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What is Geology?

Geology is the study of the Earth. As an applied science, it combines principles from chemistry, biology, physics, and other disciplines to better understand natural processes that shape the world in which we live. Geologists investigate some of the most urgent problems facing society today, including water availability, energy resources, climate change, and natural disasters. Geologists study Earth’s past to understand the present and help society prepare for the future.

What can I do with a geology degree?

Typically, about 25% of our students go straight into graduate school, as a graduate degree is needed for several career paths in geology. Students entering the job market pursue a range of careers, including jobs in the oil industry, environmental remediation, water quality analysis, mining, and earth science education.

Among those alumni who keep in touch with Clemson, most are employed within 6 months of graduating, and many have job offers before graduation. The American Geophysical Union estimates a 20% increase in demand for geologists in the job market within the next 10 years, and Forbes magazine consistently ranks Geology as one of the 10 most valuable majors you can earn at college. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the employment of geoscientists to grow 14 percent from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations.

What will I study?

The B.S. degree in Geology offers students a flexible program of study that emphasizes hands-on experience in classrooms, laboratories, and field work. Optional concentration areas in hydrogeology and environmental science are offered for students interested in those specific career paths. Classes are small, so students get to know their professors and classmates very well.

All Geology majors complete the following: 6 credit hours of field courses, a senior research project, 2 semesters of calculus and chemistry, and at least 1 semester of physics.

What type of research will I do?

Every Geology major completes an independent research project through Clemson’s Creative Inquiry program. Beginning in the sophomore year, all geology majors must take a sequence of courses in which they learn the basics of geological research and participate in one of several ongoing group projects. This culminates with each student presenting their research at the annual Clemson Hydrogeology Symposium, attended by more than 400 earth science professionals from around the Southeast. Presenting at the symposium gives the seniors an excellent opportunity to network, distribute resumes, and talk to company representatives about career prospects.

Where can I find more information about the geology program?


The Numbers

41 Undergraduates

46% Women
15% Minority
87% In-State

21 Hydrogeology Masters Students

7 Full-Time Faculty