Watch our Hands-On video and see geology students on a local dino dig.
As a BYU undergrad, you will have access to top-notch facilities including the Museum of Paleontology which houses one of the top rated Jurassic Period collections in the world. It’s not only our extensive rock, mineral, and fossil collections that make us unique, but our location. BYU campus is nestled next to the Wasatch Mountains and near the Colorado Plateau and the Great Basin. This location provides an advantageous setting for studying geology in a natural environment and makes for lots of local field trips.
If that’s not enough, you’ll also have the opportunity to travel the world and participate in research. In the past, our students have travelled with their professors to Italy, Switzerland, the Bahamas, Hawaii, the Himalayas, and other exciting regions.
The relationships you build here through mentored teaching and unsurpassed undergrad research are valuable resources that will be helpful throughout your life. You’ll work alongside accomplished and experience mentors in an atmosphere that is both spiritually strengthening and intellectually enlarging to address scientific questions in the light of the Gospel.
–Dr. Jani Radebaugh
Geology: Environmental Geology Emphasis
Earth & Space Science Education
For more information on required classes for these majors and minors, please see the current undergraduate catalog. You can declare one of these majors or minors by visiting the Advisement Center.
Undergraduate research makes classroom learning come alive and can help propel you into a professional career. You will have the opportunity to put your book knowledge into practice by working not only in laboratories, but in various geological regions all over the world. With your knowledge of labs and equipment, plus hands-on experience, you will be well-prepared for a career or higher education.
BYU is a pioneer in this area—one of the few universities that allows undergrad students to work side by side with professors on research projects. This means that even though you may be fresh out of high school, you could find yourself assisting professors and graduate students in valuable projects with real-life applications. Some students are even paid during their mentorships.
–Carl Hoiland, geology student
Undergrad geology students can do research in nine areas. Specific project within these areas include using CT scans on dinosaur bones, exploring volcanoes on Jupiter’s moon, and investigating ancient climates:
• Climate Change
Students study significant and lasting changes in the distribution of weather patterns over a period of time. Climate change may be limited to a specific region or across the whole earth.
Students research the chemical composition of the earth and other planets. This research includes the compositions of rocks, water, and soils, cycles of matter and energy, and their interaction with the hydrosphere and atmosphere.
Students study the physics of the earth and its environment in space. Its subjects include the earth’s shape, gravitational and magnetic fields, its components and parts, all aspects of the atmosphere and its relationship with the moon and other planets.
Students study of the movement, distribution, and quality of water on earth and other planets. This field includes studying the water cycle, water resources, and watershed sustainability.
• Igneous Petrology
Students study all about igneous rock that has been formed by magma. This branch of geology uses both chemistry and physics techniques to determine rock composition and age.
Students research prehistoric life. Paleontologists research organism evolution and interactions. This field is a mix of biology and geology that attempts to explain causes.
• Planetary Geology
Students research the geology of celestial bodies such as planets, moons, asteroids, comets, and meteorites. This discipline includes determining the internal structure of planets as well as surface processes such as craters.
• Sedimentary Geology
Students research sediments such as sand, mud, and clay. This knowledge is used to interpret geologic history through observing sedimentary rocks and structures.
Students study the structure of the outermost layer of the earth. Tectonics focuses particularly on the forces and movements that occur in a region to create lithosphere structures like faults, basins, and rifts.
People come from all over to use BYU’s facilities and equipment. Some resources specific to the Geological Sciences Department include:
• Fission Track Dating Laboratory
Contains equipment for determining the chronological organization of geological events.
• Geophysics Laboratory
Houses seismic, ground penetrating radar as well as gravity, magnetic, and electromagnetic instruments used in geophysics.
• Hydrochemistry Laboratory
Contains equipment used in researching groundwater composition, migration, and pollution.
• Isotope Laboratory
Houses instruments that analyze stable isotopes such as hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen.
• Mineral Surface Chemistry Laboratory
Includes an atomic force microscope and other equipment that analyze low-temperature chemical reactions.
• Museum of Paleontology
Includes exhibits and fossil collections containing specimens ranging from minerals to dinosaurs.
• Sedimentary/Stratigraphy Laboratories
Contains analytical equipment used to characterize and understand sedimentary, clastic, and carbonate rocks.
As a geologist, the earth is your workplace. With an undergraduate degree in geological sciences, many job possibilities are open including working as a:
• High School Teacher
With an undergraduate degree in geological sciences you could earn:
*Industry-wide estimate from: payscale.com/best-colleges/degrees.asp
Many of our students go on to get advanced degrees and additional experience that broaden their career opportunities. BYU Geological Sciences alumni have found jobs in government, business, academia, and numerous industrial positions including:
• Anadarko Petroleum Corporation
• Chesapeake Oil
• Devon Energy
• Intermountain Paleo-Consulting
• USDA Forest Service
• Utah Geological Survey
• Utah Valley University
–Grant Willis, Utah Geological Survey
Geological Sciences Mentoring
See how students determine the likelihood of a major earthquake occurring this century.
Geology on the Island of Vulcano
Geology students explore the mountain that gave modern volcanoes their name.
Global Warming, Glaciers, and the Alps
Travel to the Alps and see why with all the recent discussion on global warming, the study of glaciers takes on a whole new level of importance
Hands-On: Geology at Clear Lake
Join the Department of Geological Sciences as they discover the source of Clear Lake.