The most fundamental “Earth” science
Geology is the study of the composition, history and physical processes of the Earth. From microscopic minerals to mountain ranges to mantle convection, geologists work at every scale in every environment from the laboratory to the lunar surface. In fact, the first scientist to walk on the moon was geologist Harrison Schmitt.
If you’re looking for a career that combines the best of modern technology with good old-fashioned detective work, you’ve turned over the right stone! The SFA Department of Geology is a place where you can challenge your mind AND your feet.
Careers that build a strong foundation
If you’ve ever heard the phrase, “from the ground up,” you know that everything from smartphones to skyscrapers is either made from Earth materials or stands upon it, and geologists are there first. Whether you go into oil and gas exploration or save the world from earthquakes, a geology degree from SFA will give you an excellent foundation for a great career. Starting salaries are very good, and career satisfaction is high – geologists love their jobs.
Learning out in the real world
At SFA, our undergraduate geology students don’t just sit in a classroom until they’re ready for field camp. You’ll enjoy trips to local and regional sites for fieldwork and hands-on outdoor learning, as well as opportunities to participate in actual research alongside professors. Smaller class sizes allow us to offer a more direct and personal educational experience than other universities and to get students more actively involved at an earlier stage in their degree programs.
One of the unique resources SFA provides for students interested in petroleum exploration is our extensive core repository, donated by the East Texas Geological Society – the repository draws scientists from across the state and nation. Thousands of feet of real drill cores offer some of the best hands-on experience possible, with tools of the trade you won't find in most other undergraduate facilities.
Undergraduate programs and requirements
A bachelor’s degree with two unique tracks
All students majoring in geology are required to take 34 semester hours from the core curriculum plus additional courses from the major track options to make a total of 43 semester hours.
Core requirements (28 hours):
- GOL 131, 132, 241, 242, 338, 364, 408 and 472 (Field Methods)
The geology major features two primary course track options: general geology or environmental geology. Before or shortly after completing 45 hours of university credit, you should choose one of the two geology options and pick a minor.
Students who choose the general geology option must complete the following courses in addition to the required geology curriculum:
- MTH 233 and 220
- CHE 133, 133L, 134 and 134L
- PHY 131, 131L, 132 and 132L
Popular minors associated with general geology include business and petroleum land management.
Minoring in geology
If you are pursuing a geology minor, you must complete a minimum of 18 semester hours of geology coursework, of which at least six hours must be advanced. GOL 406 cannot be used to satisfy these requirements. You may plan your minor program in consultation with a geology advisor.
A unique “second major” in geology
If you are majoring in environmental sciences with the environmental geology option (Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture) or in geography with a geology minor, your required geology courses have been arranged to make it possible for you to complete a second major in geology during the normal four-year period for the bachelor's degree. Contact the Department of Geology for advising.
For more information on general geology course offerings, please visit the 2017-2018 Academic Year General Bulletin.
Graduate programs and requirements
The Master of Science in Geology
Students interested in a master's in general geology may pursue a thesis or non-thesis option.
The thesis option requires a minimum of 30 hours of graduate coursework, including:
- 18 hours of graduate geology coursework from at least three different major fields of geologic study (i.e. hydrogeology, geochemistry, geophysics, petrology, sedimentology, stratigraphy or structural geology)
- Three hours each of thesis research (GOL 589) and thesis writing (GOL 590)
- Six hours of additional coursework as approved by the graduate committee, which may include coursework from other university programs
The non-thesis option requires a minimum of 36 hours of graduate coursework, including:
- 30 hours of graduate geology coursework from at least five different major fields of geologic study (i.e. hydrogeology, geochemistry, geophysics, petrology, sedimentology, stratigraphy or structural geology)
- Six hours of additional coursework as approved by the graduate committee, which may include coursework from other university programs.