Undergraduate Geoscience

Geoscience is not just the study of rocks but the entirety of the Earth. From air to water and from modern processes to the distant past, geology explores all aspects of the Earth. In this discipline, you will learn to identify materials of the Earth—rocks, minerals and fossils—and discover how geologists piece together the past. You will also become a more informed citizen as to how we can responsibly and sustainably live on this planet together.

For students interested in geoscience, we offer several options. A major in Broad Field Natural Science with a Geoscience Concentration provides an interdisciplinary foundation in addition to the depth in geoscience needed for those interested in pursuing geoscience after graduation. The Broad Field Natural Science with a Civil Engineering concentration, a collaborative program with Madison College, will prepare you for a career in environmental or civil engineering.

In addition, you can take advantage of our Environmental Science major with a Geoscience-Chemistry concentration. This program offers a focused study of how humans interact with the environment while still exploring processes occurring within the Earth, oceans, and atmosphere. Students interested in working in the fields of environmental consultation or natural resource conservation will develop the scientific and leadership skills needed to meet the future local, national, and global needs of society within this major.

The Geoscience Department also offers a minor in Earth Science that can be paired with any major on campus. Any interested student (not just science majors) are invited to participate in independent field research or one of our field courses to national parks and prominent geologic features throughout the country. 


Facilities and Instrumentation

The department has a teaching collection, including 400 mineral samples, 400 rock samples, 700 fossils, and 200 maps used in many classes. Additional equipment is available to you for independent research, including a soil corer, a lapidary wheel, stream tables, groundwater models and basic field supplies.

Office of Science Outreach

The Office of Science Outreach expands the resources and expertise of our science faculty and students from the labs and classrooms in the Sonderegger Science Center out into the community. 

Our goals are to share the excitement of discovery, foster understanding of the natural world, improve personal lives through increased knowledge and awareness of science and technology, and support the next generation of scientists and engineers.  We host an annual Family Science Night, offer summer science programs for K-12 students and partner with schools and community organizations to ensure that ALL children have the confidence and preparation to pursue careers in STEM fields. 

Program Highlights

All introductory courses are taught with an integrated lecture/lab format allowing fewer meeting times and quicker application of course content to hands-on activities.

Units are structured around real-world, current geological problems culminating in a project that requires knowledge of geologic processes to solve.

Class sizes are typically under 20 in introductory courses and smaller for upper-level courses.

All programs in geoscience are designed to be flexible to allow you to explore the topics you find interesting—including field classes and independent projects.

A minor in Earth Science is designed to be integrated with other majors to give you the perspective on how the skills of a geologists and a knowledge of Earth processes can be used in your major.

Career Outcomes

Recent graduates from the Geoscience program have gone on to careers in forestry, outdoor recreation, and teaching.  

Our graduates become actively engaged in using liberal arts framework to help address issues that are important to the larger community. Studying the Earth is not just about the materials that make up the planet, but how we as a society interact with those materials. Our students appreciate the relationship between local and global issues, and they develop a deep respect for the complexity and interdependence of all the systems.

Faculty Spotlight

Links of Interest
Full Catalog
Chemistry, Geoscience, and Physics Fact Sheet
Chemistry, Geosciences & Physics