Why Study Geology

  • Geology Outreach Kayaking Field Trip to Kickapoo State Park
  • Geologists on the Rocks
  • Field Trip to Mammoth Cave
  • Geologist Selfie!

Geology is the study of how everything got here, from the formation of the solar system to modern hazards like earthquakes and volcanoes. Geology is one of the most interdisciplinary sciences, incorporating biology (geobiology), chemistry (geochemistry), and physics (geophysics) to understand how the Earth and other planets work.

Geology is for everyone!
Subfields of Geology

You may think of a geologist banging on a rock in a far-flung field site, but geologists do many different things. Some do field work all over the world, some work in the lab, and some use numerical models on supercomputers. Whatever you like to do, there’s a branch of geology for you!

Job prospects for geologists are strong and growing. Employment for geologists is over 99% with an average salary of approximately $80,000 (see here). Typical jobs include environmental consulting and mediation, energy exploration and production, mining, or geological engineering. Secondary and higher education are also strong fields for geologists.

And geology majors are among the happiest students on college campuses!


Why study Geology at Illinois?

The Geology Department at the University of Illinois has been a home for pioneering research and excellent teaching for well over a century, with our graduates becoming leaders in both academia and industry. Being a part of one of the nation’s top public research universities, we have extensive resources, enabling our students to conduct research at the cutting edge of science.

The Department of Geology strives to not only conduct advanced research but to also provide high-quality education in the geosciences at the undergraduate and graduate level. Our general education courses draw close to 4,000 students per year. The Department sponsors field courses to spectacular locations, including Curaçao, southern Arizona, Death Valley, the Colorado Plateau, and the Canadian Shield. We also run a summer geology field camp in Park City, Utah, in conjunction with a few other universities.

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School of Earth, Environment and Society

The School of Earth, Environment and Society consists of the Departments of Geology, Atmospheric Science, and Geography. The School facilitates interdisciplinary research and teaching, with opportunities to study GIS, atmosphere/land interactions, and social-policy implications of geoscience research. We can offer a truly unique interdisciplinary community and provide opportunities that know few bounds! Join us in these exciting new developments within Earth Sciences and be part of the growing and vibrant research culture at Illinois. If you are interested in finding out more about our recent and innovative research or about how you could be involved, please contact one of our faculty.

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