Geology Program Description

Geology

Geology Fundamentals

Geology is the study of Earth's materials, structures and processes and how they’ve changed through time. This knowledge may be applied to exploration for natural resources, including metals, petroleum and water; understanding natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides; addressing problems associated with environmental contamination; and investigating Earth’s history to understand the evolution of life and global climate change. Geologists are employed by natural resource companies, environmental consulting firms, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and universities.

Core courses provide the fundamentals in:

  • physical and historical geology
  • mineralogy and petrography
  • structural geology and plate tectonics
  • sedimentology, paleontology and stratigraphy

Degree program can be tailored to a major field of interest by taking additional courses in the supporting sciences, mathematics and engineering fields.

Our Faculty

    The Department of Geology and Environmental Science faculty maintain research programs to study topics as diverse as:

    • ground water
    • pollution impacts
    • microbe-mineral interactions
    • environmental change
    • biodiversity
    • remote sensing of buried structures

    External funding and alumni support allow faculty to support student research. The faculty provides a broad-based education focused on both academic and applied aspects of the geological and environmental sciences. 


    Akron Advantage

    Hands-on Research

    Geology students apply state-of-art field and laboratory techniques to study geologic and environmental issues in Ohio and around the world. Students use modern equipment in the field for computer mapping, and in the laboratory for studying the chemical, mineralogical, magnetic, biologic, and physical properties of rock, sediment and water samples. Many courses have a component that involves a practical problem that is examined using field and laboratory methods. 

    Field trips throughout Ohio and to locations such as the Bahamas, Rocky Mountains, and Adirondacks expose students to a wide range of geology.

    Individual student research projects allow students to explore topics of interest in great depth, and with the guidance of a faculty mentor.

    Real-World Experience

    Geology and environmental science students gain the skills necessary to compete in the workforce or continue in a graduate program. Students are provided opportunities through research-orientated courses, paid laboratory assistantships and summer internships to gain practical professional experience. Summer Field Camp in South Dakota and Wyoming further provides students practical experience in geology.

    Research studies by students and faculty have been applied to solving local environmental issues such as:

    • the effects of dam removal along the Cuyahoga River;
    • monitoring ground water flow and contamination;
    • mapping resources in Metro Parks; and
    • laboratory analyses for local industries.

    Before graduation, students are encouraged to produce a written research report of their work to demonstrate to potential employers their range of scientific abilities.

    Geology Student Organizations

    Interact with other geology students and professionals in the field through organizations such as: 

    • Geology Club
    • Student chapter of the Association of American Petroleum Geologists

    Sample Curriculum

    Career Opportunities

    Degrees and Preparation

    A degree in geology offers many opportunities. Geoscientists work:

    • in industries related to oil and gas, mining and water resources
    • in private and government agencies specializing in environmental studies
    • as independent consultants on such problems as water pollution and soil erosion
    • in university settings, teaching and doing research

    Career Outlook

    Career opportunities continue to grow for geoscientists, especially as governments and industries establish policies to safeguard the environment. Graduates with work experience through academic laboratories, internships, fellowships or co-ops stand out among job seekers.

    A&S Careers Program

    Creates links among students, alumni and local professionals. You will have access to:

    • lending library with up-to-date, career-related publications
    • computer workroom for resume writing and employment research
    • volunteer, paid and for-credit internship placement on and off campus
    • department-specific mentoring arrangements

    The University of Akron

    Akron, OH 44325
    Phone: 330-972-7111
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