What lies beneath Earth’s surface?
How do earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, climate change, and erosion shape our planet? Major in geology at the University of Mary Washington and you’ll study our world’s past with an eye on the future. UMW’s location near the Rappahannock River – between the Chesapeake Bay and the Shenandoah Valley – is a prime spot for fieldwork, and our proximity to D.C. and Richmond allows our majors to gain practical experience through internships. Explore courses that interest you most and conduct original research as you prepare to tackle tomorrow’s challenges. Our strong liberal arts program will help you develop the skills to begin your geology career or pursue an advanced degree.
Students majoring in Geology who complete all requirements earn the degree of Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Environmental Science and Geology.
Areas of Study
Geology majors build on the principles of chemistry, physics, biology, and mathematics in their quest to understand our planet. Combine coursework in hard-rock geology, surficial processes, hydrogeology, oceanography, watershed management, soil science, climate change, energy resources and more with practical research and internships.
Job opportunities for geoscientists are increasing, with an expected growth between 2021 and 2031 of 15 percent. Possible career paths include industry, environmental consulting, teaching, government, or nonprofits.
In recent years, UMW geology and other environmental sciences majors have participated in internships with the City of Fredericksburg, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Friends of the Rappahannock, Marstel-Day LLC, the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Greenpeace, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and more.
Students with a 3.0 overall grade-point average and a 3.25 average in geology courses may pursue honors in geology or environmental geology by completing an independent research project and writing and defending a thesis.
The geology major requires 44 credits including core geology courses, two chemistry courses, upper-level geology electives, and geographic information science (GIS). With department approval, certain chemistry classes may count toward the major.