Geological Sciences

History and Discovery

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

The beauty and wonder of our natural world draws many to the field of geology. God’s natural creation, including rocks, minerals, water, fossils, economic resources, caves, oceans and the atmosphere– almost any subject related to our planet– connects with geology.

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.

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

Field Work

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

GeoCorps America

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.

Olivet Geology Students:

Study physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, computer science and engineering, and find out how they relate to geology; Learn about the processes that formed — and continue to change — the Earth’s surface and interior; Explore the structure and origin of the universe using the resources of Strickler Planetarium and the Observatory at Reed Hall of Science; Go on a field trip to study the fossil record of life on earth; Grow in your knowledge and use of geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS); Sharpen your skills in the techniques of microscopy; Develop your writing, research and data analysis skills; Practice oral communication as you give presentations of your research; Work individually and in collaboration with other students and faculty.

Professional Associations

Students work with faculty members to publish and present the results of their research. Some have presented their work at the annual meeting of The Geological Society of America and the Associated Colleges of the Chicago Areas (ACCA) Student Symposium.

Field Experiences

Students enjoy field study opportunities in locations significant to their major areas of study. Previous locations include the Southern Appalachian Mountains, Shawnee National Forest, Badlands National Park, Montana and Wyoming.

Meet the Faculty

Bruce Heyen

With more than 25 years of experience as a professor, Bruce Heyen teaches general chemistry, biochemistry, analytical chemistry and introductory chemistry. One of his favorite professional accomplishments is his work in collaboration with a group of biochemistry professors to improve biochemical pedagogy. He has completed three sabbaticals focused on biochemistry, organic synthesis and chemical education.

Meet the Faculty

Careers in Chemistry and Geosciences:

Attorney, Chemical engineer, Geophysicist, Hydrologist, Medical technician, Environmental science, Oil Companies, Pharmacist, Professor, Sales, Secondary education teacher

Chemistry and Geosciences with a Christian Purpose

The best way to see if Olivet is a good fit for you is to visit the campus. We offer unique, customized visit days every weekday, and special Purple & Gold days, too, where you can get up close at all things ONU.

Schedule a Visit