The science of geology spans from the core of the earth to the top of its mountain ranges, and from the atomic scale to the interplanetary. Whether you major or minor in geology, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of our planet and how it came to be through the study of rocks, water, landforms, and other features of planet Earth. You’ll complete foundational coursework in geology, as well as related subjects, like physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics. The geology program emphasizes learning in a natural setting, as well as in the classroom.

Courses offered will give you a better appreciation of the natural environment and Earth’s resources, increase your awareness of how dynamic geological events and processes affect society, and introduce you to the methodologies and reasoning used in science. You’ll be able to use the knowledge you’ve acquired to examine and solve geologic problems. You’ll become familiar with current geologic literature and how to think critically. You’ll strengthen your oral and written communication skills, enhance your observation skills, and gain robust data collection skills.

The geology curriculum readies you to enter a professional career or pursue advanced studies in the geosciences. The many subdivisions of geology cater to a variety of scientific interests, including mineralogy, petrology, sedimentology, structural geology, tectonics, and geomorphology. The geology discipline also provides the necessary background in earth science for those who plan to teach earth sciences at the secondary level, and it serves those in other programs who need geology as a related subject.

Student Learning Outcomes

By completing a degree in geology, you will be able to

  • understand the evolution of Earth as a planetary body;
  • identify the fundamental geologic principles used to reconstruct Earth’s history;
  • recognize geologic features and earth materials, and to infer the processes responsible for their formation; and
  • use the requisite skill set to solve geologic problems.

General Education Requirements

The University of Minnesota and its faculty are committed to providing an education that invites you to investigate the world from new perspectives, learn new ways of thinking, and grow as an active citizen and lifelong learner. The University’s general education requirements are designed to be integrated throughout your four-year undergraduate experience. These courses provide you an opportunity to explore fields outside your major and complement your major curriculum with a multidisciplinary perspective.

Careers & Graduate School


Geology graduates typically pursue careers in one of four major sectors: industry (petroleum, metals and minerals mining, resources mining), environment (consulting, hydrology, mapping, non-profit work, conservation), government (U.S. Geological Survey, Department of Energy, Minnesota Geological Survey, civil natural resources agencies), and research and education.

As a geologist, you can work in many different capacities, from seeking and developing new mineral and energy resources to ensuring the safe construction and use of highways and infrastructure. Maybe you’ll be in the business of predicting and reducing the impact of natural disasters or working on environmental projects to protect our land, water, and natural resources.

UMN Morris geology graduates have a record of professional success. They are currently employed by major oil companies, geophysical and exploration companies, consulting firms specializing in environmental and engineering geology, state geological surveys, state departments of natural resources, national research labs, secondary schools, and universities.

Specific Geology-Related Occupations

  • Sedimentary geologist
  • Control systems engineer
  • Exploration geologist
  • Petroleum geologist
  • Petrophysicist
  • Well driller
  • Cartographic technician
  • Environmental consultant
  • Environmental field officer
  • Environmental geologist
  • Environmental scientist
  • Groundwater hydrologist
  • Hazardous materials response specialist
  • Hydrogeologist
  • Industrial hygienist
  • Soil and water analyst
  • Conservation/mining foreman
  • Watershed district administrator
  • Elementary science specialist
  • Geochemist
  • Geology instructor
  • Geology research scientist
  • Geophysicist
  • Glacial geologist
  • Precambrian geologist

Graduate School

While you may move directly into a geology-related career with a bachelor’s degree, graduate study in a specific sector within the geological sciences may be beneficial. UMN Morris geology graduates have had great success pursuing higher degrees, gaining entry to graduate programs at the following schools:

  • Brown University
  • Idaho State University
  • Iowa State University
  • Kansas State University
  • Lehigh University
  • Michigan State University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • State University of New York at Binghamton
  • University of Alaska
  • University of Calgary
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Idaho
  • University of Indiana
  • University of Manitoba
  • University of Massachusetts
  • University of Nebraska
  • University of North Dakota
  • University of Oklahoma
  • University of Washington
  • University of Western Washington
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Washington State University
  • Wright State University

Cost of Attendance

The University of Minnesota Morris is a national public liberal arts college committed to making a high-quality education available to students from across the country. Expenses for housing, meals, books and supplies, transportation, loan fees, and personal expenditures can vary.

Research & Engagement

With plenty of opportunities for fieldwork, travel, and collaborating with faculty on projects, you can have a very active experience as a geology student. You’ll have access to a variety of related activities to explore a fulfilling career in geology that appeals to your unique interests. The geology discipline also has many resources and advanced facilities and equipment within the department that are fully available for you to do research.


As a UMN Morris geology student, you’ll have the opportunity to become actively involved in geology research projects conducted by faculty and to create your own independent research project. This is another way to more fully engage in your area of study. Research projects may range from laboratory investigations to computer modeling to field studies. 

With faculty and financial support from the Division of Science and Mathematics, past geology students have presented their findings at regional, national, and international meetings, including:

  • Geological Society of America (GSA)
  • American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  • International Glaciological Society (IGS)
  • Institute for Lake Superior Geology
  • National Council of Undergraduate Research
  • Minnesota Academy of Sciences (MAS)

Moreover, many students have co-authored papers published in professional journals.

You’ll have access to abundant laboratory and field equipment (petrographic microscopes, Brunton compasses, hand-held GPS units), including a research-grade petrographic microscope with digital imaging capability, rock-cutting and thin-sectioning lab, mineral separation equipment, a survey grade GPS unit, and an in-house map and graphics laboratory.


As a geology major, you may be able to participate in Field Camp as your capstone experience, an intensive, off–campus, summer course.

UMN Morris has a collaborative relationship with the Indiana University field camp program at the Judson Mead Geologic Field Station in southwestern Montana. Most camps operate on a three– to six–week schedule, and individual or group projects can range in length from a day to a week. Various field camps are located throughout the U.S. and around the world, with many in the Rocky Mountains. You would work with faculty advisers to plan their projects and find a venue. Geology graduates have often said that their Field Camp experience was the highlight of their Morris experience.

Completing an internship is another way to engage in the study of geology, such as at a research facility or environmental consulting firm. You may also have the opportunity to travel, both regionally and internationally, as part of your undergraduate geology studies. 

Quick Facts

Program Offerings
  • Major
  • Minor


University of Minnesota Morris
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