BACHELOR OF ARTS | BACHELOR OF SCIENCE
Geology is the study of the Earth and how it works. Specifically, geologists seek to answer questions as diverse as “How did this mountain form?” and “When will this volcano erupt again?” to “How do we provide clean drinking water?” Geologists work at the interface between human-kind and the Earth, and are on the front line in solving a multitude of energy and environmental issues. Geologists use knowledge of math, chemistry, physics, and biology to answer these questions and gain first-hand experience working in the field. Graduates are employed by governments, oil and mining companies, and environmental firms.
The geology department leads one large trip per year for students. Past trips have gone to Death Valley National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Costa Rica, as well as Italy and Greece
Geologists play a prominent role in the discovery and utilization of Earth's resources as well as in protecting the environment. To do this, they travel all around the world performing work at sea, on the top of mountains, in deserts, in underground caves, and in laboratories
Mercyhurst geology majors routinely present their original research at national conferences and have been internationally recognized for their efforts
The Mercyhurst Geology Club leads multiple field trips a year to go fossil and mineral collecting in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York
Students majoring in Geology have the option of completing a concentration Earth and Space Science Education. For students interested in teaching careers, this concentration can lead to Earth and Space Science teaching certification and a Master of Science in Secondary Education via Mercyhurst’s 4+1 master’s program in secondary education.
In addition to the regular geology major curriculum, the following courses are required for this concentration:
- SCI 225 Oceanography (4 credits)
- BIO 146/147 Ecology and Evolutionary Biology of Organisms and Lab (4 credits)
- One of the following sequences is required:
- SCI 118/119 Astronomy and Lab (4 credits)
- GEOL 112/113 Voyages to the Terrestrial Planets and Lab (4 credits)
One additional meteorology or climatology-themed course—subject to department chair approval—is also required.
Students majoring in Geology have the option of completing a concentration Geoarchaeology. Although an area of concentration is not required as part of the Geology major, the concentrations do offer students a chance to specialize in a specific area of geology, which could make them more competitive for graduate school or future employment in the field.
The following courses are required for the Geoarchaeology concentration:
- GEOL 306/307 Soils and Lab (4 credits)
- GEOL/ANTH 430/431 Geoarchaeology and Lab (4 credits)
- ANTH 130/131 Archaeology and Lab (4 credits)
- ANTH 224/225 Archaeological Field Methods and Lab (4 credits)
Students majoring in Geology have the option of completing a concentration Paleontology. Although an area of concentration is not required as part of the Geology major, the concentrations do offer students a chance to specialize in a specific area of geology, which could make them more competitive for graduate school or future employment in the field.
The following courses are required for the Paleontology concentration:
- GEOL 240/241 Paleontology and Lab (4 credits)
- BIO 144/145 Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Lab (4 credits)
- MATH 139 Statistics for the Sciences (3 credits)
And two of the following courses:
- BIO 148/149 Organismal Biology and Lab (4 credits)
- BIO 320/321 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy and Lab (4 credits)
- BIO 230/231 Invertebrate Zoology and Lab (4 credits)
- BIO 374 Evolution (3 credits)
- CHEM 240/241 Organic Chemistry 1 and Lab (4 credits)
Students majoring in Geology have the option of completing a concentration Planetary Geology. Although an area of concentration is not required as part of the Geology major, the concentrations do offer students a chance to specialize in a specific area of geology, which could make them more competitive for graduate school or future employment in the field. Students pursuing a Planetary Geology concentration cannot also concurrently pursue a Planetary Science minor.
The following courses are required for the Planetary Geology concentration:
- GEOL 112/113 Voyages to the Terrestrial Planets and Lab (4 credits)
- GEOL 380/381 Principles of Remote Sensing and Lab (4 credits)
- GEOL 440/441 Introduction to GIS and Lab (4 credits)
One additional climate-themed course—subject to department chair approval—is also required.
Completion of the requirements in Earth and Space Science Education certifies the student for teaching in the junior and senior highs schools in Pennsylvania and in other states that have reciprocity agreements with Pennsylvania. In order to receive the degree and certification in Earth and Space Science Education, students must meet all of the requirements outlined below and in the Education Department section of the college catalog. These requirements include passing the PRAXIS I and PRAXIS II examinations in Earth and Space Science Education and successfully completing a student teaching assignment.
