Geology Program


A Look at Geology
The science of geology encompasses the earth, from plate tectonics to the processes that shape landscapes. With increasing demand on natural resources and a growing concern for environmental stress, geology offers the challenge of field studies and lab experience, while investigating problems of global, regional and local significance. Interaction between geologists and other scientists and engineers offers challenging and meaningful career options.

Geology at the College at Oneonta

Our Geology program is offered by the Department of Earth Sciences. It is one of five baccalaureate degrees offered by the department (Geology, Water Resources, Meteorology, Earth Science, Environmental Science with an Earth Science concentration). With careful planning, a dual major involving several of these areas is possible, or a cooperative five-year program combining Geology and Engineering can be arranged. Minors in Geology, Earth Science, Water Resources, and Meteorology are also available.

The Geology program includes 44 credits in the major, plus one year each of math, chemistry and physics.

The College Catalog describes individual courses, other department programs and specific requirements in greater detail.

Facilities and Special Programs
Experience with computers is an essential component in contemporary geology programs. A well-equipped computer lab is dedicated for student use, and computer applications are incorporated in the curricula of several geology courses. You are also offered several summer field course options. One visits the northeastern states and coastal areas, while the other concentrates on the Southern Rockies and Colorado Plateau. Local field trips and laboratory work are part of many undergraduate courses. Fully equipped laboratories are available for the diverse course offerings of the department.

Our Faculty and Students

The Earth Sciences Department consists of nine Ph.D. faculty. Seven are geologists with specialties in all the core areas of this field. Although many of the Earth Sciences faculty are involved in on-going research projects, each considers teaching to be the primary responsibility. In the history of our department, seven faculty have received SUNY Chancellor's Awards for Excellence in Teaching, and three earned the rank of Distinguished Teaching Professor.

A recently published external analysis found our Earth Sciences Department to be an "academic attraction" of this college. Each professor in the department is actively dedicated to instructional excellence, professional development, and student mentoring and advisement.

We emphasize a close rapport between faculty and students, advising them or) course selection, as well as academic expectations and career development. Continued close contact with alumni attests to the importance of this relationship.

Career Opportunities in Geology

At the present time, most career opportunities are in the areas of environmental and hydrogeology with private industry and government agencies. Positions in these areas are available in all parts of the country and in both urban and rural settings. A bachelor's degree in geology is sufficient preparation for entry-level positions. Close contact with alumni of our department indicates that the College at Oneonta's geology curriculum prepares them well for the professional challenges that lie ahead.

Our Majors After Graduation
Our biennial department alumni newsletter facilitates frequent personal contacts, and we maintain thorough records on our alumni. Earth Sciences Department graduates have continued their education by obtaining master's degrees at more than 50 universities across the country. They have received assistantships and fellowships at many highly-regarded graduate schools including University of California at Berkeley, University of Arizona, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Syracuse University, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Pennsylvania State University, University of Wisconsin, and many others. At present, many of our recent graduates are working toward their master's degrees, and many have completed the Ph.D.

Of the alumni working in their chosen field, 60% are in private industry, 20% with governmental agencies, and 20% are on the faculty of colleges and high schools.