Geological Sciences

Did you fill your pockets with rocks as a kid? Do you love hiking and being outside? Do you care about climate change, protecting our natural resources and keeping people safe from natural disasters? If so, let's talk about geological sciences, a degree that can take you from volcanoes in California to glaciers in Greenland … and far beyond. If this sounds interesting—and you like science and math—get ready to dig in.

What will I learn?

How do landslides happen? How do you map a landscape, classify minerals and identify fossils? These are just a few of the questions you can explore as you study the forces that shape our planet. As a geological sciences student, you’ll typically take classes in chemistry, calculus and physics, as well as geology and related subjects. Of course, you’ll also have hands-on labs where you can study specimens up close and learn how to use specialized tools.

Geological Sciences BA vs. BS
  • The BA is a flexible major for students who are thinking about teaching geology, practicing environmental law or doing something related to the field.
  • The BS is a more in-depth program, designed for students who want to be geologists.

What can I do outside of class?

A former student said it best: "Say yes to as many new adventures as you can."

  • Field trips. View glacial deposits and rock formations at local and regional parks, typically during lab periods or on weekends.
  • Field camp. Apply your skills during this four-week summer program, usually held in the Western U.S.
  • Exploration. From the Niagara Gorge to Letchworth Park, you’ll find jaw-dropping sites a short drive from campus.
  • Student groups. Learn about the environment, have outdoor adventures and more through UB's student clubs. 
  • Research. Undergrads can work directly with faculty.
  • Study abroad. Get a fresh perspective on geology (and life).
Student Clubs
Study Abroad

What can I do with a geological sciences degree?

Our alumni have served as a Mars mission simulation astronaut for NASA, overseen the No. 1 fossil park in the U.S., monitored volcanoes, captured hazardous waste, and co-discovered a hydrothermal field in the Pacific Ocean, to name just a few of their accomplishments. In fact, geoscientists work in an incredible range of positions, including:

  • Environmental consultant.
  • Exploration geophysicist.
  • Geologist.
  • Geographic information system (GIS) spatial analyst.
  • Geophysicist.
  • Hydrogeologist.
  • Oceanographer.
  • Oil and gas drilling technician.
  • Petroleum geologist.
  • Public information officer.
  • Science teacher.

A degree in geological sciences opens doors to work for a government agency like the Bureau of Land Management or U.S. Geological Survey, or for a private company, including many different types of consulting firms.

Want to be a teacher?

Be prepared to teach grades 5-12 by getting your bachelor's and master's in just five years through our UB Teach program.

  • Save time and money.
  • No need to apply to graduate school.
  • Be eligible for New York State professional teaching certification.

Visit the department website (at the top of this page) for more details, or see the UB Teach website for a list of all available majors.

Who will I learn from?

"The professors put their heart and soul into providing a great learning experience."

When our students talk about UB, they often mention their teachers’ passion for geology and enthusiasm for mentoring students. These are just a few of the reasons why our faculty members have earned the title of SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor, among many other honors.

When they're not in the classroom, our faculty members are often conducting research around the globe. They are members of the Geological Society of America and other leading professional organizations, have been published in top journals including "Science," and have been recognized by the National Science Foundation, to name just some of their many accomplishments.