Geology: BS, BA
Geology is the part of broader Earth Science that examines the solid Earth, its composition, history, structure, and how it interacts with the hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. In this study of how Earth works, geoscientists integrate knowledge of biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, and physics. Geologists help us gain energy, mineral, and water resources and evaluate and mitigate hazards due to earthquakes, floods, landslides, and volcanic eruptions, as well as waste disposal and global environmental change.
Students receive a BS by completing all required courses in the major. To receive a BA, students must also gain proficiency in one or more foreign languages.
- Applied Environmental Geoscience: Applied environmental geoscience is an interdisciplinary program, with a broader range of coursework than the traditional degree in geology. Students take geology courses and study the earth’s history, composition, and structure, but also take courses in areas such as watershed sciences, soils, biology, statistics, and GIS/remote sensing. This degree is for students interested in studying the geosciences, having a multidisciplinary degree and going on to careers in environmental fields.
- GeoWorkforce: The GeoWorkforce emphasis builds upon the core geology curriculum with courses tailored for learning the scientific, hands-on, and professional skills necessary in the modern workforce.
- Hydrogeology-Engineering Geology: Hydrogeology is the subdiscipline within geology that deals with the distribution and movement of groundwater in the soil and rocks of the earth’s crust. Students in the specialization take engineering courses in addition to their geology coursework as they study the engineering of groundwater.
Students who graduate with a traditional Bachelor's degree in Geology are rigorously trained and well-prepared to go on for graduate studies in the geosciences. With this standard degree, students can also pursue careers in: energy (gas, oil, geothermal, coal), mining, environmental consulting, and natural hazards assessment (earthquakes, landslide, etc.).
The GeoWorkforce emphasis within the Geology degree is designed in consultation with industry advisors to provide the practical scientific and professional skills for employment with a Bachelor's degree across broad areas such as: environmental consulting, natural resource and energy extraction, and land management, policy, and government agencies.
Applied Environmental Geoscience Emphasis
The AEG emphasis within the Geology degree allows students to tailor and broaden their training, while including the standard essentials to keep graduate school as a future option. For example, this multidisciplinary degree may be tailored toward careers in environmental fields.
Hydrogeology-Engineering Geology Emphasis
The Hydro-Engineering emphasis in the Geology degree incorporates engineering coursework and provides a rigorous focus toward careers in engineering consulting, environmental cleanup, and groundwater.
Career Services provides counseling and information on hundreds of job and internship opportunities and even helps students apply and interview.
In addition to Utah State University’s admissions requirements, the geology program has additional requirements:
- Freshmen: New freshmen admitted to USU in good standing qualify for admission to this major.
- Transfer students: Transfer students from other institutions need a 2.2 total GPA for admission to this major. Students transferring from other USU majors need a total GPA of 2.0 for admission to this major.
International students have additional admissions requirements.
Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs
American Geophysical Union: The American Geophysical Union is dedicated to furthering the geophysical sciences through the individual efforts of its members and in cooperation with other national and international scientific organizations.
Geological Society of America: Established in 1888, the Geological Society of America provides access to elements that are essential to the professional growth of earth scientists at all levels of expertise and from all sectors: academic, government, business, and industry.
Geology Club: The Geology Club holds regular meetings and activities, including field trips with professors and students, museum tours, geology displays for public school students, and more.
Labs, Centers, Research
With the second oldest undergraduate research program in the nation, USU offers students a wide range of opportunities to gain hands-on research experience. USU’s Honors Program prepares students for excellent graduate programs by helping them build relationships with professors, participate in research projects, take smaller, more intensive classes, and develop leadership skills.
Geochemistry/Analytical Laboratory: This lab includes Panalytical XPert Pro X-ray diffractomer (XRF), a Philips PW-2400 X-ray flourescence (XRF) instrument, a new inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS), and other analytical equipment.
Institute for Natural Systems Engineering: The INSE is a recognized leader in the development, testing, and application of multi-disciplinary assessment methods for aquatic ecosystems and instream flow assessment methodologies.
Luminescence Laboratory: This lab specializes in the analysis of the luminescence signals from quartz grains in geomorphological applications. It currently has two RISO TL/OSL readers and one with a single-grain attachment.
Rock Preparation Laboratory: This lab has a rock crusher, corers, trim saws, and thin-section equipment.
Utah Center for Water Resources Research: The UCWRR facilitates water research, outreach, design, and testing elements within a university environment that supports student education and citizen training.
Utah Water Research Laboratory: The UWRL works on nearly 250 water-related projects a year and has projects in all of Utah’s 29 counties and more than 40 countries. The lab is one of the go-to places that addresses the technical and societal aspects of water-related issues, including quality, quantity, and distribution of water.
Water Initiative: Utah State University supports a broad community of students and faculty engaged in water education, research, and outreach. The USU Water Initiative provides an overarching umbrella for the activities of this community aimed at fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and collegial sharing of ideas related to water across the departments and colleges of USU.