The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's geology bachelor's degree aims to describe, analyze and explain the patterns and processes of the natural environment and the human cultural systems of the earth. The growing major is an excellent choice for those who enjoy the outdoors, are passionate about the environment and have a strong aptitude for math, science and chemistry.
Throughout the program, you'll gain a solid foundation in areas like physical geology, environmental geology, structural geology, hydrogeology, and mineralogy and metrology, helping you to uncover relations between people, places, cultures and environments. You'll also be immersed in the fascinating world of digital tools and techniques. Through coursework and unique projects, you'll gain firsthand experience using computer graphics and applying geographic information systems (GIS) to analyze and present geologic data.
While at UWEC, you will be challenged to take what you've learned and put it into practice. As part of a required capstone, you'll choose between joining a student-faculty research project, preparing and presenting a department seminar, participating in an internship or enrolling in a field experience. Many geology majors choose to attend a three-week field course in southwestern Montana to fulfill this requirement. There, you'll explore advanced geologic field techniques, with an emphasis on the construction of geologic maps and cross-sections in deformed plutonic, volcanic, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks.
Because of the broad-based nature of our geology programs, graduates find endless employment opportunities are available to them. You may go on to work as a geologist for environmental consulting firms conducting site investigations, help clients prevent unforeseen environmental impacts or collect data to inform client decisions. No matter your chosen career, you'll have the knowledge, skills and experiences necessary to do what you love — and make your mark.
Students may choose to pursue either the comprehensive geology bachelor's degree or the standard geology bachelor's degree. The comprehensive program is designed for those who are interested in careers as professional geologists, hydrogeologists or geological engineers, or for those who desire strong preparation for graduate programs in geological sciences or engineering. The standard program is for those who are interested in a more broad training of the general sciences as well as the relationship between earth science and other sciences.
State-of-the-art instrumentation and facilities. The geology department at UW-Eau Claire, along with the Materials Science and Engineering Center, houses state-of-the-art analytical equipment that is rarely found at undergraduate institutions. With nearly 100 unique pieces of high-tech instrumentation, here, you can analyze your field samples right on campus. From analytical geochemistry equipment to mineralogy and petrology equipment to the latest software used in the field — we have it all.
Internship opportunities. Our geology students have unparalleled internship opportunities, largely due to the rare industry partnerships we have forged through the Responsible Mining Initiative (RMI) grant. These connections give our students a huge hiring advantage with several industry leaders in the region.
Fascinating, personalized curriculum. A variety of electives within the geology major allow you to pursue multiple passions and study the topics that most interest you. Explore courses in vegetation ecology, invertebrate zoology, inorganic chemistry, remote sensing, or stars and galaxies. This flexibility gives you the chance to become an expert in multiple areas and opens doors to even more career paths.
Inspirational world travels. A nationally recognized strength of the geology program is the emphasis on learning — and using — field skills. Field experiences have taken Blugolds to British Columbia and Maine, and international coursework has been offered in Guatemala, Switzerland and Argentina. A required three-week field course in West Texas and New Mexico will give you firsthand, professional experience and allow you to uncover your geological passions and interests.
Nature close to home. Our campus’ physical location provides nature right at your fingertips. Bordered by a nature preserve known as Putnam Park, UW-Eau Claire has over 230 acres of terrain perfect for studying soils. The Chippewa River and Little Niagara Creek flow right through our lower campus, and Big Falls County Park is just 12 miles away.
Geology scholarship opportunities. First-year students interested in majoring in geology are able to apply for the Blugold Freshman Geology Scholarship. Two scholarships of $1,000 are awarded each year, thanks to UW-Eau Claire geology alumni who are interested in supporting the next generation of Blugold geologists.
Geology program details
- Program length: four years
- Offered: in person
- Campus: Eau Claire
- This major can be completed with or without a minor.
- This program is also available as a minor.
- Students majoring in this program may choose either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degree.
- Geology Club
- Women & Gender Minorities in STEM
Endless career paths are available to comprehensive geology majors. Our grads go on to work in the environmental industry, the mining industry, the petroleum industry, regulatory agencies such as the DNR and EPA, consulting, government, research, law and education. They are also well-prepared for graduate programs in geological sciences or engineering.
Students who choose to pursue a major in the standard geology major are able to design a degree plan that best fits their career goals. This may include incorporating business courses or interests in creative writing, art or photography.
No matter your path, geology careers are on the rise. And as the need for energy, environmental protection and responsible land and resource management grows, so does the demand for geoscientists.
Where are geology alumni now?
- CMT technician, Braun Intertec Corp.
- Environmental specialist, Cedar Corp.
- Geologist, Smart Sand Inc.
- Operation geologist, Anadarko Petroleum Corp.
- Assistant scientist, Tetra Tech
- Engineering geologist, Call & Nicholas, Inc.
- Environmental geologist
- Petroleum geologist
- Mine captain
- Resource lawyer
- Environmental manager
Curriculum within the geology major and minor is rooted in experiential learning. Rigorous field-based programming blends traditional geological field skills with modern technology and computational science, preparing you well for the real world. Students can expect to use the same state-of-the-art tools, technology and software that professionals are using in the field today, including field-computer systems, GIS mapping software and high-resolution GPS equipment.
What classes do geology majors take?
Your classes may cover topics like:
- Earth science
- Computing for the sciences and mathematics
- Economic mineral deposits
- Engineering geology and geophysics
- Societal issues in earth science
- Watershed analysis
Learn more about the geology - general geology comprehensive major in the UWEC course catalog.
Learn more about the standard geology major in the UWEC course catalog.
Learn more about the geology minor in the UWEC course catalog.
Thinking about a bachelor’s degree in geology? Here are other programs you may be interested in exploring.
- Biology - Ecology and Environmental Biology Emphasis
- Geography - Environmental Geography
- Environmental Science
- Geology - Environmental Science Emphasis
- Geology - Hydrogeology and Water Chemistry Emphasis
- Geology and Geological Engineering Dual Degree
- Geospatial Analysis and Technology
- Sustainability and Climate Action
- Teaching - Science, Earth/Space Science Emphasis