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Grand Valley State University    
2011-2012 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog 
  Sep 25, 2018
2011-2012 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Geology - Program Description

For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences  section in this catalog.

Chair: Peterson. Professor: Videtich; Associate Professors: Cole, Colgan, Mattox, Mekik, Miller, Peterson, Riemersma, Weber; Assistant Professors: Llerandi-Román, Wampler; Affiliate Faculty: Fegel.


Geology is the study of the earth—its composition, processes, and history. The great outdoors is the laboratory of geology, where one may study landforms, rock and mineral deposits, folds, faults, fossils, and the processes that have shaped the Earth and that affect its inhabitants. A relatively young Science, geology is still on the threshold of new discovery as geoscientists explore the last frontiers of the continents and oceans and push on to study planetary geology.

Degrees offered: B.S. in Geology; B.S. in Geology-Chemistry; B.S. in Earth Science; minor in Geology and Earth Science. Teaching certification (secondary) in Earth Science major and minor. Students seeking elementary teaching certification should review the integrated science major in the Grand Valley State University Graduate and Undergraduate Catalog. The B.S. in geology and dual geology-chemistry are intended primarily to prepare students for graduate study in the geological sciences. As terminal degrees, they are also useful in a variety of careers, including environmental technology, mineral and energy resource exploration, science writing, and business.

The B.S. degree in Earth Science prepares students to teach in the secondary grades. Michigan teacher certification requires completion of the College of Education professional program and a minor area of study.

The minor program in Geology is designed to provide a supportive second discipline for students in such majors as anthropology, other science areas, and business. The earth science minor is for students seeking certification as secondary school teachers, and is also a suitable minor for such majors as anthropology, geography, and natural resources management.

Career Opportunities

The geosciences offer challenging career opportunities and are among the higher paid professions. The need for geoscientists reflects the shortages of fossil fuels, metals, industrial minerals, and adequate fresh water supplies. Some of these resources are not renewable, so the demand for geologists, geophysicists, and geochemists is likely to continue. Geoscientists will apply their knowledge and skills to exploring and developing the Earth’s resources. The search will cover the continents and extend into the seas as marine geologists and oceanographers search the limits of our planet. At the same time, engineering geologists, geohydrologists, and environmental geologists will seek solutions to problems involving building sites, water supply, waste disposal, and other environmental impacts of human activity. Thus, new cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary needs for geoscientists may be expected both in industry and in the areas of federal and state geological surveys.

Earth Science teachers will continue to participate in education programs to increase the nation’s awareness of the capabilities and limitations of the physical environment. Such primary and secondary school programs will need people familiar with the workings of the Earth’s atmospheric, hydrologic, and tectonic systems.

The following programs are available:

Bachelor of Science in Geology 

Geology Minor