Undergraduate Majors Geology

Geology Major

Geology is the study of the Earth. Geologists use multiple science disciplines to unravel the history, materials, and natural processes occurring on Earth. The Geology major trains students in a range of skills relevant to field, computational, and lab settings

What makes Geology unique at UCR?



Geology is a small major at UCR, meaning that classes are also small. You will quickly get to know many of the faculty and your fellow students well. Students who are interested in gaining lab or research experience will have little difficulty in doing so.

In general, what are Geology professors investigating?

  • How complete is Earth’s sedimentary and paleontological record?
  • How can one natural hazard like a fire or earthquake cascade into other hazards like debris flows or landslides?
  • How do landscapes evolve through time?
  • How is material exchanged throughout the Earth and what does it record?

Why Geology at UCR?


A key strength of the Geology major at UCR is our focus on field experience. Our location in inland southern California means that we have an amazing natural laboratory on our doorstep, with many diverse geological examples within driving distance! Many of our majors classes include weekend field trips to see these sites, supplementing our students' lab experiences and putting them in their natural context.

Did you know?

Geology majors are invited to regular departmental lunches, held by the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Geology will feed you!

Geology research at UCR

  • UCR Geology professors have expertise in diverse subjects
  • They study natural processes on the Earth’s surface including hazards like earthquakes, landslides, and floods
  • They examine rocks to understand the record of fossils and past environments
  • They respond to ground rupturing earthquakes, evaluate natural resources, and track how materials are cycled through the Earth
  • Their study areas span the globe and sometimes even the Moon and Mars

What industries can I get into with a Geology degree?

  • The Geology major prepares students for professional licensure in Geology in the State of California. A professional license allows you to work as a professional geologist in California – and can increase your salary by tens of thousands of dollars!
  • The solid foundation in Geology is transferable to other disciplines – recent graduates who went on to study for PhDs have studied subjects such as Geophysics, Geochemistry and Atmospheric Science, as well as Geology.

What can I do with a Biology degree?

Undergraduate Majors Geology research in the field

The vast majority of our recent Geology graduates have jobs directly related to their degrees – consulting in Engineering Geology or Environmental Geology, working as geologists for the State Water Boards, working to develop geothermal energy resources, and working as Paleontological Field Technicians. Several went on to graduate school to study for MS or PhD degrees in topics including Geochemistry, Geology and Geophysics.

What you should know

One thing every student interested in Geology should consider is whether the Earth and Planetary Sciences major might be a better fit for their interests. The Geology major has a narrow focus, and very few electives, as it is designed to meet the State of California's requirements for the training of professional geologists. On the other hand, Earth and Planetary Sciences has many different concentrations in areas such as Climate Change, Planetary Science and Geobiology, offering students many different potential directions that they can take. Students who have specific interests can follow them! Fortunately, for students who are wavering between the two majors, the introductory class requirements are very similar for both, and it is straightforward to switch between them!

Undergraduate Majors Geology Students in the Desert

Advice for success

Start tackling your core requirements like chemistry, math, and physics early, but also get into your first GEO course as soon as possible to meet your peers. Take the initiative and get involved! Consider joining the student-run Geology Student Organization (GSO) club and attending department events. Start exploring what interests you so you can potentially join a research lab or internship in your sophomore or junior year.

Undergraduate Majors Geology San Andreas Fault Students in the Field

Consider this

Geologists do a whole lot more than swing hammers and stare at rocks! They use the latest technologies like drones and tablets to observe geology outdoors, use sophisticated labs to analyze samples, and use computers to simulate natural processes. Geologists are paid well and well respected.

Available Minor in Geology

Geology Minor

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