About Geology

The Geology Department encourages intelligent awareness of the earth and of humans' relationship to their physical environment. Students may major in geology, petroleum geology, or in earth science (a major designed for those who wish to pursue a career in secondary education). The department also encourages interdisciplinary majors of the student's design, and supports programs like Environmental Science.

Geology is one of the most academically productive departments in the University. The faculty-to-student ratio was historically 1:5 throughout the history of the department, although recent years have seen rapid expansion in the number of majors since the addition of the petroleum geology major. One goal of the department is to provide the opportunity for every student to present their senior research work at meetings of the Geological Society of America (GSA).


The mission of the Geology Department is to develop well-rounded geologists/earth scientists. Students should be well versed in the traditional subfields of soft-rock and hard-rock geology and have well developed field techniques. In addition, earth science majors will develop a broader understanding of the earth including meteorology, oceanography, and astronomy.

The Geology Department aims to provide students with a solid hands-on geological/earth science education to best position them for either employment in the geological science or continuing education.

Program Learning Goals

  • Students will learn to identify sedimentary rocks, be familiar with sedimentary structures, sedimentary environments and the principles of stratigraphy
  • Students will learn to identify igneous and metamorphic rocks and be familiar with the chemical and physical principles associated with their formation and description
  • Students will be familiar with various field and mapping techniques, different types of geologic structures and the principles of plate tectonics
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