Geological Sciences

Our program is a superb choice for students who value rigorous academic development, world-class research opportunities, and outstanding post-graduate career placement. Academic preparation coupled with the department’s strong reputation leads our students to prime opportunities including some of the top PhD programs in the nation. Additionally, students are consistently placed with prominent organizations such as Exxon-Mobile, Chevron, and Anadarko, as well as viable jobs in the environmental and mining industries.

Below, you’ll find video interviews with grad students and basic info on the program. For more details and to apply, visit the department page and BYU Graduate Studies.

Research Areas

  • Economic Geology

    Economic Geology

    Concerned with earth materials that can be used for economic and/or industrial purposes. These materials include precious and base metals, nonmetallic minerals, construction-grade stone, petroleum minerals, coal, and water.

  • Geochemistry


    A science that deals with the chemical composition of and chemical changes in the solid matter of the earth or a celestial body (as the moon).

  • Geomorphology & Planetary Geology

    Geomorphology & Planetary Geology

    Geomorphology is a science that deals with the relief features of the earth or of another celestial body (as the moon) and seeks a genetic interpretation of them. Planetary Geology, alternatively known as astrogeology or exogeology, is a planetary science discipline concerned with the geology of the celestial bodies such as the planets and their moons, asteroids, comets, and meteorites.

    Areas of Emphasis

    Meteorites, Io (Jupiter’s moon), Titan’s dunes, and Mars

    Associated Faculty
    Jani Radebaugh
    Eric H. Christiansen

  • Geophysics


    A branch of earth science dealing with the physical processes and phenomena occurring especially in the earth and in its vicinity

    Areas of Emphasis

    Gravity, ground-penetrating radar, and seismology 3-D visualization

    Associated Faculty
    John H. McBride

  • Hydrogeology & Environmental Geology

    Hydrogeology & Environmental Geology

    Hydrogeology is a branch of geology concerned with the occurrence, use, and functions of surface water and groundwater. Environmental Geology like hydrogeology, is an applied science concerned with the practical application of the principles of geology in the solving of environmental problems.

    Areas of Emphasis

    Geochemical modeling, geochemistry, glaciology, groundwater, isotope geology, mineral surface chemistry, nuclear waste management, and paleoclimatology

    Associated Faculty
    Barry R. Bickmore
    Gregory T. Carling
    Summer Rupper


  • Mineralogy & Petrology

    Mineralogy & Petrology

    Mineralogy is a science dealing with minerals, their crystallography, properties, classification, and the ways of distinguishing them. Petrology is the science that deals with the origin, history, occurrence, structure, chemical composition, and classification of rocks.

  • Paleontology


    A science dealing with the life of past geological periods as known from fossil remains.

    Areas of Emphasis

    Dinosaurs, paleobotany, and vertebrate and invertebrate paleontology

    Associated Faculty
    Brooks B. Britt

  • Petroleum Geology

    Petroleum Geology

    The study of origin, occurrence, movement, accumulation, and exploration of hydrocarbon fuels.

  • Sedimentology & Stratigraphy

    Sedimentology & Stratigraphy

    Sedimentology is a branch of science that deals with sedimentary rocks and their inclusions, while stratigraphy is geology that deals with the origin, composition, distribution, and succession of strata.

    Areas of Emphasis

    Carbonate sedimentology, ammonoids and conodonts, petroleum geology, sedimentary petrology, sedimentation, sequence stratigraphy, and sedimentary basins

    Associated Faculty
    Thomas H. Morris
    Scott Ritter

  • Structural Geology & Tectonics

    Structural Geology & Tectonics

    Structural Geology is a branch of geology that deals with the form, arrangement, and internal structure of rocks —called also geotectonic geology. Tectonics is a branch of geology concerned with the structure of the crust of a planet (as earth) or moon and especially with the formation of folds and faults in it.

  • Volcanology


    A branch of science that deals with volcanic phenomena.

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