University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Geology

Discover Geology

classroom off lake champlain

10 Reasons to Major in Geology at UVM

10. You + outdoor adventure = a neat major.

9. Small classes with acclaimed instructors. Not bad.

8. Get to know your friend Earth.

7. Get to know how your friend Earth works.

6. Rocks rule.

5. Go Green: It's UVM's color for a reason.

4. Hands-on science in Vermont.

3. Geologists are cool.

2. Geology majors are cool.

1. UVM Geology majors get jobs.

Do you need ten more? Change your major to Geology!

What's It All About?

If you have ever questioned why landscapes differ, why earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur, why the mountains and oceans exist, or why the dinosaurs became extinct, then you have already been introduced to geology. The study of geology is an expression of our curiosity of the world around us. The process of finding the answers to these questions is complex and fascinating; it is what geology is all about!

Geology: not just for rockhounds!

You can't just sit in a classroom and learn geology. You will get outside: on mountains, glaciers, lakes, and in the oceans, to do your work. Being out-of-doors with your landscape teaches you how to observe and describe what you see by:

  • collecting data.
  • learning how to interpret and visually present data.
  • communicating your conclusions to those around you.

Natural synergy with environmental science

Geology is an especially appropriate concentration for students pursuing an environmental science degree. In addition to taking very specific courses on the environment, such as environmental geology or geohydrology, all of our courses help you learn how the earth "works." Whatever the environmental problems you are interested in, understanding the Earth is a starting point. Even if you never pursue a career as a geoscientist, the skills you learn in geology classes are transferable to a wide range of employment opportunities.

Geological research leads to unexpected answers

Analysis of the the chemistry of ancient sediments led to an explanation for why the dinosaurs became extinct.

In the 1950s, examination of how rocks become magnetized on the ocean floor led to proof that our "stable" continents have moved and continue to move in predictable directions and at determined velocities.

These are all moving components of geological life.

Geological "revolution" brings fascination and respect for the earth and space

Geology today is a science that teaches us not just what the earth was like in the past but also why our still evolving planet behaves the way it does today. The advances made in geology have directly influenced investigations in lunar and planetary sciences, oceanography, remote sensing and satellite imagery, and a host of other subfields of the Earth sciences.

Geologic quest continues today

Geology is much more than researching 4.6 billion years of evolution as a planet. Geologists are responsible for some pretty amazing explorations that are important to all citizens of planet Earth:

  • the exploration of natural resources on land, under the oceans and eventually even in outer space;
  • establishment of accurate predictors of volcanic eruptions and earthquake disaster;
  • knowledge about earth materials to establish environmentally safe locations for disposal of liquid and solid wastes;
  • determination of sound locations for pipelines, tunnels, bridges and dams; tracking of the quality and toxicity of our surface and ground water systems and provide the data for making environmentally sound decisions.
  • data collection and analysis of today's greatest environmental threat: global warming and climate change.

The sciences unite!

Many chemists, physicists, engineers, mathematicians, biologists, oceanographers, and computer scientists have geological training. Perhaps even more significant is the importance of geological training to the careers of many lawyers, economists, educators, politicians, and administrators. The rise in stature of such disciplines as geophysics, geochemistry, and geological oceanography in recent decades reflects the significant contributions made by these disciplines in addressing both applied and theoretical problems in the Earth Sciences.

Whether geology is undertaken as a profession, or in combination with disciplines concerned with societal problems, or just to satisfy a natural curiosity you have for Earth, the rewards are not short-lived. A solid background in geology will provide a long term source of stimulation for you to raise new questions about the world around you, no matter which career path you follow or wherever you may choose to work or live.

Is geology for you? Find out.

Last modified January 30 2014 10:52 AM