What Can I Do with a Geology Degree?
Geology degree programs can provide a point of entry to careers in geoscience as well as positions in engineering or the mining or petroleum industry. Learn about available jobs with a geology degree, the degree level needed for each job, and more.
Jobs with a Geology Degree
Geology is a branch of science dedicated to studying the Earth and the materials that make it up. As such, knowledge of geology is extremely valuable for careers which might involve digging into the earth, such as hunting for oil or rare minerals, or to aid in the construction of structures above the Earth's surface by ensuring the ground can support it. Geologic sciences have research applications as well, such as studying the processes which the Earth undergoes and analyzing the geologic history of an area.
Geologists can even contribute to preventing and tracking disasters, such as earthquakes and tsunamis. The geology degree jobs available to you may depend on your degree level. Let's examine more about these degrees and find out the answer to ''what can I do with a geology degree?''
Geology Degree Programs
Geology programs are available at all levels, from bachelor's degrees to PhDs; some geology degrees are available online even. Undergraduate geology degrees are sometimes offered as part of a general Earth sciences degree but are also available as a standalone major. Like other bachelor's degree programs, they can usually be completed in about four years. Geology programs generally start off with a heavy focus on math and science, such as basic physics and chemistry. Courses you could encounter in a geology major include:
- Structural geology
- Earth history
Master's degrees in geology are commonly required for some advanced positions, such as a geoscientist or those in research or teaching, and they can typically be completed in two years.
Geology Careers with a Bachelor Degree
Geoscientists, can get a start on their career with a bachelor's degree, although some positions may require a master's degree. Geoscience jobs include geologists, but also many specialty positions, such as geochemists or geophysicists. In general, geoscientists use complex tools to map the surface of the Earth and peer through the ground to map what lies beneath. They can work in the field and in laboratories, performing tests on samples taken at sites of interest. Their work can be for pure research or to assist companies with projects
The duties of a specialty scientist depend more on their area of expertise. For instance, engineering geologists study areas of land in order to ensure that they are capable of supporting planned building projects, be they skyscrapers or waste disposal sites. Engineering geologists may be consulted about the ecological impact of building projects as well, such as preventing contaminants from entering underground water reservoirs.
Geology Careers with a Graduate Degree
With higher level degrees in geology, even more careers become an option. Seismologists are a special type of geoscientist who focus on seismic activity, caused by the motion of the plates in the Earth's crust. This movement can cause earthquakes or tsunamis, depending on where they occur, and seismologists study these events to help predict and respond to them in the future. Most seismologists have a master's degree or Ph.D. and work for organizations such as the United States Geologic Survey (USGS).
For those who choose to pursue a Ph.D., a career as a university professor may be another choice. Professors partake in research on behalf of their university in addition to teaching classes to students. Geology professors are likely to teach courses in geology and related areas such as geography. Over time, professors may be able to earn tenure, which offers a high degree of job security.