Undergraduate Degree Programs in Geology and Geological Engineering
The Department of Geology and Geological Engineering is a vibrant community of faculty, staff and students. We offer two bachelor’s degrees: a BS in Geological Engineering and a BS in Geology. Students have many opportunities for local to international field trips, research and design experiences, and internships or co-ops. We also have a several active student organizations that offer field trips and other educational, service and social events. Scholarship support is available and selection criteria include academic performance and/or financial need.
Find more information on careers.
B.S. in Geological Engineering
Geological engineers develop and conserve natural resources in ways useful to humankind. The geological engineering (GEOE) curriculum focuses on fundamentals of engineering, geology, and geological engineering with strong field and technical design components. Course requirements emphasize professional competency in the areas of ground water, environmental site planning and natural hazards, geomechanics and geotechnics, and fuels or minerals. The engineering design experience includes a two-semester capstone sequence that builds upon and integrates previous coursework to prepare GEOE graduates for the professional practice of geological engineering. Students majoring in GEOE will earn an ABET-accredited BS degree.
B.S. in Geology (includes Paleontology)
Geologists study modern geologic processes shaping Earth today and through its history to find natural resources, protect the environment, and mitigate geologic hazards. The geology (GEOL) program provides a strong background in the basic sciences and geosciences with an emphasis on technical training, research opportunities, and a broad range of field experiences. Courses available use the magnificent geologic setting of the Black Hills and adjacent Badlands, and the extensive fossil and mineral specimens in the Museum of Geology. The GEOL degree includes both a geology field mapping course and a two-semester senior research experience. Students majoring in GEOL will earn a BS degree in Geology. GEOL students train for careers in the geosciences including environmental applications, mineral and petroleum exploration, governmental agencies, museums, academic fields, teaching, and entrepreneurship.
GEOL students may take electives in four focus areas that include:
- Paleontology: study of ancient organisms and environments. Graduates in this focus area will often attend graduate school to develop research and teaching careers, but career opportunities also are available in museums, governmental agencies, or with consulting firms that survey and preserve fossil resources.
- Environmental Geology: protection and management of natural resources. Graduates may work for environmental firms, or could do environmental work for petroleum and mineral companies. Many government agencies also hire graduates with these skills.
- Resource Geology: exploration and development of petroleum and minerals. Graduates may explore for oil or mineral resources, assist with extracting these resources, or develop new types of resources such as coal bed methane or oil shales.
- Geospatial Technology: managing spatial data using GIS, GPS, and remote sensing. Graduates may work in traditional petroleum, mining, or environmental companies, for government agencies, or within the geospatial industry that provides and manages maps and imagery to the world.
Minor in Geology
Majors from other science and engineering disciplines may pursue a minor in geology by completing eighteen (18) credit hours of geology courses and electives.
Minor in Geospatial Technology
Geospatial Technology is a rapidly expanding field that covers the management and analysis of spatial data from many sources, such as satellites, airborne remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS), surveying, and more. This field has many applications in the sciences, engineering, business, planning, and transportation. A minor in geospatial technology requires completion of eighteen (18) credit hours of selected courses in geology, geological engineering, civil engineering, mining engineering, mathematics, and programing.