Geology

Geology Major and Minor

Geology students combine theory and application in both the field and laboratory. Our majors (we offer both a B.S. and B.A.) and minors participate in internship and/or summer research experiences. We connect our current students with our supportive alumni network.

geology students in field

Geology At a Glance

50

Of our majors go directly into the workforce as scientists, consultants, or educators.

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.

Ability to think across a range of spatial and temporal scales

Geologic processes happen at the microscopic scale, the planetary scale, and everything in between! We also work at time scales of seconds to millions of years. This creates nimble and diverse system thinkers that are highly valued in the workplace.

GEO 110 is where you begin. All majors take a range of natural science courses.

Geoscience is the application of biology, chemistry, and physics to studying our planet. Your geology classes will involve both fieldwork and laboratory work. We encourage students to consider computer science courses.

GEO 110 (Physical Geology) and GEO 120 (History of Earth) are the typical first-year sequence. Students usually also take an introductory course in math, chemistry, or physics. We always recommend that you begin with the subject area you enjoy the most!

clay soil

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.

Our Geology majors are designed with the following learning objectives:

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.

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.

Theresa Schwartz, Alumna

Class of 2010; Research Geologist, U.S. Geological Survey

“ My AC Geology major presented a rigorous curriculum in a friendly, inclusive, and hands-on environment. Abundant field trips and research opportunities propelled me into a fascinating research career that’s never boring. Go Gators! ”

Next Steps

Early Decision App Deadline

November 15, 2020

Regular Decision App Deadline

February 15, 2021

For More Info

Dr. Rachel O'Brien

Professor of Geology and Department Chair

814-332-2875