Skip to main content
Skip to main navigation


  • Overview
  • Careers
  • New Freshmen
  • New Transfer
  • Illinois State Students

Illinois State's Geology program, established in 1969, is recognized by employers and graduate schools for its traditional approach to the instruction of geology, and its balance of application and theory that are firmly rooted in field studies. Our students are provided with ample experience in the field through course field trips and summer field courses. Other practical skills are learned in the classroom laboratory.

All undergraduate majors are eligible and encouraged to participate in research. Research opportunities can be a part of an independent study with a faculty member, a class assignment, or a funded project.

Why Study Geology?

Geology is a field-based science that integrates the principles of chemistry, physics, biology, and mathematics in the study of Earth processes and Earth history. Geology emphasizes the central concepts of time, space, and scale in the study of planet Earth from the perspective of a unified Earth System—the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere.

Our Geology major promotes a scientific understanding of Earth systems—an awareness essential to an environmentally sound and sustainable future for the human race.

Related Majors

Related Skills

  • Works with people of varied backgrounds and can work individually
  • Ability to research and lead projects
  • Good team member
  • Strong math and computer skills
  • Ability to rationalize and have good quantitative skills
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Reads, writes, speaks, and memorizes proficiently
  • The ability to market your skills and write proposals is necessary to maintain steady work.
  • The ability to obtain grants may be necessary to continue a project.
  • Conducts and clearly explains scientific research
  • Possesses knowledge of geological principles and mathematics
  • Understands and uses information derived from computers
  • Experience in mapping and surveying. Develop skills with measuring equipment as well as laboratory equipment and processes.
  • Loves the outdoors, interested in nature, and has a desire to travel.
  • Join groups directed toward improvement of natural resources, environment, and pollution control.
  • Possesses the physical stamina required to work and do research in remote areas under various conditions.

Being Successful in the Field

  • Within the many facets of geology, there is often overlap of job functions. However, many geologists find advantage in becoming more specialized.
  • Gaining experience is very important and there are many opportunities for studentsto obtain volunteer, part-time, summer, internship, and/or co-op experiences in different geological fields.
  • A bachelor’s degree may be sufficient for entry-level industry positions.
  • A master's degree is often preferred for state survey work and advancement in industry and government. Employment prospects are best for those with master's degrees, familiarity with advanced technologies such as computer modeling, and willingness to relocate.
  • Plan on completing a state exam to become a registered geologist.
  • Obtain a business background to help in managing projects and assessing economic costs and benefits.
  • Join the student branch of the professional organization(s) related to interest area(s).
  • Learn a foreign language since work may often be done in other countries.

Related Fields

Here are some employers of recent geology graduates from Illinois State:

Federal, state, and local governments

  • Illinois State Geological Survey
  • Illinois State Water Survey
  • Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
  • Illinois Department of Transportation
  • DuPage County Health Department
  • Jo Daviess County Water Conservation District
  • LaSalle County Solid Waste Department
  • Oakbrook Street Department
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Bureau of Mines
  • Myrtle Beach, S.C., park ranger

Environmental consulting firms

  • Patrick Engineering
  • Handex
  • Terrecon
  • Testing Services Corp.
  • Fluor Daniels GTI
  • Mid-America Drilling Services
  • Parsons Engineering
  • Radon Testing Services


  • Caterpillar Inc.
  • State Farm Insurance
  • GIS Solutions Inc

Career Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Laurenn York  110 Student Services Building  (309) 438-0735 

Internship Coordinator

Name Office Email Phone
David Malone  442 FSA  (309) 438-2692 

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for freshman students for the fall semester is September 1-November 15. Applying early is encouraged, as the University must limit enrollment due to space at the University and in specific majors/programs. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

This information is based on requirements for the academic year(s) indicated. Students should consult the catalog year they were admitted under for their academic requirements.

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for fall transfer students is September 1-January 15. For the spring semester, the preferred filing period is from April 1-August 1. You are encouraged to apply early in the preferred filing period for best consideration for admission into competitive majors. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Minimum GPA


Middle 50% GPA

2.56 - 3.06

Required Courses


Recommended Courses

  • General chemistry (CHE 140)
  • Introduction to Geology (GEO 102)

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Dave Malone  Felmley Hall 442  (309) 438-2692 

Middle 50% GPA

2.56 - 3.06

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

Application Period

Applications are always available.

Application Information

Current students can use the Apply to Your Program tool on

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Dave Malone  Felmley Hall 442  (309) 438-2692 
2016-08-03T11:23:40.188-05:00 2016