Geologists play an important role in society. They apply their skills and knowledge to solve complex problems related to how humans interact with natural systems and hazards, as well as conducting explorations for water, petroleum and other natural resources. They share their unique knowledge of Earth systems through teaching and public outreach on topics such as understanding earthquake hazards and climate change. Geology majors gain scientific knowledge of past and present planetary processes and laboratory and field skills that prepare them for postgraduate study and professional careers in diverse fields, such as oceanography, paleontology, geophysics, geochemistry, paleoclimatology, hydrogeology, engineering geology and teaching.
Undergraduate and graduate majors must be advised each semester by the appropriate advisor in their degree program in order to register for classes.
Careers in geosciences are rewarding in every sense. Jobs in geosciences are in high demand and pay well. A wide variety of employment opportunities in both private industry and government service are available to geology graduates. Engineering geologists evaluate sites for homes, commercial buildings, highways and dams. Environmental geologists conduct environmental impact studies and evaluate the spread of pollutants and the remediation of contaminated sites. Hydrogeologists evaluate the development and quality control of surface and groundwater resources. Economic geologists explore for earth resources, such as oil, gas, coal, precious and semiprecious metals, and uranium. Agencies in all levels of government—city, county, state and federal—employ geologists for regulatory, inspection and monitoring activities. A geophysicist can explore specialties in planetary interiors, seismology and earthquake physics locally and around the world, advancing our understanding of the physical world around us, as well as applying techniques to projects in industry and government organizations. A degree in geology is excellent background for preparing to teach physical science and Earth Science at the secondary-school level and, for those with an M.S. degree, at the community college level. Finally, the B.S. degree serves as excellent preparation for entry to graduate programs. Many students go on to earn advanced degrees, and the department’s majors have been accepted by some of the nation’s best graduate programs in the geosciences.
B.S. Honors Program
This program provides an opportunity for outstanding Geology majors to gain intensive research experience under individual faculty guidance. The designation “Honors” will be added to the academic record of any student who completes the program. Admission to the Honors Program is granted by approval of the department undergraduate advisor. Students in any of the B.S. options are eligible, provided they have:
- Completed 90 units of college work.
- Maintained a GPA of 3.0 overall and in the upper division Geology major.
- Taken GEOL 497 and received a minimum grade of “A-” in the course.
- Obtained the approval of a faculty sponsor who will supervise their research.
Students interested in the Honors Program should contact their department undergraduate advisor.
Graduation with Honors in Geology Requires:
- Admission to the Honors Program.
- Completion of all requirements for one of the B.S. options, plus the completion of GEOL 498—Senior Thesis (3 units).
- Maintenance of a GPA of 3.0 overall and in the upper division Geology major.
- Approval of the undergraduate thesis by the faculty advisor, including a presentation of the research.
Department of Geological Sciences
Chair: Richard Heermance
Live Oak Hall (LO) 1202