shortcut to content
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


Page address:

geology picture

The MSU Mankato Geology program is designed to meet the learning and career needs of our students. Many MSU Mankato students don't even realize a career as a geologist is an option. Here are some to the things you can do with your geology degree:

  • Engineering Geology (making the earth ready for highways, buildings, bridges, dams, etc.)
  • Environmental Geology (protecting people from falling rocks, pollution, and other hazards)
  • Natural Resources Management (conserving and protecting land and water resources)
  • Resources Development (extracting building materials, metals, and oil/gas from the earth)
  • Teaching (sharing concepts and experiences with the next generation of earth citizens)

The course of study needed to become a geologist looks like this:

Geology B.S. degree

Geology is the study of the Earth, its materials, and its processes. It concerns itself with solving basic scientific problems and utilizing knowledge of the Earth for the benefit of mankind. Its concerns include but are not limited to soil preservation, water production and quality, hazards mitigation, resource exploration and production, engineering of structures large and small, climate change, and the history of life on Earth and the search for life on other planets.

Required General Education (13 credits)

  • Chem 201 General Chemistry I (5)
  • Phys 211 General Physics I (4)
  • Math 121 Calculus I (4)

Core Courses (24 credits)

  • Geol 121 Physical Geology (4)
  • Geol 122 Earth History (4)
  • Geol 201 Mineralogy (4)
  • Geol 302 Petrology (4)
  • Geol 320W Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (4) (Writing-Intensive)
  • Geol 330 Structural Geology (4)

Required Electives (13 credits)

Electives must include at least two (2) Geography and at least two (2) Geology courses

  • Geog 315 Geomorphology (3)
  • Geog 373 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (3)
  • Geog 420 Conservation of Natural Resources (3)
  • Geog 471 Digital Field Mapping with GPS (4)
  • Geog 474 Introduction to Remote Sensing (4)
  • Geol 350 Environmental Geology (4)
  • Geol 401 Field Studies, Northern Minnesota (3)
  • Geol 430 Petroleum and Ore Deposits Geology (3)
  • Geol 450 Hydrogeology (3)

Required Capstone Experience (4 credits)

Choose from (with advisor approval):

  • Senior Thesis; Credited as Geol 499, Individual Study (1-6)
  • Geology Field Camp (provided through an accredited geology program at another college / university; transfers to MSU as GEOL 440)
  • Successful Completion of a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)
  • Geology Internship (GEOL 497)

Required Minor: None.

Environmental Geology Certificate

For an overview, follow this link to the program description in the [PDF] Undergraduate Bulletin (99 KiB).

Earth Science Teaching

The Earth Science Teaching degree requires special advising to make sure you finish with all the qualifications needed for a teaching license— Please contact Bryce Hoppie or Donald Friend directly and we will help you one-on-one. For a quick-view of the requirements for teaching licensure in Earth Science, follow this link to the Registrar's [PDF] Undergraduate Bulletin (32 KiB).

Geology Minor

A complete guide to the geology minor program... the perfect complement to an anthropology, biology, chemistry, geography, or physics degree... is published in the MSU Mankato [PDF] Undergraduate Bulletin (37 KiB).

  • Access [PDF] course descriptions (22 KiB) available at the office of the MSU Mankato Registrar.
  • Access a schedule of upcoming classes.
  • Access individual course websites.