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Bachelor's Programs in Geology

Student looking at rock

It’s about so much more than rocks. Geology connects us to our history and paves the way for our future. It helps bridge the gap between nature and industry.  

With attention firmly on students, state-of-the-art research facilities and a physical location near a variety of geological settings, SIU’s Geology program is one of the most engaging in the country. 

Join a team of dedicated faculty and enthusiastic undergraduate, master's, and doctoral students in the pursuit of knowledge and a highly marketable set of skills applying fundamental science to solve important environmental problems. 

Gaining a greater understanding of the Earth and the forces that shape it adds value to degrees from nearly every other scientific discipline. Earning a bachelor’s degree, or even a minor, in geology will broaden your skills as a scientist, researcher or educator.  

Bachelor of Science

The undergraduate major can be accomplished by fulfilling the requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree.

  • Total degree requirements: 120 credit hours
  • University core curriculum: 39 credit hours
  • Geology Major Requirements: 64-65 credit hours
  • Supportive Skills: 6 credit hours
  • Specialization: 9-10 credit hours
  • Electives: 16-17 credit hours

Compass IconCheck out the BS Curricular Guide, which helps you outline what courses you would want to take each semester for all four years. View all related undergraduate courses.

Bachelor of Arts

The undergraduate major can be accomplished by fulfilling the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree.

  • Total degree requirements: 120 credit hours
  • University core curriculum: 39 credit hours
  • Geology Major Requirements: 45-50 credit hours
  • Supportive Skills: 6 credit hours
  • Free Electives: 31-36 credit hours

Compass IconCheck out the BA Curricular Guide, which helps you outline what courses you would want to take each semester for all four years. View all related undergraduate courses.

Specializations

Students pursuing the Geology degree choose from one of four specializations, one in general Geology and three in specific subfields: Environmental Geology, Geophysics, and Resource Geology. These concentrations prepare students for specific career goals in Geology and related areas. View our Specializations.

Minor

The Geology program also offers a minor in Geology that can augment the training received in many other degree programs. View program requirements.

We also offer an interdisciplinary minor in Ancient Practices.

Field Camp

Not many degrees require a six-week summer trip to Montana, but field training is critical for many careers in Geology. Every student earning the Bachelor of Science in Geology is required to attend this field camp excursion, which takes place primarily in the Beartooth Mountains of south-central Montana.

Students traditionally attend field camp during the summer between their junior and senior year. The six week period is divided into several exercises that address a range of geological topics, including sedimentary geology, stratigraphy, paleontology, geomorphology, structural geology, tectonics, igneous and metamorphic petrology, glacial geology and economic geology. Most importantly, students learn how to operate safely and efficiently as field geologists.

Research Opportunities

Research is the backbone of every scientific discipline, and geology is certainly no exception. Our faculty place emphasis on undergraduate research opportunities for students at all stages.

Along with world-class faculty, our students perform research in labs and also have numerous chances to perform research off campus. Students in the program regularly take field trips around Southern Illinois, and also visit more distant sites to conduct cutting edge research with faculty.

Research is encouraged at every step. Funding opportunities are available through REACH. Student research projects are often completed as independent study courses for credit.

Facilities

All of Parkinson Hall is dedicated to the geology program. Featuring exceptional labs with modern equipment, our faculty and students have everything they need to research, learn and teach. 

  • X-Ray Diffraction Laboratory
  • Organic Petrology Laboratory
  • Density Gradient Centrifugation Facilities
  • Organic Geochemistry Laboratory
  • Experimental Petrology Laboratory
  • FTIR Laboratory
  • Martian meteorite collection
  • Inorganic Geochemistry Facilities
  • Geomorphology and Hydrology Facilities
  • Geophysics Group Facilities
  • ESS GIS/RS Laboratory
  • Teaching Petrology Laboratory
  • Student Computer Laboratory
  • Rock Saw and Preparation Laboratory
student in lab

Contact Information

Sally Potter McIntyre,
Undergraduate Coordinator

215 C Parkinson Lab
Mailcode 4324
1259 Lincoln Dr
Carbondale, IL 62901-4303
Phone: 618-453-7372
Email: pottermcintyre@siu.edu

Jean McPherson,
Academic Advisor

Neckers 185A
Mailcode 4404
1245 Lincoln Dr
Carbondale, IL 62901-4303
Phone: 618-536-5537
Fax: 618-453-7067
Email: jeanmcp@siu.edu 

Careers

Our graduates have been highly successful obtaining jobs, especially in the energy sector, with environmental consulting firms and with government agencies. Most geologists working today are exploring for new mineral resources or for petroleum and natural gas.

Many employers prefer graduates with a master’s degree and many of our undergraduates continue their education in our graduate program.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects good job opportunities for trained geologists in the coming decades.

Organizations

Geology Club members embark on field trips, outreach opportunities and special events to nurture and strengthen interest in geology and such related subjects as mineralogy, petrology, hydrology, paleontology, etc. Activities include hiking trips, fossil and mineral hunts, hosting field trips from local schools and organizing other on- and off-campus events.

A local student chapter of the American Institute of Mining Engineers is active on campus, and a chapter of Sigma Gamma Epsilon, the national honorary society for the earth sciences, is active in the program.

Students also have the opportunity to become members of the Geology Honors Program and American Association of Petroleum Geologists.

Scholarships

The Geology Program has several scholarships available for outstanding undergraduates. Some of our students have successfully competed for Illinois Mining and Mineral Resources Research Institute Scholarships and the National Association of Geology Teachers Summer Field Course Scholarships.

View these and hundreds of other scholarships available to SIU students.

School of Earth Systems and Sustainability | College of Agricultural, Life, and Physical Sciences | 618-453-3351 |