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The purpose of the undergraduate program in Geological Sciences is to provide students with (1) a broad background in the fundamentals of the Earth sciences and (2) the quantitative, analytical, and communications skills necessary to conduct research and think critically about questions involving the Earth. The major provides excellent preparation for graduate school and careers in geological and environmental consulting, land use and planning, law, teaching, and other professions in which an understanding of the Earth and a background in science are important.

Why major in Geological Sciences?

Many people think that the geological sciences involve just the study of rocks. In reality, the field is incredibly diverse. Majoring in GS provides you with the opportunity to focus your studies in:

  • Earth history and the evolution of life
  • the oceans and the atmosphere
  • the processes that shape the Earth's landscapes
  • the chemistry and physics of earth materials
  • sources of water, economic minerals, metals, and fuels
  • natural hazards like earthquakes, volcanoes, and landslides
  • contamination of natural waterways and possibilities for mitigation
  • resource depletion and sustainable practices

Unique opportunities

Field trips: Stanford University's location near the Pacific coast, the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and the San Andreas fault system provides a fantastic setting for field studies, and most GS courses include field trips.

Research: Most of our majors take advantage of multiple opportunities to do in-depth research with a faculty member. Recent research projects have included everything from collecting coral samples in Hawaii to analyzing GIS data.

Career preparation: A GS major or minor prepares students for careers in environmental engineering, land use planning, law, public service, teaching, graduate studies in earth and environmental sciences, and other professions in which an understanding of the earth and a background in science are important.