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How Can I Learn Environmental Geology?

Find out what classes, degree programs, and online resources are available to help you learn the concepts of environmental geology. Explore common courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and discover different careers in this field.

How Can I Learn About Environmental Geology?

Schools often offer environmental geology courses that fulfill general education requirements for science, regardless of your major. You can also take environmental geology courses as an elective in some cases, through you may be required to fulfill some prerequisites prior to enrollment. If you'd like to pursue a career in a related field, many schools offer environmental geology bachelor's degree programs. Master's and doctoral degree programs are also offered by a range of universities. You may be able to find online courses in environmental geology, but these are rare and typically require independent field work and other hands-on projects.

Outside of academic studies, you can also find many online and print resources for learning about environmental geology. Federal and state governmental agencies publish information, including geological surveys, geologic maps, seismic activity maps and natural resource profiles. You can also find journals and articles about environmental geology through the Internet.

Environmental Geology ResourcesGeology courses, bachelor, master, and doctoral programs, online and print resources
Common Subject MaterialEarth structure, water cycle, pollution, sedimentology, plate activity
Career OptionsGeoscientist in private and public sectors
Median Salary (2018)$71,130 (Environmental Scientists and Specialists)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)11% growth (Environmental Scientists and Specialists)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Courses Are Available to Me?

Regardless of your school or program major, you can often find environmental geology courses. Lower-level introductory environmental geology courses cover the earth's structure, earth material, plate activity, erosion and the water cycle. You also discuss pollution, fossil fuel and waste management, as well as environmental policy and political issues. If you choose to major in environmental geology, you take in-depth courses that cover the physical earth, rock types, sedimentology, groundwater and structural geology. Laboratory courses teach you how to perform tests and experiments used in the field.

Master's degree programs often allow you to deeply explore a particular issue in environmental geology. You are likely to perform extensive field research using basic and advanced technology. These programs often draw on a broad base of science-related fields - including biology, chemistry and statistics - and culminate in a thesis. In a Doctor of Philosophy program, you focus on a specific area of study and research, which forms the basis of your required dissertation.

What Careers Might I Pursue?

According to the American Geological Institute (www.agiweb.org), you can find career opportunities with petroleum companies, agricultural firms, governmental agencies and more. Some geoscientists work as independent consultants. The same source notes that those with a master's degree are apt to find the best employment prospects.