910 ), BIOL (except BIOL 3940 , BIOL 4910 , BIOL 4920 , BIOL 4930 , BIOL 4940 or BIOL 4950 ), CE (except CE 1990 , CE 2990 , CE 3530 , CE 3870 , CE 3880 , CE 3890 , CE 3990 , CE 4870 , CE 4880 , CE 4890 , CE 4900 or CE 4990 ), CH (except CH 1990 , CH 2990 , CH 3990 , CH 4430 , CH 4440 , CH 4500 or CH 4990 ), CHE (except CHE 3000 , CHE 3950 , CHE 3990 , CHE 4430 , CHE 4440 , CHE 4950 , CHE 4970 or CHE 4990 ), ECE (except ECE 1990 , ECE 2990 , ECE 3000 , ECE 3990 , ECE 4910 , ECE 4920 or ECE 4990 ), EES (except EES 3000 , EES 3010 , EES 4000 , EES 4500 , EES 4510 , EES 4900 or EES 4950 ), ETOX, GEOL, IE (except IE 2680 , IE 3000 , IE 4000 , IE 4040 or IE 4690 ), MATH (except MATH 2990 , MATH 3820 , MATH 3990 , MATH 4810 , MATH 4820 , MATH 4910 , MATH 4920 or MATH 4990 ), ME (except ME 2900 , ME 3000 , ME 3900 , ME 4000 , ME 4020 , ME 4150 or ME 4900 ), MICR (except MICR 3940 , MICR 4910 , MICR 4920 , MICR 4930 , MICR 4940 or MICR 4950 ), MSE (except MSE 3000 , MSE 4070 , MSE 3450 , MSE 4910 , MSE 4950 or MSE 4970 ), or PHYS (except PHYS 1990 , PHYS 2990 , PHYS 3000 , PHYS 3990 , PHYS 4010 or PHYS 4990 ); or a maximum of one course from CPSC 1110 , CPSC 1150 or CPSC 1610 ; or EM 2020 , ENGR 1020 , ENGR 1410 , ENSP 2000 or PES 2020 . Credit for GEOL 4110 is limited to a maximum of three credits. Courses may not be used to satisfy any other requirement.
3 Select six credits from Group I courses; or select three credits from Group I courses and three credits from Group II courses. Courses may not be used to satisfy any other requirement.
4 Fifteen credit hours. Select from GEOL 3160 , GEOL 3180 , GEOL 4030 , GEOL 4050 , GEOL 4090 , GEOL 4150 , GEOL 4210 or GEOL 4820 . Only excess hours may be used to satisfy STEM requirement hours.
5 GEOL 4750 , or other six-credit summer geology field camp, or a combination of GEOL 2750 plus a three-credit field course in geology (select GEOL 3700 , GEOL 3750 or GEOL 3800 ) or other approved discipline. Students desiring to become registered professional geologists should take a six-credit summer field camp in geology/hydrogeology.