Geology

Lori Bebinger,  Undergraduate, Earth Science, School of ScienceGeology is the study of the planet Earth: the materials of which it is made, the processes that act upon these materials, and the history of the planet and life forms since its origin. Geology considers the physical forces acting on the earth, the chemistry of its constituent materials, and the biology of its past inhabitants. Geology also includes the study of the interrelationships in the modern environment of humans and geological phenomena and focuses on such important concerns as how our global climate is changing and how that change will affect human activities.

Learn more about our undergraduate degree programs.

Qualities and Skills of a Geologist

  • Ability to work with a team
  • Communication and quantitative skills (PUL*)
  • Critical thinking & problem solving (PUL*)
  • Detail-oriented
  • Inquisitive
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Integration and application of knowledge (PUL*)
  • Observational and investigative skills
  • Physical stamina for fieldwork
  • Professional values & ethics (PUL*)
  • Understanding of relationships, interactions and patterns

*PUL = Principles of Undergraduate Learning define a set of abilities and skills that undergraduate students are expected to master. They reflect the expertise that graduate and professional schools and the workforce are seeking.

Why Study Earth Sciences?

Earth science (which includes geology and environmental science among other sub-disciplines) is a great field to study because:

  • It combines the strengths of biology, geography, physics, chemistry, and biology and applies them to our knowledge of the Earth.
  • The career opportunities are very diverse. Some geologists spend most of their time outdoors, others spend their entire time in the laboratory, and many spend a mixture of time outside, in the lab, and at their desk.
  • As a smaller discipline of study, faculty and advisors can give one on one attention to each and every student.
  • Employment opportunities are spread evenly across the U.S., both in rural and urban areas, with the highest concentration in large metro areas like Indianapolis.
  • Students can easily advance to the graduate level and earn a Masters or PhD degree.

The faculty research in our department speaks of the diversity. Several faculty are researching climate change and global warming, which has involved trips on ocean research ships and Antarctica. Other faculty are researching water quality issues and behavior in Central Indiana, while another faculty member researches the geologic history of mountain building in southern California. Some faculty do their research entirely in the laboratory or by computer, but most require some field work to collect samples that are then processed in our laboratories.

What Can You Do with a Degree in Geology?

Coastal and marine geology
• Drilling companies
• Government agencies*

Fossil energy
• Consulting firms
• Drilling companies
• Equipment suppliers
• Government agencies*
• Petroleum industry**

Geochemistry
• Coal/Mining companies
• Construction firms
• Consulting Firms
• Drilling companies
• Environmental Agencies
• Government agencies*
• Petroleum industry**
• Quarries
• Railroad companies
• Well services
• University/College

Geomagnetism
• Government agencies*
• Private research firms

Geomorphology
• Consulting firms
• Drilling companies
• Equipment suppliers
• Government agencies*
• Petroleum industry**

Geophysics
• Consulting firms
• Drilling companies
• Equipment suppliers
• Government agencies*
• Petroleum industry**
• Private research firms
• Work with architects
• University/College

Hydrology
• Environmental agencies
• Government agencies*
• Private research firms
• University/College

Mining geology
• Coal/Mining companies
• Construction firms
• Consulting Firms
• Government agencies*
• Well services and drilling companies
• Quarries
• Railroad companies

Oceanography
• Drilling companies
• Museums
• Naval division of the armed services
• Private or government companies
• Private research firms
• University/College

Paleontology
• Coal/Mining companies
• Consulting firms
• Construction firms
• Drilling companies
• Equipment suppliers
• Government agencies*
• Museum
• Petroleum industry**
• Private labs
• Private research firms
• Quarries
• Railroad companies
• University/College

Sedimentology
• Construction firms
• Consulting firms
• Drilling companies
• Environmental agencies
• Equipment suppliers
• Government agencies*
• Geochemical companies
• Mining companies
• Museums
• Petroleum industry**
• Private research firms
• Quarries
• Railroad companies
• University/College
• Well services

 

Soil Science, Agriculture
• Environmental agencies
• Government agencies*
• Private research firms
• University/College

Stratigraphy
• Coal/Mining companies
• Construction firms
• Consulting firms
• Equipment suppliers
• Government agencies*
• Petroleum industry**
• Quarries
• Railroad companies
• Well services and drilling companies

Structural geology
• Consulting firms
• Drilling companies
• Equipment suppliers
• Government agencies*
• Petroleum industry**

Surveying
• Coal/Mining companies
• Drilling companies
• Environmental agencies
• Government agencies*

Teaching
• University/College
• K-12 school systems

Technical writing
• Any geology field

Education - Where will your degree take you?

