Oregon State University

College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

Earth Sciences Major with Geology Option

Geology students

Geological sciences focus on understanding the Earth, from its composition and internal structure to its history and the processes that shape its surface. Our planet is the geologist's laboratory. Geologists study the process of rock formation, climate evolution and change, mountain building, land surface evolution, and mineral resource creation over the Earth's 4.6 billion-year history. A geologist contributes to society through the discovery of earth resources, such as metals, fossil fuels, and construction materials, through recognition and mitigation of earthquake, volcanic, landslide and flood hazards, and through environmental remediation of human impacts. Applied geology also includes providing information on ground stability for, construction of buildings, dams and coastal jetties on coastlines. Geologists also play a key role in characterizing past climate conditions and how they have changed, and inform government officials and the public. The geology option is built on a foundation of basic sciences. Experiential learning lies at the core of a geologist's education in CEOAS and practical field experiences are integrated throughout the curriculum. Students take field trips in many classes, in addition to two intensive field-based courses: "Introduction to Field Geology" is taught in California, and "Advanced Field Geology" is a four week field camp at our own field station in Mitchell, Oregon. In field intensive courses students build camaraderie, gain technical skill expertise, and synthesize classroom learning across the curriculum. Students in the geology option are mentored by a dedicated faculty with a broad range of expertise. The college is a vibrant research hub visited by scientists from around the world, complementing the world class research done by our own Geology faculty. Undergraduate students often engage in research with faculty mentors. Examples of recent projects include using gases trapped in Antarctic ice to understand past climate, exploring mineral deposits in Oregon and Nevada, understanding how rivers change course through time, investigating the structure and origin of mountain ranges, and tracing the eruptive history of volcanoes in the western United States.

Degree Requirements

Career Opportunities

A vibrant job market in Geology reflects society's environmental concerns, needs for hazard mitigation, and world demand for resources including water, gas, oil and metals. Recent OSU graduates are employed as:

  • Geologists for environmental consulting firms
  • Geotech engineering technicians
  • Geologists in mineral exploration
  • Petroleum geologists
  • Teachers and researchers at universities
  • Geologists in federal and state agencies