Create positive change
If you want to protect society, explore the Earth, understand the environment, work in your community or around the world, you belong in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences. Our department takes a broad view of the Earth and offers courses that develop a scientific understanding of our planet, its history, natural systems, resources and recent global change. We offer rigorous degree programs in Geology and Environmental Science that will prepare you for successful careers. Students in our department are immersed in experiences driven by our hands-on approach to learning.
We build outdoor experiences into every class and facilitate abundant domestic and international travel opportunities. While many of these trips explore fascinating locations throughout California, we also offer trips that explore a much broader range of locations around our world. Our majors travel to a range of regional and international destinations, including Scotland, the Chilean Patagonia, Hawaii, the Colorado plateau, and a variety of locations throughout the west coast of North America. Many of our majors work closely with faculty on award-winning research projects that can take students to exotic geologic locales, including western Ireland, Japan, the ancient Appalachian Mountains of upstate New York, the Marshall Islands and the high Sierra Nevada.
Environmental science is so important. Whether it is conservation, environmental justice or recycling... It's all valid and it all needs to be fought for.
Take an active role in your education
We emphasize active, hands-on, field-oriented approaches to the study of the Earth. In addition to our dynamic courses, our department provides unparalleled student research opportunities and our students routinely publish their results. We also offer a wide variety of outreach and service opportunities and experiences.
Environmental science student Saira Purhar is dedicated to the environment and making a difference around the world and close to home. Her research on water in the Marshall Islands is documenting the effects of climate change.
Here on our Stockton Campus, she applied for a grant to buy an electric mower that is more environmentally friendly and could save the university up to $35,000 on gas and maintenance every year.
Our students organize and lead two clubs within Geological and Environmental Sciences: the Sigma Gamma Epsilon (Geoscience honor society) and the Pacific Geocentric Society. While their activities are different, they share a common goal: to change the way we think about the world around us and to have a great time doing it.
Careers in Geological and Environmental Sciences
Geological and Environmental scientists investigate Earth's mysteries while promoting a clean environment, reducing the impact of natural disasters and providing resources for modern life. Many of our graduates continue their education in top-tier graduate schools or pursue successful and lucrative careers in a wide range of fields, including government, geotechnical or environmental consulting, law, medicine and public policy.
Geological and environmental scientists travel widely and work in urban and rural environments studying earthquakes, landslides and floods. Some geological and environmental scientists search for energy and mineral resources, while others teach in graduate schools, community colleges and universities. As research scientists, they work to further our understandings of the dynamic planet around us.
Sarah Kuo was looking for a way to focus her concern for social justice. She graduated with a degree in environmental science and now works for the California Department of Public Health.
Choose Your Concentration
We offer a range of degree options that support high-demand career paths. To make our students even more competitive, our classes also integrate career-oriented professional development, including leadership training and advanced certifications in wilderness first aid and defensive driving.
Our students can select from the following concentrations when they pursue a degree in geological and environmental sciences:
This concentration prepares you for graduate study or professional employment in geology. Students earning a Bachelor of Science in geology can obtain competitive jobs in a number of geoscience areas, including geotechnical consulting, where they assess geologic hazards and environmental impacts.
Geoscientists have many options when it comes to careers. They discover and develop natural resources such as oil, natural gas, minerals, metals, and groundwater. They advise decision makers on the future of energy and energy policy. Geoscientists are central to solving the looming water crisis predicted with population growth. They work with other scientists to help preserve and clean up our environment. They save lives by figuring out ways to protect people from natural disasters like floods, landslides, volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis.
Other career paths include working as a geologist involved with the exploration and production of fossil fuels and other important mineral resources. An increasing emphasis on environmental issues and growing demand for natural resources, in addition to recent retirement patterns in the geosciences, are creating a considerable demand for well-trained geoscientists. According to the American Geological Institute, Masters and PhD-level geoscientists have experienced effectively zero unemployment during the past 20 years.
This concentration is designed to provide you with the practical skills and knowledge required to critically evaluate environmental problems and issues and provide applied solutions. The major is interdisciplinary and focuses on the underlying natural processes relating to the environment as well as understanding and employing the scientific method. The need for broadly trained scientists in the area of environmental science is critical and the understanding of the importance of this field provides many employment opportunities.
Students of environmental science learn how the physical and biological processes that shape the natural world interact. They also look at how we affect nature and come up with solutions to environmental problems. Environmental science requires a creative and passionate approach, one that integrates essential knowledge and skills from physics, chemistry, and biology.
A Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science can lead to numerous employment opportunities with many different agencies and areas. Typical employment could involve working for consulting firms performing environmental restoration, producing environmental impact studies for both governmental agencies and private firms, and additional vital biological services. Other types of employment can be found with regulatory agencies seeking to ensure compliance with environmental regulations and laws, with environmental law firms, or public health agencies.
The accelerated Environmental Law Advantage program allows students interested in a career in law to complete both a Bachelor of Arts in Geological and Environmental Sciences and a JD law degree in a total of six years, with guaranteed admission into the McGeorge JD program, assuming students meet performance standards.