Geology investigates our planet and humanity’s relationship with it. This is done at all spatial scales, from the minerals that are the building blocks of the geosphere to the plate tectonics that shape our planet in a way unique to our solar system. It is also done at all temporal scales, from near-instantaneous chemical processes to the evolution of Earth and life over deep time. This is accomplished by understanding the planet as a system, where there are interactions between the geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and exosphere that create and modify the planet we rely on. The program focuses heavily upon humanity’s interactions with this system, including our needs for water and mineral resources, the impacts of natural hazards, and the disruptive effects of climate change.
The Geology program prepares students for a broad range of careers that involve the Earth. Nearly all of these careers are well-paid – including some of the highest paid careers for those with a bachelor’s degree (EX: petroleum geologist and engineering geologist). Some careers help us gain the rescores vital to humanity’s survival (EX: hydrologist and mining geologist) and others help us forecast and mitigate the effects of natural hazards (EX: geophysicist, volcanologist, and seismologist). A geology education is also excellent preparation for working for public lands management organizations such as the National Park Service, US Forest Service, or NGOs. For those who wish to increase environmental literacy in our culture, geology coursework provides valuable training for careers in education, science journalism, or activism.