Bachelor's in Geology

Geologists apply their knowledge of the earth and rock formations in many ways, such as locating natural resources or deeming land safe for development. Read on to learn about the typical coursework in bachelor's degree programs in geology, and find the employment outlook and registration requirements for geologists. Schools offering Environmental Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Courses Will I Take in a Geology Bachelor's Degree Program?

During the first two years of the program, the geology curriculum will emphasize a strong foundation in biology, chemistry, physics, math and humanities. Your third and fourth years in the degree program will focus on core classes in geology and field experience gained through field trips, seminars and independent study. Core geology courses cover the following topics:

  • Mineralogy
  • Field geology
  • Paleontology
  • Physical geology
  • Forensic geology
  • Structural geology
  • Sedimentology
  • Stratography
  • Earth history
  • Hydrology
  • Petrology

Most geology degree programs offer subspecialty concentrations, including petroleum geology, engineering geology, glacial geology, mineralogy and sendimentology. Undergraduate geology programs are not offered online. This degree has a strong field research component that makes it impractical to deliver through distance learning. Some universities do offer a few basic introductory level geology courses online.

Common Courses Mathematics, physics, biology, humanities, chemistry
Continuing Education Licensure requirements vary depending on the state
Median Salary (2018)$91,130 for geoscientists
Potential Job Outlook (2016-2026) 14% growth for geoscientists

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Will I Need To Be Certified or Licensed?

Only some states have general licensing requirements for geoscientists. Licensing requirements typically consist of education, work experience and a passing score on a written exam. Voluntary certification is available through various professional agencies.

What Can I Do With My Degree?

A bachelor's degree program in geology will prepare you for an entry-level position as a research assistant or laboratory assistant. A master's degree is required for most field research positions in private organizations or governmental agencies. A master's degree would qualify you for the following careers:

  • Field geologist
  • University research geologist
  • Land use planner
  • Environmental analyst
  • Mineral exploration geologist

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted career opportunities for geoscientists to increase by 14% over 2016-2026 ( Job prospects will be best if you have had experience with data analysis, computer modeling, and digital mapping, according to the BLS.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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