If you enjoy seeing new places, exploring the outdoors, figuring out the way things work, and applying your skills in practical ways, you could be very well suited for a career in geology. Ball State’s major in geology prepares you for geological careers in industry and government agencies and for graduate study that leads to research, teaching, management, and many other positions in industry, government, and universities.

What You Will Learn

Among a wide variety of topics in geology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, and other sciences, you’ll learn:

  • computer modeling of geological and environmental processes
  • composition analysis
  • movement of elements into soil and water systems
  • how to conduct sample tests and checks
  • how to interpret a variety of data and analyze results

Program Benefits

You’ll learn from well-educated, noted scholars in our field.

They have experience in all areas of the U.S., with detailed knowledge in Indiana and the Midwest, the Appalachian Mountains, the Rocky Mountains, and California, as well as international experience in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Peru, Brazil, New Zealand, China, Korea, Japan, and Antarctica.

They have experience in the major subfields of geology including:

  • minerals
  • igneous and metamorphic rocks
  • sedimentary rocks
  • fossils
  • petroleum geology
  • environmental geology
  • earthquakes and volcanoes
  • landform geomorphology
  • river processes
  • groundwater hydrology
  • environmental site assessment
  • geophysics
  • geochemistry
  • water quality
  • earth/space science teaching

You can expect to experience the world of geology firsthand. We offer fieldwork and other travel opportunities in:

  • Indiana
  • adjacent states
  • the Appalachian Mountains
  • Canada
  • West Texas
  • the Gulf Coast
  • Colorado
  • New England
  • Puerto Rico

In this major, you’ll participate in a five-week summer field course in the Black Hills of South Dakota and northern Wyoming. There, you’ll prepare geologic maps and cross sections, stratigraphic columns, and technical reports.

Almost all geology courses (except for the introductory course) average only about 15 students.

This means you will get to work directly with and learn from our highly regarded faculty.

Our facilities provide an excellent learning environment:

  • spacious work areas
  • faculty and student research laboratories
  • up-to-date equipment
  • dedicated computer lab
  • exhibit areas
  • full electronic classroom facilities

Major Requirements

Your course of study will include the University Core Curriculum, 68 to 70 credits of geology-focused coursework, and electives to round out your degree.

Two preparatory courses are recommended but not required before you may declare this major:

  • a high school or college earth science course, or GEOL 101 with an approved geology lab
  • MATH 112 or the high school equivalent, as approved by the primary departmental advisor

We encourage you to pursue a modern foreign language to complement this degree.

Total Credits



A few of the courses you will take include:

  • Earth Materials
  • Sedimentary Geology
  • Structural Geology Tectonics
  • Physical Hydrology
  • Field Camp capstone course

For a complete list of all the classes you will take and their descriptions, please see our Course Catalog.

View Catalog

What Can You Do With a Degree in Geology?

Our bachelor’s degree equips you for a variety of roles, including geologist, ground water hydrogeologist, professional consultant, teacher, professor, engineering geologist, resource manager, environmental scientist, petroleum geologist, and GIS mapping specialist. As a graduate, you’ll be qualified to work in:

  • environmental and engineering geology
  • hydrogeology and groundwater protection
  • energy resource exploration and development
  • state and national governmental agencies
  • consulting firms

If your educational and career goals include graduate school, know that during the past decade our students have been accepted into top graduate schools at Montana State, Arizona State University, University of Nevada-Reno, Stephen F. Austin State University, Bowling Green State University, and the University of West Florida.

Paying for Your Education

scholarship iconDepartment Scholarships

On top of the dozens of scholarships the university offers its students, our department gives awards every year to its own students to recognize them for their achievements. Learn more.

Ready to Apply?

Are you interested in this major? The first step is to apply as an undergraduate student to Ball State University. Begin the journey today.


One of the best ways to understand why Ball State stands out is to come see it for yourself. You can schedule a visit through our Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Make sure to tell them you’re interested in our program. Or if you’d like to speak with someone in our department directly by phone or email, please contact us.

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