Geology - BS

The Bachelor of Science in Geology provides students with a strong foundation in geology as well as a background in other sciences and math, preparing students for careers in the environmental and energy industries, federal and state agencies, and private sector and nonprofit organizations. The BS in Geology also prepares students for advanced study in graduate programs. The first two years of the BS program in Geology provide students with the basics of geology and the supporting fields of chemistry, physics and mathematics. The junior and senior years involve more advanced study in the subfields of geology and provide the opportunity for concentrated study in specific disciplines through the selection of technical electives. The Geology and Geophysics Department offers summer field camp (GEOL 350) in the Western US, in which students apply their geologic knowledge to collecting data and solving real problems. Seniors will participate in a group research capstone course (GEOL 450), in which they work in teams with a faculty advisor to solve a current problem and communicate their findings and experience. Students also have opportunities to become involved in individual research projects with faculty members and can receive course credit for this activity through GEOL 291 and GEOL 491.

The BS in Geology is the appropriate degree for students intending to pursue graduate study in geology. Students desiring employment in the petroleum industry are encouraged to pursue an MS degree. Students planning a research or university teaching career should pursue a PhD degree. Electives can be selected to refine the BS degree in preparation for graduate study within particular subfields.

Some of society’s most pressing problems, including groundwater contamination and remediation, water resources, and geologic hazards such as landslides, flooding and subsidence are addressed in the field of environmental geology. Environmental geologists typically find careers with environmental and engineering consulting companies and other industrial corporations, governmental agencies or academia. Students are well-prepared for the Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG) Fundamentals of Geology exam, which is required for appointment as a Professional Geologist or Geoscientist in many states. Specific elective classes recommended include CVEN 365, GEOG 331, GEOG 390, GEOL 351, GEOL 410, GEOL 412, GEOL 420, GEOL 440, GEOS 410 and approved classes in other departments including Soil Science, Chemistry, Physics and Civil Engineering. An Environmental and Engineering Geology Certificate is available to qualified students enrolled in geology and geophysics undergraduate degree programs.

Geologists may be employed in petroleum exploration and extraction.  Some of the required geology classes prepare students for this field. Additional recommended classes including GEOL 301, GEOL 404, GEOL 416, GEOP 313, PETE 301, PETE 311, PETE 321, and PETE 419. Qualified students (GPA of 3.0 or higher with dean’s permission) may also take related graduate courses during the senior year. Such classes include GEOL 619, GEOL 622, GEOL 623, GEOL 624, GEOL 668, and GEOP 629. These classes prepare students for graduate study, as well as provide training for those who may be interested in service jobs in the oil and gas industry between their undergraduate and graduate education.

To remain in satisfactory academic standing, students must maintain a 2.0 or better GPA in all technical courses (geology, geophysics, chemistry, math and physics). Some courses require field trips.