Geology Option

The Geology Option is a degree program designed for students who are motivated to apply the principles of chemistry, physics and mathematics to the study of the Earth's surface and interior. There are outstanding opportunities for employment in the public and private sectors in fields such as petroleum geology, mining geology, seismology (including earthquake and volcanic risk assessment), hydrology (surface and ground water) natural-hazard geology, environmental clean-up and containment of environmental hazards, mitigation of future environmental problems related to development, preservation of water resources (both surface and ground water), and the study of the processes of climate change and global warming. The optimal degree for employment and advancement in the geological sciences in the private sector is the Master's Degree, and the undergraduate Geology Option is an excellent preparatory degree for graduate study. Some students interested in college teaching or advanced research may require a Ph.D. degree.In the Geology Option, students are given the opportunity to learn in the world-class natural laboratory that surrounds Bozeman. Course work progresses from core courses that all students must take (Earth System Science, Topics in Earth Science, Earth History and Evolution, Mineralogy, Sedimentation and Stratigraphy, Structural Geology, Global Tectonics, Sedimentary Petrology, two geographic information science (GIS) courses, Field Methods, and Field Geology (a summer capstone course).  Also included are a variety of elective courses in geology, paleontology, hydrology, Weather and Climate, Geomorphology, and remote sensing. These courses prepare the student for a variety of jobs and/or graduate school.

Freshman YearCredits
CHMY 141 - College Chemistry I4
CHMY 143 - College Chemistry II4
ERTH 101IN - Earth System Sciences
or ERTH 201IN - Honors Earth System Science
ERTH 102CS - Topics in Earth Sciences (3 Credits Needed)11
GEO 211 - Earth History and Evolution3
M 171Q - Calculus I4
M 172Q - Calculus II4
University Core and Electives 4
Year Total: 30
Sophomore YearCredits
BIOB 170IN - Principles of Biological Diversity4
GEO 208IN - Earth Materials3
GPHY 284 - Intro to GIS Science & Cartog3
GPHY 384 - Adv GIS and Spatial Analysis3
PHSX 205 - College Physics I4
PHSX 207 - College Physics II4
University Core and Electives 9
Year Total: 30
Junior YearCredits
ERTH 303 - Weather and Climate3
ERTH 307 - Principles of Geomorphology4
GEO 302 - Mineralogy and Optical Mineral4
GEO 309 - Sedimentation and Stratigraphy4
GEO 315 - Structural Geology4
STAT 332 - Statistics for Scientists and Engineers3
University Core and Electives 8
Year Total: 30
Senior YearCredits
GEO 429R - Field Geology26
GEO 448 - Sedimentary Petrology3
GEO 449 - Metamorphic Petrology3
or GEO 450 - Igneous Petrology
Take at least four of the following:12
ERTH 450R - Snow Dynamics and Accumulation
ERTH 484 - Quaternary Environment
ERTH 494 - Seminar
GEO 310 - Invertebrate Paleontology
GEO 411 - Vertebrate Paleontology
GEO 417 - Taphonomy: Fossil Preservation
GEO 433 - Global Tectonics
GEO 440 - Volcanology
GEO 445 - Glacial Geology
GEO 490R - Undergraduate Research
GEO 491 - Special Topics
GEO 492 - Independent Study4
GEO 498 - Internship
One course from the follwoing can be counted as an elective:3
GPHY 357 - GPS Fund/App in Mapping
GPHY 426 - Remote Sensing
GPHY 484R - Applied GIS & Spatial Analysis
University Core and Electives3
Year Total: 24
Total Program Credits: 120

Students are required to take 3 credits of ERTH 102CS to fulfill department requirements as well as Core 2.0 


 GEO 429R Should be taken SUMMER of either Junior or Senior year.


You must take ONE of either GEO 449 OR GEO 450.


Note: Can be repeated, but can only be counted once (each) as a Geology elective.

A grade of C- is required in all courses in this curriculum to graduate by Regents' policy. This includes electives in this curriculum.

A minimum of 120 credits is required for graduation; 42 of these credits must be in courses numbered 300 and above.