Why study Geology?

Geology has undergone a revolution in the past decade, becoming an interdisciplinary science that emphasizes the study of major Earth systems — the solid Earth, the Earth’s surface, the hydrosphere, atmosphere and cryosphere (ice!), and the ancient and modern biosphere. Geology majors learn how these systems work and how they are connected. Geology majors integrate knowledge of Earth materials, the processes that have shaped them and the deep chronology of Earth history to understand global change through time. For example, geology majors learn how the collision of continents and the creation of mountains affect sea level, climate and the diversity of marine organisms. 

Geology majors work in the field and go on field trips as part of their regular course work. Geology majors become skilled in working in the field; making and working with maps; collecting, processing and presenting data and images with computers; and identifying and analyzing materials using up-to-date instrumentation. The Department of Geology is close-knit and personable.

Admission Requirements

Freshmen applicants, please visit the Admission Requirements page for more information.

Geology provides many opportunities for travel and fieldwork. Students who enjoy hiking and camping and can learn by examining samples of minerals, rocks, fossils, soils and other geologic materials will be ready to succeed in geology. Map reading and the ability to visualize in three dimensions helps enormously in “seeing” landscapes and the geometry of rock formations. Geology includes quantitative analysis of a variety of data, and ability in mathematics can be indispensable. Geology integrates aspects of chemistry, physics and biology, and students attracted to science in general will succeed.

There are positions for graduates with a BS in geology in environmental engineering and environmental consulting, as well as other fields. Graduates with a BS in geology are well-prepared for graduate study, which is generally required for a professional position in geology, and about three-quarters of UC geology majors go directly to graduate school for the MS or PhD degree. The skills that geology majors learn in observation, data analysis, field mapping, surveying, computing and communicating make them well-prepared for a wide variety of employment. Career possibilities include:

  • Environmental engineer
  • Environmental consultant   
  • Environmental Protection Agency employee
  • Petroleum geologist     
  • Employee of state geological surveys
  • Park naturalist   
  • Museum curator
  • University professor      
  • Employee of the U.S. Geological Survey
  • Book editor        
  • Computer analyst
  • Public policy consultant

Important advances in our understanding of Earth materials, processes and history are being made by integrating different branches of geology. More than ever before, earth scientists from different subdisciplines are collaborating to establish links among different Earth systems (for example, erosion and the geomorphic evolution of the Himalayas has helped govern its tectonic and metamorphic evolution). To this end, the Geology Department welcomes students from all other disciplines to pursue a minor in geology.

In addition, even students with primary interest in such fields as political science would benefit from expertise in geology because of the public policy ramifications.

The UC College of Arts and Sciences requires 33-35 credits for completion of a minor.

Click here to declare the minor online

Students in the UC College of Arts and Sciences enjoy many benefits afforded through study at a research-intensive institution ranked among the nation's top 25 public research universities. UC's urban, Tristate location offers exciting opportunities for global education, research and service learning, while its student-centered focus includes an 11:1 student-faculty ratio, a nationally recognized Center for Exploratory Studies and a highly successful First Year Experience program that teaches critical skills for first-year students and provides connections with important campus resources.

Field Study
The Department of Geology provides majors the special combination of emphasizing field study that is local, regional and international in scope, encouraging majors to pursue their own interests and supporting independent student research projects all in a student-friendly atmosphere. Field- and lab-based courses and field trips are an essential part of the undergraduate program. Field trips are regularly taken to Alaska, Iceland and the Himalaya of northern India. Most majors attend summer field camp, and the department provides scholarships to help support their expenses. Students have recently attended camps in Alaska, Italy, Nevada, California and Hawaii. Working as assistants to department graduate students in their field and laboratory research is an additional opportunity for majors.

Each senior is required to complete a "capstone experience" that involves: a) hands-on integration of knowledge, b) analytical and problem-solving aspects, c) written and oral documentation and d) demonstration of some aspect of social relevance. There is considerable flexibility in this requirement. Geology students have two major options: a) field course/camp experience (recommended for most students) or b) individualized training and research projects. Students should work with the undergraduate advisor to determine which option is the most appropriate.

I. Field course option: The primary means for completing the capstone experience will involve "traditional" geology field camps (typically four to six weeks mapping).

II. Individualized study option: Alternatively, students may propose an individualized program of rigorous study and research. This program must involve a field component (it might include, for example mapping a quadrangle under supervision of a faculty member, together with a report; it might also include a project that involves the collection and analysis of field samples).

To graduate from the UC College of Arts and Sciences, students must:

  • Earn at least 120 credits. This can include transfer credit, AP credit and free electives, but does not include preparatory coursework. Students who have met all other degree requirements must continue earning credit until the total number of their earned hours comes to at least 120.
  • Attain a 2.0 grade point average for all courses taken at the University of Cincinnati.
  • Be in good academic standing, that is, not on either academic probation or disciplinary probation or suspension.
  • Complete the residency requirement by earning at least 30 credits after matriculating into the university.
  • Complete all of the requirements of at least one major (see major requirements above).
  • Complete the College Core Requirements.
  • Submit an application for graduation to the registrar's office by their posted deadline.

Admission to A&S is generally available for any off-campus student who was admissible directly from high school and has cumulative 2.0 GPA and a 2.0 in the most recent institution.

Students who were not admissible directly from high school must have:

  • 24 semester (36 quarter) hours earned
  • at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA and a 2.0 at most recent institution

Transfer students should apply using our transfer student online application

University transfer scholarships are available to those who meet specific requirements and ANY admitted A&S transfer student might qualify for an A&S transfer scholarship. Deadlines and eligibility criteria are online via the previous links.

For any inquiries please contact us at artsci@ucmail.uc.edu

Admission to A&S is generally available for University of Cincinnati students enrolled in other colleges if they were admissible directly from high school, have a cumulative 2.0 GPA and a 2.0 in their most recent UC college.

Application Deadlines

While midyear admission is possible, fall semester is generally the best time to enter the college, since many course sequences begin in that semester. Applicants to the UC College of Arts and Sciences who are enrolled or who were previously enrolled as degree-seeking students in A&S or in other UC colleges should apply for admission directly to A&S (in French West, 2nd Floor). All other applicants who wish to earn an undergraduate degree from A&S should apply through the Office of Admissions (3rd Floor, University Pavilion).

The University of Cincinnati and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Contact Information

Carl Brett
500 Geology/Physics
PO Box 210013
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0013

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Program Code: 15BAC-GEOL-BS