What Can You Do With A Geology Degree?

online geology degree

Geology is a form of science that involves the study of the physical makeup and history of the earth as well as how humans and other life forms are effected by the earth. It mixes subjects like biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics together in order to better understand our planet. What then can you do with a geology degree? People with degrees in geology work in various fields studying the endless physical characteristics of the planet on which we live. This article provides examples of noteworthy geology degree programs as well as descriptions of a few careers to choose from once you earn your degree in geology.

A Closer Look at Geology

Geology is tied to a number of college degree programs that explore the earth and its components to prepare individuals for careers to help make the world a better place. Just a few subjects that are closely tied to geology are listed below.

Earth science – study of the physical characteristics of Earth and its atmosphere

Geological engineering – study of applying earth science to address and resolve issues between the human race and Earth

Geophysics – study of the use of physics and mathematics to gain further knowledge of the structure of the earth

Hydrogeology – study of water, above or below ground, from a geological standpoint

Geology Degree Programs

If geology sounds like a rather intriguing area of study to you, consider earning a degree that will help you get a job working in the field of geology. Consult your guidance counselor for advice on extra courses you can take in high school to better prepare you for a higher education in geology. Courses related to earth science may be particularly helpful. It is important to do your research before choosing a degree program at one specific college or university. You should always apply to at least three schools, giving yourself backup options, and be sure to apply in the beginning of your senior year of high school.

The University of Nevada, Reno, offers students various degree programs related to geology, including subjects like geophysics and hydrogeology in addition to geology. The school offers a Bachelor of Science in Geology, Master of Science in Geology, and even a Doctor of Philosophy in Geology for traditional and nontraditional students alike. These programs expand students’ understanding of the natural processes of the earth in addition to its history. The masters program allows students to extend their knowledge of geology into more professional fields so that they may qualify for higher-paying and more diverse careers. International studying options are available, as well. For those interested in the subject but not enough to major in geology, the University of Nevada also provides geology as a minor area of study.

The Department of Geosciences at Boise State University provides students with the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Science in Geology as well as a Master of Science in Geology. The school encourages students to partake in internship opportunities and the chance to write theses papers as undergraduate students in order to demonstrate their full understanding of the particular area of geology in which they are most interested. Geology programs at this public research school stress the importance of research in the field of geology and how it can be used to advance the population’s knowledge of ways in which people can better care for the earth and predict or avoid disasters.

Greencastle, Indiana is home to DePauw University, a private liberal arts college established in 1837. Its Department of Geosciences has many options for undergraduate and graduate students, including geology. The bachelors degree program for geology builds mathematical skills and is meant to educate students on how to incorporate mathematics in the various earth sciences. Geology at DePauw also involves chemistry, physics, anthropology, and more. Faculty members are dedicated to the success of their students, helping them build the skills they need to advance in the world of geology.

There are also countless online geology degree opportunities for nontraditional students and students who face time restraints and are unable to attend classes on campus on a regular basis. Earning a geology degree online may be a better option for you if you have a full time job or are otherwise restricted on your ability to travel.

Careers in Geology: What Can You Do with a Geology Degree?

While you’re in the process of earning  your geology degree, you should also be considering what particular career path you’d like to travel upon completion of your degree and what can you do with a geology degree. Geology majors have plenty of career options available to them. This section explores both entry level positions and advanced careers you may qualify for once you earn your degree in geology.

Entry Level Careers in Geology

A bachelors degree in geology may help you land any one or more of the careers listed and described here.

Environmental Geologist

environmental geologist job description

An environmental geologist examines the earth’s natural resources and addresses environmental hazards in attempts to find ways to resolve issues, such as erosion and pollution, in order to protect and preserve Earth’s natural resources and environments. A bachelors degree in geology or environmental science is required to become an environmental geologist. Some companies, however, require candidates possess masters degrees in geology, environmental science, or other related fields. Environmental geologists have excellent research and organizational skills. Some states require environmental geologists to be licensed.

Environmental geologists may earn a salary of over $39,000 annually, based on education and experience levels.


A sedimentologist spends his or her time in the field and/or in the lab studying sediments, such as mud, gravel, and sand, in order to gain further insight on their origins. By studying sediments, sedimentologists may also be able to determine weather patterns based on the effects the weather has on sediments in a specific area. Sedimentologists possess at least a bachelors degree in geology or environmental science. Many advanced positions require years of experience plus a masters degree in a related field. Sedimentologists also have the ability to pay close attention to details and possess excellent research and communication skills.

Sedimentologists may earn a salary of around $50,000 or more annually, based on education and experience levels.

Advanced Careers in Geology

Upon earning your masters degree in geology or after gaining a few years of experience after acquiring your bachelors degree, you may find that you qualify for one or more of the positions described here.


A mineralogist travels to gather rock and mineral samples over specific regions in order to analyze and classify his or her findings. He or she also then performs tests to determine the chemical makeups of whatever rocks, gems, minerals, or more show up in the samples to determine whether these are new discoveries. Mineralogists often work for schools and museums, keeping track of their discoveries and logging them for academic records. They typically possess at least a masters degree in geology or geoscience and excellent categorizing and research skills.

Mineralogists may earn a salary of over $87,000 annually, based on education and experience levels.

Petroleum Geologist

A petroleum geologist determines the locations of oil deposits to inform engineers where they should drill for oil. Locations may be on land or under water, so it is important that a petroleum geologist to have an extensive background in geology. Most companies require petroleum geologists to possess at least a masters degree in geology with a few years of experience. High mathematics skills and knowledge of hydrology are also valuable characteristics to employers searching for the perfect petroleum geologists, as are great communication and organizational skills. Some states require that petroleum geologists be licensed, also.

Petroleum geologists may earn a salary of over $90,000 annually, based on education and experience levels.

Companies that Hire People with Geology Degrees

Companies around the world are constantly searching for people with geology degrees. With a degree in geology and background knowledge in mathematics, hydrology, earth science, and more, you are sure to find jobs you qualify for in today’s job market. A brief list of examples of companies that hire people with geology degrees.

ANH Refractories Company – locations across the world; hires positions for environmental safety facility supervisors, business process development and improvement specialists, senior mineralogists, mineralogists, etc.

Hilcorp Energy Company – located in Houston, TX; hires positions geologists, geologist technicians, etc.

EA Engineering, Science, and Technology, Inc. – Hunt Valley, MD; hires positions for engineers, geologists, GIS analysts, GIS consultants, etc.

Groundwater & Environmental Services – locations across the US; hires positions for geologists, environmental scientists, engineering program managers, etc.

If you are interested in the history and physical makeup of the earth, then traveling down the path of geology may be the right direction for you. This article is meant as a mere stepping stone on the journey to your future.