About Us

 Students take a break - Photo by Hue Ly


About the major

What does it mean to be a geologist?

A geologist is a historian, a programmer, an adventurer, and, above all, a scientist. A geologist is willing to personally step headlong into the unknown for the never-ending questions of "why" and "how." A geologist must be prepared to get dirty in their pursuit of the answers to the many scientific mysteries of the world.

At SJSU, we give our students the tools for observation and presentation in the Earth sciences; our wide array of geologic courses promote and enable curiosity and insight into geologic problems and how they may be addressed. Students from the SJSU Geology Department have gone on to work and succeed in both industry and academia across the country.

About the department

The SJSU Geology Department offers three degrees: a B.S. and an M.S. in Geology as well as a B.A. in Earth Science. Students pursuing a Master's degree in Geology may also consider one of our Informal Concentrations, as well.

In addition to our academic degrees, many students who study with us partake in large-scale research projects for a multitude of professors, both in the field and in our laboratories, including core geologic studies of distant mountain ranges, nearby active fault studies, paleontologic laboratory analyses, and even geologic consulting services. If you are interested in any of these resources, feel free to visit our Research webpage to explore our department's research projects or our Links webpage to explore our connections.

The Department of Geology has facilities and laboratories for various types of research in geology-related fields. Additionally, various types of research support equipment are also offered (for a full list of available equipment, see our Graduate Program page).

Program Learning Objectives

Undergraduate (PDF)

Students who earn a B.S. Geology degree will possess the ability to:

1. Develop the skill to read and accurately interpret topographic maps.
2. Effectively communicate scientific ideas and results in writing.
3. Use the fundamentals of chemistry, physics, and math to solve geologic problems.
4. Classify and identify geological materials such as minerals, rocks, and fossils, and understand their relationships to each other and interacting earth systems.
5. Visualize and comprehend geologic structures and processes.
6. Understand how geologists measure deep time and reconstruct earth history.

The undergraduate Program Learning Objectives follow a Curriculum Roadmap and Six-Year Assessment Schedule set forth by the Department of Geology and the College of Science.

Graduate (PDF)

Students who earn the M.S. Geology degree will possess the ability to:

1. Formulate scientifically sound and logistically reasonable plans for solving geologic problems.
2. Apply the appropriate techniques to acquire and interpret data to arrive at scientifically sound conclusions.
3. Demonstrate scientific writing of acceptable quality.
4. Demonstrate the ability to present results of scientific research in oral format.

 Students gazing over landscape