Geology is a wonderfully interdisciplinary field of study that often appeals to individuals who like working outdoors.
In many ways geology is the ultimate investigative science, because the geologist is often required to infer as much as possible from a few shreds of evidence. Paleontologists may discern much about the lifestyle of a dinosaur from a few foot bones. A team of geoscientists – paleontologists, petroleum and structural geologists – will make a multi-million dollar decision about the most likely place to drill for oil based on strings of evidence that point to a single conclusion. An environmental geologist will determine the best way to remediate an underground gasoline plume based on trace concentrations of natural bacterial breakdown products from the plume.
In each case the geoscientist is required to make the best determination from partial and sometimes conflicting evidence. Many geoscientists work under challenging conditions — contending with earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides and floods — in order to determine how to predict, live with, or control these phenomena. Geoscientists also garner how these conditions may have affected the formation and distribution of natural resources. If you like challenge and variety, geology may be the field for you!
Among the degree plans available:
Differences between B.S. and B.A. degrees
The bachelor of science degree is intended for students who want to “get their hands dirty” and be practitioners of geology. The bachelor of arts degree is designed for those who want to be teachers, interpreters, regulators or managers of geologic activities. Students in the B.S. degree program generally will continue their studies in geosciences or closely related programs in graduate schools attaining the master's or doctorate degrees.
The degree requires 53 hours of geosciences, eight (8) hours of chemistry, and eight (8) hours of math toward a total of 122 credit hours needed to graduate.
The requirements for the B.A. degree are identical to the B.S. degree for the first two years. The B.A. requires 35 hours of geoscience courses, eight (8) hours of biology, chemistry or mathematics, and 27 hours of electives. The B.A. must be taken in conjunction with a second major, generally related to teaching or business, but other examples are biology (occasionally pre-medicine), chemistry, etc.
Fast track program
The fast track program allows qualified junior-level undergraduate students to enroll in up to 15 hours of approved graduate-level geosciences course work that can be used to satisfy the requirements for both the geosciences bachelor and master of science degrees. Acceptance in the fast track program is based on the student’s attaining a grade point average of at least 3.0 and otherwise maintaining superior performance in their first three years of undergraduate education.
- Updated: December 15, 2010