Mercyhurst University

Geology 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.



As a geology major at Mercyhurst, you can choose to concentrate in Paleontology, Geoarchaeology, Planetary Geology, or Earth and Space Science Education.



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.



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.

Why Geology

Image for Nicole Law '21
Learning the secrets to the Earth
Nicole Law '21

Geol 455 Field Methods in Geology

This course is an in depth approach of how to perform geologic field work and emphasizes the use of maps, compasses, GPS devices, and other common geologic field tools. The course includes a multi-week trip to the western United States to conduct field work.

Geol 215/216 Geomorphology and Lab

This class examines the origin of Earth's landforms by studying the processes (e.g., tectonism, glaciation, wind, water) that have created them. Lab work involves multiple trips into the field to examine these processes in action.

Geol 360/361 Volcanology and Lab

This course addresses processes that occur at volcanoes. The varieties and underlying causes of volcanism are examined through lectures, discussions, and in class activities. Hazards and benefits associated with volcanoes will also be studied with a special emphasis on how humans have interacted with volcanoes with various degrees of success. When possible, this course includes a field trip to examine volcanic processes.

Geol 240/241 Paleontology and Lab

This course examines fossil invertebrates, invertebrates, and plants and includes direct examination of actual specimens to familiarize you with the morphology and characteristics of common and rarely observed fossils. Special topics address exceptional preservation, extinction, paleopathology, and data retrieval from the fossil record. 

Geol 302/303 Hydrogeology and Lab

This course examines the origin, occurrence, and utilization of surface and ground water. The course takes a hands-on approach to learning these concepts through multiple field-based lab projects. 


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 10 years. The average salary for a geologist is about $70,000 per year.

Gain Employment

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.

Meet the Faculty

Nick Lang
Nicholas Lang, Ph.D.
Associate Professor Chair, Department of Geology Co-Director, Environmental Science Program
Faculty Image for 
Scott McKenzie
Scott McKenzie, B.S. E.d.
Assistant Professor, Geology; Paleontology Director