Geochemistry

Geochemists study the interaction of Earth's minerals and natural compounds with the atmosphere and hydrosphere. While bachelor's degrees are available, most geochemists hold graduate degrees and work in the areas of consulting, research and education.

Inside Geochemistry

Geochemistry is the scientific study of the Earth's chemical elements and natural compounds found in soil, groundwater and rock. Understanding Earth's history and composition helps geochemists find natural resources and deal with environmental problems. For instance, some geochemists investigate the transport of pollutants in the ground in order to minimize environmental contamination. Others are involved in the search for mineral and ore deposits or alternative forms of energy. Job opportunities are varied but are largely concentrated in the petroleum and mineral industries, as well as in academia and government. Geochemistry can be studied through undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Education Information

Geochemistry is an interdisciplinary scientific field, with degrees typically offered jointly through departments of chemistry and geology. Geochemistry courses generally include geochemical modeling, physical chemistry, isotopic geochemistry, microbiology, mineralogy and aqueous geochemistry. Most programs feature labs that teach students skills in computer modeling, data analysis and GIS, while courses in the field provide practical training. At the graduate level, students complete independent research projects and, usually, a thesis or dissertation.

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