What are geologists? They are trained scientists who understand the Earth's natural processes, manmade technologies, and the intersection of the two. They work with raw data to evaluate the causes and consequences of significant geological events and material discoveries.
Geologists help identify and mitigate such large-scale geological hazards as earthquakes, volcanoes, and floods. They work in fossil fuel exploration and production, overseeing the extraction of raw resources to meet society's energy needs. They are also climate scientists who address the impacts and future of climate change at a global level.
Geologists may enter the workforce with an undergraduate degree, but many employers prefer graduate-level study. All undergraduate programs should be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering & Technology (ABET).
A 4-year Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Arts (B.A.) degree in Geology should familiarize students with the fundamental origins, structural composition, and physical properties of the Earth. Students at this level explore major natural processes and events, and become versed in the global distribution of raw earth materials and natural resources.
Bachelors can usually find work as entry-level technicians for mining companies, environmental firms, and government entities. Some employers will finance in whole or part an established employee's graduate education. Entering the workforce after earning a bachelor's can thus be a strategic way to pursue subsidized graduate studies while gaining valuable industry experience.
In addition to general education, Geology majors take classes in:
Bachelor programs may focus on general Geology, Petroleum Geology, Engineering Geology, or Environmental Geology. Environmental geology students study topics like natural resources, water and air quality, planetary history, soil science, and environmental law.
Engineering geology students learn to apply their scientific knowledge to real-world interactions between built and natural environments, specifically in the geo-construction industry. They may explore, for example, remote sensing technologies, soil mechanics and rock slope stability, and contaminant hydrogeology.
Petroleum geology students at this level may study, for instance, statistics, applied geophysics, petroleum & well logging, depositional environments, and geochemistry. In general, major resource companies prefer applicants from accredited geology graduate programs, although the American Association of Petroleum Geologists says these requirements are flexible during “boom times” when the supply of geologists lags demand.
Which jobs are available to students with a B.S. or B.A. in Geology?
In graduate school, students who haven't already done so should pick an employment sector and design an educational plan based on this choice. Aspiring petroleum geologists, for instance, will ultimately need a graduate degree to become full-title professionals in the oil and gas sector.
For those planning to ultimately earn a Ph.D., a master's degree is useful for learning how to conduct experimental research. Even where doctoral programs do not require Ph.D. applicants to hold a master's, acquiring one could prove a valuable learning experience.
It's not uncommon to combine a graduate degree in Geology with a degree in a related field, such as Civil Engineering. Additionally, some students pursue an MBA after a master's in Geology; business skills are highly valued in this line of work.
Students at the master's level typically collaborate with a faculty committee and advisor to plan graduate coursework around their interests. They may be required to submit a thesis to a graduate committee in order to finish the program.
Incoming master candidates are usually expected to have completed at least a year of college-level Calculus, Physics, and Chemistry. Graduate transfer applicants may need to submit GRE scores. The top geology schools expect applicants to have an undergraduate degree from an ABET-accredited institution.
What kinds of jobs are available to master degree-holders?
Here are some examples of master's-level coursework in Geology:
Master geologists can get solid, well-paying jobs, but more extensive career options await those who finish a 1- to 3-year Ph.D. at one of the best geology schools in the U.S. Students who anticipate, for instance, organizing their own research projects or teaching at some point should consider a Ph.D.
