Academics - what's YOUR excuse for not being a major?

students in quarry

What's so special about the Geological and Environmental Sciences Department?

Our majors have the advantage of working with one another and the faculty in one of the smallest departments at Appalachian State University.

The close personal contact between faculty, students, and staff provides opportunities for independent research and a feeling of belonging to a tightly knit group. Special privileges, such as keys to a variety of labs and study areas and a dedicated undergraduate computer lab are among the benefits of our small program.

What's the difference between a degree in Geology versus Environmental Science?

A degree in Geology (particularly the Environmental Geology or Quantitative Geoscience degree tracks) will help you to immediately get you a job in the environmental industry with a BS, since you will have been trained in the field and computational skills that the industry requires. Moreover, students in this track will have the background to begin the licensure process to become a Professional Geologist (PG), which many consulting firms require so they are competitive for government and large-scale contracts. Students in our program are therefore strongly encouraged to take Part I of the Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG) licensure exam their senior year.  

A degree in Environmental Science is more interdisciplinary, and provides a strong foundation for admittance to interdisciplinary graduate programs.  Students are also employed in environmental policy positions and state/local government.  Click here for a detailed explanation between the different degree tracks involving the environmental sciences here at Appalachian.

What kinds of jobs can you get with a BS in Geology or Environmental Science?

94% of our graduates are employed in the geosciences.  Typically, most students go into environmental consulting, environmental regulation, mining, oil/gas, civil engineering/construction, secondary ed teaching (earth sciences or natural sciences), and many go on to graduate school.  Click here to find out more!

What are the opportunities for undergraduate research?

Since Appalachian's Geological and Environmental Sciences program is undergraduate only, there are numerous opportunities to get involved with research that would not be available in departments that cater more to graduate research.  Research in the Department is a privilege, not a right - the faculty have very high standards for their own and their students' performance.  Students who elect to do Independent Research have access to state-of-the-art facilities, and most go on to graduate programs.  Some of our recent graduates have received MS or PhD degrees at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Brown University, the University of Chicago, the University of Maryland, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Oregon, the University of Kansas, Texas A & M, the University of Utah, Clemson University, NC State University, Virginia Tech, and many, many more.  Our students typically receive full tuition waivers and stipends to attend these graduate programs.

What's your excuse for not being a geology major?

Everything you need to know is right here, including scholarship information and how to apply to Appalachian. Rewarding careers and success in Appalachian's Geoscience programs come to those who are hard working, conscientious, learn from their mistakes, and get involved in the life of the department.

We have numerous concentrations within our degree program:


Geology (BA) 244A

Geology (BS) 244A


Geology with Concentrations

Geology (BS) - Paleontology 259D

Geology (BS) - Quantitative Geoscience 259E

Geology (BS) - Environmental Geology 259C

Geology, Secondary Education (BS) 243A[T]


Environmental Sciences

Environmental Science (BS) 121A

Environmental Science (BS) - Environmental Professional 121B







Minor in Geology

A minor in Geology will consist of at least 17 semester hours of geology. Courses must include Introduction to Physical Geology (GLY 1101) and Evolution of the Earth (GLY 2250). Five of the 17 semester hours must include geology courses at the 2000-level or above (excluding GLY 3520).

Independent Research - One of the benefits of majoring in Geology at Appalachian is the opportunity to conduct independent research with one or more faculty members in the department.  Independent study forms can be found here.

Student Handbook [PDF - 1.2M] includes information on Academic Courses and Requirements, Financial Aid, Scholarships, Field Camp, and much more.

Scholarships and Funding Opportunities

Internships and Summer Employment

Honors Program Requirements

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