Undergraduate Degrees in Geology

Geology (or Geoscience) is the study of the earth’s composition, internal structure, processes, and history. Geoscientists perform three vitally important roles in our society by

  1. supplying the things we need (energy resources, metals, building materials, water),
  2. protecting the environment (preventing or mitigating contamination of water, soil or air, or adverse impacts on ecosystems), and
  3. minimizing the impact of geologic hazards (floods, landslides, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis) on people and property.

The Earth’s expanding population and increased use of natural resources along with our need for energy, environmental protection, and responsible land and resource management are likely to fuel a demand for geoscientists well into the future. Employment for geoscientists is predicted to grow 14 faster than the average for all other occupations between 2016-2026. The median annual wage for geoscientists was $91,130 in 2018 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Marshall University’s location in southern West Virginia provides students with a wealth of opportunities for field based studies in environmental geology, engineering geology, and energy resources.

The Department of Geology offers a B.S. degree in Geology, a B.A. degree in Geology, and a B.A. degree in Earth Science. The B.S. in Geology degree consists of an interdisciplinary curriculum that provides a sound foundation in both fundamental and applied aspects of geology. Graduates are typically employed by environmental and engineering companies, natural resource industries, and government agencies, or pursue more advanced degrees. The curriculum for the B.A. degree in Geology has greater flexibility, less rigorous mathematics and physics, and less comprehensive geology requirements than the B.S. in Geology. The B.S. is the more appropriate option for students considering graduate study in Geology. The B.A. Geology degree provides a basis for science-related careers such as environmental law, pre-college teaching, science journalism, and resource management and marketing.

If you are looking for a career with an exciting lifestyle, then Geology offers many advantages. For the individual who does not wish to be office-bound, Geology is an ideal career since much of the geologist’s work is done in the field with adventures that can take you to remote parts of the world. A career in Geology provides many choices, many challenges and much fulfilling work.

B. A. in Earth Science

The B. A. in Earth Science degree integrates all the earth sciences in a systems approach to understanding the Earth. The curriculum incorporates a broader range of natural sciences such as oceanography, meteorology and astronomy, which are not included in the geology major. The emphasis is on the preparation of individuals to work in a wide range of public sector service careers where a background in earth science and effective communication of science to nonscientific audiences are requirements or assets. The major also provides a solid foundation for those wishing to pursue a career as an earth science teacher.

B.S. in Geology

Provides a broad foundation for entry level positions in the geosciences or for graduate school)

B.S. in Geology Engineering Geology area of emphasis

Provides training in acquisition, interpretation, and use of rock and soil, for the solution of engineering problems

B.S. in Geology, Environmental Geoscience area of emphasis

Provides application of geologic concepts to the solution of environmental problems related to man’s activities or to natural geologic hazards

B.A. in Geology

Provides a basis for science-related careers, such as environmental law, pre-college teaching, science journalism, and resource management and marketing