Why Major in the Geosciences?

Geoscientists give back to people and the planet

Geoscientists tackle some of our planet’s most urgent environmental problems, including climate change, water pollution, and sea level rise. Geoscientists also increase our society’s resilience to natural hazards such as earthquakes, landslides, and volcanic eruptions. Finally, geoscientists are instrumental in developing alternative forms of energy so that we can decrease our dependence on fossil fuel; this type of work includes developing hydrothermal resources and finding the best places to install wind turbines.


Geoscientists pursue a wide range of interests

Are you interested in predicting earthquake risks? How about determining how much groundwater we have left? Maybe you’d like to use fossils to figure out how modern ecosystems will respond to climate change? You can do all of this - and much more - with a Geoscience degree. Geoscientists conduct research on a variety of topics and at a broad range of spatial and temporal scales, from the motion of tectonic plates over millions of years to the response of a creek after a large storm. In addition, geoscience research often intersects with other fields, such as biology, atmospheric sciences, and the social sciences. Faculty at SJSU help students gain experience in all of these facets of the geosciences through coursework and research opportunities.


Geoscience at SJSU is fun

Many of our students’ fondest memories are of field trips taken in beautiful spots around California. These outings are always memorable because they offer students a chance to get to know their classmates and professors outside of the classroom. Department barbecues and game nights provide further opportunities for socializing and being part of a community. We also have an active, student-run Geology Club that holds weekly lunchtime meetings during which local geoscientists present their research. Finally, because we have small class sizes, every student gets individualized attention in a collegial and collaborative atmosphere.


Geoscientists get jobs

A Geoscience degree will launch you toward abundant job opportunities in one of the fastest growing fields, with a median nationwide annual salary of approximately $100,000 and the potential to earn much more.  In addition to rewarding careers in environmental and geotechnical consulting, our graduates have been employed by NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Santa Clara Valley Water District. Moreover, because our graduates have strong analytical backgrounds, they have also found work with local high-tech companies such as Apple. The pie chart below shows the wide spectrum of job opportunities available to graduates with a Geoscience degree.

pie chart geology jobs with a bs

Source: American Geoscience Institute 2017 survey

Support for the next generation of geoscientists

Learn more about careers, internships, and professional societies, and affinity groups at these links. Many organizations have free student memberships or you can ask your faculty mentor for help finding financial support to join affinity groups.