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PhD Programs in Economic Geology

Students interested in the field of geology can choose to apply to a PhD program in economic geology. Discover more details about these programs, including information about typical academic courses and potential future careers.

How to Earn a PhD in Economic Geology

For students to gain admission into a PhD program in economic geology, they will need to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree, while some schools also require students to take the GRE exam and submit their scores. A PhD program like this typically takes around five years to complete, and students will need to earn between 72 and 90 credits from courses like hydrogeology, glacial geology, petrology, and more.

Hydrogeology

A hydrogeology class will cover the study of different types of water along with how they relate to the study of geology. Students will learn about different analytical techniques commonly used and models that can be created to display the data that is collected. Additional topics that students may learn about include groundwater, surface water, soils in wetlands, and fracture flow.

Glacial Geology

Students that enter into a glacial geology course will learn how glaciers were originally formed in addition to how they can grow over the course of time. Those enrolled in this class will also discuss the movement of glaciers, the features of a glacier, and how erosion can take place. It is common for this class to also include a laboratory portion as well as a lecture.

Petrology

The students in a class like this will learn how to apply a variety of principles from various areas, like physics and chemistry, to the area of petrology. This class will also cover different types of rock including metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary, and how they can be formed. Students will see examples of different types of the rocks mentioned previously, and it is common for there to be a laboratory section to this class as well.

Isotope Geochemistry

Isotope geochemistry is a class designed to teach students about the study of both stable and radioactive isotopes. Other topics that can be covered in this class are sedimentary petrology, environmental isotope geochemistry, isotope equilibrium, and paleoclimatology. Before the class is over students will learn about atmospheric processes, the hydrologic cycle, and global change.

Hydrogeochemistry

Students in a hydrogeochemistry class will study both surface water and ground water to learn where it comes from and the different characteristics that it can possess. This class will cover the modeling of ground water and surface water geochemistry. Additional topics that can be covered include equilibrium thermodynamics, exchange of ions, organic compounds, redox processes, and carbonate systems.

Related Careers

Geoscientist

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for geoscientists was $92,040 in 2019, and the expected rate of growth is 6% over the ten year span from 2018 to 2028. Geoscientists get to work in places like laboratories, offices, and in the field to investigate and conduct research. These scientists need to have a strong background in areas like petrology, which are typically covered by the coursework associated with a PhD program in economic geology.

Hydrologist

A hydrologist is responsible for monitoring machines, conducting research, creating reports, and addressing possible threats when it comes to water. A PhD in an area like geosciences is needed to work at a university or in higher research jobs. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics listed the 2019 median salary for these professionals as $81,270 and the growth rate from 2018 to 2028 as 7%, which is faster than average.

Mining and Geological Engineer

A career as a mining and geological engineer entails helping to design mining procedures that are used to remove minerals from the earth. A degree related to geosciences is acceptable preparation for this career, and the expected job growth is 3% from 2018 to 2028 according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median salary for these individuals as of 2019 was $91,160 per year.

Career TitleMedian Salary (2019)*Job Outlook (2018-2028)*
Geoscientist$92,0406%
Hydrologist$81,2707%
Mining and Geological Engineer$91,1603%

*Source: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Individuals that choose to enter into a PhD program in economic geology can take a variety of different classes while enrolled in the program, some of which include glacial geology, petrology, and isotope geochemistry. After graduating with a PhD in Economic Geology, students can move on to pursue careers as geoscientists, hydrologists, or mining and geological engineers.