Environmental Geology Major

Our students analyze environmental problems with an emphasis on freshwater and soil systems. Our majors participate in internship and/or summer research experiences. We connect our current students with our supportive alumni network.

geology students conducting experiments

Environmental Geology at a Glance


Of our majors go directly into the workforce. The most common employers are environmental consulting firms.


Of graduates are employed within eight months in 2019.

Why Study Environmental Geology?

Extensive skill development

Our students experience a variety of field, lab, and computer skill sets. We expose students to these skills at multiple points throughout their four years, so they develop proficiency and increasing complexity in their work.

Local internship opportunities

Local consulting firms, regulatory agencies, and nonprofit organizations are willing to host student interns during the academic year.

The Environmental Geology major is designed for those students who want to specifically use their geoscience training to solve environmental problems and/or convey the impact humans have on our planet. The major involves a combination of natural science courses with social science and humanities courses. We strongly recommend that students learn about satellite imagery and other forms of remotely documenting environmental change.

You'll most likely begin by taking ESS 110 and/or GEO 110. From there, you'll choose from a variety of natural science courses to complement your geology classes.

FSGEO201 (Field Geology) is an important second-year course. Students continue coupling GEO courses with other natural science courses. Mineralogy and Petrology are common courses for your second year.

Our upper-level GEO courses are taken by juniors and seniors — Hydrogeology, Sedimentology, Structural Geology, and Geochemistry. In the spring of your junior year, you'll take our Junior Seminar course. This involves a multi-day field trip in the U.S. and also culminates in the development of your Senior Project proposal. The Junior Seminar trip is one of the most memorable aspects of our curriculum.

In your culminating year, you'll work on a two-semester Senior Project and finish up the upper-level GEO courses required for your major. Some of our students pursue credit-bearing internships in their senior year with local offices and agencies such as the Department of Environmental Protection.

All of our Geology majors are designed with the following learning objectives:

To identify and interpret earth materials and earth imagery in new settings and at a variety of scales. To place your interpretations within the context of plate tectonic theory.

To construct geologic maps and cross-sections, graphs, spreadsheets, and conceptual models of geologic systems.

To effectively communicate ideas, results, and interpretations using written, oral, and visual skills. Develop these in formal and informal settings.

Hadia Thompson, Alumna

Class of 2018; Order Management Specialist 2, American Red Cross

“ The Geology Department is small but has a large number of alumni who are always willing to help current students. My geology classes taught me skills to take to the workplace after college. I have used these skills to help propel me forward in my career. ”

Next Steps

Early Decision App Deadline

November 15, 2022

Regular Decision App Deadline

February 15, 2023

For More Info

Dr. Rachel O'Brien

Professor of Geology and Department Chair