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Geology major working in research laboratory

Geology B.S. (IU degree)

Offered by: Department of Earth Sciences A bachelor degree in geology gives a student a solid, interdisciplinary background in the sciences. The B.S. program is designed to prepare students for entry level positions in local, state, federal government and industry and preparation for graduate programs.

Why choose this program?

The Department of Earth Sciences at IUPUI teaches the importance, application, and relevance of earth sciences in modern society and has a strong research program. The faculty and staff of the department provide an environment where students at all levels can explore, discover, and learn earth sciences through coursework and research.

Undergraduates in the department benefit from a variety of on-campus resources that other disciplines cannot offer; we have many opportunities to integrate undergraduates into research through scholarships, internships, and other funding sources. Our research faculty provide a wide range of diversity across the geosciences not available at many other state and private institutions. Most importantly, our Center for Earth and Environmental Science brings together campus, industry, and government stakeholders to conduct research and outreach related to environmental issues in Indiana.

IUPUI's program has the added benefit of being located in the largest job market in Indiana and located within 2 hours of the Cincinnati and Louisville area. Located blocks from the state capitol and on a campus with engineering, law, medical, and dental schools, we have used our location to build partnerships with other researchers, government leaders, and private industry.

See Earth Science undergraduate programs

What will you learn?

A bachelor degree in geology gives a student a solid, interdisciplinary background in the sciences. Students use a foundation in biology, chemistry, physics, and math to understand earth systems and earth processes. Physical Geology (G110) and Mineralogy (G221) are the typical gateway courses.

    •    Many of our bachelor degree majors complete individual research projects with a faculty member as one option within the degree requirements.

    •    Class sizes in our upper level courses are small, typically between 10-15 students.

    •    Majors have access to our computer lab, teaching classroom, and research facilities when necessary for completing course work.

Many students enter college unfamiliar with geology or earth sciences, typically because they had little exposure in high school. If you are interested in learning more about geology, any of our 100-level courses will give you an overview of many aspects of our science. Typically one third of our graduates attend graduate school while the remainder enter the workplace upon graduation. Many of our alumni are employed across Indiana; for more information see our career page.

Why study earth sciences?

Earth sciences encompasses the study of earth material (rocks, sediment, soil, petroleum), water (oceans, groundwater, water quality), and the atmosphere (climate change, air quality), as well as the relationships between material, water, air, their interaction with biologic life, and their changes through time.


Earth science (which includes geology and environmental science among other sub-disciplines) is a great field to study because:

  • It combines the strengths of biology, geography, physics, chemistry, and biology and applies them to our knowledge of the Earth.
  • The career opportunities are very diverse. Some geologists spend most of their time outdoors, others spend their entire time in the laboratory, and many spend a mixture of time outside, in the lab, and at their desk.
  • As a smaller discipline of study, faculty and advisors can give one on one attention to each and every student.
  • Employment opportunities are spread evenly across the U.S., both in rural and urban areas, with the highest concentration in large metro areas like Indianapolis.
  • Students can easily advance to the graduate level and earn a Masters or PhD degree.

The faculty research in our department speaks of the diversity. Several faculty are researching climate change and global warming, which has involved trips on ocean research ships and Antarctica. Other faculty are researching water quality issues and behavior in Central Indiana, while another faculty member researches the geologic history of mountain building in southern California. Some faculty do their research entirely in the laboratory or by computer, but most require some field work to collect samples that are then processed in our laboratories.

What's the difference between Geology & Environmental Science?

What kind of jobs are available?

The job market provides a good balance between the number of earth science graduates and the number of job openings in earth science, and many graduates have the exciting possibility of continuing on in graduate school to earn a Masters degree or Ph.D. Across the U.S. most earth science graduates who perform well as undergraduates can attend any one of hundreds of graduate programs across the US that typically offer tuition waivers and a stipend of $12-$18K.

The common perception of a geologist is someone who hunts for oil or gold. While petroleum and mining geologists are the highest paid and most recognized field within geology, they are outweighed by the many geologists and environmental scientists employed in business, industry, and education across the U.S. Mean salaries are $45,000 to $60,000 depending on the employer, the type of specialization, and whether you have a Masters degree--an environmental consultant may pay a starting salary of $35,000 while a petroleum exploration company may pay starting at $60,000. Many earth scientists work in county, state, and federal government to conduct research in earth sciences or to implement and manage environmental regulations and public policy.

Learn more about career possibilities and employers of IUPUI Earth Sciences grads.

Degree requirements

Both the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees are granted through Indiana University. The degrees differ in some coursework requirements. The B.S. program is designed to prepare students for entry level positions in local, state, federal government and industry and preparation for graduate programs. B.A. students may take a larger number of electives than BS students to create an academic concentration in another field that uses geology as a basis for a wide variety of careers. Students should consult with our academic advisor about which degree to pursue.

Details of all undergraduate degree requirements can be found in the IUPUI Bulletin. Requirements vary depending on a student's date of enrollment. If you do not know your date of enrollment, see your advisor.

Students enrolling in the School of Science on or after August 2014 (2014-2016 IUPUI Bulletin):


An exciting feature of the geology degree programs is undergraduate research. Research is not limited to the laboratory and often includes learning opportunities in the field. Students who participate in undergraduate research receive financial support and an opportunity to work directly with world-renowned faculty in a laboratory environment (as early as the freshman year). Research students benefit from personal attention and excellent academic and career advising. Learn more about our unprecedented research opportunities.

Capstone experience

Students will apply what they have learned in a capstone experience - either a regional geology field trip, an internship, or a specialized seminar course.

Environmental service learning

Since 1997, the Center for Earth and Environmental Science (CEES) and the Department of Earth Sciences have coordinated environmental service learning projects each semester that include locations on the IUPUI campus as well as numerous central Indiana parks, greenways, and natural areas. Through the service learning program, IUPUI faculty, staff, and environmental managers work with IUPUI students and community members to address urban environmental issues.

Geology undergraduate wins national veteran scholarship

Daniel Orazi Geology, Undergraduate
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