- Majors and Programs
The Geology program at Saint Louis University
Degrees: Bachelor of Science in Geology; Bachelor of Arts in Geology
Overview: Geology is the study of the Earth. Volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, landslides, and plate tectonics are some of the things that geologists investigate and try to understand. Geology is a field-oriented science that involves mapping and analyzing rocks, deciphering the Earth's history from the rock record, locating natural resources, and identifying natural and man-made hazards.
Curriculum: The geology curriculum is built around areas of knowledge fundamental to understanding the Earth. Survey courses in the Earth's system are the first two courses that students take. Intermediate- and upper-division courses are focused on the building blocks of Earth and the processes that build and modify the Earth's features. These courses cover the study of minerals and rocks, weathering and erosion, sediment transport and deposition, development of mountain ranges and deformation of the Earth, and the movement of tectonic plates. Skills are also developed in our program in course-related laboratory exercises, numerous daily and weekend field trips, and annual week-long field trip. Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Science program also enroll in a six-week summer field camp in which they learn to work in the field.
Careers in the Field: Our geology program prepares students for careers in industry, government, and academia. Traditionally, geologists have been, and still are, widely employed in petroleum, natural gas, coal, mineral, and other extraction-related industries. Geologists are also employed widely in environmental positions that deal with soil and groundwater pollution, building and road construction, and land management.
About the Faculty: Faculty teaching in the geology program are devoted to the training of students in the classroom, laboratory, and field. Faculty are involved in research located in field areas as far away as Antarctica, Asia, South America, and North America. They bring these experiences back into the class to enrich the learning experiences of the students. In some situations, undergraduate students are able to participate in the research both in St. Louis and around the world.
Opportunities: Since our undergraduate geology is small relative to larger public universities, our students have more opportunities to interact with faculty, get personalized attention, and take advantage of opportunities inside and outside of the University. One highlight of our students' education is related to our annual department field trip in which faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students spend one week exploring a region of our country. Traveling through national parks, seeing natural systems not commonly encountered by students, and learning first-hand about the Earth and environment are rewarding to all who participate. These trips are heavily subsidized by the Department so that all students can participate.