Department Facts


  • Small student-faculty ratio in a close, mutually supportive collegial atmosphere.
  • Strong faculty commitment to teaching and providing students with a wide range of research opportunities.
  • Three degree programs serve different career objectives.
  • Extensive field experience through in-course field trips, a week-long Junior Seminar trip and independent study.
  • Required Senior Project that demonstrates to employers and graduate schools the ability to complete a major independent research project.
  • Extensive computing, analytical, field, and scale-modeling equipment accessible to all students. All students have access to all departmental facilities, producing special opportunities usually reserved for graduate students at other institutions.

Key Benefits

  • An appreciation of the place and role of humanity on the Earth today and in the context of geologic time.
  • Research skills developed by a hands-on approach to learning, independent study, and field experience.
  • Critical reading, writing, and thinking skills.
  • Sound preparation for graduate study in geology and environmental geology.
  • Excellent preparation for professional employment, especially in the environmental geology fields of hydrogeology and land use.
  • An understanding of how the Earth works today and has worked through geologic time.


  • “I can say without hesitation that the fieldwork I did in Alaska was the most important part of my academic undergraduate experience. Now that I’m in graduate school, I realize that the experience I got in Alaska is rare even for students at the graduate level.” Chris Turner ’98, graduate student in hydrogeology at Waterloo University.
  • Department ranks in the top 2.5 percent among private undergraduate institutions in production of eventual Ph.D.s in earth sciences since 1920.
  • About half of students receive outside funding to complete out-of-state field research projects.
  • “The number of graduates in geology has been greater at this institution [Allegheny] than at many other larger, research-oriented schools…” Independent reviewer’s comments on departmental National Science Foundation grant proposal.