The Challenges of Earth Systems
The world needs professionals who desire to be stewards of the Earth. At Michigan Tech, dig deep into your studies to understand our planet—and strike a delicate balance between our society’s need for natural resources and our responsibility to preserve the environment.
Geology is the study of the earth, earth materials, and earth systems; it is a physical and natural science. Geologists inquire into some of humankind’s most enigmatic challenges. Their work sheds light on global concerns including
- Responsible natural resource development
- Environmental protection
- Global climate prediction
- Land-use planning
- Natural and human-induced hazard investigation and mitigation
- Water-supply maintenance
As a geologist, explore and extract minerals or energy resources, dispose of nuclear and chemical waste, choose the best sites for structures, or study natural hazards—such as volcanoes or earthquakes—and figure out how to minimize their impact on people.
Geology in the Field and Lab
The daily duties of geoscientists, such as geologists, include investigating natural phenomena, collecting data on location, interpreting the results in a lab, and writing reports. Field studies bring geoscientists to diverse landscapes around the globe—from volcanoes to oceans to oil fields. Geoscientists must have the ability to develop a picture of a field site based on limited data; therefore, sound critical-thinking skills are advantageous in this discipline. Due to the nature of their work, these professionals must adapt to a variety of situations and working conditions.
About the Program
- Our state-of-the-art facilities allow students to experiment with advanced geologic technology. The department maintains labs dedicated to the study of remote sensing and volcanology, geographic information systems (GIS), subsurface remediation and visualization, and seismic petrophysics, among other areas.
- Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula offers beautiful outdoor facilities. The area surrounding campus is ideal for a wide variety of geologic studies. You don’t have to drive far to find miles of rocky Lake Superior shoreline and acres of forestland.
- Our curriculum focuses intensely on field studies; we teach two field courses in the summer but also provide plenty of opportunities for students to see classic and novel field sites in Michigan and beyond. Students have traveled to sites in Alaska, Canada, Florida, Guatemala, Mexico, Montana, Newfoundland, Nicaragua, and Utah.
- Undergraduate research opportunities are plentiful. Our faculty conduct research abroad, and students often accompany them on field trips. You might study volcanoes in South America, Precambrian rocks in Australia (or right here in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula), or the Bering Glacier’s melt rate in Alaska.
- Our well-rounded curriculum emphasizes the study of geophysics and social geology, or methods for mitigating natural hazards through effective communication and community involvement.
- Faculty and staff focus on giving students the personal attention and support necessary for not only academic success, but also a positive undergraduate experience overall. Learn from faculty who understand responsible utilization of our Earth.
- Opportunities for intercultural exchange abound at Michigan Tech. The Study Abroad Program sends students to countries around the world for stints ranging from two weeks to one year. D80 allows students to apply their studies to the problems facing economically disadvantaged communities.
What career pathways are a good fit for our graduates?
Discover a world of opportunity. A bachelor’s degree in geology will prepare you for a career in industry or graduate study. Generally, geologists employed in industry spend part of their working time outdoors enjoying nature and, if desired, traveling the world. Students interested in certain sectors of industry, such as oil exploration, or a career in academia should explore graduate education options. An advanced degree provides greater specialization.
Our graduates have found work in the following areas:
- Groundwater and surface water monitoring and cleaning
- Natural-hazards mitigation
- Satellite remote sensing of environmental processes
- GIS mapping of environmental data
- Site investigations of underground hazards
- Slope failure investigations
- Oil or gas exploration and recovery
- Subsurface visualization
- Natural and Induced Seismicity Evaluation
Where have our graduates found employment?
Employers of our alumni include:
- Shell Exploration
- DTE Energy
- Newmont Mining Corporation
- Rio Tinto
- Cliffs Natural Resources
- URS Corporation
- Ciorba Group
- 3M Company
- US Geological Survey