Earth Science

Earth Science Fundamentals

Earth scientists study earth 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. Earth scientists 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 and mathematics.

Our Faculty

    The Department of Geosciences 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

    Earth science 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

    Earth 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