Bachelor Degree
Masters DegreeDoctoral Degree
Entry level positions in local, state, federal government and industry and preparation for graduate programsManagerial consultants, and research positions in industry and government, and teachers at high school and community collegesPositions in university research and/or teaching, management in state and federal agencies, and geological surveys at state and federal level

*Government Agencies (federal, state, & local) includes Environmental Protection Agency, Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers, US Geological Survey, Bureau of Land Management, Department of Defense, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Bureau of Mines, Office of Surface Mining
**Petroleum industry includes oil and gas exploration, production, storage, waste disposal facilities

Where do geology majors find jobs?

  • Coal/mining companies
  • Construction firms
  • Consulting firms
  • Drilling companies
  • Environmental agencies
  • Equipment suppliers
  • Government agencies*
  • K-12 school systems
  • Museums
  • Naval division of the armed services
  • Petroleum industry**
  • Private research firms
  • Quarries
  • Railroad companies
  • Well services and drilling companies
  • University/college

IUPUI Geology Graduates graduates have been employed by

  • Arcadis
  • Indiana Geological Survey
  • Oregon Department of Forestry
  • Solar Sources, Inc.
  • USDA Natural Resources
  • Universities

*Government Agencies (federal, state, & local) includes Environmental Protection Agency, Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers, US Geological Survey, Bureau of Land Management, Department of Defense, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Bureau of Mines, Office of Surface Mining
**Petroleum industry includes oil and gas exploration, production, storage, waste disposal facilities

Occupational Outlook + Average Salary

Employment for geologists is expected to grow as fast as the average compared to all other occupations for the 2008-2018. Employment for geologists is projected to increase by 12%, due to the need for organizations to comply with environmental laws and regulations. Salaries earned by geologists are dependent on degree level. According to the most recent data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average salary for geologists, geophysicists, and oceanographers was $53,890. (2010-2011 Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Salaries earned by geologists are dependent on degree level. According to the most recent data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average salary for geologists, geophysicists, and oceanographers was $53,890.

Geology Bachelor of Science/Masters of Science Program

AdmissionsCoursesStudent Resources


The B.S./M.S. program combines the undergraduate B.S. program with the M.S. program in geology, leading to the award of an Indiana University bachelor’s and master’s degree with completion of the M.S. thesis. The departmental graduate advisory committee administers the B.S./M.S. program. This program provides well-qualified students with the opportunity for an accelerated program in earth sciences research and instruction. 

The BS/MS program blends the undergraduate BS program with the MS program in Geology, leading to joint award of BS and MS degrees upon completion of the MS thesis. Students will apply to the Earth Sciences graduate program in early spring of the junior year of the undergraduate program. Upon acceptance into the program, the student will prepare an MS research and course plan in consultation with a BS/MS academic advisor, or will elect to complete a non-thesis (coursework) MS degree. Research reading and data collection begins in the summer prior to the senior year of undergraduate study, and will be completed in the following summer. The fifth year of study is devoted to graduate course work and completion of the MS thesis research, or MS non-thesis coursework.

Admissions

Prospective students should have completed three years of an undergraduate degree program in geology, with a minimum B (3.0 GPA) average. Interested students should meet wth the undergraduate academic advisor to discuss their intent to complete the BSMS degree, and to complete an internal application to the degree program.

Degree Requirements & Course of Study

The BSMS curriculum includes the core undergraduate courses that are currently required for the BS in Geology, and all the graduate courses that are currently required for the MS in Geology. The total credit hours for this integrated degree program will be 138 credit hours for a thesis MS, and 147 credit hours for a non-thesis MS. Research reading and data collection begins in the summer prior to the senior year of undergraduate study, and will be completed in the following summer. The fifth year of study is devoted to graduate course work and completion of the M.S. thesis.

The link below includes a degree checksheet and a sample degree map illustrating a semester-by-semester plan of study. A separate degree map is included for a thesis MS and a non-thesis MS, with overlapping course credit indicated.

BSMS Geology Degree CheckSheet and Plan of Study

Undergraduate students admitted to the program will be assigned a three person provisional advisory committee at the completion of the third year or 90 credits of undergraduate work. The provisional committee will prescribe an academic program of study for the MS program and assist the student in developing a research plan, in consultation with the principal research advisor. A B (3.0 GPA) average must be maintained in the fourth year of study to continue in the BSMS program.

At the beginning of the student’s fourth year or 90 credits of undergraduate work, the student will submit an official graduate school application, statement of interests and career plans, official GRE scores, and letters of recommendation to the graduate committee of the Department of Earth Sciences. Following admission, all rules and regulations of the Indiana University MS program in Geology at IUPUI will be applicable to completion of the student’s research thesis and program of study. Interested students should meet wth the undergraduate academic advisor to discuss their intent to complete the BSMS degree, and to complete an internal application to the degree program.

Science PREPs Office: Pre-Professional + Career Preparation for Science Majors

  • Explore career options and evaluate majors based on your interests, skills and values.
  • Plan for graduate or professional school.
  • Find jobs, internships and job-shadowing programs. 

Learn more at Science PREPs.