Online Courses and Classes in Paleontology

Paleontology is the study of fossilized remains of life on Earth. Online courses in paleontology are offered at several institutions at the undergraduate and graduate levels, often as part of geology programs.

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Online Paleontology Courses

Here are the descriptions of the most common online courses in paleontology.

  • Geological Sciences Course: Geological sciences courses include the studies of stratigraphy, sedimentology and plate tectonics. A thorough examination of the physical earth's composition, structure and properties through time is taught in these courses. This type of course is often taught as a series and is offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels. There are also online courses in this subject available for teachers seeking continued education.
  • Earth History Course: These types of online courses typically involve study of the history of all life on planet Earth. The course focuses on fossils and other records of ancient life. Students will learn about different periods of time in Earth's history and significant developments and characteristics of the planet's evolution. Courses are aimed toward undergraduate and graduate studies with limited courses available for educators.
  • Biological Sciences Course: Biological sciences courses focus on the development of living organisms and evolution. Students learn about the evolutionary and morphological development of reptiles, amphibians, marine biology and mammal biology. These courses are broad in scope due to the vast subject matter and not all courses may be completely offered online. Biological sciences courses are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
  • Plant and Environmental Biology Course: Some topics covered in plant and environmental biology include paleoecology, plant ecology and environmental systems. Students study the global development and influence of plants and changing environments on Earth. Climate change may also be discussed in these courses. Courses can be found at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, although full program availability is limited online.
  • Paleobiology Course: Students will reference fossil evidence to examine the origin and extinction of non-avian dinosaurs. The course will explore multiple aspects of dinosaur behavior and anatomy, including locomotion, feeding, growth, reproduction and adaptations for survival.
  • Geohazards Course: Provides an overview of natural disasters, such as volcanic eruptions, asteroid impacts, tsunamis and mass extinctions. These events are important for paleontologists to understand because they often have a significant impact on the fossil record.
  • Geostatistics Course: Students learn about the statistical methods that can be used to analyze geological and environmental data, included that which is collected by paleontologists. Relevant topics of study include interpolation and stochastic modeling of environmental factors.

Program Information

Paleontology is a field where postsecondary education factors in highly for job placement; because of this, students may benefit from earning a master's or doctoral degree. Relevant online coursework is available through bachelor's degree programs in related subjects, like geosciences. Graduates with a degree in paleontology may find work as a paleontologist, geoscientist or hydrologist.

Students can find introductory level courses online, but due to the hands-on nature of paleontology, some amount of field work may be required in order to receive a thorough and valuable learning experience. Online courses may require the use of specific programs, such as PowerPoint.

Individuals who are interested in paleontology can find relevant online courses that cover both the biological and geological aspects of this interdisciplinary field.

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