a female student superimposed over a brown backdrop containing geographic charts

Explore the Exciting World of Geology

When you become a geoscientist or a geologist, you'll play a central part in caring for the well-being of our planet. IUP’s Bachelor of Science in Geology gives you a deep understanding of all aspects of earth and environmental science.

Your geology classes will go far beyond the layers of sediment and rock that mark the earth's history. Your laboratory will include everything from the oceans to the stars—and what you'll learn at IUP could lead to a career that affects millions.

Why Study Geology at IUP

You'll learn from faculty who have conducted research around the world. They know what you need to succeed. Earning a BS in Geology means you'll be career-ready because your education includes:

  • Fieldwork
  • Hands-on learning
  • Student-oriented research

Your studies take place in the classroom and in the field. When you conduct research, you'll see with your own eyes the impact you could make with a BS in Geology.

What You'll Learn

IUP’s geology courses are designed to give you a full understanding of the processes that shape the earth. The program focuses on natural science and how that relates to the earth and its environment.

You'll work closely with your professors as you:

  • Achieve an understanding of regional and global environmental issues and concerns
  • Develop the knowledge needed to explore the responsible use of energy resources
  • Learn about climate science, sustainability, and environmental stewardship
  • Study geology, astronomy, meteorology, and oceanography

Imagine Your Future

Geologists and geoscientists are essential in our modern society. Geologists help us learn about dangerous and sometimes deadly events like:

  • Earthquakes
  • Floods and other natural disasters
  • Hurricanes
  • Landslides
  • Tsunamis
  • Volcanoes

Due to climate change and increasing world population, these issues will continue to play bigger and bigger roles in our lives.

According to the American Geosciences Institute, it’s predicted that 48 percent of geoscientists will retire in the next decade—you can help fill this national demand.

Industries That Hire Geologists/Geoscientists

  • Academia (community colleges, colleges, and universities)
  • Environmental consulting firms (both private industry and non-profit)
  • Environmental engineering companies
  • State and Federal government agencies (Department of Environmental Protection, US Environmental Protection Agency, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, US Geological Survey, US National Park Service, state parks)

Potential Career Paths

  • Climate scientist
  • Educator (secondary education, college and university professors, museum curator)
  • Engineering geologist
  • Environmental scientist/geologist
  • Environmental sustainability specialist
  • Geochemist
  • Geophysicist
  • Hydrogeologist
  • Licensed professional geologist working for state or federal agencies or private industry
  • Marine/Coastal Geologist
  • Petroleum/mining geologist

Jobs outlook predicted

11% growth



2020 Median Pay

Classes and Requirements

As a student in the BS in Geology program at IUP, you’ll study natural science as it relates to the earth and its environment.

You'll develop your skills through challenging classes and hands-on learning. The program emphasizes laboratory courses, weekend field trips, summer field courses (required for majors), and faculty-led research projects.

Capstone Research Project

In addition to classroom and laboratory learning, you're required to complete a capstone research project. You decide what type of geologic research interests you and work with one of our full-time professors on that research.

You can choose to do your research in the field or in one of our laboratories. IUP has laboratories specializing in:

  • Fluvial geomorphology
  • Geochemistry and experimental petrology
  • Marine sediments and climate change
  • Paleontology
  • Planetary science and the IUP planetarium
  • Structural geology and tectonics

As a geologist, you'll make informed decisions about controversial issues like:

  • Climate change
  • Energy development
  • Environmental protection

A geoscientist is part historian, part scientist, part activist, part businessperson, and part negotiator. You’ll be prepared for all these roles. When you complete the program requirements, you'll earn a BS in Geology degree.

Full Academic Catalog Listing

The course catalog is the official reference for all our degree and course offerings. Check it out for a full listing of the classes available and requirements for this degree.

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Nicholas Zbur

Nicholas Zbur ’14, Geoscience

I was somewhat shy during high school and even my first couple semesters at college, but IUP helped me to come out of my shell.

Research Opportunities for Students

Our faculty conduct high-level research around the world. As a geology major, you’ll have a chance to assist with these ongoing projects. The benefit of experiencing scientific research first-hand is that it will build your confidence and understanding of the subject.

Through research, you'll improve the following skills:

  • Critical thinking
  • Data interpretation and analysis
  • Scientific Communication
  • Technical

Participating in research will help prepare you for your future; whether that’s attending graduate school or immediately join the workforce after you graduate.

Recent Examples of Student Research

  • Determining the water budget and flooding potential for a suburban headwater stream in Indiana County, PA
  • Examining the impacts of paleoclimate changes on ocean nutrient conditions in the Southern Ocean using microfossil (diatom) records
  • Rapid exhumation of the Eastern Central Range of Taiwan, examining brittle deformation patterns in metamorphic rocks (Included travel to Taiwan and conference presentations)
  • Replicating volcanic crystallization textures of explosively erupted tephra through heating experiments to determine emplacement conditions

Earn a Master's Degree in Geographical Sciences and Planning as an Undergraduate

IUP’s early graduate admissions program lets you earn both a BS in Geology and an MS in Geographical Sciences and Planning in five years.

Earning both degrees will enhance your abilities as an earth scientist.

The MS in Geographical Sciences and Planning degree provides you with skills in:

  • Geographic data management
  • Geospatial analysis and interpretation
  • Map production

The graduate program is also designed to give you theoretical, practical, and policy knowledge in regional development and local and environmental planning.

Earn a Master's in Sustainability with IUP's Partnership with Chatham University

Would you like to help build a healthier, more sustainable, and equitable society and planet? If you said yes, IUP’s 4 + 1 agreement with Chatham University's Master's Degree in Sustainability program might be exactly what you are looking for.

When you complete a BS in Geology at IUP, you're automatically eligible to join Chatham's MS in Sustainability program. You'll finish the program in just one additional year. This means in five years you could earn a BS in Geology and a Master's in Sustainability.

With both degrees, you'll enter the workforce as an extremely competitive working professional.

Have a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Science? Earn Your Secondary Teaching Certification

By adding a certificate to your BS degree, you can be prepared to become a certified Earth and Space Science teacher (grades 7–12) in Pennsylvania.

With a Secondary Science Education Certificate, you can teach:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Earth and Space Science
  • Physics

You can complete this certificate while taking classes in a BS program at IUP. You can also return to IUP and earn the certificate after you graduate

Geology Minor

The Minor in Geology is designed for students who desire a background in geology, in conjunction with degrees in business or one of the social or physical sciences. The minor consists of eighteen credit hours of introductory and upper-level courses.

Full Academic Catalog Listing

The course catalog is the official reference for all our degree and course offerings. Check it out for a full listing of the classes available and requirements for this minor.

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Additional Minors and Certificates

If you are interested in geoscience, earth science, or sustainability, you may want to consider similar options. You can choose from several minors and certificates that may fit well with your chosen program.

Related Certificates

  • Geography/GIS & Geospatial Technology certificate
  • Geospatial Intelligence Analysis certificate
  • Military Geography Competency certificate
  • Unmanned Aerial Systems Science & Applications certificate
  • Water Resources and Watershed Management certificate

Similar Majors

  • Geography and Geographic Information Science (GIS), BA
  • Regional Planning, BS
  • Environmental Engineering, BS
  • Anthropology/Archaeology, BA

Minors that are a good fit

  • Geology minor
  • Geography minor
  • Regional Planning minor
  • Anthropology minor