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Undergraduate Earth Sciences

What could you do with a degree in geology?
Geological Science is a broad area of study which focuses on a knowledge of the present Earth in order to interpret its history and origin. Geologists study the structure and composition of the Earth in order to locate natural resources, to give warnings of natural disasters, to ensure the placement of buildings on firm foundation, and simply to learn more about our natural environment. Other geologists are involved in preserving and cleaning up the environment.

Field geologists spend most of their time exploring. Other geologists work in laboratories, museums and computer centers analyzing specimens and data. Many geologists work in areas where there are large oil or mineral deposits (Texas, California, Louisiana, Colorado, Oklahoma or overseas). Construction and engineering firms employ geologists to measure the depth of bedrock and predict the stability, strength, and permanency of rock formation. Geologists work for:

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
Bureau of Mines and Bureau of Reclamation
Petroleum and mining companies
Construction firms
Environmental companies
Colleges and universities
Research organizations
Consulting companies
Federal, state, and local government

Marketable skills Geology majors can learn:
How to plan programs to prevent floods and erosion
Use of computers to analyze data
Read the history of the Earth's crust by studying changes in rocks and the scars left by erosion, glaciers, and volcanic eruptions
Explain the origin of natural wonders, such as the Grand Canyon
Determine the distribution of rocks under the earth or ocean surface by examining drill cores
Conduct geological surveys; measure and map the Earth's surface and subsurface layers
Trace the flow of water and oil through rock
Determine earthquake-prone areas; predicting volcanic or earthquake activity

Transferable skills and personal traits geologists need on the job: Interpersonal skills, team player, creative thinker, independent worker, interested in advanced training and degrees, analytical and research skills, written communication skills, perseverance, stamina, ability to visualize.

Salary Information: Salaries range greatly from one occupation, position, and work setting to another. According to the July 1999 NACE national salary survey for Bachelor's Degree Candidates: Geologists and Geological Sciences candidates' salaries averaged $38,240 with a range of $25,000 to $52,800. Candidates with a Master's degree had average salaries of $44,739 and Ph.D. candidates had average salaries of $54,043.

Career resources used to gather this information: U.S. Dept. of Labor Occupational Outlook HanSdbook, Careers in Science, VGM'S Career Portraits: Science, Environmental Careers in the 21st Century, 100 Jobs in the Environment.

Educational Requirements
A strong high school foundation in the natural sciences (physics, chemistry, biology, earth sciences), mathematics (analytic geometry and calculus), and in communication skills (speaking and writing) is essential.

Undergraduate Earth Science Degree Programs:

Geology - BS
Environmental Sciences - BA

Geology - BA

» For information on undergraduate programs, contact:
Maggie Puryear
Assistant Director of Undergraduate Programs | tel: 919-513-1093

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