Geological Sciences

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or minor in Geological Sciences focuses on the study of Earth, its composition, structure and physical elements, and examines Earth’s past and present in order to make predictions about its future. 

This unique degree program in geological sciences is a balance of theory, laboratory skills and techniques, extensive field experiences and research. A wide background of study prepares students for a variety of careers in industry, government and education. Olivet is one of only three Christian universities offering a recognized major in geological sciences.

Curriculum Highlights

Geology students study physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, computer science and engineering to find out how they relate to geology. They learn about the processes that formed — and continue to change — the Earth’s surface and interior and explore the structure and origin of the universe using the resources of Strickler Planetarium and the Observatory at Reed Hall of Science. Additionally, there are typically field trips which allow students to study the fossil record of life on earth and grow in their knowledge and use of geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS). In the lab, students sharpen their skills in the techniques of microscopy, and develop their writing, research and data analysis skills. Then, opportunities abound to practice oral communication through research presentations that have been conducted both individually and in collaboration with other students and faculty.

Field Work

Field work is a key element of geological sciences. The best geologists are those who have seen the most diverse geological settings. At Olivet, students have many opportunities for discovery and learning in the field. Most courses include multi-day field trips to geologically important regions, such as Canada, the Appalachian Mountains and areas of Illinois and adjacent states. Annual two-week field trips to locations in the American Southwest provide a variety of sites for additional learning.


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Geocorps Society

This is a program of The Geological Society of America, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service. It offers paid short-term geoscience positions in some of the most beautiful natural areas in the world. Project areas include: geology, hydrology, paleontology, mapping and GIS, minerals, soils, glaciology, geo-hazards, karst, education, interpretation and more. Positions are divided into three major categories: Standard, Guest Scientist and Diversity Internships.

Possible Careers After Graduation

  • Geologist
  • Chemical engineer
  • Volcanologist
  • Geological surveyor
  • Field seismologist 
  • Geophysicist
  • Hydrologist
  • Environmental scientist
  • Professor

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Olivet Provides Students Access To:

  • various microscopes
  • exploration seismograph
  • electrical resistivity apparatus
  • X-ray power diffractometer
  • spatial digitizer
  • computerized surveying laser
  • high-tech GPS units
  • computer mapping with GIS
  • hydrological equipment
  • microcomputer
  • geologic software collection
  • mobile environmental chemistry field kit
  • 12-inch reflecting telescope
  • solar telescope
  • computerized weather system

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