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Geology Undergraduate Program

A geologist looks back millions of years in the past, conducts experiments in the present and predicts what the Earth’s future might be. An interdisciplinary science drawing on physics, chemistry, biology and more, geology trains students to study the natural resources that shape our lives today. 

geology trip

West Virginia is rich with unique resources and close to the natural laboratory of the Appalachian Mountains. Our department brings students out into the field and works closely with the energy and environmental industries and with the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey, located in Morgantown. Training in the field and in the lab with cutting-edge technology prepares our students for a wide range of careers or graduate studies. 

Our students take courses in mineralogy, petrology, stratigraphy and structural geology, and select electives that best suit their interests. Some students choose to complete a dual degree in petroleum or mining engineering and geology, taking a combination of geology and engineering courses. 

All geology students gain practical research experience through an intensive five-week summer field camp in South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. Many geology classes include field trips around West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

The Bachelor of Science in geology is designed for students interested in earth science careers in the private or public sector, as well as those interested in pursuing graduate work in earth science. In addition, as a comprehensive land-grant institution, WVU provides an array of relevant courses in engineering, soil science, and mining and petroleum engineering, biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics and geography, which includes a nationally recognized geographic information systems program. Many geology majors choose to add a second major or a minor to further broaden their opportunities.

Undergraduate research opportunities are available in clastic and carbonate sedimentology and stratigraphy, environmental geology, geophysics, hydrogeology, mineralogy, metamorphic petrology, paleontology, petroleum geology, Quaternary geology and geomorphology, structural geology and tectonics. 

A wide variety of resources are available in Morgantown to augment classroom learning, both in the field and through cooperative research programs and internships. Foremost among these opportunities is the presence in Morgantown of the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey and the Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory. Numerous private geoscience firms, both local and across the state, have also provided internships for undergraduate geology students.

Our geology program prepares students for careers in a range of fields -- from environmental geology to paleontology to hydrogeology. The program offers undergraduate, masters and doctoral degrees. 

The strengths of our major are connected to the natural resources and environmental needs of West Virginia and the proximity of the natural laboratory of the Appalachian Mountains. Coursework and research in geology, geophysics, hydrogeology and environmental geology have recently been expanded to meet the growing demand in these fields.

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