Geology examines our natural world, studying problems that range in scale from a single mineral grain to the entire solar system.
It tackles topics such as earthquakes, climate change, the formation of continents and oceans, resource development, the hydrosphere and the origins of life. Oxy’s geology program offers you an understanding of the Earth, the processes that affect its surface and interior, its formation and evolution through time, and its function as the physical environment for the living world. Drawing on the tools of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, geography and environmental science, you’ll learn through a blend of inquiry-based classroom, lab and field experiences. You’ll also benefit from the unparalleled natural laboratory of Southern California.
You will have the opportunity to address real-world, significant scientific questions through research alongside faculty or on your own. Geology is a global science, and majors are encouraged to study abroad or take part in field-based research at a summer field camp. You’ll hone your scientific communication skills by presenting your research at the annual Southern California Undergraduate Research Conference or other venues. You might take a summer internship locally with NASA’s world renowned Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles or the Southern California Earthquake Center, experiences that may form the basis for your senior thesis.
Housed in the new Hameetman Science Center, the geology department enjoys state-of-the-art facilities. Laboratories and equipment include a world-class paleomagnetic laboratory, a complete geochemical/environmental lab with an inductively-coupled plasma spectrometer, a fission track lab, an X-ray diffractometer, two GIS labs, and 20 handheld field computers. Students have full access to the labs and building for their research and classes.
As a geology major, you can choose a concentration in environmental science , exploring earth processes and ecosystems to develop the skills needed to analyze and solve environmental problems. The geology program emphasizes articulating ideas orally, graphically, and in writing, which positions you well for graduate school and many other careers. You might work as an environmental consultant, NASA scientist, teacher, planner, park ranger, or petroleum geologist. Other geology graduates have gone into law, architecture and medicine.