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Geology PhD Programs: Degree Information and Overview

A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in geology might appeal to geologists who are interested in focusing more on research or academia. Students in a doctoral program spend time studying geological issues in depth, performing lab work and conducting extensive research.

Essential Information

Doctor of Philosophy in Geology (Ph.D.) programs train students to understand geological issues, such as erosion, changes in climate and the sustainable use of resources. Graduate students study a range of scientific concepts--including chemistry, physics, computer science and statistics--as they relate to geological issues. Programs are typically research intensive and may require substantial lab work. The main prerequisites for admission is a bachelor's or master's degree in geology or a related field. Students should also find a faculty member to serve as a research adviser. Program specializations include hydrogeology, sedimentology, and stratigraphy.


Doctor of Philosophy in Geology

Students learn a range of concepts related to physical and historical geology, geological processes, tectonics and engineering geology. Programs offer students the opportunity to focus their studies and participate in lab work related to physical petrology, geosystems and sedimentary rocks. Specific classes might include ground water study, petroleum geology, and geological hazards. Additional topics likely include:

  • Structural geology
  • Geologic development
  • Field geology
  • Earthquakes
  • Volcanology
  • Advanced paleontology

Popular Career Options

Graduates of doctoral programs have access to a number of employment opportunities in building and transportation construction, environmental programs and government agencies. Graduates may find work at places such as national parks, oil or mining companies, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) or the U.S. military. Some popular career options include:

  • Environmental geologist
  • Engineering geologist
  • Geological educator
  • Petroleum geologist
  • Science writer
  • Field geologist

Any number of careers involving geology can be achieved with a geology Ph.D. Students interested in this degree program should investigate the potential specializations and research focuses in different programs prior to sending out any applications.

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