- Explain the paradigms that shape current geologic thought (e.g., plate tectonics)
- Explain the concept of geologic time and detail the geologic time scale for the Earth
- Explain the processes that have shaped and continue to shape the Earth
- Identify significant geologic features on the Earth and place them into their appropriate geologic context
- Identify common rocks and minerals found on and inside the Earth using hand samples and thin sections
- Associate common rocks and minerals found on and inside the Earth with their appropriate geologic context
- Formulate and communicate an effective scientific argument through written and oral means
- Demonstrate the ability to organize and conduct geology-related field and laboratory work
Students majoring in Geology will be preparing themselves to take an active role in the utilization of the earth's resources while protecting its fragile environment. Course work involves hands-on use of modern laboratory equipment and extensive projects out in the field. The faculty combines the use of small class sizes and abundant travel opportunities with a commitment to involving students in ongoing geological projects that involve both local and far-ranging locales. The curricula are designed with three primary objectives:
- Prepare students for entry level employment with consulting and engineering companies that concentrate on environmental problems
- Prepare students for entry level employment in federal, state, and municipal environmental agencies
- Prepare students that enter graduate programs in the branch of geology of their choosing in preparation for university teaching or upper level employment with private companies or governmental agencies
The Department offers courses leading to the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees in Geology or Geology. To be recommended for graduation, students must earn at least a 2.5 GPA in their major concentration. A student also must earn a grade of at least C in any Geology course that is taken to fulfill a degree requirement. One must earn at least a D in each required cognate.
This program may fulfill a portion of the requirements leading to licensure within this field. Please visit the State Authorization webpage to review the requirements for licensure by state or program.
IN THE FIELD
Geology courses at Mercyhurst include field components that get the students outside doing actual geology. This includes Field Methods in Geology, which is a multi-week field intensive course typically conducted in the western United States.
USE YOUR DEGREE
The number of geology jobs is predicted to increase by 34 percent over the next ten years. The average salary for a geologist is about $70,000 per year.
Students have found employment with the PA Department of Environmental Protection, US Park Service, Bureau of Land Management (via AmeriCorps), and regional environmental remediation firms.
A System In Its Own - A Guide to Geology
What is Geology? Examining the earth and its composition, history, and its effects on human life is the study of geology. A geologist’s job is usually outdoors, and ... (Authored by: Lowell Bradford)
On the Cutting Edge
This link is great for educators looking for specific lesson plans and course content ideas and strategies. This site also includes useful information for those looking for careers in academia.
Pennsylvania Spatial Data Analysis
Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access (PASDA) is the official public access geospatial information clearinghouse for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and has served for twelve years as Pennsylvania's node on the National Spatial Data Infrastructure, Geospatial One-Stop, and the National Biological Information Infrastructure.
United States Geological Survey (USGS)
Your source for science you can use as an unbiased, multi-disciplinary science organization that focuses on biology, geography, geology, geospatial information, and water, we are dedicated to the timely, relevant, and impartial study of the landscape, our natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten us. Learn more about our goals and priorities for the coming decade in our Science Strategy.
NASA's mission is to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research
Treasures of the the Earth, ltd
Treasures of the Earth, Ltd is your online retailer for authentic fossils, minerals, petrified wood, stone, bronze, and wood statues, fossil replicas, shells, architectural items and information. Wholesale prices are also available!
Carnegie Natural History Museum
Carnegie Museum of Natural History is a place of adventure, discovery and education that welcomes everyone to enjoy the wonders of its collections and exhibits. Founded in 1895 by Andrew Carnegie, the museum has maintained an international reputation for its ongoing research and discovery that create a better understanding of the history of the earth and its inhabitants. Today, the museum is ranked among the top five natural history museums in the country and features 20 exhibit halls including the blockbuster Dinosaurs in Their Time.
Geological Society of America
Established in 1888, The Geological Society of America provides access to elements that are essential to the professional growth of earth scientists at all levels of expertise and from all sectors: academic, government, business, and industry.
GSA’s mission is to be a leader in advancing the geosciences, enhancing the professional growth of its members, and promoting the geosciences in the service to humankind and stewardship of the Earth.
This room serves as our space for preparing rocks, minerals, fossils, and other geologic materials for teaching and research. The room features diamond saws, rock polishers, and a thin section machine for the study of rocks, as well as a Roto-Tap sieve shaker for measurement of coarse-grained sediment samples.
Petrology and Mineralogy Laboratory
This state of the art geology smart classroom seats twenty-four students and includes an extensive rock and mineral collection for classroom use, petrographic microscopes for the study of thin section slides, and a library of geology-related textbooks. The rear of the classroom also contains a Coulter Counter laser diffraction unit for the measurement of sediment grain size.
Paleontological and Surficial Processes Laboratory
This classroom serves as our lab space for research and teaching in the geologic sub-disciplines of paleontology and surficial processes. The space is equipped with two fume hoods for sample preparation, a muffle furnace for analysis of organic and inorganic carbon content, and a WinDendro tree ring counter for dedrochronological research. The room also hosts our collection of topographic and physiographic maps, a Darcy tube for groundwater flow demonstrations, and the Geology Department’s extensive collection of fossils and fossil casts.
Golab, J., and A. Breckenridge, 2008. The relationship between grain size variation and the retreat of the Laurentice Ice Sheet taken from Lake Superior Core BH02-5P”, poster presentation, North-Central GSA, Buffalo, NY.
McCoy, C. and A. Breckenridge, 2008. A reconstruction and analysis of Pleistocene beach ridges in Northwestern Pennsylvania using ArcGIS”, poster presentation, North-Central GSA, Buffalo, NY.