(College of Letters & Science)
Michael E. Oskin, Ph.D., Chairperson of the Department
David A. Osleger, Ph.D., Vice-Chairperson, Undergraduate Program
Sujoy Mukhopadhyay, Ph.D., Vice-Chairperson, Graduate Program
Department Office. 2119 Earth & Physical Sciences Building: 530-752-0350; http://geology.ucdavis.edu
“Civilization exists by geological consent—subject to change without notice.”—Will Durant
Geology is the study of the Earth, and in particular its history, structure, and the processes that have molded our planet and its biosphere. Geology involves the origin of continents & ocean basins, earthquakes & volcanoes, variations in global climate, and how these physical changes impact the evolution of life. All of these planetary processes are viewed through the prism of “deep time,” a perspective unique to geologists and one that distinguishes geology from most of the other physical sciences.
A significant component of geology is oriented toward the interaction between humans and the Earth. This aspect includes the study of resources such as minerals, oil, and water; identification & mitigation of Earth hazards such as earthquakes, landslides, floods, and volcanic eruptions; identification & mitigation of polluted ground water; land use planning; and the study of ancient & modern climate change.
The Program. Students interested in becoming professional geologists or continuing their geological studies at the graduate level should choose the Bachelor of Science degree program. The Bachelor of Arts program is for students interested in an interdisciplinary program of study, or who plan to go into pre-college teaching. Both programs allow students to emphasize an aspect of the field of particular interest to them. The upper division electives are not restricted to geology courses but must be chosen to provide a relevant, coherent, and in-depth program of study. Transfer students should have completed as much as possible of the preparatory subject matter listed below.
Internships & Career Alternatives. In recent years in California, the largest employers of geologists have been environmental & geotechnical consulting firms, with oil companies, research laboratories and government agencies also providing opportunities. Students graduating with a Bachelor's degree may get entry-level positions in the private sector or they may go on to attain their teaching credential to fill the growing need for science teachers at all pre-college levels. A Master's degree is the most versatile professional level degree, and a Ph.D. is generally required for research and academic positions. Internships are strongly encouraged for undergraduates and are a means of exploring potential career opportunities that can lead to positions after graduation. UC Davis students have interned at the California Division of Mines & Geology, the State Department of Water Resources, CAL-EPA, and various consulting firms. For more information, see http://geology.ucdavis.edu/students/careers.
Education Abroad Options. The department strongly encourages interested students to pursue a portion of their studies abroad. Within the constraints of the campus and College residence requirements, it is possible for students to complete significant portions of the Geology major at an international institution provided that the student consults with one of the undergraduate advisors and carefully plans a course of study abroad that will complement their coursework at Davis. In recent years, UC Davis Geology majors have spent their junior or senior years completing upper division coursework at EAP partner institutions in New Zealand, Ghana, Chile, and the United Kingdom. For more information, see https://geology.ucdavis.edu/students/undergrad/gel/studyabroad.
Major Advisors. J.M. McClain, R. Motani