Undergraduate Programs

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Geology is a multi-faceted discipline that focuses on the richness of the physical and life histories of our planet and involves many issues critical to society's most pressing concerns including natural resources, energy and environmental change. Geology examines the evolving relationships of Earth systems-lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere-through the full spectrum of geologic time, including the present day. The undergraduate program in geology is designed for students who wish to pursue careers in geology and the Earth sciences in general, such as environmental geology, paleontology, glaciology, petroleum geology, geochemistry, petrology, and hydrogeology, as well as secondary school, university and museum education and research. Our graduates leave the University of Cincinnati prepared to enter the workforce or progress to graduate studies.

The Department of Geosciences offers a Bachelor of Science degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree.  These major programs provide students with a broad spectrum of knowledge in the many facets of geology. The Bachelor of Arts degree enables students to acquire a solid grounding in geological sciences while having fewer requirements compared to the Bachelor of Science degree and is ideal for those students who wish to double-major, have multiple minors, or who join the Geology program later in their academic career. The Department of Geosciences also offers a Minor in Geology and a Minor in Environmental Geology, both of which serve as excellent compliments to those majoring in related sciences, such as Environmental Studies, Geography, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

As students progress through a major or minor program, they will be exposed to a wide variety of coursework at various levels. At the introductory level (1000-level), the purpose of coursework is to familiarize students with Earth processes and the history of life. The mid-level “core” courses (2000- and 3000-level) provide a solid knowledge base of the basic subject areas of geology and Earth Sciences, while upper-level courses (4000-level) provide the opportunity to explore specific topics in geology.  While progressing through the degree students acquire field- and laboratory-based skills and knowledge necessary for future endeavors in geology after graduation. In the field, students learn how to map geologic structures and collect samples. Field locations are local as well as far-reaching and include destinations such as the Bahamas, Alaska, the Appalachian Mountains, the Rocky Mountains, and here in the Cincinnati area, home to world famous, fossil-rich outcrops. In the laboratory, students prepare and examine various types of samples on a variety of laboratory instruments and equipment and utilize computer programs to analyze field data.      

Beyond course-related experiences, students have the opportunity to interact with faculty, graduate students, and fellow undergraduates while participating in field- and laboratory-based research projects. Faculty and graduate students serve as mentors for undergraduates interested in expanding their knowledge in a particular area of geology. Students work closely with their mentor to participate in an existing research project or create one of their own. Undergraduate research projects have led to senior theses, papers published in major geological journals, and presentations at regional, national, and international geology meetings.

Degree requirements may be altered to suit particular needs and abilities of a student upon petition to the Undergraduate Director and in consultation with the Academic Director. Special consideration is given to students with strong backgrounds in supporting sciences and students with superior records who decide to major in geology late in their programs.

For questions regarding the undergraduate programs or the department in general, please contact the Academic Director, Krista Smilek at krista.smilek@uc.edu.