Geological positions that require a Ph.D. include:
Ph.D. candidates may pursue specialized research in, for example:
We found 386 schools offering geology degree programs in the U.S.
|Abilene Christian University||Abilene||TX||4739|
|Adams State College||Alamosa||CO||8188|
|Antioch College||Yellow Springs||OH||652|
|Appalachian State University||Boone||NC||13227|
|Arizona State University at the Tempe Campus||Tempe||AZ||44126|
|Arkansas Tech University||Russellville||AR||4970|
|Auburn University Main Campus||Auburn University||AL||21860|
|Augustana College||Rock Island||IL||2230|
|Austin Peay State University||Clarksville||TN||7121|
|Ball State University||Muncie||IN||19004|
|Bemidji State University||Bemidji||MN||4118|
|Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania||Bloomsburg||PA||7548|
|Boise State University||Boise||ID||16287|
|Boston College||Chestnut Hill||MA||15240|
|Bowling Green State University - Main Campus||Bowling Green||OH||18096|
|Bridgewater State College||Bridgewater||MA||8839|
|Brigham Young University||Provo||UT||32554|
|Brigham Young University - Idaho||Rexburg||ID||8949|
|Bryn Mawr College||Bryn Mawr||PA||1784|
|Butler County Community College||El Dorado||KS||7911|
|California Institute of Technology||Pasadena||CA||1968|
|California Lutheran University||Thousand Oaks||CA||2766|
|California State Polytechnic University - Pomona||Pomona||CA||18424|
|California State University - Bakersfield||Bakersfield||CA||6397|
|California State University - Chico||Chico||CA||15912|
|California State University - Dominguez Hills||Carson||CA||12848|
|California State University - East Bay||Hayward||CA||12705|
|California State University - Fresno||Fresno||CA||19056|
|California State University - Fullerton||Fullerton||CA||28381|
|California State University - Long Beach||Long Beach||CA||30918|
|California State University - Los Angeles||Los Angeles||CA||19593|
|California State University - Northridge||Northridge||CA||29066|
|California State University - Sacramento||Sacramento||CA||25714|
|California State University - San Bernardino||San Bernardino||CA||14909|
|California State University - Stanislaus||Turlock||CA||7062|
|California University of Pennsylvania||California||PA||5899|
|Calvin College||Grand Rapids||MI||4309|
|Case Western Reserve University||Cleveland||OH||9304|
|Centenary College of Louisiana||Shreveport||LA||1035|
|Central Michigan University||Mount Pleasant||MI||26845|
|Central Texas College||Killeen||TX||14636|
|Central Washington University||Ellensburg||WA||8050|
|Clarion University of Pennsylvania||Clarion||PA||6192|
|Cleveland State University||Cleveland||OH||15294|
|Coastal Bend College||Beeville||TX||3259|
|College of Charleston||Charleston||SC||11129|
|College of William and Mary||Williamsburg||VA||7530|
|Colorado College||Colorado Springs||CO||1942|
|Colorado School of Mines||Golden||CO||3738|
|Colorado State University||Fort Collins||CO||26807|
|Columbia University in the City of New York||New York||NY||19639|
|Columbus State University||Columbus||GA||5187|
|Cornell College||Mount Vernon||IA||987|
|Crafton Hills College||Yucaipa||CA||5054|
|Cuny Brooklyn College||Brooklyn||NY||15039|
|Cuny City College||New York||NY||11055|
|Cuny Lehman College||Bronx||NY||8768|
|Cuny Queens College||Flushing||NY||15061|
|Cuny York College||Jamaica||NY||5357|
|Del Mar College||Corpus Christi||TX||9936|
|Delta College||University Center||MI||9358|
|Dixie State College of Utah||Saint George||UT||6350|
|East Carolina University||Greenville||NC||18750|
|East Georgia College||Swainsboro||GA||1313|
|Eastern Illinois University||Charleston||IL||10637|
|Eastern Kentucky University||Richmond||KY||13285|
|Eastern Michigan University||Ypsilanti||MI||23561|
|Eastern New Mexico University - Main Campus||Portales||NM||3564|
|Eastern Washington University||Cheney||WA||8597|
|Edinboro University of Pennsylvania||Edinboro||PA||7278|
|Elizabeth City State University||Elizabeth City||NC||2035|
|Florida Atlantic University||Boca Raton||FL||21046|
|Florida International University||Miami||FL||31945|
|Florida State University||Tallahassee||FL||33971|