Science

Geology

​​​​​​​​​​​Program Description

The geology major at CMU emphasizes mastery of the basics required for success as a geoscientist. You’ll acquire a strong foundation of geologic knowledge and skills related to observation, field and laboratory projects, critical thinking, computer use, and technical writing. CMU’s comprehensive course of study in the geology major also serves as excellent preparation for graduate school.

Points of Pride

  • CMU’s Biological Station on Beaver Island offers marshes, coastal wetlands and beachfront research opportunities for studying geology. CMU is the only university in Michigan and one of two in the Midwest to operate an island research station.
  • You can gain professional development, resources and contacts through student organizations such as CMU Geology Club and Sigma Gamma Epsilon Earth Science Honor Society.

Put Your Degree to Work

Graduates of the geology program at CMU will be prepared for a variety of career opportunities such as an elementary or secondary teacher, engineering geologist, environmental scientist, geochemist, hydrologist, mineralogist, museum scientist, or science policy adviser.

​U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics sample data

JobMedian PayJob Growth through ​2022​
Geological/petroleum technician$53,700 per year15% (2,400 more jobs)
Mining/geological engineer$84,320 per year12% (1,000 more jobs)
Geoscientist$90,890 per year16% (6,000 more jobs)

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: 67-68 semester hours
Core Courses I
Introduction to the Geosciences Select one of the following options:
CR1A-GEL
Option A
CR1B-GEL
Option B
CR1C-GEL
Option C
CR1D-GEL
Option D
Core Courses II
Geoscience Fundamentals
GEL 201
Earth History
3
Required Courses II
Advanced Geoscience
Required Courses III
Select two of the following courses:
GEL 275
Special Problems in Geology
1
GEL 280
Geomath
2
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
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
GEL 321
Petrology
3
GEL 430
Invertebrate Paleontology
3
GEL 372
Introduction to Geophysics
3
GEL 380
Hydrogeology
3
GEL 385
Introductory Petroleum Geology
3
GEL 420
Applied Geostatistics
3
GEL 460
Geochemistry
3
GEL 550
Economic Geology
3
Electives
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 304
Earth Resources
3
GEL 305
Engineering Geology
3
GEL 308
Introduction to Hydrologic Systems
3
GEL 325
Glacial Morphology and Landforms
3
GEL 397
Independent Study
1-3
GEL 406
Senior Thesis
3
GEL 413
Geomorphology
3
GEL 502
Aqueous Geochemistry
3
GEL 510
Geomicrobiology
3
GEL 515
Environmental Soil Chemistry
3
GEL 597
Independent Study
1-6

 Grads on Fire

Joseph Sadorski, ’11, is a geoscience research assistant at California State University in Northridge, California.

Jonathan Knapp, ’08, is a principal geologist and owner of Chippewa River Consulting LLC in Denver, Colorado.

Deidre LaClair, ’03, is a geologist/geophysicist at the U.S. Department of Interior in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Jaclyn Clark, ’10, is a research assistant at the Institute for Planetology in Germany.

Daniel Chandonais, ’08, is a geologist at Cabot Oil & Gas Corp.

CMU is an AA/EO institution, providing equal opportunity to all persons, including minorities, females, veterans and individuals with disabilities. | CentralLink
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