Geology Major

Why study geology at CMU?

The geology program at CMU offers the training that students need to get started in this exciting field. Program course work, modern learning resources, and required fieldwork and research experiences prepare students for graduate school and geology-related careers. Consider these key features distinguishing this program at CMU:

  • An undergraduate-only department that facilitates small class sizes and significant student-faculty interaction
  • Opportunities to conduct original research with faculty mentors
  • Field trips to local, regional, and international locations, such as sites throughout the Great Lakes region, Virginia, New York, Ireland, Australia, and more
  • Professional development, resources, and contacts through student organizations such as CMU Geology Club and Sigma Gamma Epsilon Earth Science Honor Society

Career outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, for all occupations through the year 2014:

  • Employment of environmental scientists is expected to grow about nine to 17 percent and employment of hydrologists should grow 18 to 26 percent.
  • Job opportunities will be spurred by a continued awareness regarding the need to monitor the quality of the environment, to interpret the impact of human actions on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and to develop strategies for restoring ecosystems.
  • Graduates with a master's degree may have the best opportunities for careers in the geosciences.

Career options

Graduates of the geology program at CMU will find a variety of career opportunities. Some of these may require additional education.

  • Elementary or Secondary Teacher
  • Engineering Geologist
  • Environmental Scientist
  • Geochemist
  • Hydrologist
  • Mineralogist
  • Museum Scientist
  • Science Policy Advisor

Program Overview

The course listings below are a representation of what this academic program requires. For a full review of this program in detail please see our official online academic bulletin AND consult with an academic advisor. This listing does not include the General Education courses required for all majors and may not include some program specific information, such as admissions, retention, and termination standards.

(Click on the course name or number for a complete course description.)

Geology Major

Students choose between this major or a Geology major with a hydrogeology/environmental concentration. Students are encouraged to meet with a departmental advisor to discuss the concentration that is in alignment with their individual goals. Note additional MTH and PHY courses strongly recommended for students who plan to go to graduate school. A minor is encouraged but not required.
Total: 66-68 semester hours
Core Courses I
(3-4 hours)
Introduction to the Geosciences Select one of the following options:
CR1A-GEL
Option A
(4 hours)
CR1B-GEL
Option B
(4 hours)
CR1C-GEL
Option C
(3 hours)
CR1D-GEL
Option D
(3 hours)
Core Courses II
(25 hours)
Geoscience Fundamentals
GEL 201
Earth History
3
GEL 280
Geomath
1
GEL 290
Introduction to Geologic Investigation
3
GEL 310
Introductory Mineralogy
4
GEL 370
Structural Geology
3
GEL 440
Stratigraphy and Sedimentology
3
GEL 450
Geology Field Camp
5
MET 101QR
Our Changing Climate
3
Required Courses I
(23 hours)
Note: In addition, students interested in pursuing graduate school are strongly recommended to take MTH 133 - Calculus II (4 hours) and PHY 146 - University Physics II (4 hours).
CHM 131
General Chemistry I
4
CHM 132
General Chemistry II
4
GEL 250/MET 250
Geoscience Mapping and Resource Evaluation
3
GEO 203QR
Introduction to Geographic Information Science
3
MTH 132
Calculus I
4
PHY 145QR
University Physics I
4
PHY 175
University Physics Laboratory I
1
Required Courses II
(6 hours)
Advanced Geoscience
GEL 321
Petrology
3
GEL 430
Invertebrate Paleontology
3
Required Courses III
(6-7 hours)
Select two of the following courses:
GEL 372
Introduction to Geophysics
3
GEL 380
Hydrogeology
3
GEL 385
Introductory Petroleum Geology
3
GEL 420
Applied Geostatistics
4
GEL 460
Geochemistry
3
GEL 550
Economic Geology
3
Electives
(3 hours)
Select one or more of the following courses for a total of 3 credits:
OR choose any course from Required Courses III listed above, without double counting.
GEL 275
Special Problems in Geology
1
GEL 297
Independent Study
1-3
GEL 304
Earth Resources
3
GEL 305
Engineering Geology
3
GEL 325
Glacial Morphology and Landforms
3
GEL 402
Environmental Geochemistry
3
GEL 406
Senior Thesis
3
GEL 413
Geomorphology
3
GEL 510
Geomicrobiology
3
GEL 515
Environmental Soil Chemistry
3
GEL 597
Independent Study
1-6
 

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